Cast a magical Harvest Moon circle

The Harvest Moon is here! Some believe this Harvest Moon — the closest full moon to the autumnal equinox — has special significance this year because it takes place on Friday the 13th. There are 13 full moons in a year and Friday is associated with the goddess, Venus. The moon is also associated with the Moon Goddess in Asian cultures and some religions, and is in Pisces, so that is a lot of feminine energy to be harnessed!

A Harvest Circle

Harvest rituals expressing thankfulness and celebrating abundance have been performed by numerous cultures for thousands of years. Today, many people are interested in things like circle casting and crystal energy. To celebrate the season, I have adapted and created this Harvest Moon Circle. I drew from several sources on circle casting online and added my own Harvest theme twists. You can make it your own however you like.

The Mindfulness of Casting

In many ways, carefully constructing, casting and deconstructing a circle is a mindfulness activity. Meditation, affirmations, prayer, gratitude, acceptance and creativity are all positive elements that can come into play. In some ways, it may even be considered a form of self care! I intend to use mine to meditate, harvest and send out positive energy, and to give thanks. Hopefully, you will find this activity relaxing and centering, but if you don’t, it’s just not for you, and that’s okay.

Constructing a circle

Casting a circle means creating a space for magic that incorporates four elements: Air, Fire, Water and Earth. You can also make it about prayer and/or meditation, because there are no hard and fast rules. Because it is almost fall, I selected items and crystals that are associated with these elements, and also the beautiful colors of fall. Many of these items can be found around the house, and the crystals can be purchased for a dollar or so from crystal shops and nature centers.

You can cast a circle indoors or outdoors, but I think this one is best conducted outdoors. You will not need much room to work in — maybe 5 or 6 feet. I made mine on my patio! To create your circle, you place items representing the elements at the four points of the compass, making a circle (kind of like a clock – 12, 3, 6, 9). To determine position, you may need a compass or an compass app on your smartphone. Google Maps sometimes works to orient your location, as well.

Start with the East (imagine this like a 12 on a clock) and put your Air element items on the ground there. You can choose a feather (you know, like flight) or a paper fan (because it creates a breeze). Another way to represent air is by using a lit incense stick. I used a cinnamon one. I like how you can kind of “see” the air as the fragrant smoke waves around. Crystals of fall hues associated with the element of Air include citrine, smoky topaz and rock crystal.

Next, go to your South point (imagine this like 3 on the clock). Put your Fire element items here. Easy to remember, right? South = hot. Of course, a lit candle goes here. Green is associated with Venus and with harvests, but if you don’t have a green candle, you could use the traditional fire element colors of red, yellow or gold — or even a pumpkin scented candle! I put a beautiful red carnelian crystal on this spot.

Next turn to the Western point of your circle (imagine this like the 6 on a clock face). This is for the element of water. This is meaningful because the moon tonight is in Pisces, a water sign, and of course, the moon affects the tides.  So easy — a little glass or bowl of water. A seashell is a nice touch. The crystal I select for this point is moonstone. You could also use aquamarine, pearl or the water-loving gem, opal.

Lastly, you will set your Northern point in the circle (the 9 spot on the clock). North is associated with the element of Earth. Here, a crystal can do double duty, since rocks and crystals represent the earth. I suggest black tourmaline, which is grounding and protective, tiger eye, and/or  golden pyrite. Then add, whatever you have: some flowers, an apple, some oats or a pinecone. You can also use a dish of salt, or herbs, leaves or acorns. Earth elements that suggest fall: an ear of corn or a small pumpkin.

Near the center, I like to place an offering. Something to please my ancestors – something to drink and something to eat. Of course, you will have to eat and drink it for them, but the idea is they appreciate the gesture 🙂 To drink, I’m choosing a glass of apple juice. You can choose a pumpkin spice latte, if you want!  To eat, I’m choosing bread, because bread has been put on altars as an offering at harvest time for thousands of years. An Asian moon cake would also be traditional and timely!

Since it was really quite dark, I added more candles so I could see what I was doing! I placed a salt grinder, the candle lighter, my selenite stick and the offering near the middle.

Lastly, when I stepped into the center of circle, I tossed salt around the periphery. It is said to cleanse and protect. Some people put salt around the house or in corners to fend off negative people and energies. I also dash a bit on my offering of bread. Bread and salt have been used in many cultures to convey welcome, gratitude and trust.

Casting the Circle

Protego totalum

So, now your circle is constructed and you are standing in the middle of it, but it is not yet cast. Casting the circle involves calling on benevolent beings or energies to engage and protect you while you are in this magical or spiritual space.

Remember when Hermione created that big protective sphere around the camp site in the last Harry Potter movie? She turned and turned? Imagine doing something like that. You are not really creating a circle so much as this lovely sphere around you, like a safe bubble of positive energy that keeps negative energy out. Or, you know, Death Eaters 🙂

She used a wand but if a wand hasn’t chosen you yet 🙂 you can raise your arms, a branch of fall leaves, a selenite wand, or whatever makes you feel magical.

To begin casting, stand in the center of your circle, facing east. Breathe deeply and embrace the moment. Listen to the sounds of nature all around you. Inhale the aroma of the incense or candles. Feel the cool air on your skin. Sense your most loving, healthy and positive energy inside of you and emanating from you.

Begin at East (Air). Imagine what air means to you — an autumn breeze shaking loose crimson and gold leaves, for example. Say something like: “Spirits of Air, I call on you.”

Next, turn to the South (Fire). You will actually have a flame to look at but you could also picture a crackling fireplace. Say: “Spirits of Fire, I call on you.”

Next, turn to the West (Water). Envision a lake, ringed with bright maples reflected in the water. Or would you rather see the ocean? Say: “Spirits of Water, I call on you.”

Next, turn to the North (Earth). Visualize fields of ripening crops of corn and pumpkins, or trees heavy with ripe apples, or vines of juicy grapes. Conjure up the smells and sounds of walking through crunchy, dry leaves in the woods; the chattering of squirrels and songs of birds. Say: “Spirits of the Earth, I call you.”

Now remain in place at the North because you are also going to call on the Earth and Sky or your divine creator (or both), as you choose.

Feel your feet firmly planted, benevolent energy coming from the ground. Say: “Mother Earth, I call on you for your blessings and protection.”

Next, visualize blessings or energy coming from above. Say: “Father Sky, I call on you on for your blessings and protection.”

Alternatively, you can call on the deity of your choice, or say something like: “Spirit of the Universe, watch over this circle and fill it with peace and love.” Again, make this your own so it is meaningful for you.

Now imagine you are in that beautiful sphere of positive energy, gratitude and wonder. You are loved and protected and part of nature. You may now choose to say: “Thank you. The circle is cast.”

Inside the Circle

What you do inside of this circle is up to you. You can perform magic, pray or meditate. Perhaps you will think about how fall is an opportunity to let go of what no longer serves you to make room for new growth.

I will take some time to reflect on the season of harvest and the concept of abundance, and the gratitude I feel.

Finally, I will honor my ancestors for leading the way for me. I will drink the offering of apple juice and eat the bread.

Finishing and Clearing Up

After you have finished your contemplation, invocation, prayer, meditation or other work, it is time to open the circle back up — basically, to undo it. To do this, you essentially work backwards. But some people do this differently and never go in a counter-clockwise direction. It’s up to you.

Stand and face the West (water) and say, “Spirits of Water, I thank you.” (Or whatever feels right in the moment. I empty the water.

Then, turn to the South (Fire) and say, “Spirits of Fire, I thank you.” I then extinguish the flame.

Next turn to the East (Air) and say, “Spirits of Air, I thank you.” I extinguish my incense.

Finally, turn to the North (Earth) and say, “Spirits of the Earth, I thank you.” I toss a bit of the grain away in the grass.

If you have invoked Mother Earth, Father Sky and/or other spirits, angels, or deities, you would now thank them.

To finish, you can say something positive, like “Go in peace and love” or “Goodbye and farewell” or “I walk in light and love” or whatever feels right. There are many suggestions online.

Collect your items, sweep away the salt, and perhaps leave the crystals outside in the full moon overnight to recharge their energies.

Consider following this ritual by gazing at the full moon in happy contemplation or taking a warm bath with scented epsom salts.

If you try this, I would love to hear about it! It sounds complex, but I think you will find it is rather fun and easy!

Disclaimer. This ritual is combined from several sources, as well as my own spin on the harvest moon theme. I mean no offense or disrespect to Wicca, Paganism or any other religion. I am a Christian, and my personal belief is you can employ creative rituals without compromising religious beliefs and connections as long as they are done in love and not to effect an outcome in other people or events, just as with prayer or affirmations. Some Christians disagree and I intend no disrespect or offense to them. This post and the activity are for entertainment purposes only.

About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a mom, teacher, and blogger. Her blogs include Autumn in Virginia, Cool Yule Blog and You Can't Make This Stuff Up, among others. She is also the creator of "Living Well With Autism," an online resource for caregivers of children, teens, and adults with autism and related special needs.
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