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All About The Harvest Moon: History, Definition, Recipes, Rituals and More...

(If these bulletins do not display 'properly' please refer to Magickal Winds' blogs on MySpace or our website at www.magickalwinds.com -  Brightest Blessings!)

The Harvest Moon

By Amelia Tucker

Posted and edited to fit MySpace's format by Magickal Winds

What is the Harvest moon?

The harvest moon is named for the full moon nearest to Mabon, bright enough to allow farmers to work late into the night bringing in the final harvest of the year. This moon is celebrated across many cultures using different names: Barley moon or Chrysanthemum moon or even Fruit moon to name a few.

Why do Wiccans Celebrate the Harvest moon?

For Wiccans, it is an especially powerful time for our spellwork. The full moon itself represents the Goddess at her most fertile, luminous self. It is the perfect time for creating change. After the contemplative holiday of Mabon, you have reached deep into yourself and sorted through your own strengths and weaknesses. You know where you want to see change and now is the time to prepare for that. Creating moon magic is always strongest at midnight. You would want to time your spell to start at this time. No matter how long your plan your ritual for, the starting point is the most important one. You can simply honor your deity(s) with a small ritual or create something more elaborate but for the most effect, start at midnight.

How can I honor the Harvest moon?

From simple to elaborate, celebrating the harvest moon is part of clearing the clutter in both your mind and personal life. Since thoughts are turning to the
comforts of home as the cold weather arrives, think of ways to bring your ritual into the area where your comforts come from in your home. For me, it is in the kitchen.

I set up a small altar in a corner of my kitchen. Here are some simple ideas for your Harvest moon celebration. This is not our family altar however, this altar is a focal point for me as I attend to my work all throughout the cold months. I find it easy to meditate when it need to and also add to this sacred space as time passes.

I honor Demeter, Goddess of the bountiful harvest with gifts of the harvest like a sheaf of wheat or something from my garden like a pumpkin or gourd. I include something green since harvesting means herbs for me as well as food. In keeping with the idea of balance, I also honor a God at Harvest moon. I chose Thoth, the God of the moon as the most befitting for my own ritual. He is represented in different ways but for me I see him in a small group of feathers wrapped in golden string.

As the wheel turns

Celebrating Mabon and Harvest moon is an important part of celebrating the wheel of the year. It is a natural transition towards the winter season and new year.

Take the time to make a small altar and focus your energy on creating the changes that make your life more balanced.

Harvest Moon on September 15!

By Patti Wigington

Posted and edited to fit MySpace's format by Magickal Winds

Today I went outside and noticed that a few leaves had fallen from the giant maple in my front yard. My squash and pumpkins are round and plump, the tomato plants have reached full capacity, and there's a slight chill in the air. It's those little signs that fall is approaching, and that soon the days will grow short and the skies gray as we say farewell to summer. This month's full moon is called, for good reason, the Harvest Moon. It's a month to celebrate the final bounties of the fields, to put things aside for the coming winter, and to count the blessings and abundance that we have in our lives.

The colors of the harvest moon celebration match those of the changing earth around us -- browns and greens, and other earth tones. Gemstones such as bloodstone and peridot, and herbs like valerian and witch hazel all have correspondences to this month's moon. It's a time to honor both harvest deities -- like Demeter and Freyja -- and gods of hearth and home, such as Vesta and Brighid. Spend some time making your home ready for the coming winter months. Do some baking, canning, preserving. If you don't have a kitchen altar, set one up. Keep a pot of comfort food on the stove, for those chilly afternoons when you need something to warm the body and soul.

Harvest Moon

By Patti Wigington

Posted and edited to fit MySpace's format by Magickal Winds

Late September brings us the Harvest Moon, sometimes referred to as the Wine Moon or the Singing Moon. This is the time of year when the last of the crops are being gathered from the fields and stored for the winter. There's a chill in the air, and the earth is slowly beginning its move towards dormancy as the sun pulls away from us.

    Colors: Browns and greens, earth tones
    Gemstones: Citrine, chrysolite, peridot, bloodstone
    Trees: Bay, larch, hawthorn
    Gods: Demeter, Brighid, Freyja, Vesta
    Herbs: Wheat, valerian, witch hazel, skullcap
    Element: Earth

This is a month of hearth and home. Spend some time preparing your environment for the upcoming chilly months. If you don't already have one, set up a hearth or kitchen altar for those times when you're cooking, baking and canning. Use this time to clear out clutter -- both physical and emotional -- before you have to spend the long winter days inside.

Also Known As: Wine Moon, Singing Moon

How To Celebrate an Autumn Full Moon - Group Ceremony But Can Be Altered for Solitary

By Patti Wigington

Posted and edited to fit MySpace's format by Magickal Winds

In addition to -- or instead of -- holding a monthly Esbat rite, some Wiccan and Pagan groups prefer to have a season-specific full moon ceremony. During the autumn months, the harvest season begins with the Corn Moon in late August, and continues through September's Harvest Moon and the Blood Moon of October. If you'd like to celebrate one or more of these moon phases with a ritual specific to the harvest, it's not hard. This rite is written for a group of four people or more, but if you needed to, you could easily adapt it for a solitary practitioner.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: Varied

Here's How:
1.    Try to hold this ritual outside. Fall nights are usually crisp and cool, and a perfect time for outdoor rituals. Ask each member of the group to bring an
item to place on the altar -- something that represents the bounty of the harvest. Decorate the altar with these seasonal goodies. Some ideas would be:
o    A basket of apples
o    Gourds, squashes, or small pumpkins
o    Indian corn
o    Colorful leaves
o    Stalks of grain or wheat

You'll want to include quarter candles*, as well as a cup of wine or cider. If you're including Cakes and Ale as part of your celebration, place your cakes on the altar as well.

2.    Assign a member of the group to call each quarter. Each person should stand at their assigned quarter holding their unlit candle (and a lighter or matches), and facing the altar. If there are more than four of you present, form a circle. Some traditions choose to begin rites facing east, while others prefer the north. This ritual begins with the calling of the north quarter, but you can adjust or adapt it based on the needs of your own tradition.

3.    The person in the north quarter lights their green candle, holds it to the sky, and says:
We call upon the powers of Earth,and welcome you to this circle.  May the fertile soil of the land bring usprosperity, abundance, and the bounty of the land,in this time of harvest. Place the candle on the altar.

4.    The person to the east should light her yellow candle, hold it to the sky, and say:
We call upon the powers of Air,and welcome you to this circle.  May the winds of change bring us wisdom and knowledge in this season of abundance and bounty.  Place the candle on the altar.

5.    Moving to the south, light the red candle and hold it to the sky, saying:
We call upon the powers of Fire, and welcome you to this circle.  May the shining light of this season's moon illuminate our way through the coming winter.  Place the candle on the altar.

6.    Finally, the person to the west lights the blue candle, holds it to the sky, and says:
We call upon the powers of Water,and welcome you to this circle.  May the cool autumn rains wash away the last comforts of summer,and prepare us for the chill that is to come.  Place the candle on the altar.

7.    Have everyone in the circle join hands and say:
We gather tonight by the light of the moon, to celebrate the season, and rejoice.  May the next turn of the Wheel bring us love and compassion, abundance and prosperity,fertility and life.  As the moon above, so the earth below.

Go around the circle, passing the wine or cider. As each person takes a sip, they should share one thing they are looking forward to in the coming month. Do you hope to manifest financial independence? Develop your intuitive powers? Or are you perhaps hoping to grow your relationships? Now is the time to state your intent.

8.    Take a moment to reflect on the bounty of the season. When everyone is ready, either move on to your next ceremony -- Cakes and Ale, Drawing Down the Moon, healing rites, etc. -- or end the ritual.

1.    * Quarter candles are colored candles based on the colors of the four cardinal directions: green for north, yellow for east, red to the south and blue in the west.

What You Need:
    Candles for each of the four quarters
    A cup of wine or cider
    Symbols of the harvest to decorate the altar

Cakes and Ale

By Patti Wigington

Posted and edited to fit MySpace's format by Magickal Winds

The Wiccan ritual known as Cakes and Ale is often celebrated as a way of thanking the gods for their blessings. Cakes are usually just cookies prepared in the shape of crescent moons, and the ale can be alcoholic or it can be apple cider, juice, or even water.

Simple Sabbat Cakes:
    3/4 C. soft butter
    2 C. brown sugar
    2 eggs
    1 Tbsp. lemon juice
    2 tsp. grated lemon rind
    2 C. flour
    1 C. finely chopped walnuts (optional)

Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add the brown sugar and mix well. Add eggs, lemon juice and rind. Mix until well-blended.

Stir in flour and walnuts. Cover and refrigerate overnight. When chilled, shape dough into one-inch balls and place 3" apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 8 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.

Also Known As: Cakes and Wine

Examples: After the ceremony, Willow served cakes and ale to the rest of the coven.

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