Autumn Equinox, Mea’n Fo’mhair, Mabon Customs and Practices
This was a time to celebrate the harvest and to rest, after all, there were only six weeks before the end of the Celtic year. The Celtic New Year also signaled the beginning of winter. The theme of this celebration was sacrificed. Not human sacrifice as has been erroneously depicted by Thomas Tryon’s novel, Harvest Home.
The sacrifice is that of the spirit of vegetation, John Barleycorn. Often this corn spirit was believed to reside most especially in the last sheaf or shock harvested, which was dressed in fine clothes or woven into a wicker-like man-shaped form. This effigy was cut and carried from the field and usually burned amidst much rejoicing. And yet, anyone who knows the old ballad of John Barleycorn knows that we have not heard the last of him.
Offerings to land, preparing for cold weather, bringing in the harvest, cutting willow wands (Druidic), eating seasonal fruit, leaving apples upon burial cairns & graves as a token of honor, walking wild places & forests, gathering seed pods & dried plants, fermenting grapes to make wine, picking ripe produce, stalk bundling; fishing, on the closest full moon (Harvest Moon) harvesting crops by moonlight.