September’s Great Pumpkin Harvest Moon

Happy Full Harvest Moon in Pisces!
Welcome to Issue 9 of Volume V of Earth, Moon and Stars!

In this issue:

      • Harvest Moon as the Great Pumpkin
      • Seasonal Calendar ~ Moon dates and times
      • Celestial Mechanics ~ Equinox: Finding Due East
      • Culture ~ Early frost?
      • Culture ~ Asian Mid-Autumn Festivals
      • Harvest Moon Poetry – Carl Sandburg
      • Folklore – Celtic Tree of the month~The Grape Vine
      • Astrology ~ Floating and deepening

MOON NAMES and MOON ART
Harvest Moon as the Great Pumpkin

   Tonight’s full Moon is the “Harvest Moon”, the full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox. Look for it rising in the east at sunset. Swollen by the Moon illusion and reddened by the effect of low-hanging clouds, the rising Harvest moon is often likened to a “Great Pumpkin”. (ref: SpaceWeather.com)

Harvest Moon-farm

Harvest Moon on the farm

Great Pumpkin

The Great Pumpkin (Peanuts)


In the days before light bulbs, farmers relied on moonlight to help them harvest their crops. Many crops ripen all at once in late summer and early autumn, so farmers found themselves extremely busy at this time of year. They had to work after sundown. Moonlight became an essential part of farming and, so, the Harvest Moon was born.

Harvest Moon rising over Little Florida Mountains (Dan Gauss)

Harvest Moon rising over Little Florida Mountains (Dan Gauss)

   But there’s more to the Harvest Moon than just an old-fashioned name.  It really is special.

   Throughout the year the moon rises, on average, about 50 minutes later each day. But near the autumnal equinox, this difference shrinks to only 30 minutes. This effect gave farmers working in the fields many days when there was continuous light from the sun and the moon.

   The technical reason for this is that at the beginning of autumn the Moon’s orbital path makes a narrower angle with the evening horizon.

Harvest Moon orbit diagram (classicalastronomy.com)

Harvest Moon orbit  (classicalastronomy.com)

   To a non-astronomer, that might sound like celestial trivia.  But to sky watchers it makes a huge difference. For several nights in a row around the time of the Harvest Moon, the Moon rises at about the same time–sunset.  And you know what happens when the Moon rises at sunset….
(continue reading this article at the NASA Science pageWatch Out for the Harvest Moon“.)

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MOON ART

September Harvest Moon [Cyndi Lavin]

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 The beautiful beaded embroidery you see here was created by Cyndi Lavin for her Bead Journal Project (a part of her Beading Arts Facebook page) where you can see all twelve of her Moon creations. Cyndi also has her own websites Mixed Media Artist, and Beading Arts, rich with examples of and information on beads, jewelry, and other art mediums.

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SEASONAL CALENDAR

September’s full moon:      Thursday September 19 11:13 UT (7:13 am ET, 4:13 am PT)
September equinox:            Sunday September 22  20:44 UT (4:44 pm ET, 1:44 pm PT)
October’s new moon:          Saturday October 5  00:35 UT
.                                               Friday October 4  (8:35 pm ET, 5:35 pm PT)
October’s full moon:           Friday October 18 23:38 UT (7:38 pm ET, 4:38 pm PT)
U.S.Daylight Time Ends:   Sunday November 3
                                                                                                                 [Ref: Moon Phases]

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CELESTIAL MECHANICS
September Equinox: Locate Your Due East and West

This coming Sunday the Sun will cross the celestial equator going from north to south, ushering in Autumn in the Northern Hemispher and Spring in the Southern Hemisphere. Because the Sun will be directly over the equator at noon on this day, and because we all see the same sky, you can locate due east from where you are if you can see the eastern horizon and watch the sunrise on the morning of September 22. Similarly, you can locate due west from where you are if you can see the western horizon and watch the sunset that evening. This is more accurate than using a magnetic compass. (Who uses a compass anymore? Doesn’t everyone have a GPS?)

Sun On Equinox (earthsky.org)

Sun On Equinox (earthsky.org)

Why does this work? Because due east and west are where your horizon intersects the celestial equator (the imaginary line above the true equator of the Earth) and on any equinox the Sun is on the celestial equator. The above diagram from earthsky.org shows the Sun’s location on the celestial equator, every hour, on the day of the equinox. Check out Everything you need to know about the September equinox for more fascinating info.

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CULTURE
Can a full moon bring an early frost?

There is still a lot of mythtery (I wish I could claim invention of that word, but alas I’m a bit late…) associating weather with the Moon. Apparently some folks heard that this September full moon might bring an early frost. Can a full moon bring a frost? It turns out that although the Moon does affect the ocean tides, it really has no effect on Earth weather. You can read more at this article Will the full moon on September 19 bring an early frost?

Full frosty moon

Full frosty moon

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CULTURE
Mooncake Festival

In China, Taiwan, Vietnam and other parts of Asia, the focus at this full moon is on the annual Mid-Autumn Festival, which is sometimes called the Moon Festival in honor of this full moon. It’s also called the Mooncake Festival, named after a traditional baked delicacy exchanged among family and friends.

Mooncake

Mooncake (earthsky.org)

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POETRY and ART
Under the Harvest Moon

Under the harvest moon,
When the soft silver
Drips shimmering
Over the garden nights,
Death, the gray mocker,
Comes and whispers to you
As a beautiful friend
Who remembers.

Under the summer roses
When the flagrant crimson
Lurks in the dusk
Of the wild red leaves,
Love, with little hands,
Comes and touches you
With a thousand memories,
And asks you
Beautiful, unanswerable questions.

Carl Sandburg, Chicago Poems (1916)

Harvest Moon Over Lake

Harvest Moon Over Lake (Lee Capps)

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FOLKLORE
THE CELTIC TREE CALENDAR

   The Celtic Tree Calendar consists of thirteen lunar divisions. Rather than follow the actual waxing and waning of the Moon, most contemporary Pagans use fixed dates for each “month” so as to stay in sync with the (solar) Gregorian calendar. The modern tree calendar is based on a concept that letters in the ancient Celtic Ogham alphabet corresponded to various trees.

The Vine is the tree – or plant, in this case – that is honored this month (September 2->29), known to the Celts as Muin. The Vine is a symbol of the passionate emotions: happiness and wrath. This month is also a good time to get balanced, as there are equal hours of darkness and light. (The above was excerpted from the about.com article “Celtic Tree Months.”) 

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ASTROLOGY

Molly HallReaping Magic

Here’s a brief excerpt from Molly Hall’s Full Moon article this month at About.com:

   This Full Moon in Pisces is the pinnacle for seeing what’s usually veiled or is subtle, like the organic magic of nature. It’s Virgo season [the Sun will be in Virgo until the Equinox], time for sifting and simplifying. A Full Moon this fluid IS magical, since tuning in to the serendipitous messages of nature and the elements can set off revelations. It’s one of culmination, as the last sign, and of reaping what’s been sown on subtle levels. It can be freeing, as soul entanglements are resolved, and baggage floats away on the great sea.

Floating (Brad Wilson/ Getty Images)

Floating (Brad Wilson/ Getty Images)

(For the complete read and the implications for each House, see Molly’s article for this month Pisces Full Moon in the Houses, Reaping Magic and her front page.)

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Dr. Michael Lennox ~ Triple Kharmic Conjunction

This month Dr. Michael gives us his read on this energetic conjunction of events:

   The Pisces Full Moon is exact in the wee hours tomorrow morning and the culmination that this lunation represents is very much a part of this current moment of awareness that we find ourselves in. As ever with the Full Moon, we have a magnificent opportunity to peer into the Unconscious Mind with as much vision as we can ever have, for that is what Full Moons offer us. This particular lunation comes packed with a number of other astrological cycles that have been building over the past two weeks that make this moment particularly rich for the process of deepening your Heart Centeredness and seeing exactly where you are in the journey from the Mind to the Heart.

(For the complete read, see Dr. Michael’s article Triple Kharmic Conjunction.) 

Pisces Full Moon (dailyhoroscope.com)

Pisces Full Moon (dailyhoroscope.com)

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If you especially like (or dislike) something you see here, or would like to see something in particular covered in a future issue, or you have something interesting about the Earth, Moon, or Stars you would like to share, please leave a comment. I’m always interested in how folks who stop by here are moved/influenced/affected.

Until the full moon in October, here’s wishing you and yours a month of passion, floating, and balance!

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INTENTION FOR THIS EARTH, MOON AND STARS BLOG

The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with (hopefully interesting) facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about our one and only natural satellite and how all of us — people, animals, plants, water, even rocks — are affected and connected by her.

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About aquarianman

Aquarian interested in anything to do with the Earth, our Moon, and anything flying around out there in space.
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