September - Harvest Moon

September is here! Autumn comes quickly with the rising wind and returning rain.

The September moon will rise peek on the night of the 10th, and the Autumnal Equinox arrives at 2104 on the night of the 22nd.

The moon of August was a simple and straightforward one. This month’s moon is a bit more complex. My childhood Native American mentor’s people called this moon the Harvest Moon. Many people think the Harvest Moon is the moon of October, but this is incorrect. If you wait to harvest crops until October, many will already be gone or rotten. It is this moon, the September Moon that holds the name Harvest.


“Turra skida
ok takinna næfra
tess kann madr mjöt
ok tess vidar
er vinnask megi
mál ok misseri”

~~~~~

“Of the dried logs you’ve saved,
And the dried bark you’ve stored,
You can always know the measure.
How much firewood you have, for a quarter-year, or a half-year,
That you can also know.”

~Havamal


Starting out with the name, the idea of this moon is pretty simple; harvest the crops that have been planted earlier in the warm season. If you wait until October you risk rot from increased rain, less sunlight, and cooler temperatures. You also risk early frost that will destroy most crops left in the field.

Harvesting what has been carefully planted, tended, and observed with patience and reverence throughout the growing season is a special activity shared around the world by all creatures. Harvesting is as special and powerful as planting or watching the world plant itself in the spring and early summer. Whether that be food, medicine, or supplies to make tools, shelter, clothing (a form of shelter), or decorative items, the time of harvest is a time of both life and death equally; death gives life, and life honors that which has been which keeps it alive here among the living.

All animals, plants, and life take advantage of the harvest and keep busy both enjoying its bounty as well as stocking up vital supplies. The squirrel may horde nuts, seeds, fruit, and other edibles in holes and trees all around their territory. Trees store nutrients from the fallen harvest lying on the ground in their roots. Everything living benefits from the harvest.

Even in places like western British Columbia where autumn isn’t as flashy as here in New England, the harvest takes place. In a square acre of land on the islands off British Columbia, there is around half a ton of lichens and mosses hanging in the forest canopy! They create their own harvest and reaping. The mosses and lichens collect debris from the forest and air. In the 200-plus inches of rain, the region receives annually the mosses and lichens continually sink the debris into the density of their colonies. The bottom layers of the plants breakdown and combine with the stored debris, which gives the colonies fertilizer and soil bases to grow, even high in the canopy that never sees the earth.

However, the Harvest Moon speaks of more than just the harvest of crops in the field and forest. This moon also reminds us to work on harvesting or paying attention to what we naturally harvest from our:

  • lifestyles
  • thoughts
  • emotions
  • actions
  • reactions
  • relationships
  • dreams
  • pursuits
  • values
  • goals
  • ideals
  • and so on

We are always in a state of internal harvest, just as we are in a state of perpetual planting. Much of this we are consciously unaware of and have little control over since it takes place subconsciously. However, a great deal of it we can learn to consciously navigate and direct. Many of our emotions for instance rise out of the ethereal subconscious world running night and day. Many of these we cannot realistically control. And it is unrealistic and detrimental to try to control what we feel all the time. We can, however, control how we express our emotions. Though we cannot dictate what the weather will do each day, we can control how we will act in the weather.

So, the first thing when looking at this level of harvest is to consciously come to understand what levels we can consciously control, and what levels follow a primal, sacred, and uncontrollable ebb and flow of continuous energy expression. Harvest is about both bounty and the realization of death. Death means surrender and vulnerability; means that we are not in complete control and can never be. Part of life, a big part of it is being vulnerable and accepting this.

This brings me to the Medicine of the Harvest Moon. The Medicine is Preparation.

Preparation for the long cold months to come, but also the transition from the physical side/half of the Medicine Wheel to the non-physical side. September is a transition moon, as are all moons rising during equinox and solstices. The physical side of the Medicine Wheel is the warm season and the non-physical side is the cold season. The divisions are the two equinoxes of spring and autumn, and this is the moon of the autumnal equinox and so the transition into the other side of existence.

Even the energies of our bodies have started to retreat from outward venting that takes place all summer. The body has started the slow process of halting that outward flow and turning inward on itself to Prepare for the trials of the cold, dark time of the year ahead.

We harvest in celebration and gratitude, but also in preparation for what is ahead. In the western region of the Medicine Wheel exists:

  • Experience
  • Introspection
  • Strength

This is the pathway from the outer circle to the inner circle and shows the transitional energy from external to internal; from physical life to non-physical existence. We gain experiences as we live. Only through deep introspection of these experiences can we harvest the internal strength that reaches far past our physical being; a strength that has no words or limits and so allows us perspectives here that reach beyond physical limitations. It is a strength gained by the pursuits of the physical ego (a necessary aspect of physically living) that was turned inward like the bear seeking the cave, only to age and refines through time in order to feed the spirit beyond time and space, (physical limitations).

Therefore, part of the Harvest Moon lesson is harvesting for both the physical needs and the non-physical pathways we all travel. Hence the transition moon between the physical and non-physical sides of the Medicine Wheel and thus the year itself.

Høsten kommer! (Autumn is coming) Harvest, celebrate, give thanks and prepare for going within and for what lies ahead.

harvest moon.png

Comments

There's something very special about mid-September on, a shift of sorts.

Like many of you, it's my favorite time of the year; always has been. October too, of course.

I remember that it was an extremely busy time on the farm of my grandparents. All of the canning to carry us through the winter was started in early summer and completed in September. Lots of long, hard days and keeping a watchful eye on the crops.

We developed a certain rhythm to the seasons and I think it's something that never, ever leaves us. The family farms are mainly gone, the ranches....the type of living that people once did, not just the Indians. A lot of their knowledge was certainly passed to us and for that we're thankful.

As I sit on our back porch at almost noon, the temperature has gone up to 75 degrees. Some would say that's a very pleasant day. I'm wrapped in a blanket though and like the Indians and my family of old, I know the long, cold winter (to me, anyway) will soon be upon us. It's a beautiful day though and I do wish we had some crops to harvest. I wish we were young again and able to do the heavy work of canning, making jams and getting excited about things growing. At least I have memories....and for them, I'm thankful.

Thanks for the reminiscence, nord wolf. Yours, Lenora,
 
The family farms are mainly gone,
Luckily here in VT they are still plentiful and the mono-crop culture of many areas of the country remains at bay.
As I sit on our back porch at almost noon, the temperature has gone up to 75 degrees. Some would say that's a very pleasant day. I'm wrapped in a blanket though
75 degrees... I'm stripping down to skin at that point and looking for shade! Up here the blankets come out when it dips into the high 30s ;)
I wish we were young again and able to do the heavy work of canning, making jams and getting excited about things growing. At least I have memories....and for them, I'm thankful.
I hear you. Even if youth is not an option, I'd go for better health :)
 

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