Feast Your Eyes on the Harvest Moon
Full Moon rituals, just like our seasonal holiday rituals, are about aligning ourselves with Nature and Her natural rhythms. Full Moon rituals are about letting the mind settle and opening our awareness of new ways of processing and thinking about the issues and concerns we contend within our daily lives.
In case you haven’t already heard, the Harvest Moon comes our way just after sunset on Friday, September 9, 2022. It then reaches peak illumination at 5:58 A.M. ET on Saturday the 10th, drifting below the horizon shortly thereafter.
The celestial mechanics are such that the Full Moon will rise in the Northeast around 7:18 P.M. ET (at sea level in the SE. (Want to know when the Moon rise in your neck of the woods? Check out the Farmer’s Almanac Moonrise Calculator)
In practice you will have to wait an extra 10 minutes or so to see the full Moon poke above the eastern horizon—but it’s worth the wait!
You’ll also notice that Fall doesn’t begin until September 22, 2022. How can we have a Harvest Moon arrive before summer has wound down?
Although we associate a Harvest Moon with autumn, this particular Harvest Moon occurs during the confines of the summer season. Traditionally, the Harvest Moon is the full Moon nearest the autumn equinox.
And in 2022, the equinox arrives on Wednesday, September 22nd.
So, this year’s Harvest Moon will be the last full Moon of the summer instead of the first full Moon of fall—yet it will be still closest to the equinox. (If October’s full Moon happens to occur closer to the equinox than September’s, it takes on the name “Harvest Moon” instead. In this case, September’s full Moon is referred to as the Corn Moon.)
What’s Cool about the Harvest Moon
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, usually, throughout the year, the Moon rises an average of about 50 minutes later each day.
Unlike other full Moons, this full Moon rises at nearly the same time—around sunset—for several evenings in a row. If you work with the land or attend to agriculture, this is great news since it gives us several extra evenings of moonlight, allowing us to finish our harvests before the frosts of fall arrive.
Learn more about our full moon rituals:
Why is it Called the Harvest Moon?
Full Moon names come from several places, including Native American, Colonial American, and European sources. Traditionally, each full Moon name was applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred and through all the Moon’s phases—not only the full Moon. The Harvest Moon, however, is a bit different!
One thing that sets the Harvest Moon apart from other full Moon names is that it’s not associated with a specific month, as the others are. Instead, the Harvest Moon relates to the timing of the autumnal equinox, with the full Moon that occurs nearest to the equinox being the one to take on the name “Harvest Moon.”
The Corn Moon
This time of year corresponds with the time of harvesting corn in much of the northern United States. For this reason, several Native American peoples traditionally used some variation of the name “Corn Moon” to refer to the Moon of either August or September. Examples include Corn Maker Moon (Western Abenaki) and Corn Harvest Moon (Dakota).
- Farmer's Almanac
Other Moon names for this month highlight how September is the transitional period between summer and fall:
- Autumn Moon (Cree)
- Falling Leaves Moon (Ojibwe)
- Leaves Turning Moon (Anishinaabe)
- Moon of Brown Leaves (Lakota)
- Yellow Leaf Moon (Assiniboine)
The behavior of animals is also a common theme, with Child Moon (Tlingit) referring to the time when young animals are weaned, and Mating Moon and Rutting Moon (both Cree) describing the time of year when certain animals, like moose, elk, and deer, are looking to mate.
How to Watch for the Full Moon Rise
A stunning and impactful natural event, the sight of a moonrise is hard to beat.
Once you’re armed with the exact timings, get yourself to a place that has a clear view low to the eastern horizon (if possible). Somewhere high is good—one or two stories up but not blocked by buildings—as is a coastal location.
Something truly special about tonight’s Harvest Moon is that it will shine just under 3° from Neptune. Check the exact moonrise times where you are, get in position and watch the Harvest Moon appear as a beautiful orange orb on the eastern horizon. With binoculars you might also harvest yourself a glimpse of the eighth planet from the Sun (though that might be easier once it’s properly dark).
How the Zodiac Influences the Moon’s Energy
For many of us who live in concert with Nature’s rhythms, the Full Moon is one of the most magical of times -- an ideal occasion for becoming intentional and for creating change.
The Moon orbits one full turn around the Earth in 28 days. And as it does, it passes through each of the Zodiac signs for about 2 to 2 1/2 days.
The sign of the Moon on any given day broadcasts a subtle emotional undercurrent.
Just as our personalities can be described in terms of the position of the Sun and Moon at the time of birth, the changing moods and energies of our daily lives can be correlated with the passage of the Moon through the Zodiac each month.
Although any Full Moon can mark a time for manifestation, it is helpful to know which sign of the Zodiac the Full Moon is in, and how that effects the energies at work.
Like the mystery of the lunar pull, it's hard to put your finger on … it’s also not scientifically proven … yet it can serve as a good guideline in terms of whatever goal or intention we’ve set out for ourselves.
For example, if you’d like to increase prosperity, your Full Moon meditation would be enhanced by an earth-sign Moon (particularly Taurus); a Cancer Moon might also be appropriate. An air-sign Moon would be less effective, because of the emphasis on the mental rather than the tangible. You could, however, use the energy of an air-sign Moon to stimulate productive conversation with an employer, which might lead indirectly to monetary rewards.
Full Moon in Pisces
The Pisces Full Moon highlights your dreams and ultimate desires. Pisces is a deeply emotional and sensitive water sign. It highlights your intuition and overall emotional state. There is a deep sense of healing taking place – Pisces on the emotional side and Virgo on the physical side. There may be a strong desire or need for personal care during this full moon.
This is an opportune time to allow your intuition to guide you. Tune into emotional distress and take time to process it.
While the Full Moon sits in Pisces, the Sun sits in Virgo. The opposing forces of the Sun and Moon are helping you tune into what’s most important to your emotional health (Pisces) and physical health (Virgo).
The Pisces/Virgo axis highlights your overall health. Pisces relates to emotional growth. Virgo relates to healthy habits and daily routines that take care of your physical body. With this full moon tune into your physical body. Any issues you may experience are often related to emotional distress held within your body. Now is a great time to lovingly release resentment and emotional pain to relieve the physical issues. There could be a sense of release and preparation for the next door opening. Notice what emotions are coming up and who or what is triggering them. It’s reflecting where you need to focus your attention.
Want to join us for our next Full Moon ritual?
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