Early this morning, if you were awake during the pre-sunrise hours, you may have noticed a brilliant full moon lighting up the sky. It’s called the Harvest Moon, and it signifies that autumn is just around the corner.
The autumnal equinox is officially this Sunday, September 22. This is when the sun shines straight on the equator, and the lengths of day and night are roughly equal. The days will begin to grow shorter after that, as we are all so familiar with. We are moving into the fall and winter seasons, now, gearing up for shorter, darker days, cooler weather, and many months of holidays and festivities to come.
But for now, we’re still experiencing the glow of the full moon, and it is a great time to honor the season we are moving into and celebrate the harvest!
I know, it might sound strange to celebrate harvest in this modern era when very few of us actually plant, grow and harvest food. Our separation from this agricultural process may be a critical factor in the environmental problems our world faces today – not to mention our growing obesity, eating disorders, and other food-related ailments.
We still, of course, benefit from the energies of the earth to produce sustenance for our bodies, but how often do we offer our gratitude? How often do we approach our food with the reverence it deserves? I promise you, if we were intimately involved in all stages of its production we’d feel much more awed by the miracle that food is.
Here are 5 ways to honor the earth and celebrate the Harvest Moon:
1. Break bread with friends and loved ones. Harvest is all about the bounty of the earth and stocking up for the more barren months ahead. Cover your table with rich, sustaining goodies, and invite your friends to bring dishes to share! Give thanks for your food in any way that seems appropriate, and enjoy watching your loved ones nourish their bodies with the food from your table.
2. Make a promise to yourself to end food shaming. Food is a gift from the earth. Vegetables, fruits, seeds, grains – meats and dairy, too, if you’re not vegan/vegetarian! Food is not poison. Food is not the enemy. We would not survive without sustenance, and there’s nothing wrong or unnatural about that. So enjoy the food you eat, and stop feeling guilty about it.
3. Plant some seeds! I know, harvest is about the reaping, not the sowing. But there are lots of delicious fall and winter foods you can plant now and enjoy in several months. Go for kale, beets, squash, and cauliflower! If you don’t have a garden, then get yourself a small pot for your porch or window sill. The joy of watching a seed sprout and eventually grow into full brilliance will only be beaten by the joy of eating food you grow!
4. Use this full moon as a great starting point to begin following the moon cycles. The Gregorian calendar certainly has it’s place, but it’s fun to also follow the “calendar” laid out by the moon’s cycles. Once attuned to its rhythm, you’ll start noticing the subtle difference between a waxing and waning moon; you’ll enjoy the dark night of a just-new moon; and a month from now, you’ll welcome the full moon once again!
5. Practice active gratitude. The bounty of harvest is a blessing, and abundance in all categories is a gift. Even if you don’t feel particularly blessed at the moment – if you feel poor or lacking in some regard – don’t start with the wishing. Start with the thanking. That is, instead of asking the Universe (or god/dess, or spirit) for what you desire, give thanks for what you already have. Express your gratitude wholeheartedly, and don’t leave anything out! You can write it out, say it in your head, or vocalize it to a friend. The practice is so gratifying and cleansing that by the end you will undoubtedly feel rich beyond measure. That is true abundance. That is the harvest.
And enjoy this song “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young! One of my favorites…