September: Harvest Moon
Also known as: the Wine Moon, the Singing Moon, Wishing Moon, Barley Moon Chrysanthemum Moon, Fruit Moon, Sturgeon Moon and the Elk Call Moon.
* Colors: Browns and greens, earth tones
Scents: apples, berries, spices, sandalwood
* Gemstones: Citrine, chrysolite, peridot, bloodstone
* Trees: Bay, larch, hawthorn
* Gods: Demeter, Persephone, Brighid, Freyja, Vesta, Pomona, Dionysus and Bacchus,
* Herbs: Wheat, valerian, witch hazel, skullcap
Foods: Breads, soups, stews, squash, pumpkin, carrots, squash, tomatoes, beans, corn, potatoes, roots, berries, grapes, apples, wild game
* Element: Earth
The Harvest Moon is the Full Moon closest to the Autumn Equinox. It can happen in September or in October depending on the year; it occurs in October about one out of every three years. The Harvest Moon gets its name from the bountiful harvest that is over flowing from our gardens this time of year and also from the fact that it rises about half an hour after the Sun sets, giving farmers a bright sky to light their fields. Most months the Moon rises roughly 50minutes later every day. During the years Equinox’s the difference changes dramatically. During the Spring Equinox the Moon rises as much as 90 minutes later , but in Autumn it can be as little as 14 minutes. In the Southern hemisphere this figure is reversed. The Harvest Moon will rise very soon after sunset and will rise about the same time for the next few days. The Harvest Moon rises at a point opposite to the sun and is situated close to the Eastern point of the horizon. The reason for the shorter than usual rising time between Moonrises is that the ecliptic or plane of Earth's orbit around the sun makes a narrow angle with respect to the horizon in the evening in low in the sky will appear bigger than when it is high in the sky. Autumn Full Moons that occurred too early in September were sometimes called the Green Corn Moon to distinguish them from the later moon when the plants were ready for harvesting.
The Harvest moon appears to be the brightest, closest, largest and longest moon to stay in the sky of the year. This is an illusion based on the fact that it rises so early in the sky. The Harvest Moon appears larger because of refraction, a bending of light. Just as light bends as it passes through a prism of water, light bends as it passes through the atmosphere. Autumn air is colder and denser, especially near the surface, on a clear night, the light bends even more than it would on warm Summer nights. In the simplest of terms, the cool Fall air curves the light and makes the Full Harvest Moon appear bigger. The Moon may also appears larger due to a phenomenon known as Moon Illusion basically the human eye sees the Moon hanging low in the sky and the brain perceives this object as larger.
One of the most magickal things about the Harvest Moon is its color. However the Moon does not change its hue. What changes is the air quality in the lower atmosphere. When you look at the Moon when it is near the horizon, the air that passes through has a lot of dust, dirt and pollen in it, which creates an orange, reddish color that the Moon has when it rises and loses as it climbs higher in the sky, it transitions from red to orange to yellow and to bright white. This is similar to the sunset.
The Harvest Moon time is a time to take stock, and to prepare for the coming Winter. This is both physicality and spiritually. Ancient people’s would be checking their stores and making sure they had enough to survive the Winter, their lives depended on the harvest. What have you sown, tended and harvested this year? Did your ideas and goals bear flower and fruit or did they wither on the vine? Did you tend them well enough? What would you like to work on now? What are your goals? What would you like to release to make room for something new?
The Harvest Moon is also called the Wishing Moon and is a powerful time to set goals, especially long term ones. It is a time to make lists of wishes, hopes and aspirations, which over time will come to fruition. http://www.whisperingspirits.co.uk/site/1/wishing_moon.html says:
“Add a single drop of sandalwood, jasmine or willow oil to your wishing moon wish list as this will augment and align your intentions with the right mental, emotional and psycho-spiritual state.
Ideally, wrap your list around a moonstone and bury it until the next full moon. If you don't have a garden you can bury it in a flower pot or window box - burying in earth is best if you can. If you don't have a place to bury it, any other sacred place you keep things, such a secret hideaway, chest of personal items - some people have special boxes or altars or jars. Any of these will do as long as it is a sacred and special place to you.
As you place the list and stone you should say a few words to seal your intent for the things you wish for to manifest. You can pray to whatever being, deity, or universal principle you believe exists. Make sure you take the previous wishes from the special place before repeating this at the next Wishing moon, especially if they have come true!”
The Harvest Moon is a time for the hearth and the home and for family. It is a time to build strong bonds, to feed and nourish ourselves and our relationships with others. It is both a hurried time preparing for Winter and a quiet contemplative time as we go inward and prepare for dormancy. It is a time where we let go of the light we bathed in all summer and welcome a new inner light into our soul.
Spend some time at home, preparing your house for Fall. Clean the house, clear out clutter, and give any clothes or goods you have grown out of to charity, give non-perishable foods to your local food bank, and share the bounty of your harvest with family friends and neighbors. Give back some of what you have taken. Change the decorations from Summer to harvest, grind any herbs that you have neglected, finish up old projects. Learn a new skill such as embroidery, weaving, or canning. Let your inner Kitchen Witch out, spend some time learning the spell that is baking and cooking. Set up a kitchen altar, indulge in comfort foods. Take time to really smell, feel, see and taste the fruits of your labor. Pause, breath and enjoy.
Spend some time in the garden, weeding, trimming, cleaning up, planting some bulbs and getting the Earth ready for Winter’s sleep. A nice ritual you can do after the first frost of the season is to go outside with some apple cider, compost tea or other offering and give an offering of thanksgiving to the Earth, your gardens, to your trees and bushes. Thank them for their bounty and sing them to sleep, bless them with rest and protection from the coming cold weather. Another nice idea is to perform a ritual of thanksgiving with your family and friends, make a point to gather everyone for a feast. Bless the food in front of you, and each say what you are thankful for. Keep this feast manageable and low key, this feast should not be overcome by the stress of having to make everything perfect but should be a simple way of acknowledging your efforts, or being thankful and building family and community.
The Harvest Moon is also called the Wine Moon, this Moon arrives at the peak of the grape harvest. Wine and other alcoholic beverages were very sacred to ancient people as they typically were more sterile than drinking plain water, was a way to get extra nutrition , a simple celebration, an offering and as a powerful gateway into an altered state of consciousness. Drinking wine is a sacrament and allows you to quiet your very noisy and busy mind and get back to the physical pleasures of living, as well as contact your higher self and the Gods. It lowers inhabitations and produces a mild trance like state good for meditation, divination, astral travel, and spirit communication. I am not suggesting you get fall down drunk but a glass of wine in preparation for ritual or spell workings will help allow you to easily slip into the state of ritual consciousness. If you cannot have wine substitutes a good grape juice or sparkling grape juice. Think of the Mysteries of Dionysus and Bacchus. Toast and thank the Gods, Ancestors, spirits. Now is also a good time to try your hand at home brewing.
Harvest Moon and the Autumnal Equinox are excellent times for creating balance in our lives. Sit back take a moment and think on what area of your life needs balance. Has your main focus been your job and have you left your family and spirituality in the dust? Is you career suffering because you have existed too much in the faery realm? Are you intellectually fulfilled? Do you have time to spend with your friends? Have you seen your extended family in a while? How’s your health? Are you taking time to relax? Are making sure you have some “me,” time? What is lacking? What do you need to be balanced? Take a moment, think on these things and visualize balance coming to your life, harmony coming to your life. You can visualize all make and matter of yourself being equally balanced on a scale or see your body filling evenly with representations of these parts of yourself. Now is a great time to honor both the Goddess and the God, the Female and male aspects of you. Now is a good time to acknowledge and face, work with the shadow self and to allow this energy to be equal to you light.
Now is also a time to work with the themes of journeys, change of death of end. It is a good time to work with the energies and mythologies of the Descent of Inanna, the story of Demeter and Persephone and to work with the Chinese Gods Chang-O, and Yi.
Prepare yourself and your family a good meal, curl up on the coach with a comfy blanket and a cup of wine, tea or cider and gaze out your window at the glorious Harvest Moon rising above you.
Autumn Equinox: The Enchantment of Mabon Ellen Dugan
Everyday Moon Magic Dorothy Morrison
Moon Magick DJ Conway