WILD FACT: This month's Full Moon name is determined by when the equinox occurs (around September 22). Most years the Harvest Moon is in September, but around every three years, it is in October (as it was in 2017). This year (2018) the Harvest Moon returns to September again.
Moon Lesson • The Grand Harvest
As mentioned, the September Full Moon is most often the Harvest Moon. It's also consistently known as the Full Corn Moon as well. Under either name, this is the time you honor the harvest of your own Spirit...the fruit of your journey work.
There is an old Buddhist practice on how best to deliver a lesson. You begin by sharing the second most important but highly enriching bit of information first. Then you tell a story. And finally you offer the most important information last. And that is how this journey was written. So listen up.
Rather than offering you a Spirit Animal Guide or providing a specific Archetype for you to consider, I’m going to tell you a story. The story of The Three Sisters. Almost every Native American tribe has a version of the legend of Three Sisters. Many include a young boy who spent time in a field where the three young sisters were growing up. In these legends, each sister (first the bean, then the squash, then the corn) disappears; apparently to visit the boy's home to learn of his ways. This, to me, is a story of the proper order to harvest the three sisters. But my preferred legend is this:
Long ago in a small tribe, there lived three beautiful, but very different sisters. They fought about everything because they could only see their differences and perceived shortcomings. Their mother, a woman of medicine who could no longer bear the fighting among her three daughters, asked the Creator to help her find a way to help her daughters value and respect their inherent beauty and that same beauty in each other. That night she had a dream, and in it each sister was a different seed. One was bean — much like her youngest daughter, very small, always clinging to her sister and otherwise low to the grown. One was squash — much like her middle daughter, always wandering here and there with a prickly mood. And the last was corn, which would grow to be much like her eldest, tall, thin, and easily bent out of shape. But each one beautiful and strong in their own way.
In her dream, the woman of medicine planted these "sister seeds" together in one mound, the way they would have lived at home. She told the seeds in order to grow and thrive they needed to be different. She told them they needed to cherish those differences and learn to rely on each other as a deep rooted source of strength. She finally told them they needed to recognize that each was special and each had great things to offer individually as well as collectively.
The next morning while cooking breakfast, she cooked each daughter an egg. Each egg was different: one hard-boiled, one scrambled, and one over-easy. She handed her daughters the eggs and said to them, “You are like these eggs. Each is still an egg but with different textures and flavors." Then she told them of her dream and said, "you are like the seeds. Each with the inherent ability to enhance the world around you beyond your current thinking if only you trust one another, lean on one another, and support one another. Each of you has a special place in the world and in my heart.” The daughters started to cry and hugged each other. Now they understood. The Three Sisters chose to forever celebrate their differences and aim to nourish and support one another more because of those differences. From the moment these three sisters came together, Native people have planted the three crops together—Three Sisters helping and loving each other.
When Native people speak of the “Three Sisters,” they are referring to the plants which were gifted from the Great Creator — beans, squash, and corn. Known as the “sustainers of life,” these are the basic foods of sustenance are always meant to be grown together, eaten together, and celebrated together. As in the legend, each of the sisters contributes something to the planting. Together, the sisters provide a balanced resource of unending nourishment.
- As older sisters often do, the corn offers the beans needed support.
- The beans, the giving sister, pull nitrogen from the air and bring it to the soil for the benefit of all three.
- As the beans grow through the tangle of squash vines and wind their way up the cornstalks into the sunlight, they hold the sisters close together and provide stability.
- The large leaves of the sprawling squash protect the threesome by creating living mulch that shades the soil, keeping it cool and moist and preventing weeds.
- The prickly squash leaves also keep away predators at bay.
Together, the three sisters provide both sustainable soil fertility as well as nourishment for the tribe. Perfection!
Random side note: many historians and gardeners alike will say that there is a fourth sister...the pollinator. Often sunflower or bee balm was found near these mounds of three. But never traditionally within the mound itself. But I do fancy the idea of a fourth stabilizing element.
Last month, I mentioned that Pratyahara is thought of as a bridge among the Eight Limbs of Yoga according to Patajali. I mentioned that Pratyahara links our externally focused limbs of asana, pranayama, yamas, and niyamas to our internally focused limbs. This month, I'm introducing Sanyam (also seen as samyama). Sanyam refers to the last three limbs of yoga as a collective — dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (enlightenment) — and it means 'control'. Patanjali suggests that the last three limbs should be considered together, as they are progressive stages of concentration.
I'll explain each aspect of sanyam beginning with dharana. Dharana means 'concentration' and is the practice of binding your attention to a single focus whether it be a chakra, a mantra, or fixing your gaze on a single external object. Concentrating on a single point of focus trains the mind to remain calm and increases mental strength. This practice can and will lead to dhyana. Dhyana is the state in which total concentration is achieved. Dhyana is a Sanskrit word meaning 'meditation.' It is derived from the root words, dhi, meaning 'receptacle' or 'the mind'; and yana, meaning 'moving' or 'going.' In Hindu traditions derived from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, dhyana is a refined meditative practice that requires deep mental concentration. This eventually leads to the eighth limb, samadhi, which is the deepest stage of concentration. Samadhi is derived from the Sanskrit word, sama, meaning 'together,' and dhi, meaning 'mind.' Its most basic definition implies a complete state of concentration. For a practitioner of yoga and meditation, the spiritual significance of samadhi is much more profound. Simply stated, samadhi is the mind's ultimate state of being; it is enlightenment and the preliminary state leading to nirvana. I often consider samadhi to be 'pure absorption' or 'union with the divine' or 'yoga bliss'.
These three are collectively referred to as sanyam...but the journey through and within them is referred to as antaratma sadhana, or the 'innermost quest.' A quest that takes you within for the information you require to blossom on this earthly plane (that earthen mound).
So, you see, the end is merely a gateway to a new beginning — your innermost quest. The cycle is not simply a circle, it's a spiral that continues to lift you up to your highest and best.
In the spirit of unending spirals, I'd like you to consider how the Three Sisters and the Sanyam correlate to the Pillars of Wellness that we discussed during our Journey Prep at the beginning of your journey. Those of you who print your journey to read it, pull those pages back out to re-read as a refresher. The Pillars of Wellness are mind, body, spirit, and nature. Each needs the other for balance and growth.
For several moons, you have been looking at and learning to accept the major archetypes of your Feminine Divine. Some archetypes you've just discovered for the first time. Some you've been avoiding. Some you still aren't certain you even "like". And others you've begun healing. Each aspect within you is different — some spicy, some bland, some hard, some soft, some parts are fierce while others are docile, and some parts are clever while others are wild — and each needs the other for balance and growth of your Whole Self.
There is no part of you that isn't worthy. There is no part of you that isn't good enough. There is no part of you that isn't strong enough, kind enough, passionate enough, fierce enough or wise enough. You are an entangled, but delicately and purposefully woven daughter of the Divine. And each moment you embrace this truth of your Whole Self is another moment of sweetness and love that radiates from you out into the world around you. For a Divine Beauty such as yourself, your pillars and practice aren't optional, they are the launchpad of each and every moment of your life going forward.
Remember to USE these tools and lessons to quiet and nourish your mind, to fortify and strengthen your body, to engage and embolden your spirit and plant yourself just as you are into the wild and wonderful world that is your life.
So with that, I will open the door to your next chapter of journey work and healing (where ever it may lead) with this...
1.1 Atha yoga anushasanam
The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, the source of these Eight Limbs of Yoga, begins with a thread, a simply invitation, if you will...
Now the practice of Yoga begins
Is there room for fear, doubt, or negative self talk on your journey forward? Not sure? How about this...are you willing to pay for that extra baggage on your next trip?
Have you discovered there is time, space, and breathing room for you to continue to nurture your highest self? Do you recognize that you're worthy of taking it?
Are you willing to keep picking up the tools you need to continue to do good on behalf of yourself? Whether on your own or with a Guide?
5 min Journey Practice
The Three Sisters as a Yogic practice
Search for and find an image of Three Sisters that resonates with you. Allow this image to reflect the twisting and weaving of this Journey, the beauty of the work you've done, the support you've received, the support your words and presence here have offered, and, most importantly, let it remind you of the women you've met on this journey, your Sisters. Let it remind you that you can stand vibrantly on your own, but you can also care for yourself by leaning into the support around you...leaning into this tribe of Sisters of the Thirteen Moons that you're forever a part of.
Print this image. Hang it in your kitchen and allow this little image to become an easy resting spot for your eyes (dharana) when you need it most.
If you'd like, post your image in our private Facebook group to share with each other. An opportunity to make a collage should never be ignored =)
The Warriors help us step into our lives with a fierce grace and confidence. The are a blend of our strength and surrender on many levels.
Return to the magic number three. The beginning, the middle, and the end which opens to the beginning. Stoking your spiral of energy.
Reconnect to your inherent wisdom. Reconnect to your quiet center. The knowledge is within...always.