What is the Harvest moon?
The harvest moon is named for the full moon nearest to Mabon, bright enough to allow farmers to work late into the night bringing in the final harvest of the year. This moon is celebrated across many cultures using different names: Barley moon or Chrysanthemum moon or even Fruit moon to name a few.
Why do Wiccans Celebrate the Harvest moon?
For Wiccans, it is an especially powerful time for our spellwork. The full moon itself represents the Goddess at her most fertile, luminous self. It is the perfect time for creating change. After the contemplative holiday of Mabon, you have reached deep into yourself and sorted through your own strengths and weaknesses. You know where you want to see change and now is the time to prepare for that. Creating moon magic is always strongest at midnight. You would want to time your spell to start at this time. No matter how long your plan your ritual for, the starting point is the most important one. You can simply honor your deity(s) with a small ritual or create something more elaborate but for the most effect, start at midnight.
How can I honor the Harvest moon?
From simple to elaborate, celebrating the harvest moon is part of clearing the clutter in both your mind and personal life. Since thoughts are turning to the comforts of home as the cold weather arrives, think of ways to bring your ritual into the area where your comforts come from in your home. For me, it is in the kitchen.
I set up a small altar in a corner of my kitchen. Here are some simple ideas for your Harvest moon celebration. This is not our family altar however, this altar is a focal point for me as I attend to my work all throughout the cold months. I find it easy to meditate when it need to and also add to this sacred space as time passes.
I honor Demeter, Goddess of the bountiful harvest with gifts of the harvest like a sheaf of wheat or something from my garden like a pumpkin or gourd. I include something green since harvesting means herbs for me as well as food. In keeping with the idea of balance, I also honor a God at Harvest moon. I chose Thoth, the God of the moon as the most befitting for my own ritual. He is represented in different ways but for me I see him in a small group of feathers wrapped in golden string.
As the wheel turns
Celebrating Mabon and Harvest moon is an important part of celebrating the wheel of the year. It is a natural transition towards the winter season and new year. Take the time to make a small altar and focus your energy on creating the changes that make your life more balanced.