September’s Full Harvest Moon and Penumbral Eclipse

There is a lot of talk about whether this month’s full moon is a ‘supermoon’ or not. And, I will be the first to admit that understanding the definitions of what constitutes a ‘supermoon’ can be a bit daunting, if not down right confusing. I will also admit that I am not a total casual observer of the moon, it’s cycles, and the movements within our Universe. I have been a star gazer my entire life, and awed by how little we know yet continue to observe and learn.

While most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what actually is taking place out there in space, what we are sure about is that everything, including our Mother Earth, the other planets and our beautiful Grandmother Moon, orbits our Sun. The distance between Mother Earth and Grandmother Moon is where the term ‘supermoon’ begins. So let me see if I can clarify the simplest ideas behind the supermoon. First, the Moon circles the Earth in an elliptical orbit. When it is closest to the Earth (perigee), its rotation is slower, and when it is furthest from Earth (apogee), its rotation is faster.

Astrologer Richard Nolle originally coined the term ‘supermoon’ as “a new or full moon with the moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.” In a lunar month it takes 29.53059 days for the moon to orbit the earth; the time period between successive full moons. Astronomers may call them perigee full moons (closest to the Earth), or apogee new moons (furthest from Earth). The time period between proxigee full moons (when the moon has reached its apex and is closest to Earth) is 1 year, 1 month and 18 days. Last year’s proxigee full moon occurred on September 28, 2015, making November 14th the next time such an event will occur. In addition, November’s supermoon will be the closest to Earth since January 26, 1948.

So, while you may hear this Harvest Moon is a supermoon, November will present the biggest, brightest and closest full moon in more than 68 years!

Friday, September 16th, also ushers in the fourth and final eclipse of the year; a lunar eclipse. It has been interesting to witness the effects of this month, with its solar eclipse, retrogrades, 9/11 energies and now, the lunar eclipse. As mentioned earlier, the affects of an eclipse is far ranging and begin approximately 2 weeks prior to the event and can last more than 2 weeks after. This penumbral lunar eclipse will not be witnessed by those of us residing in North America, but will be somewhat visible to those in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa. Penumbral simply refers to partial illumination, meaning it is when the Moon moves through the outer edges of the Earth’s shadow. Hence, this will not be a full or partial eclipse.

The original people of Turtle Island (North America), the Native Americans, often referred to this September moon as the Harvest Moon, and it has continued to be known by that name. Sometimes the Harvest Moon falls in October, but this year the 3-days of the Full Harvest Moon are September 15-17th. Back in the early days, it was a time of serious preparation for the coming winter months. The more foods they were able to gather, the better the long, cold months of winter would pass. No one could predict how harsh the winter months would be, if they would be able to catch fish or hunt more game before the thaws of spring. So while this was a time of feasting and celebration, it was also a time of preparation and preservation; of looking forward and preparing for what was yet to come.

This Harvest Moon affords us many opportunities to …

  • begin reaping some of the fruits of our labors, whether in our vegetable garden or our garden of life;
  • show gratitude for all that we have or have had;
  • survey the landscape of our life, where we are still building, need to build, or need to tear down;
  • inspect how we are feeling emotionally, mentally and spiritually;
  • gather the resources needed to heal or mend what feels broken or requiring repair;
  • rethink what may not be reflecting your truth, your intentions, or your dreams; and,
  • retooling a more appropriate approach to living and embracing your life of truth, harmony, peace and service.

My wish for you this harvest season is this…

  • That you are able to reap all that you have sown,
  • and in its presentation, you are able to rejoice and celebrate your bounty;
  • That you uncover the courage and strength to move through your life’s journey,
  • making the choices and changes that best lead you to your fullest potential;
  • And that you have few, if any, regrets,
  • But instead have planted a variety of seeds that will grow and nourish the souls of the next 7 generations.


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