Under the Harvest Moon: Rituals of Gathering, Preparing, Learning & Letting Go

Quite possibly my favourite moon of the year, the Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox (the first day of Fall). This time of year, the sunset and moonrise occur almost simultaneously, shedding extra light upon Earth at a time when it is most needed - the harvest.

While electricity has conveniently extended our ‘day-light’ hours, for centuries it was the illumination of the moon that provided the necessary extra hours of light to finish harvesting. The Harvest Moon has retained its name and presents a prime opportunity to reflect on whatever it is that we ourselves may be harvesting. Regardless of your belief system, the lunar cycle undeniably holds a significant amount of power and greatly influences the world around us. Full moons are a good time to set intentions, but since September always feels like the beginning of a new year to me, this particular moon holds an extra sense of importance. At this time each year, I find myself doing the same things and together they have become my annual Harvest Moon ritual.

Share & Gather

When I was back East, this was one of my favourite parts of the season. Using ingredients from my garden, I would host a ‘Harvest Meal’ - a night of good food, drinks, bonfires and stories to tell. Whether you use your own crops or get them at your local Farmers Market, this is the perfect time of year to celebrate all of the nourishment the Earth provides - it's even more enjoyable shared with friends around your table.

Acquire Knowledge

We spend almost two decades ‘going back to school’ every September. I suppose then it’s only natural that this time of year my brain is hardwired to want to learn something new. Now if only I could get accepted to Hogwarts...

Prepare to Nest

Despite my occasional complaints, I do like Winter. It’s a glorious time for introverts like me because I don’t need an elaborate excuse to stay home and nest, other than ‘It's Winter’. My nesting preparations look a little differently now, but typically would include cleaning up my yard, making sure I have firewood, preserving food and unpacking my winter wardrobe. I won't be stacking firewood on my third floor balcony, but hey, I've got a pantry full of preserves.

Let Go

Aside from the splendor, the Harvest Moon has a tendency to bring unpleasant and complex feelings bubbling to the surface for me. As such, each year, in sync with the Harvest Moon, I shed light on the shadows. Doing so reminds me of the importance of letting go of the things that no longer deserve a place in my life - people, habits, behaviours - and making space for everything else that does.

Get outside - look up and look inward, and enjoy the view.