Please note: I first published this page in 2007.
The 2013 Harvest Moon Festival will be September 19!
(Thank you for the reminder, Khouzhan Lucy!)
It's a great time to combine this ancient ritual with your own love ritual - such as doing one of the rituals to Erzulie Freda! You could certainly do her special ritual pack that we usually do on Valentine's Day - that pack is available all year round - or any other ritual you like!
Harvest Moon Festival Calendar
September 19, 2013
Hello everyone! Are any of you familiar with the Chinese Harvest Moon Festival? I have always been fascinated by this festival, and especially the "love spell" characteristics that some people attribute to it.
The festival will be celebrated on September 19, 2013. There is a great Chinese legend (printed below for you) that is honored during the the Harvest Moon phase every year. It is also thought that single women can find their "soulmate" by eating Chinese Moon Cakes (recipe below), honoring the moon and its light, and asking for their love to be brought to them! One woman's account is reprinted below, also, for you.
Of course, as a Vodouisant, I always want to bring some Vodou into the mix when doing any ritual. I could certainly see doing Erzulie's Pink Bath or some Pink Image Candles on the night of the harvest moon, then eating the moon cakes while enjoying the harvest moon and petitioning for your lover to come to you! It would also be a great day to be starting, ending, or be in the middle of any love spell work!
At any rate, it is a great tradition and I wanted to share it with you all in case you wanted to work some magick on that special day. Oh and please notice when you get to the lady's account of her experience with the Chinese Harvest Moon Festival, she was determined to change the "fate" she was given in a reading! Read on and enjoy!
THE CHINESE LEGEND
I. The Lady - Chang ErThe time of this story is around 2170 B.C. The earth once had ten suns circling over it, each took its turn to illuminate to the earth. But one day all ten suns appeared together, scorching the earth with their heat. The earth was saved by a strong and tyrannical archer Hou Yi. He succeeded in shooting down nine of the suns. One day, Hou Yi stole the elixir of life from a goddess. However his beautiful wife Chang Er drank the elixir of life in order to save the people from her husband's tyrannical rule. After drinking it, she found herself floating and flew to the moon. Hou Yi loved his divinely beautiful wife so much, he didn't shoot down the moon.````````````````````````````````
II. The Man - Wu Kang
Wu Kang was a shiftless fellow who changed apprenticeships all the time. One day he decided that he wanted to be an immortal. Wu Kang then went to live in the mountains where he importuned an immortal to teach him. First the immortal taught him about the herbs used to cure sickness, but after three days his characteristic restlessness returned and he asked the immortal to teach him something else. So the immortal to teach him chess, but after a short while Wu Kang's enthusiasm again waned. Then Wu Kang was given the books of immortality to study. Of course, Wu Kang became bored within a few days, and asked if they could travel to some new and exciting place. Angered with Wu Kang's impatience, the master banished Wu Kang to the Moon Palace telling him that he must cut down a huge cassia tree before he could return to earth. Though Wu Kang chopped day and night, the magical tree restored itself with each blow, and thus he is up there chopping still.
III. The Hare - Jade Rabbit
In this legend, three fairy sages transformed themselves into pitiful old men and begged for something to eat from a fox, a monkey and a rabbit. The fox and the monkey both had food to give to the old men, but the rabbit, empty-handed, offered his own flesh instead, jumping into a blazing fire to cook himself. The sages were so touched by the rabbit's sacrifice that they let him live in the Moon Palace where he became the "Jade Rabbit."
IV. The Cake - Moon Cake
During the Yuan dynasty (A.D.1280-1368) China was ruled by the Mongolian people. Leaders from the preceding Sung dynasty (A.D.960-1280) were unhappy at submitting to foreign rule, and set how to coordinate the rebellion without it being discovered. The leaders of the rebellion, knowing that the Moon Festival was drawing near, ordered the making of special cakes. Backed into each moon cake was a message with the outline of the attack. On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attacked and overthrew the government. What followed was the establishment of the Ming dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644). Today, moon cakes
A Recipe for Easy Chinese Moon Cakes
Moon cakes that come from China are far fancier than this recipe will make, often with impressions of chinese letters on them as in the picture below, but you can make your own and not worry so much about how they look, but WHY you are making them. There are also places that you can order them to be delivered to you if you want more "authentic looking" ones. But really, making them, especially for magickal purposes, would be wonderful and would imbue them with your intentions!
A former Chinese resident says, "Moon cakes are also eaten at the Moon Festival which falls in September. I lived in mainland China for two years and enjoyed the many varieties of moon cakes (not just filled with red bean paste - some had hard-boiled eggs in them, some a mixture of fruit and nuts, some lotus paste, etc.)."
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup salted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup strawberry (or your favorite) jam (traditionally red bean paste is used so if you want a more authentic version, you can use a can of red bean paste easily found in Oriental food markets, instead of the jam). Also making the cookies with just the imprint and putting a half of a boiled egg in them is a traditional way to do this with the egg being a representation of the moon, life, etc.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Combine the butter, sugar and 1 egg yolk and stir. Mix in the flour. Form the dough into one large ball and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough for half an hour. Unwrap the chilled dough and form small balls in the palms of your hand. Make a hole with your thumb in the center of each mooncake and fill with about half a teaspoon of jam. Brush each cake with the other beaten egg yolk and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes or just until the outside edges are slightly brown.
One Woman's Account of her Chinese Harvest Moon Festival Experience
"My story is one of Intention and the belief that you can change your life!!! On my 47th birthday I received an Ayurvedic Astrology reading of my life Past, Present and Future as a gift. I anxiously read the reading. As I read my past, it was exact, it said when my dad died, it told of the major influence he was in my life, and it spoke of my success and the life changes I had gone through. Do to its accuracy, and me still being a single woman, I quickly scanned forward to see what would happen in my love life. I read with great anticipation, until to my dismay, it stated that I would never marry. I thought that this could not be true. Because the reading came with three follow up questions, I quickly emailed the Himalayan Mountains to ask:
What do you mean I am not getting married?
If there were a chance for me to get married when would it be?
Where would I meet him?
Several days later I received my response. The Indian Seer said that first, Should I never marry I should consider myself the LUCKY one for I will only have one disappointment in my life and that would be that I never marry. Everyone else would have several disappointments and then the destined separation due to death or divorce. He went on to say that there would be a small window of opportunity for marriage from September 28th, 2004 to May 31st 2005. He said that I would meet him in the South West.
After receiving this I was hopeful but confused. It was August 17th, 2004 and September 28th was very soon, I did not want to miss the window of opportunity. Southwest, did they mean SouthWest of where I am (Scottsdale AZ) or southwest of were I was born (Commack, NY). Am I in the Southwest? Or do I need to head to San Diego or Hawaii?
While I was researching vacation plans, I received an email from a fung shui web site. This email told the tale of the Chinese Harvest Moon Festival. It explained that the Harvest Moon Festival for that year (2004) would be on September 28th. It further went on to explain that The Chinese belief is that the man in the moon Yue-lao also known as the “Marriage Maker” would tie an invisible red string from your ankle to the ankle of your betrothed and that no matter where in the world you were you would find each other if you do 3 things on the night of the Chinese Harvest Moon. You needed to drink green tea, eat Chinese moon cakes and listen to music and put out the intentions you have for your mate. It seemed like a coincidence that the date of September 28th showed up twice, it was the date of the festival and it was the date of the start of my window of opportunity. So, I decided I was going to celebrate the Harvest Moon Festival. I began by researching Moon Cakes and where I would buy them. When I looked them up they looked disgusting, a Sweet paste with hard boiled egg yolks inside. I thought it looked nasty, but I wanted to find the right man, my soul mate. I found a place in China town in NYC that would overnight them fresh to me. I then solidified my intention for what I wanted in a man: My intention was for a Wonderful, loving, caring, giving, affectionate, faithful, romantic supportive husband. This became my mantra.
Determined to Change my future I realized that I needed to commit and follow through with my Harvest Moon Festival celebration to attract the right man for me. I believed that to do this, one must share their intentions with others, this makes you commit to the follow through. So, the next day I went to work and was sharing the story of Yue-lao with every single woman I could find and tell them about the importance of that day.
As I shared with Laurie a woman who worked for me, a tall Asian man named Shan who worked down in accounting walked past the counter. I had seen him past the desk on many occasions, but we never really spoke more then, Hi, Goodbye and you’re leaving already. I decided to ask him if he had ever had a moon cake. He asked why I wanted to know and I told him the legend of Yue-lao, and explained that I was going to follow the tradition, but that moon cakes looked disgusting. He told me that he loves moon cakes. That night as I ordered my moon cakes, I decided that I would order a container for Shan as well. After the Moon cakes arrived, I saw Shan and let him know that I had something for him. I gave him the moon cakes and as the harvest moon festival approached, I prepared myself to drink the tea, listen to music, eat my moon cakes and put out the intention for the man I was to marry. I did everything I should on the night of the Moon Festival, however, I was so disappointed because it was very overcast in phoenix that night and I could not see the moon. After going outside and drinking the tea and eating my moon pie I came back into my bedroom to listen to music and put out my intention. As I disappointingly walked back into the room, I looked at the picture above my bed only to realize that the Moon was in my room the whole time, above my bed is a large picture with Chinese writing and a woman sitting on the moon. I sat backed looked at the picture and put out my intentions
The day after the moon festival, Shan gave me an envelope with a Thank You card and three other envelopes in it. Each envelope was typed with a “Do Not Open Until” and a date on it. One was do not open until October1st, the next was Do Not Open till November 1st and the third, Do not open until Dec 1st. Being somewhat superstitious, I waited till the first of each month to open each envelope. On October 1st I opened the first one. In it was a poem from Shan that basically said I know we will be good friends and a gift certificate for a one pound box of chocolates. From October thru November, Shan and I continued with our Hi and Good Bye routine. During that month an intuit, who worked for me, told me that I would meet the man for me and that he was a cross between Pierce Brosnon and Yanni. He described him as Spanish Irish with green eyes.
November 1st came and I opened the next envelope, this time there was another poem which basically said that he knew we would make a difference in each others life, and another gift certificate for a one pound box of chocolates. I thanked him again, and the next few weeks continued with hi and Good bye until November 18th, when Shan asked me what I did on my day off. When I told him I went out for sushi with two people we worked with to celebrate their birthdays, he said “I like Sushi, maybe we could go out some night for sushi, because going out for sushi is not something you should do by yourself”. I said sure and we set the Tuesday before Thanksgiving as the day to go out.
We went to dinner, and talked about work. I didn’t consider it a date I just thought of it as 2 co workers going out for dinner. After dinner, Shan walked me to the car and asked if I would like to go to a movie on Thanksgiving. I declined because I had a lot of company coming over for thanksgiving dinner. He looked so sad and had puppy dog eyes, so I added that I could do it on Friday if he wanted. He agreed and on Friday we went to the movies. After the movies, we went for coffee; Shan expressed his interest in me. I told him that he was a really nice guy, but that he wasn’t the man for me. I explained that this intuit had told me I would meet a man, but that he was Spanish Irish a cross between Yanni and Pierce Brosnon and had green eyes, and lets face it that isn’t you I went on to say your Chinese and have brown eyes. Ever the optimist, Shan said I think my great grandmother was Irish, and “I am the right man for you, you just do not know it yet”. He proceeded to tell me that he would continue to come after me until I gave him a firm NO. The next day Shan proceeded to send me love poems with pictures and music daily.
December 1st came and I opened the last card. Again there was a certificate for a one pound box of chocolates and a poem. The essence of this poem was that I was the woman for him. By the middle of December I had gone to Shan’s house. As I went to ring the doorbell, I saw 3 butterflies over the doorbell. Butterflies are my icon, I always say that the butterfly will lead me to where I need to be. I knew that night that Shan was the man for me. By the end of December we were discussing marriage, we got engaged on February 14th 2005 and we Wed in Maui on May 27th 2005. Right before the May 31st deadline.
When I was younger (up until 47) I said I wouldn’t get married unless I received at least a 5 cart diamond ring, then I learned that according to Vedic astrology diamonds were not good for me energetically. When I got engaged, there were no stones just a gold band and I have never taken it off. I value it with all my heart.
Shan is the man of my intentions. He is loving, caring giving affectionate faithful, romantic, supportive and my husband. In May it will be two years and I have the best man in the world who sends me love notes daily. He has brought back my trust, the little girl in me and has opened up a whole new balanced world for me. After we married, I told Shan what I asked God for in a man and how he fulfilled my dreams. Shan told me that he also asked God for the woman he desired. When I asked him what he asked for he said a woman with a good heart that was all.
He is Younger, Asian, Christian, Coworker and not wealthy, everything I thought I wasn’t looking for, Everything I avoided and Yet he is the PERFECT man for me. Like he said “I was looking for him and I just I did not know it”
So Woman and men, Open your hearts, love yourself, unload the baggage and be open to the infinite possibilities of Love
PS This year the Harvest Moon is on September 22nd, so ladies get your green tea and chinese moon cakes ready!! Get your single girlfriends together and have a party."