Tag Archives: paganism

5 Ways to Celebrate the Fall Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon

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…

Religious misconceptions

Question:
What do you feel is primarily the most often or widespread misconception most westerners, primarily ones who regard themselves as Christian, have regarding Hinduism, the Hindu gods and focus of worship?  I realize this is an awfully big question, so a partial answer will suffice if you don’t have the time to deal with the entire issue.  So much of my environment growing up was overshadowed by adults with limited or no understanding of a universal view of things.  I want so much to understand all eastern religions, but in particular this one.
 
When I try to read text that talk about Hinduism, I end up no more clear than when I started.  I am not a scholar, but I subscribe pretty much-to the extent I understand you, to almost the same view of what we are doing here, what God (the Force) is.  The term Pagan worship really doesn’t mean anything to me either.  I don’t know anyone who could explain it better.  I like the way you simplify complex concepts. I would like to know why, since I had nothing other than negative influence about it in my upbringing I feel an intense good emotion, say while listening to a Mahamrityunjaya Mantra. Very intense, almost float off my seat nice.  So, can you help me?

Answer:
Probably the biggest misconception Westerners have about Hinduism, is thinking that all the gods and goddesses are various external deities. In fact, externalized, literal interpretation of scripture  is the main misunderstanding in all religions. Discussions of God, heavens, hells, gods, goddesses, demons, angels, etc….are really about the journey of awakening in our own consciousness. These words describe the dynamic evolution of our spirit, not an external world we are supposed to dogmatically believe in.
 
The original pagans around the world also seemed to have held an integrated view of Nature and their consciousness. The spirit that embodied the mountains, rivers, or fire was an aspect of their own spirit and it was all a reflection of the universal spirit that pervaded the entire universe.
 
Love,
Deepak

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Lammas: Time for County Fairs and Early Harvest

On the Pagan calendar, the summer began with Beltane on May 1, hit the midpoint at Pagan Midsummer (Litha Sabbat) on June 21, and ends August 1 with Lammas (Lughnasadh) Sabbat: the beginning of the harvest season. County fairs are traditionally held around this time in the UK to celebrate the early harvest, and county fairs are often held in the United States before children go back to school, too. The fertility and growth seasons have passed, and the earliest signs of autumn can be seen.

As we start to look ahead to cooler weather, apple picking, mulled cider, Halloween trick-or-treaters, and other joys of the upcoming fall season, we can also reflect on what we will be harvesting this year in our own lives. Which seeds were planted? What storms hit? What will this year’s bounty look like? Here are some quotes that might be useful to anyone interested in reflecting on their own harvest:
 

  • "You cannot hold on to anything good. You must be continually giving – and getting. You cannot hold on to your seed. You must sow it – and reap anew. You cannot hold on to riches. You must use them and get other riches in return." – Robert Collier
  • "If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people." – Confucius
  • "Faith sees a beautiful blossom in a bulb, a lovely garden in a seed, and a giant oak in an acorn." – William Arthur Ward
  • "Keep on sowing your seed, for you never know which will grow — perhaps it all will." – Einstein
  • "The first principle of success is desire – knowing what you want. Desire is the planting of your seed." – Robert Collier

The celebration of Lammas begins at sundown tonight – enjoy, and have a great weekend!

To read other motivational and inspirational thoughts throughout the day, follow me on Twitter at Twitter.com/DrDebBrown.

Over 12,000 people celebrate Beltane Fire Festival tonight

Tonight on Calton Hill in Edinburgh, Scotland, the red-hot Beltane Fire Festival will be celebrated as it was thousands of years ago by Pagans rejoicing in the fertility of all life. With a bonfire as its central point, the festival begins with a colorful procession and ritual drama, and ends with music, dancing, drumming, and general wild revelry under the moon. For Pagans, tonight is essentially Beltane Eve, and Beltane officially begins tomorrow on May 1st. Click here to read the whole story: Beltane Fire Festival.

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