Not only does Oct. 5's night sky hold a full moon — it holds a special moon. The first full moon after the Sept. 22 autumnal equinox is known as the Harvest Moon — a nickname the Algonquin tribes and early North American farmers gave it for its timely reminder to go and collect the crops before winter — and in 2017, that day happens to be Oct. 5. But, because the Harvest Moon doesn't always fall in the month of October (in fact, it more usually falls in September, because that month's full moon tends to be closer to the autumnal equinox), it's sort of a special guest — aka, you'll have to make time to get outside and see it. And while you're at it, you'll probably want to know how to do a Harvest Moon ritual, because the fact that this moon is rare means that it offers a lot of power to people of all zodiac signs. Additionally, while full moon rituals can be done on any lunar month of the year, the first full moon of autumn marks a great time to be reflective, set intentions, and to let go of things holding you back before we get into the colder and more stagnant months.
The early farmers used the Harvest Moon as a reminder to go out and gather their grains, and pluck their vegetables, and pick their fruits — physical reminders of the hard work they put in over the summer. And while most of us probably don't have crops to collect, we can all afford to take stock of what we've worked towards over the summer.
Additionally, you don't have to be a spiritual person or believe in the powers of the moon to have a Harvest Moon ritual. Studies show that the mere act of taking the time to meditate, connect to the Earth, and state your intentions is enough to spark motion of the changes you wish to make — in addition to reducing stress, brightening your mood, and bettering your sleeping habits. Here's how to do it:
Sage Your Self And Your Space
Burning sage can help to clear away negative energy. People in America have been burning dried sage as a part of a fire ritual that connects the individual back to the Earth for over 2,000 years. The smoke from the sage is believed to have spiritual absorption abilities, removing negativity and bad energy from the vicinity. To get yourself started, open all of your windows and smudge your home by carefully pointing the burning sage along the perimeter of each room and around each doorway.
Get Comfortable Under The Moon
Now that you've created a clean and neutral slate for yourself at home, gather some things to take outside with you to ensure you're as comfortable as can be. You'll want to bring a blanket to sit on, a jacket, a candle, and any additional crystals or items that you associate with positivity. Make sure you settle yourself in a place where you can a clear and undisturbed view of the Harvest Moon.
Light A Candle
Safely light a candle to serve as a secondary focal point of your ritual. While the moon is the main focus, the act of lighting a candle helps to keep you focused on your ritual.
Facing the sun and with your candle lit in front of you, close your eyes and try to use the presence of the moon to inspire your intentions. Ask yourself what you need more of. What you need less of. What needs to change. What's distracting you and what you're not acknowledging.
Write It Down
Once you feel like you have all the answers, write down everything that you hope to achieve or receive in the next month. As you write it down, try to visualize getting it and it becoming a reality. Fold up your intentions as tightly as you can, and add a few drops of hot wax to the folded note to seal it.
Release What Doesn't Serve You
Out loud, if you can, tell the Harvest Moon what's no longer serving you. Don't be embarrassed: tell the moon what you want to leave behind, what's holding you back and what's bringing you down.
Blow Out The Candle And Take A Moon Bath
When you've said everything you wanted to say, blow out the candle and sit beneath the moon. Let the moon glow on you and try to clear your head. Once your explored all of the thoughts in your mind and there's nothing left to think about, it's time to go inside.
Put Your Intentions Away
Find a place in your home to safely keep your intentions. You'll want to store them some place that you will see each day. Maybe that's on your desk, on the fridge, in your wallet, in your car, on your bathroom mirror. You want to constantly be reminded of the presence of the positive promises you made to yourself, without actually opening the note.
Let It Go
As the Harvest Moon wanes over the course of the month, visualize your problems waning, too. By the time we get to the Nov. 3, 2017 full moon, believe that all that is negative that you wish to release from your life, will be gone — and it will.