This Friday will see the end of summer and the start of the autumn. You may already be knee-deep in pumpkin-flavoured everything, but this day, known as the autumn equinox or Mabon in Paganism, makes autumn officially official. If you're interested in feeling connected with nature, this is an important change to acknowledge.
The autumn equinox technically occurs when the sun crosses the equator from north to south, during which time the day and night are nearly the same the length. In nature-based faiths, this seasonal shift was believed to be a sign that nature was "winding down," or reaching the final stage of its annual cycle of birth and death. Traditional celebrations usually involved tributes to harvest deities, since Mabon is a harvest festival as well as a seasonal rite.
Nowadays, the autumn equinox reminds us that, not only is the weather going to change, but so will our personal lives and plans. Home and family usually take centre stage during the colder months, which can mean moving our priorities around. Consider this day a brief respite before you find yourself dragging out the heavy coats and planning holiday meals.