Herfest (Mabon): The Autumn Equinox


Isis and Osiris by Susan Seddon Boulet

Whether I live or die I am Osiris.
I enter in and reappear through you,
I decay in you, I grow in you.
The gods are living in me
For I live and grow in the corn
That sustains the honoured ones.
Whether I live or die I am barley,
I am not destroyed.
I have entered the order.
I emerge in the order.

— Egyptian Coffin Texts, Spell 330

Herfest (also commonly called Mabon) is the autumn equinox, when the days and nights are of equal length. The autumn equinox usually occurs around September 21st or 22nd. It falls near the Jewish festival of Sukkot, which begins on the full moon following the equinox. The Jewish ritual of waving palm branches was performed to bring rains at the beginning of the rainy season.

The autumn equinox is associated by many Neo-Pagans with the harvest of grapes/wine, and is called the “second harvest” following the grain harvest at Lughnasadh. Some Neo-Pagan call the date “Harvest Home”. The date has become a kind of Neo-Pagan Thanksgiving.

There is no universal outline for the Wheel of the Year. Every version differs in the details of the Mythos and which events are assigned to which point on the Wheel. According to one version, at Herfest, the Sun King is interred. The Goddess laments the loss of her Consort and descends to the Underworld in search of him. There she encounters the Dark God and submits to him. The two are united, representing the union of Thanatos and Eros. However, the Dark God is sterile, so no child can be born from their union. The Goddess assumes the aspect of the Dark Queen.

Return to The Neo-Pagan Wheel of the Year.

Updated 8/16/14


One thought on “Herfest (Mabon): The Autumn Equinox

  1. Pingback: Mabon / Autumn Equinox | A Year And A Day

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