The Three Faces of Harvest


The Three Faces of Harvest

Fall Equinox is upon us, and if you’re an energy worker or magical practitioner you likely feel a quickening of your pulse around this time. The harvest was important to our ancestors who lived in agricultural economies where the years’ crops were literally a matter of life and death; if it was a good year, with plentiful crops, families celebrated and prepared for the end of the growth season. If it wasn’t a good year and many crops were lost, this was a time of accounting and planning. Either way, much hinged on this very moment for our ancestors. Somewhere in our energetic imprint, we remember how critical this time was. We honor it today as a way of honoring our own lineage.

Growth cycles are in our blood. My own farming lineage is only one generation old. My grandfather had a vineyard on Crete, which was destroyed during the war when my father was very young. But for the years he can remember, my father has fond memories of grape harvests and both the process of cultivating wine, which my grandparents were very passionate about, and the side-products they yielded, including a divine grape candy made of the sticky syrup of the over-ripened grapes left on the vine too long.

Today, while my life doesn’t hinge on one particular crop, my livelihood is still intimately connected to the Great Wheel of Time. My crops are the energies and the offerings of each season. Each season has correspondences and connections to magic, including goddesses from each sacred pantheon who embody the magic of the time of the year. Fall is separated into three distinct harvests – First Harvest or Lammas, which honors the first crops of the year and the most tender of the crops, including wheat. Lammas is also the honoring of crops that did not survive the growing season. Then Mabon, Second Harvest, is the primary or central harvest of the season, and falls on the official date of the Fall Equinox. This year Mabon is on September 23, and honors the bulk of the crops of the year. Mabon is also a time of great accounting and reckoning – what went well for you during the growth season and where could you have sown, planted, tended, or gathered your crops more successfully? The Final Harvest comes at Samhain on October 31, and is a gathering of any remaining crops as well as a clearing of the dead crops, fruits left withering and ripening on the vine. After Samhain, the wind blows clean across the fields, and nothing remains of the cycles of the year. It is the final release of all that was meant to be birthed this year. When Samhain passes, the Earth turns barren as Hecate stirs her great cauldron; transformation, and release are her gifts to you. Hecate ushers in the first days of the winter season and then darkness comes, taking over most of our days and reminding us that always there must be a balance between day and night, shadow and light. She is the guardian of that balance, the veil between what is and what was and what will be.

I created a set of ritual tools to honor the triple guardians of this harvest season that you can use to create an altar space, which can be used throughout the fall season and even into early winter as a place for you to reflect, renew and release what is no longer growing within you or around you. May the harvest and the goddess guardians bless you in all ways. So it is.