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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Yeah, I didn’t know that tonight is the Harvest Moon. I am going to start thinking of the three things I want to change so that tomorrow I will start a new phase of life. Thanks for the reminder!
Let me know how it works for you!
I just noticed the moon rising. And it just reconfirmed that I really, really want to learn how to take night-time photos….
No traditions for me, just enjoying the beauty.
Thanks for all the background on the Harvest Moon. My son has always been interested in all the names for the different moons: some of them are quite interesting!
Your son sounds like a neat guy! I like learning about the moon’s various names and traditions too, and the folklore and festivals. We spend so much time indoors as a culture that we often don’t even notice the moon phase.
Sunday night, in a fit of not feeling so hot, I awoke to see the Harvest Moon streaming its beauty across my bedspread and I thought “aha … Harvest Moon, shoulda known.”
Growing up with both the Nordic and Native legends, we were definitely not just interested but influenced by the Moon’s power … and ability to light our way as the combines surged forward, finishing up the harvest’s bounty.
Loved the background … and now, I give you this, I hope it works here MJ
You have such a rich history of family farming. Love it! The link was wonderful and I kept thinking that I had heard it somewhere. Then it dawned on me that it was in the movie – Eat, Pray, Love. If you have a chance maybe you could share some of your Nordic and Native legends. I would love to hear about them.
On my… There were so many moons that I never heard from them. I only know Blue moon by Elvis Presley. Blue moon has special meaning. Thank You teaching me.