September Almanac

Super Full Moon captured in a golden color between a cloudy sky

Super Full Moon captured in a golden color between a cloudy sky

The full Harvest Moon — also called the Singing Moon — will rise at approximately 7:30 p.m. on Friday, September 16. Owing to its close proximity to the horizon, the moon will appear vast and orange-colored. Don’t be surprised if you get the sudden urge to dance beneath it. close-up three violet asters, isolated on white

Asters (also called Italian starwort or Michaelmas Daisy) are the birth flower of September, their daisy-like blooms a talisman of love and symbol of patience. The ancient Greeks burned aster leaves to ward off evil spirits, and the plant was sacred to both Roman and Greek deities. Those familiar with the hidden language of flowers will tell you that a gift of asters reads:

Take care of yourself for me, Love.

close-up three violet asters, isolated on white

close-up three violet asters, isolated on white

“The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year — the days when summer is changing into autumn — the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.”

E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

Plant your garlic now until the first hard freeze — the earlier the better, as large root systems are key. Although it won’t be ready for harvest until next June, growing your own garlic means you’ll be well equipped for cold (and collard) season next fall. Aside from boosting your immune system and enhancing your sautéed greens, garlic, researchers believe, can reduce the risk of various cancers. Roast a head until tender and add it to your rosemary mashed potatoes and squash casseroles.

A garlic isolated on white background, watercolor illustration

A garlic isolated on white background, watercolor illustration

This month, with the sun entering Libra (the Scales) on the autumnal equinox, we look to Nature and our gardens to remind us of our own need for balance and harmony. On Thursday, September 22, day and night will exist for approximately the same length of time. Mid-morning, when the astrological start of autumn occurs, take a quiet moment for introspection. In the fall, just as kaleidoscopes of monarchs descend for nectar before their mystical pilgrimage to Mexico, we must prepare to journey inward. Breathe in the beauty of this dreamy twilight — this sacred space between abundance and decay. The duality of darkness and light is essential to all of life.

Tolkien fans have double the reason to celebrate the equinox. In 1978, the American Tolkien Society proclaimed the calendar week containing September 22 as Tolkien Week. In J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy novels, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, hobbits Bilbo and Frodo Baggins were both said to be born on September 22; Bilbo in the year of 2890, Frodo in 2968 (refer to the Shire calendar of Tolkien’s fictional Middle-earth).

This year, since Hobbit Day officially falls on the first day of autumn, consider hosting a grand birthday feast — call it Second Breakfast if you’d like — with a menu showcasing the bounty of the season. Decorate with ornamental corn, squash and gourds. Since no hobbit meal is complete without ale, mead or wine, you’ll want to have plenty. Punctuate the evening with fresh-baked apple pie. 

Alternatively, you might celebrate Hobbit Day by walking barefoot on the earth, a simple meditation practice with remarkable health benefits. If you’ve never heard of barefoot healing, check out Clinton Ober’s Earthing (2010) or Warren Grossman’s To Be Healed by the Earth (1999). Think about it: If the average hobbit lives about 100 years, they must be doing something right.  OH

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