As the season of Autumn begins, Harvest Moon 2023 illuminates the way and guides us through this lovely season of reflection, spiritual meaning, and abundance. Let’s explore its whispered secrets of spiritual meaning, traditions, and rituals.
Every Autumn, Nature displays a breathtaking transition as the colorful leaves of September and October begin to fall. Harvest Moons have been associated with harvest festivals for hundreds of years. Celebrations are held on the full moon closest to the harvest, which lands in September or October in North America.
Every full moon has its own name based on the month or the season in which it appears. Creating a name for each full Moon allowed people to reflect on each season and how it affects them AND the natural world. There can be some variation on the Full Moon names due to the origins from whence they came.
Most Full Moon names are English translations of Native American names; others are rooted in Celtic, European (Anglo-Saxon and Germanic), and more recent Neo-Pagan origins. I created a guide to each Full Moon, complete with their meanings and how you can celebrate
Please note that I make every effort to ensure this information is correct and accurate through my own experiences and referencing sources throughout AND at the bottom of this article.
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Table of Contents
What is a Harvest Moon?
The Harvest Full Moon of September can be a little tricky! Most Full Moons are associated with the month they land in. However, the full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox is considered the Harvest Moon. Typically the Harvest Moon lands in September, but occasionally it lands in October (about every three years).
The Harvest Moon rises just after the sun sets for a few nights in a row. Due to the atmosphere, the Harvest Moon has a pumpkin-orange glow! Perfect for bringing in the magical season of Autumn!
Many harvest-related customs have their origin in the animistic belief in a spirit such as the Corn Mother or Rice Mother, and the semiworship of the last sheaf was the great feature of the harvest home.Britannica – Harvest Agricultural Season
Harvest Moon Video
When is the Harvest Full Moon in September 2023?
Harvest Moon 2023 rises shortly after sunset. The bright moonbeams of September’s Full Moon were extremely helpful for busy farmers harvesting their crops and allowed them to work long hours into the night. This is how the Harvest Moon’s name came to be!
In 2023, September’s Full Moon is called the Harvest Moon. It takes place on September 29th and reaches its peak illumination at 5:57 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Near the time of the autumnal equinox, the angle of the moon’s orbit relative to the Earth’s horizon is at its minimum, causing the full moon to rise above the horizon much faster than usual.
Since the difference of the moon’s rising time on successive nights barely varies, the moon appears to rise at nearly the same hour for several nights in succession.
Because the harvest moon, like any full moon, must rise near the hour of sunset, harvest workers in the Northern Hemisphere may be aided by bright moonlight after sunset on several successive evenings.Britannica – Harvest Moon
September Harvest Moon Spiritual Meaning in 2023
The spiritual meaning of the September Harvest Moon goes beyond its scientific explanation. Just as the falling Autumn leaves signal change, the Harvest Moon urges us to let go of situations no longer serving us and settle into a much slower pace and rhythm. It encourages us to think about what we’ve achieved internally and externally.
As the season changes and cooler months are ahead of us, we’re reminded of the circle of life and the importance of balance, abundance, honoring our homes, and learning from our experiences. We are beginning to turn inward, just like the natural world around us. We feel the coming of the darkness and are pulled toward our spiritual side in a new way.
Essentially, the September Harvest Moon encourages us to balance the outside world with what’s inside us; so we can notice the beauty of achieving our goals and accepting change with an open heart. Immerse yourself and enjoy these last days of warmth so you can gladly enter the darkness of Winter.
As the days grow shorter, and the air becomes crisp, Nature seems to whisper secrets of change and transformation.Amanda aka The Peculiar Brunette
September Harvest Moon Alternative Names
Many cultures around the world have their own beautiful names for September’s Full Moon, and I did my best to include the ones I could find sources on.
These names beautifully reflect the connection between humans, Nature, folklore, communities, and historical influences throughout time. Remember, most of these names applied to the entire month, not just during the full moon!
- Barley Moon (Old English) (source: Time and Date)
- Fall Moon (Ukiuqsraq) Inupiat Language, Alaska
- Tvímánuður (Norse) means harvest month (source: Nordic Culture – Skjalden)
- Leaves Turning Moon (Waatebagaa-giizis) (Ojibwe) (source: Ojibwe.net)
- Nut Month (dulisdi) Cherokee, Carolinas
- Singing Moon (sometimes called Song Moon) Celtic
- Corn is Harvested (li’dekwakkwya ts’ana) Zuni Native American Origins
- Spring Moon (South African origins) (source: Centre for Astronomical Heritage)
For a list of even more Native American Moon names, check out American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association’s article here or Western Washington University’s article here.
For Abrahamic traditions the full moon of September can be important, as for Jewish people it’s the one that precedes the High Holy Day of Rosh Hashonah which starts on Sept. 25.
Muslims use a lunar calendar, so the full moon is in the middle of the month (in this case, called Safar).Space – Harvest Moon 2022: When and how to see September’s full moon
September Harvest Moon Journaling Prompts
During the magical time of the Harvest Moon, we find ourselves aligning with the shifting season, and looking inward. These journal prompts touch upon themes of growth, balance, gratitude, and renewal. Let your thoughts flow, and may you discover the spiritual magic of the Harvest Moon.
- Write about a time you faced major change and transition. What lessons did you learn from that experience?
- How do you connect with Nature during the darker days of Autumn? Describe your favorite ritual or celebrations.
- Write down any recipes, infusions, or herbal creations you’d like to create with seasonal herbs, flowers, or veggies. What are their magical correspondences and intentions?
- Describe a perfect evening spent under the Harvest Moon. Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with?
- Create an Autumn affirmation or mantra you’d like to embrace this season
- How does the changing color palette of autumn inspire your creativity? Write about a piece of art, music, or writing that autumn brings to mind.
- Reflect on the cycle of life and death in nature. How can you embrace this cycle in your own life to foster personal growth?
- Explore the concept of letting your inner light shine during the darker months. What aspects of yourself do you want to illuminate?
- Write about a goal you’d like to achieve before the end of the year. How can you use the energy of the Harvest Moon to help you succeed?
September Moon Spiritual Correspondences
The Harvest Moon symbolizes the connection between life and death, decay, natural cycles, and seasonal times. To get you started, here are some spiritual correspondences and intentions!
Harvest Moon Spiritual Intentions
- Harvesting and agriculture
- Home and hearth
- Burnt Orange
- Deep Red
- Dark Green
- Earth tones
- Tiger’s Eye
Sacred Space Decoration Ideas
- Wheat/ Barley / Grains
- Corn – maize, blue, or gold
- Fallen leaves
- Pumpkins or gourds
- Flax seeds
Full Moon September 2023 Ritual Ideas
The Harvest Moon is a celebration of abundance and time to give thanks to Nature. Here are a few celebration ideas to get you started. If you’re looking for even more ideas, check out Full Moon Rituals You Need To Know!
Sharing a Harvest Feast
Host a cozy gathering with friends or family to celebrate the Harvest Moon’s energy. Use autumn-themed decor and soft lighting to create a welcoming space.
Prepare a feast using seasonal ingredients that evoke the flavors of Autumn. Think hearty soups, roasted vegetables, apple dishes, and pumpkin desserts. Consider incorporating elements from local farmers’ markets to honor the spirit of harvest.
You can also ask everyone to bring a dish inspired by Autumn, or that holds personal significance to them. As you all enjoy the delicious food, encourage them to share the story behind their dish. What memories or feelings does it evoke? How does it connect to the theme of harvest and abundance? This lovely ritual weaves a tapestry of personal experiences into the meal.
After everyone is finished eating, take turns sharing how you’ve each succeeded this year. Then set intentions for the Autumn season and align them with the Harvest Moon symbolism.
Try placing a central candle in the center of the table to symbolize the light from the Harvest Moon. As each person shares their intention, they can light a smaller candle from the central one. This simple ritual will illuminate their personal path and the collective energy of the group.
Set Intentions with Moon Water
September is a lovely time to meditate beneath the Moon because the evenings and nights are cooler. Sit with your hands on each side of your container and envision your gratitude, light, and intentions filling up the Moon Water.
Here’s a ritual chant to help you focus your intention into your Moon Water.
By the light of moon so bright, In this water, pure and white, I infuse my hopes and dreams,
Harvest Moon, your energy strong, Guide my intentions all night long.
With every drop, my desires take flight, Bathing in magic, empowered by night.
Moonlit water, charged and free, Carry my intentions far and wide, you see.
As above, so below, may it be done, In harmony with the moon and the rising sun.
Moon Water, hold my wishes true, Infused with purpose, born anew. With gratitude and heart sincere, May my intentions manifest clear.”
Alternatively, you can try taking a nighttime Nature Walk beneath the glow of the Harvest Moon. As you stroll, connect with the beauty of the moonlit landscape. Pay attention to the rustling leaves, the crispness in the air, and the soothing sounds of the night.
Use this time to let go of any worries and absorb the calming energy of the moon. You might also bring along a journal to jot down any insights or thoughts that arise during your walk.
If you created any herbal-infused oils over the summer, use them! Try adding dried/crushed lavender to Jojoba or Sweet Almond Oil. After a bath or before meditation, take a moment to be fully present and hydrate your body with your oils. Focus on your intentions or what you are grateful for. You can also add some of your Moon Water to it!
A favorite ritual of mine is to focus completely on each body part as you rub the oil into your skin. Think about at least one thing you appreciate about that part of your body. How does it help you each day?
Try incorporating a bath ritual as well. Use oils, bath salts, herbs (like lavender), bubbles, candles, or music to help immerse you in this present moment and set intentions. Take a moment to relax and just be!
Bubble Release Ritual
This ritual is excellent to help embrace the themes of abundance and letting go during the Harvest Moon. It’s also an excellent manifestation technique.
Using bubbles as part of your Harvest Moon ritual infuses the celebration with lightness, playfulness, and the reminder that life’s moments are temporary.
Create Sacred Space
Gather your bubble-blowing materials and select an outdoor location with open space. Decorate the area with candles, lanterns, or natural elements like leaves and flowers. Ideally, perform the ritual when the Harvest Moon’s light is most prominent.
Take a moment to reflect on your intentions for the ritual.
What aspects of your life do you want to release? What abundance do you wish to invite?
Hold your bubble wand or tool and take a deep breath. As you exhale, blow a bubble into the air. Visualize the bubble carrying away the intentions you want to release.
Watch as the bubble rises and eventually pops, symbolizing the act of letting go.
Now, dip your wand into the bubble solution again. This time, as you blow a bubble, visualize it representing abundance and blessings flowing into your life. Watch the bubble shimmer in the moonlight, representing the beauty of the abundance you invite into your life.
Repetition and Reflection
Continue blowing bubbles with released intentions and abundance intentions, alternating between the two. As you blow each bubble, let go of any attachment to the outcome and trust the flow of the universe.
After you’ve blown bubbles with your intentions and reflected on the symbolism, take a moment to stand in the moonlight. Close your eyes and feel the energy of the Harvest Moon surrounding you. Express gratitude for the release and abundance you’ve invited into your life.
Preparing Food For Winter
This meaningful ritual aligns you with the Autumn season and cycles of Nature. Autumn is the season to reap what you have sown while having gratitude for the abundance. Find ways to fully indulge in the current season and prepare for the cold days ahead, either literally or metaphorically.
Select seasonal fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are abundant during the harvest season. Consider items that can be preserved, such as apples, root vegetables, and herbs like rosemary and thyme. You can also try canning or freezing summer produce and herbs!
Reflect on the concept of sustenance and how food provides nourishment for the body and soul. While filling the jars with your prepared ingredients, take a moment to express gratitude for the abundance of the harvest, the energy of the moon, and the hands that nurtured the plants.
You can also harvest flowers, herbs, or leaves and incorporate them into a beautiful arrangement or bouquet. You could also hang them to dry and use later in oils, as smoke cleansers, or as Yule decor.
2023 Full Moon Calendar
Below is a schedule for 2023 Full Moons, including dates, times, and links if you’d like to read more in-depth.
- January Full Wolf Moon January 6th, 2023, reaching its peak at 6:08 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
- February Full Snow Moon – February 5th, 2023, reaching its peak illumination at 1:29 pm EST.
- March Full Worm Moon March 7th, 2023, reaching its peak illumination at 7:40 am EST.
- April Pink Moon April 6th, 2023, reaching its peak illumination at 12:34 a.m. EST
- May Full Flower Moon May 5th, 2023, reaching its peak illumination at 1:34 p.m. EST
- June Full Strawberry Moon June 3rd, 2023, reaching its peak illumination at 11:42 p.m. EST
- July Full Buck Moon July 3rd, 2023, reaching its peak illumination at 7:39 a.m. EST
- August Full Sturgeon Moon August 1st, 2023, reaching its peak illumination at 2:31 p.m. EST
- What is a Blue Moon and How To Celebrate August 30th, 2023, reaching its peak illumination at 9:36 p.m. EST
- September Harvest September 29th, 2023, reaching its peak illumination at 5:57 a.m. EST
- October Full Hunter Moon October 28th, 2023, reaching its peak illumination at 4:24 p.m. EST
- November Beaver Moon November 27th, 2023, reaching its peak illumination at 4:16 a.m. EST
- December Full Cold Moon December 26th, 2023, reaching its peak illumination at 7:33 p.m. EST
- What is a Dark Moon?
I hope you found this article helpful!! Enjoy September’s Harvest Moon 2023, and remember as always…..