Harvest Moon Kindles Seasonal Introspection
By Monette Chilson
When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator. – Mohandas Gandhi
There is a feel to the year that goes beyond the number-filled grids that occupy our paper and electronic planners. In this intuitive calendar, we spend the summer living life out loud, outside and out of our usual rhythms. Fall arrives, ushering in routine, epitomized by the equilibrium inherent in last week’s autumnal equinox when our day and night were in perfect balance.
The full moon closest to this tipping point—after which nights become increasingly longer than days—is known as the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon peaks this Saturday night (9/29) for those of us in North America. Already, though, it is astoundingly bright and beautiful, as it hangs in the sky, illuminating the last bit of our frenzied work before we surrender to the introspection that comes with the season. Before we curl up by the fire. Cloak ourselves in layers of warmth and wait.
We are no longer an agrarian society, but we harvest the fruits of our labor just the same. What is it that you are being called to bring to fruition in these waning days of productivity before the land falls fallow for a time? What dream, aspiration, project or relationship have you nurtured over the spring and summer? Is it reaping time? The Harvest Moon rises earlier than any other full moon and shines brighter to light our way.
Soon the darkness will descend and we’ll illuminate our souls with different types of lights, depending on our spiritual bent. Christmas tree lights, Hanukkah’s menorah or Diwali’s clay lamps, to name a few.
Children in Europe (and in Waldorf schools in America) commemorate this shift with two different celebrations that symbolically bring the children’s inner light out into their world. Early in the fall, they carry homemade lanterns on a walk while singing songs that speak to this part of our inner calendar. Closer to year’s end, they walk an advent spiral, carrying a small candle as they follow a circuitous, winding path formed by holiday greenery, leading them to a larger candle at the heart of the spiral, where they light their own candle and leave it to light the way for those that come after them.
This weekend, when you go out for a glimpse of the spectacular lunar event we call the Harvest Moon, let its luminosity ignite within you. Bask in its golden glow. Look inward and undertake your soul’s calling, the hardest and most rewarding work of all. Reap well, my friends!
Monette Chilson is long-time yoga practitioner dedicated to making the spiritual benefits of yoga accessible to all through her writing. She is a Yoga Journal contributor whose first book, Sophia Rising: Awakening Your Sacred Wisdom Through Yoga, will be published by Bright Sky Press in Fall 2012. You can find out more about her melding of yoga with the exploration of the feminine divine at her web site www.SophiaRisingYoga.com
Photography taken by Monette Chilson