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
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