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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in autumn moons

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Peace-of-Mind Serenity Spell

After I graduated from college, I had one of those experiences we all must endure in our twenties: a bad breakup. I was somewhat of a zombie but my best friend was of a more practical bent and was studying Zen Buddhism. She placed a broom in my hand and suggested I “stop thinking about anything but doing the best possible job sweeping the floor.” I took her advice and even swept the sidewalks once I was done with the small cottage we lived in. Sweeping did bring about a stillness inside me, which was a relief after all the turmoil, I was still hurting but simplicity of the chores engendered quietude. I have a few brooms, including symbolic besoms,  and one is always right outside the back door and ready for the simple ritual of sweeping. Grab your broom and say aloud as you get started:

 

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Autumn in Japan: A season of the moon, ancestors, and gods

It is now Autumn in Japan, one of the most important seasons of the year.

There are four big events, starting with Shubun no Hi (Autumn Equinox), Tsukimi (Autumn Full Moon viewing), Kannazuki or Kanarizuki (Month Without or Month with Kami), and then Shuuki Taisai or Shuuki Reitaisai, (Autumn Grand Ceremony).

It is no surprise Autumn is an important time in Shinto and Japanese culture. As with many cultures and spiritualities around the world that are in tune with nature, Autumn is the all-important harvest season. A season to reap the bounties and give gratitude toward nature and the ancestors, deities, and other spirits to survive the cold upcoming Winter. In addition, it is a time of celebration, family, gathering, introspection, and reflection.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Aryós Héngwis
    Aryós Héngwis says #
    I always love you providing these details. Autumn seems to be a special time of the year in many places (I know the Mid-Autumn Fes
  • Courtney
    Courtney says #
    This was lovely and informative. Thank you.
Chinese Harvest Festival: Moons & Mooncakes

I am very fortunate to be marrying into a Chinese family so I have been learning about the traditions. Coming up this week is the official celebration of the Harvest Moon. In China, the full or Harvest Moon in October is celebrated with mooncakes, which are offered to the Goddess Chang-O, the Lady in the Moon. This is the time when wheat and rice are harvested, making it an important time of thanksgiving for food to have on hand through the winter season.

The rice and the wheat are baked into cakes that look like the big round moon up in the sky and are used as offerings, along with melons and pomegranates, to the goddess. The women making the mooncakes put their intentions into them by whispering secret wishes into the batter. The unifying action of blending and mixing the tasty cakes represents family harmony. One sweet aspect of this ritual is the selection of a young girl to enter the “heavenly garden.” At the ritual feast for the goddess of the Harvest Moon, this young lady becomes the prophet of her family and community, and she is urged to share her visions about the coming year and the prosperity of the village or the land. Feasting on mooncakes and other ritual foods is followed by games and singing under the bright light of Chang-O’s moon. Here is a traditional wish for the season

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Turning Point

Autumn started in my neighborhood last Tuesday night in the wee hours.  The clock read 3:23 am when I rolled over to look at it, awakened suddenly by the loud plash of rain hitting my balcony, moments before the downpour started rattling the roof and windows. This was not a Summer rain, chilly but scented with pollen and flowers and smoke. This rain was the child of the snow that was falling on Longs Peak many miles away.  It lasted late into the day, soaking the lawn and swelling my apples, and sneaking into the corners of the house. The following day, sunny and warm, revealed yellow leaves on the cottonwoods.

                The days following have been very hot and dry, this whole week temps are reaching into the low 90s and there are still a few wild fires burning in the high country, driven by high, hot winds and fueled by bone-dry vegetation. It is hard to feel the approaching Autumn, even if the trees are starting to turn.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Autumnal Moons

As early people developed their society and cultures, they named things in their surroundings including the full moon.  Each month the full moon shows prominently in the night sky and would have drawn the attention, as it still does, to the people in these ancient cultures.  As the year winds down from the growing season, the heat of summer starts to cool, the season turns to autumn with the autumnal equinox where day and night are equal - a time of balancing and completing tasks.  For the early peoples, every day would be busy with harvesting their crops in order to ensure survival through the cold winter months.  For the modern pagan, survival is less an issue but autumn can be a time to finish goals.

As the early people looked up, survival and harvest predominantly occupied their minds.  Naturally they named the full moon after things that were occurring in life like harvest, barley, corn, nut and mulberry.[i]  Depending on the latitude these products are all ripening for harvest during September.  The full moon represents bounty; therefore, naming the full moon after one of the bountiful crops symbolized good crops so the community could flourish.  The Chinese named the moon Chrysanthemum partly because the flower blooms during this month but also because this was one of the herbs they used. 

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