What Does a Harvest Moon Mean? The September Full Moon Is Coming In Strong

The moon is seen through a Joshua Tree before dawn in Pioneertown, California, in the Mojave Desert, January 25, 2016. Pioneertown, an Old West town built in 1940's for the filming of movies and TV serials, is now a popular tourist site located 21 miles ( 34 km)northwest of Joshua Tree National Park. / AFP / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Source: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Sept. 16, 2016 is going to be lit — literally, because the Harvest Moon is very big and bright. But apart from sounding vaguely "farmer-y," what does a Harvest Moon mean? I mean, it will also probably be lit because it's a Friday, and it's a full moon, and there will be a lunar eclipse, and honestly, everyone should prep themselves for some level of spooky weirdness. And part of that preparation includes learning exactly what a Harvest Moon has in store for us, because knowledge is power. Right?

Though the term tends to be used a bit loosely (e.g., to describe particularly bright full moons), technically the Harvest Moon is the full moon that falls closest to the autumnal equinox, which is on Sept. 22 in 2016. According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, the Harvest Moon is named thus because its additional light provided farmers an opportunity to continue working the fields late into the night. 

There are two equinoxes each year (usually in September and March), marking a 24-hour span when night and day are exactly the same length. It's a sign that the seasons are changing. With the upcoming autumnal equinox and its corresponding full moon, summer is officially over, dudes. The planets say so.

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Though it's not a "Super-Blood-Moon-Eclipse" like last year, the Sept. 16, 2016 Harvest Moon will still be an astronomical beauty, becoming visible in the sky as early as 3:00 p.m. EST. It will also be the last Harvest Moon eclipse until 2024. Granted, those of us in North America and most of South America will be missing the penumbral eclipse, but Europe, Australia, Africa, and Asia will catch a glimpse of some "Moon contouring," if you will. 

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(It will actually be much less dramatic than that GIF in real life, though; penumbral eclipses are just some intense shading on the side of the Moon. But they're still really cool. I promise.

From an astrological perspective, Friday has the potential to be amazing or a mess — but either way, prepare for "an emotional hightide," according to Leah Whitehorse of LUA Astrology. The Harvest Moon falls under Pisces, which brings with it creativity, kindness and intense sensitivity. A lunar eclipse is believed to function as a "full moon on steroids"; paired with the fact that the moon is in tight conjunction with Chiron (a comet with an irregular orbit that astrologists call "The Wounded Healer," who represents both the act of wounding and the attempts to heal)... well, prepare thyselves, is what I'm saying.

"The very act of turning toward pain the start of a healing journey," writes Sarah Varcas of Astro Awakenings in the latest Mystic Mamma astrology round up. The energy surrounding this Harvest Moon brings with it the potential for intense personal growth, but to embark on that journey is to acknowledge that it's probably going to hurt. A lot. You know how in order to properly set a broken nose so it can heal, you often have to first re-break it? It's like that. 

So are you witches ready to get personal? Because I sure am. Let's do this thing.

Images: Giphy (2)


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