Harvest Moon Rituals

A harvest moon always occurs around the autumn equinox and signals the end of summer and the time to usher in a new season. According to NASA, September’s full moon has been called by its European name, harvest moon, since the early 1700’s. Farmers historically used the additional light from the moon to work late harvesting their crops, which is where we get the name. 

Now that we have electricity, and likely aren’t harvesting crops by the light of the moon, let’s look at how we can harness the energy of the harvest moon for our benefit.

Can the full moon affect your energy?

The moon exerts a strong gravitational pull that causes the changing tides in our oceans and seas, with the strongest pull occurring during the full moon. Humans are 70% water so it makes sense that a full moon would impact us as well, pulling our feelings to the surface where our emotions are heightened.

As with any full moon, you may find yourself feeling anxious or emotionally erratic around the full moon. Studies have shown that we actually sleep 30% less during the full moon as compared to the rest of the month because our internal biological rhythms are linked to the moon’s cycle. Changes or disturbances in our sleep cycle can radically affect our overall mood and our ability to concentrate, focus, or remain calm during conflicts. 

What should you avoid during a full moon?

  1. Do not start something new. This is a time for releasing, letting go, seeking closure, and completing projects, not starting new endeavors.
  2. Avoid intense or difficult discussions. Emotions are running high during a full moon so this is not the time for heated debates or intense conversations. 
  3. Don’t make rash decisions. Full moons are an energetic and emotional time so avoid making decisions that your future, calmer self might regret. Slow down and fully process a situation and resist the urge to make rash choices. 

What should you embrace during a full moon?

  1. Cleanse your space. The full moon creates a build-up of energy making it the perfect time to cleanse both physical and emotional spaces. Let go of old emotions and material items that no longer serve you. Watch, or re-watch, Marie Kondo on Netflix for inspiration on the latter. 
  2. Charge your crystals. The light from the full moon is perfect for charging and cleansing your crystals. Set your stones outside before nightfall and bring them in the next day, allowing your crystals to bathe in the light of the moon and the sun for optimal energetic results. 
  3. Recommit to your meditation practice. The full moon offers a perfect time for reflection, and meditation is a great tool for this. Sit with your thoughts and feelings and learn to observe them, as opposed to being attached to them. Learning to cultivate this type of reflective energy will help you stay present and non-reactive, even when emotions run high during the full moon cycle. 

Moon Bathing

Moon bathing may be a new term for many but it’s simply the act of basking in the light of the moon. Moonlight exposure is believed to relieve anxiety and stress and improve relaxation by prompting the natural release of melatonin. Ayurveda teachings suggest that moon bathing may be particularly beneficial for women, since the moon is thought to help boost fertility and regulate menstrual cycles. 

Moon bathing follows the same principles of sun bathing; however, unlike with sun bathing, there’s no limit on how long you can safely enjoy the light of the moon. There’s no right or wrong way to moon bathe either: simply go outside when the moon is in full view to absorb its light. You can do this with your clothes on or off and you can lay down or take a walk, the experience is completely up to you.  Ideally, you should try and choose a space that is private and restful so you can optimize the moon’s power to soothe excess heat, anger, and emotional imbalances. 

Cleansing Meditation

Begin by finding a serene spot where you can bask in the moon’s radiance. As you close your eyes, inhale the tranquil night air and visualize the moon’s gentle light purifying your mind and spirit. Exhale, releasing any negativity or stagnation that may have accumulated. This meditation rejuvenates your inner self, creating space for new growth.

Gratitude Ritual

The harvest moon’s symbolism of abundance makes it an ideal time for a gratitude ritual. Reflect on the blessings in your life, from personal achievements to supportive relationships. Write them down on paper, forming a tangible list of gratitude. Holding this list, stand under the moon, and express your thanks, acknowledging the cycles of life that bring both challenges and blessings.

Release Ceremony

Just as the harvest moon marks the end of a growing season, so too can it be a time to release what no longer serves you. Write down worries, doubts, and fears on separate pieces of paper. In the moon’s luminance, light each piece aflame, symbolizing their departure from your life. This ritual not only cleanses your energy but also empowers you to move forward unburdened.

Creation Ritual

The harvest moon’s essence of abundance can inspire creativity. Engage in activities like painting, writing, or crafting, allowing the moon’s energy to infuse your creations with vitality. This ritual helps you align your inner aspirations with the natural world, promoting harmony within and without.

Nature Walk

As the moon bathes the world in its glow, take a mindful stroll in nature. Listen to the rustling leaves, feel the cool night breeze, and soak in the moon’s light. This simple act fosters a deep connection with the earth and helps you find solace in its rhythms.

With the next harvest moon, consider trying some of these rituals to harness the healing power of the full moon. Let the calming effects of the moon’s energy help usher you into the end of a cycle with a greater sense of peace and emotional clarity.