Each month has at least one full moon that is given a traditional name, usually reflecting the tendencies of the natural world around the time of that full moon. The harvest moon is special because of its relationship with the Autumn Equinox.
The full moon that is closest to the Equinox (usually September 22 or 23 in the Northern Hemisphere) is always called the harvest moon, whether it lands in September or October. The full moon tends to rise around sunset every night for a few nights, giving farmers the last little bit of light in the day to finish the harvest season before entering the cold of fall and winter.
Energetically and spiritually, every full moon represents a metaphorical harvest. Each full moon, we can take some time to pause and consider what we have been growing and building in our lives. We want to eat the fruit (enjoy the positive aspects of what we have been cultivating) while also pulling the weeds (letting go of the parts that aren’t working so well).
On the autumn harvest moon, we have an opportunity to do this in an even more powerful and direct way as we shift our energies from the extroverted, social, and physical spring and summer seasons to the more introverted, spiritual, and intellectual fall and winter seasons.
Here is a ritual you can perform around the harvest moon.
A fresh seasonal fruit or vegetable, like a pumpkin, zucchini, apple, or ear of corn, ideally acquired locally
A leaf that has begun to change color that you gathered from somewhere close by
Pen and paper (optional)
Salt or chalk (optional)
Light the candle to indicate the beginning of your ritual. Take a moment to acknowledge the land you are on and your relationship with it. It is appropriate to remember the names of the Indigenous people of this area and even to say their names out loud.
Next, draw a protective circle around yourself. You could do this in your imagination or with chalk or salt if you prefer. Set the intention that only loving, helpful energies are welcome within it and any energies that are unhelpful or harmful may not enter and/or must leave the circle.
Now hold the seasonal fruit or vegetable in your hands as you take some time to consider your personal, spiritual harvest. What have you been cultivating? What are you grateful for? What are the energies, habits, and lessons that you hold close and want to keep near? If you wish, write these down.
Set the fruit or vegetable aside and pick up the leaf that has begun to change color. Now is the time to consider what you are letting go of. What are you allowing to die? What habits, energies, and patterns are no longer serving you? Say a gentle, loving goodbye to those things that you are letting go of, honoring them as they begin to shift and change color, preparing to drop from the tree. You may also like to write these down.
Finally, place the fruit or vegetable and the leaf down next to each other and take a few moments to behold these symbols of coming and going, gratitude and loss, letting go and hope. You may like to finish by setting an intention or making a promise to yourself or your body. You could write this down as well.
When this process feels complete for you, gently bow to the produce, the leaf, the candle, the air, the sky, the water, the land, your own body, and anything else that may need a thank you. Declare your circle closed but never broken and blow out the candle.
You may wish to keep the notes you wrote down, especially the intention you set or the promise you made to yourself. Eat the fruit or vegetable you used in this ritual. You can do this right away or in a shared meal with others later on. Return the leaf to the earth. Happy harvest moon!
Interested in more moon rituals? Try this full moon ritual bath.