Harvest Moon courtesy of wikipedia

Wikipedia describes the harvest moon as the full moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox which is on September 23rd this year, making tonight’s full moon the Harvest Moon!

The harvest moon usually falls in October, but once every three years September plays host to this spectacular orb.

It rises around the time of sunset, offering enough light to allow farmers to gather their crops by. It is also low in the sky, making us perceive it as a giant moon. And it derives its bright orange color from particles in the earth’s atmosphere that scatter the light – the lower the moon, the more scattering of particles.

Folklore dictates a ritual cleansing during a full moon – as it symbolizes the end of one cycle. Write down the things you wish to change in the affirmative – ie I know the universe wishes me to have ________ instead of I will not _______ (fill in the blanks) – and then release those wishes to the atmosphere.

But what I find especially intriguing is the old Norse legends of mischievous Loki. He was a bit of an activist – defying order and bringing about change. But it was Loki’s blessings the ancients sought, to guarantee a bountiful harvest. As the most powerful moon, they celebrated it with festivals and rituals.

The Celtics called it the Singing Moon, due to the celebratory happiness that it signified – the end of the harvest, time of rest, and partying!

Pagans called it the Wine Moon, as the grapes would be fullest and ready to pick. Like the Celts, they celebrated with wine drinking and merry making, but afterwards, a very quiet contemplative phase followed.

Here in America, before we were called by that name, the Natives called it the Grandmother Moon, Mulberry Moon, Nut Moon, Elk Moon, and Harvest Moon. They gathered their crops such as corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, wild rice and several species of nuts and fruits. They also returned crops and fruits to Mother Earth and gave thanks through gatherings.

Whatever traditions you choose to follow, even if it is none at all, get outside tonight and look to the heavens for what should be a spectacular moon!

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