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Harvest Moon

Moon Tides

The Harvest Moon is the full moon nearest to the autumnal equinox, which occurs (in the northern hemisphere) on or about the 23rd day of September. In 2007, the equinox does indeed fall on Sunday, September 23 and the full moon follows a few days later on Wednesday, September 26.

Historically, the full Harvest Moon became known and celebrated as the occasion when farmers were gifted with extra available light to continue bringing in their harvests even after the sun went down. Along with the extra hard work, much celebration, feasting, dancing and thanksgiving accompanied this full moon.

Even if you have no agricultural leanings in your recent lineage, imagine yourself a part of this ancient rhythm of satisfying work, joyous celebration and thanksgiving of the Harvest Moon. Instead of bounty collected from tended farmland, there are many other fruits you may have reaped from worthwhile effort this year.
You might imagine yourself climbing, with strength and purpose, to the highest point of a mountain on the Harvest moonlit night. A beautifully woven harvest basket carrying a small blanket, bountiful offerings and thanksgiving prayers is strapped to your shoulders.

As you ascend from the shadows at the very base of the mountain, what can you see around you, as you climb, guided, hand and foot by the radiance of this moon? With each step, you are shedding the dusk and shadow that dim your view. As you turn your face up to face the moon, your whole being becomes awash with clear vision of outer vistas and inner knowing. Your strength and stamina seem to be building; your sight and perception is becoming increasingly clear the higher you climb. Your footing and grip made secure by the growing luminosity around you. It is a worthwhile climb.

As you reach the pinnacle, you witness below, the exquisite landscape of your life this year, illuminated in a perfect complete circle around you. You remove your basket from your shoulders and carefully spread your blanket, leave your offerings and whisper your thanksgiving prayers for this clear vision of your personal harvest season. By the illumination of this Harvest Moon, it has all been made abundantly clear to you.
You marvel at the expanse of fertile fields below, seen clearly in various stages of cultivation, you deeply understand the complex beauty of the efforts of your work and relationships; the patchwork of projects and dreams, small and large. While breathing in this illuminated beauty, sit with your back against the mountain top and take some time to reflect on a few questions and their answers:

Are you aware of the many seeds you have sown this year? Which ones have you carefully nurtured and brought to fruition? What field, if any, has been neglected, left unattended to grow weeds or an unhealthy crop? Is there work still to be done there? Unexpected gifts yet to be gleaned? Or rather, is it a field that remains fallow, turned under to rest until next spring? What have you harvested this year that has provided you with sustenance, deep satisfaction and nourishment? Which field, if any, hasn’t provided food for your soul, and left you feeling hungry and unfulfilled?

The answers you seek may take the same effort put forth as the toiling farmer. Yet, take heart in knowing that some years, the sweat and struggle poured out, are less than others. When you make the descent down the mountain, be assured that your harvest basket will always be heavy with fruit. When illuminated from above there is always balance, always beauty, always something to harvest. The metaphor and exercise for the Harvest Moon can be utilized every full moon cycle and carried from month to month. You need not wait until the Harvest Moon to climb to the pinnacle.

By Susan Hess
0n the Full Moon - July 2007
Published in the Hollerbeier Haven Newsletter~ August 2007

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