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Hoarding By The Light of The Super Full Harvest Moon

Today in The Northern Hemisphere we offically celebrate The Full Harvest Moon and as an extra bonus its gonna be a Super Moon too. The Harvest Moon is the full moon that happens closest to the autumnal equinox and is/has been considered very special and is celebrated in many cultures.

So What’s The Big Deal About The Full Harvest Moon:

Because of the tilt of the earth and reflections from the atmosphere this moon tends to be appear larger and more colourful than other moons of the year.

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harvest-moon. samuel palmer painting

Also, this full moon rises close to the time the sun sets, and — more importantly — at this time of year, instead of rising its normal average of 50 minutes later each day, the moon seems to rise at somewhat the same time each night.

What really sets the Harvest Moon apart from other full moons is that it occurs at the climax of the harvest season.

Pre electricity, this meant farmers had more time to harvest their crops. Historically harvest was a time when you needed to be working your butt off, rushing to bring in the last of this year’s crops to avoid the dangers and hardship of the coming winter. That extra light sure  came in handy. Thanks nature. Let’s celebrate.

It’s A Big Deal For Lots Of Folks

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Moon cakes are Chinese pastries traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival

Right now there are billions of people in the midst of their moon celebrations. The Chinese have been celebrating moon festivals for over 3000yrs. The Harvest Moon also plays a big part in the traditions of the Jewish faith. For those folks of the Pagan persuasion, this kicks off high holiday season.

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Purnama, the day of the full moon is a very special day for the Balinese people. Purnama helps to obtain an abundant harvest the following year

Human history shows we  have a long relationship with the moon which predates the more common ideologies of the west.

From ancient Greece, Egypt and the Aztec Empire right up to modern day India, nearly every culture has found meaning in Earth’s only satellite. You can find out more about Harvest Moon festivals around the world here .

I’m No Farmer So What Am I Celebrating?

Today, here in North America, fully lit up cities means there’s no need to get amped for extra moonlight. Few of us are working the fields, and for those that are, cue electricity. In short, for us it’s a holiday which serves no real purpose.

Yet as the nights grow cooler, just the words “Full Harvest Moon” speaks to something in all of us. It’s taking two ancient ideas with all their connotations and putting them together. It’s romantic…..It’s mysterious….It’s some powerful mojo. Somehow it just feels right to celebrate. Cue music

Harvest Moon-Neil Young

Winter Is Coming

Basically right now planet earth is telling us “winter is coming” or at least “summer is over”. We’re moving into a new season. Time to take stock and put our house in order. If there is any universal magic symbolism in the harvest moon, it’s that of the hearth. It’s the time of year when you’re gathering what will keep you alive, cooked over the family hearth, till the next year’s crops come in.

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cozy up…winter is coming

Maybe the opposite of spring cleaning is autumn hoarding. From this perspective, the significance of the harvest moon doesn’t just apply to farmers. Most of us don’t grow crops but we all grow and nourish other things that are important in our lives: dreams, ideas, relationships, love, family and children, work, passion…

O.K Harvest Moon I Get….What’s This About A Super Moon?

The Moon’s orbit around the Earth is not a perfect circle. It’s elliptical, with one side closer to the Earth than the other. A Full or New Moon that occurs when the Moon is less than 360,000 kilometers (ca. 223,694 miles) from the center of the Earth is called a perigee full moon, or a perigee new moon. Perigee just means “near Earth.”  Recently, people have started to call these “Super Moons” which means the same thing but sounds sexier. There has been some controversy about the “Superness” of this Harvest Moon. However, we’re not gonna let a little math get in the way. It’s a close enough call for us to say “Super Moon”

What Does A Full Supermoon Look Like:

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“Super Moon” vs “Micro Moon”

Most astronomers say you can’t really detect any difference with the naked eye between a Super Moon and any ordinary full moon. Others say you can. “They” also say that Super Moons during Northern Hemisphere winter months tend to look larger than Supermoons that occur during the rest of the year. At this time of the year, the Earth is closer to the Sun. Because of this, the Sun’s gravity pulls the Moon closer to Earth, making any winter Super Full Moons look bigger than summer Perigee Moons.

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A Super Moon in the city

Best at Moonrise

The best time to enjoy a Super Full Moon is after moonrise. That’s when the Moon is just above the horizon. At this position, a Super Moon will look bigger and brighter than when it’s higher up in the sky because you can compare the apparent size of the Super Moon with elements in the landscape – hills, foliage and buildings. This effect is popularly called the Moon illusion. It’s a beautiful clear night in the city. Get outside. Look up. Can you see the difference?

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