Happy Full Harvest Moon!
Summer's relentless heat is finally beginning to ease up on us as the winds of Autumn begin teasing us with her cool breeze.
The weekend's Full Moon marks the beginning of the Harvest Season for many cultures. According to astronomy author Guy Ottewell, the idea of the Harvest Moon originated in Europe, where the Harvest Moon rises 10 to 20 minutes later each night. A helpful occurrence as the days begin to get shorter as we prepare for Autumn. The Harvest Moon arrives to extend the hours of light so harvest can be done. (Source)
We may not use the light of the moon for farming and harvesting to that degree anymore, but the lunar energy can light the way within, helping us discover and cultivate our own desires.
The Autumn season tends to pull us towards an attitude of gratitude, but cultivating and living in gratitude on a daily basis has many benefits.
Gratitude is both a practice and an attitude. Taking just 5 minutes out of a bad day to focus on gratitude can help shift your mood very quickly... but it also has many long term benefits if done on a consistent basis!
Consistent gratitude is shown to boost overall happiness levels, but it's more than just that... On a physical level, gratitude helps strengthen your immune system, improves sleep function and increases energy levels. Socially, you can connect deeper with others, and empathy, understanding and appreciation in relationships increases. Long term practice of gratitude causes one to feel more productive and feel overall stable and more secure. (Source)
Practicing daily gratitude helps create a positive feedback loop in your brain, which then helps create a positive feedback loop to manifest in your outerworld as well. Consistent gratitude helps us algin to our highest potential.
It is important to continue your daily gratitude practice. Change can take time, and consistency is needed when it comes to creating new habits and adopting attitudes. So, daily practice is important! Because of that, we felt more than one ritual for this moon wasn't as helpful as focusing on creating a cycle of gratitude.
Using the Moon's 4 turnings, we have come up with 4 simple but life-changing daily rituals or practices you can do to cultivate gratitude and step into your most abundant self.
Not only does each moon phase hold its own special energy, but Lady Luna is also a helpful reminder for us! The Moon has been used as a calendar for thousands of years thanks to her visible cyclic turnings.
4 ways to cultivate and live in gratitude using the Moon's Energy
1. New Moon
The New Moon energy is always a great time to check in with ourselves and our intentions and the act of keeping a journal is an extremely powerful way to give ourselves that mindful moment. It is important that we are aware if we are steering ourselves in the right direction or not.
Try dedicating a specific journal just for gratitude. While it is important to vent and process our feelings, a special journal just for gratitude could become one of your best friends.
Use the New Moon energy to check in with yourself and your gratitude journal. You could write in your journal during the New Moon/Waning Moon phases as a way to check in with yourself, or you could choose to write in your journal daily, and use the journal to come up with your New Moon intentions. Charge and store your gratitude journal with your crystals or on your altar, or carry it in your purse for when you need a quick mood boost while on the go!
Taking just 5 minutes at the beginning of each day to jot down a list of what makes you feel appreciation and gratitude can radically shift your entire day's direction and help you stay clear minded and positive, while also helping you build new positive thought habits on a long term basis.
2. 1st Quarter
The First Quarter and Waxing Crescent Moon phases hold the energy of the fire realm. Fire is an element that takes both caution and intention when used, making it a powerful element for manifestation and gratitude.
Keep a gratitude candle on your daily altar and light the candle with the intention of gratitude and appreciation. Never allow the candle to go unsupervised by keeping it on your main altar and in a place you can watch it often, remembering it's intention and listing something you are grateful for each time you see it.
During the First Quarter phases, or whenever you are unable to leave the candle at home lit for long periods, sit and meditate with your candle. Staring at a candle flame is a wonderful "anchor" for meditation use. Meditating on gratitude, while watching the calming flame and listening beautiful music or nature sounds can help put you in the attitude of gratitude leaving you feeling positive and energized for the day.
Want to create your own candle? Try out our candle making tutorial for the Honey Moon!
3. Full Moon
Full Moon Blessing Bowl
A Full Moon Blessing Bowl is a beautiful practice you can cultivate from Full Moon to Full Moon! This is also a wonderful ritual to share with your little ones and family to encourage and nurture gratitude and keep the blessings flowing in your home!
You will need to choose a bowl, jar, or basket, to place on your Moon altar (or if you are sharing this with your family, place in a communal area or on your family altar). Label this “Full Moon Blessing Bowl” and feel free to decorate it and make it pretty!
Now that you have your bowl or basket, now it is time to put it to use! In this Full Moon container, you will begin to put notes about anything that you are happy for, proud of, excited for, or something that you are grateful for throughout your day. Do this at the end of each night after you moon gaze and journal. You can even put pictures or items that remind you of something special that day. It could be a ticket to a movie or show, or a feather you found on your walk. Anything that moves you. You can do this activity with your family before bedtime too, or have your little ones create a bowl to keep in their bedroom. Soon your bowl will be filled with gratitude’s and blessings!
To begin the blessings, place a rose quartz stone as your first item in the basket. This stone will represent the love and heart-opening devotion you have committed to yourself. Hold the stone at heart center and say a prayer about what you wish to cultivate through this practice. Kiss the stone and put it in your bowl. Now go charge it under the moonlight!
Do this practice from Full Moon to Full Moon. Each Full Moon place the bowl under the moonlight. You can even transfer your blessings from the last moon cycle into another jar or box. You can go through this box once a year, or once a season, and it will literally feel like a treasure chest! At the end of the year or season, you can burn the notes in your cauldron and the other items you can donate or leave as offerings to the land. This releases the blessings back out into the universe and thus the cycle continues.
Excerpt from Marissa's Lunar Flow E-book http://moondaughter.com/lunar-shop
4. Last Quarter
Service and Embodiment
As mentioned previously, gratitude creates a positive feedback loop in our brains, and then eventually manifests in our physical lives as well. One way to continue this effect in your own life is by spreading it to others.
Gratitude naturally makes us less self-centered. Love is the core emotion behind gratitude, and when you spend a lot of time practicing the attitude of gratitude, you will naturally want to spread it to others. Become someone's reason to feel grateful!
The Last Quarter Moon and Waning Crescent phases are a good time to check in with others and see how we can best support those in our tribe. The Earth element can be felt during this time, and it's important to remember that we are always planting seeds.
Random acts of kindness or small acts of love will not only improve someone else's life, they will help you stay mindful and grateful. It's surprising what a simple "thank you" to someone can do!
There is a lot of truth in the quote "A person who feels appreciated will always do more than expected."
We aren't saying to be grateful for selfish reasons, but that the attitude of gratitude is contagious.
When people feel appreciated, they show up more. In fact that's how a lot of things tend to work. The more you appreciate something, the more it begins to show up in your physical world. This is the beginning of the positive loop that gratitude can create in your life!
What are some of your favorite gratitude rituals and practices? Have you noticed any of the benefits?
Happy Full Moon!
Don't forget to charge your decks and crystals under this Full Moon, and begin creating your blessing bowl!