The harvest moon. The full moon that occurs closest to the fall equinox. Typically occurring in September. Rising earlier than other moons so that sunset and moonrise blend together. Traditionally used by farmers to extend the work day. It’s a moon that catches our attention. Because it rises earlier than most, it has the appearance of hanging low in the sky and often glows intensely orange. This pretty illusion is created because the moonlight is filtered through the heavy atmosphere that clings to earth’s surface. Essentially a trippy blend of light from the warming sun and cooling moon. The energies of day and night collide and swirl. As the evening progresses, the moon rises higher and breaks free of the earth’s atmosphere and we see it unfiltered and white.
This year’s harvest moon was later than usual … drifting into October which seems fitting given summer’s lazy start and stubborn end here in Vancouver. Full moons are metaphorically notorious for revealing what lies just beneath the surface of our awareness … out of sight but within perceptive reach. This month’s offering is a tricky one with the moon in Aries throwing pure fire into the universe. Individually, we will be driven to action that serves our own purposes. All the things we have been contemplating will suddenly seem worth trying. We will become very crystallized in our thinking and self-centred in our logic. We will be pushed to cut out those people, places, and things that haven’t been serving us well and to impulsively dive into new territory that has captured our interest. Our October mantra? “Fuck it. Let’s do this.” (Very Leeroy Jenkins TBH.)
While this clarity and unfettering will feel undeniably delicious, we need to keep in mind that others are being driven in the same way. We could easily find ourselves coming up against people who are equally determined to move forward with their own planned courses of action, ways of thinking, and venting of built up frustrations. We need to be aware that the reckless abandon of this month’s Aries moon is being unleashed at a time when global conflict and emotion are at an all-time high which means there is a very real risk of extreme polarization. Our flight or flight responses will naturally be triggered because we will feel as though we are fighting for our own survival. It will be important for us to take at least one extra breath, one gentle pause, one empathic look around before we launch ourselves forward with whatever it is we have in mind. The quote that keeps bouncing around inside my head is one by Viktor Frankl. “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
This is where we come full circle … back to the beginning of this post. The harvest moon. The moon of gratitude. The moon that specifically invites us to shine some extra light on all the earth has provided. I spent the summer months traipsing through sunbeams … drawn to the people, places, and things of light. Beaches, bicycles, mini roadtrips, coastal adventures, nature, music, hiking, and lots of my favourite people. For that I am completely grateful. It helped me finally break free of the depression that had housed itself deep within my bones last winter. I felt more myself than I had in months. However, the full moon also invites us to look at the shadow side of what we see on the surface. For me, that has meant acknowledging just how depleted I allowed my personal reserves to become. I was so desperate for energy and movement and fun … so desperate to feel normal again … that I said yes to everything. I basically overdosed on summer which means I am entering the fall season completely worn down. That wisdom has come to me during this time of Aries energy and I find myself standing on ground that feels firm beneath my feet. I have resolved to do what I need to do to get healthy. That has meant making decisions that I’ve been sitting with for months (scaling back on teaching, following my doctor’s advice to take a short leave from work, etc.) … taking actions that I know are necessary for my own preservation. However, I am feeling a bit haunted by it all. It feels a bit lonely here. I feel myself putting barriers between myself and others who aren’t getting what I’m trying to do. I don’t have the patience or inclination to explain myself. I feel myself getting ready for that fight or flight I mentioned above. So I’m going to try and take my own advice. Take that one extra breath, that one gentle pause, that one empathic look around to make sure I’m not doing damage as I move forward with my plans.
Somewhere between anxiety and angst … somewhere between paralysis and frenzy … somewhere between stimulus and response … there is a space where I can make a choice. A choice that leads to growth and freedom. A choice that I am confident will lead to improved health and a recovery of myself.