I honor Greek goddesses during the moon of the harvest. And I specifically focus on the goddesses of primal forces rather than the more mundane characters of Olympus. The Maiden for this moon is Ananke, the Mother is Gaia and the Dark Goddesses are the Furies.
The Waxing Moon
The Greek goddess Ananke is the female component of the universe—the force of bonding and need as opposed to the force of time. She is that which binds us together, the interconnection of life and the bonds of friendship, kin and oath but also the bonds of prison and slavery. Those held by unjust bonds often call out to Ananke for help. (Auset 2009)
This is a time to make commitments, swear oaths and look to needs for difficult times ahead. Wants and whims are not of much importance now with winter bearing down. The issue is what is truly needed as well as bonds of love and duty that hold us.
This waxing moon is a time to seal bonds of friendship and kin, to make agreements for mutual support in the case of need. Ananke’s symbols may be a handshake, a hand and the wine drunk to seal bonds.
The Full Moon
Some may ask why, if I’m focusing on Greek goddesses at the full Harvest Moon, am I not discussing Demeter?
It is true that many look to Demeter at this time of the year. She is the bringer of the harvest, but at this time she is also waning in strength. If the focus was on Demeter it would be a parting thanks but little more. And to me Gaia is more universal in mothering focus, not just as agricultural, but also as biological, inspirational and ecological mother.
Demeter is closely tied to the seasons and agriculture that the focus can too easily fall on material gain as the primary focus of motherhood. Gaia on the other hand is the earth and a focus on Gaia reminds us of her eternal cycle, the give and take and the fact that at this time of thanksgiving we must also give back.
Gaia’s most important mythical act—other than creating and supporting life—was protecting Zeus as an infant and saving her other grandchildren from death in the stomach of the brutal and jealous ancient god Cronus. (Littleton 2005) Her status as earth mother is so basic that she could easily be overlooked for flashier goddesses, if it weren’t for the environmental movement adopting her as a secular symbol. But her energy is a good reminder of the need to give back to the web of life on earth. At this time I would put a homemade, natural-materials goddess figure on the altar with symbols of the local harvest. Later I would take my homemade goddess on a walk to a place of natural beauty and leave the figure as an offering. In the process I would find three pointed stones as a symbol of fertility and carry them in a pocket until the following dark moon. Then the stones should be planted in the garden. Autumn leaf art and Gaia-inspired music are good additions to the this full moon.
The Waning Moon
The Furies are three of the oldest classical goddesses, known as the Erinyes to the Greeks. They are goddesses of justified vengeance and punishment, keeping order in the world against both greed and chaos. (Littleton 2005). Some Neopagan thinkers speculate that the Furies represent that part of feminine power which has never been put under the yoke of patriarchy.
It is still wild and untamed, meeting out an unpredictable and harsh sort of justice. The Furies belong naturally to the moon that celebrates Gaia for they represent what happens to humanity when we take advantage of the earth and neglect to replenish what we take. The Furies are a potent reminder of the need for action to protect the earth and ensure justice and equality in society.
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