Click here to return to the Medicine Wheel page.        Click here to see our Native American Note Cards.

The Harvest Moon

Brown Bear

The Harvest Moon (August 23 to September 22) is the last moon of Shawnodese of the South. The stone honoring this position is placed three-quarters of the way between the southern and western stones. The mineral totem for this position is the amethyst, the plant totem is the violet, and the animal totem is the brown bear. The color is purple, and the elemental influence comes from the Turtle clan.

The amethyst can teach people experiencing this moon about good judgment and justice. The violet, about their ability to penetrate to secret regions of the heart and soul; and the brown bear, about their capacity for creative curiosity, The Harvest Moon teaches about discrimination, and fair decisions, good sense, perseverance, confidence, and the ability to analyze. the energy of this position is one of balance, rationality, and practicality. This is the place on the wheel that will help you truly understand the concepts of work and duty. In the brown bear place you need to guard against being overly critical of others, or cynical about life.

Animal:

Brown Bear is the animal totem associated with the Harvest Moon. The brown bear is the same species as the black bear. In fact, some females will have one brown and one black cub in the same litter. Brown bears make their dens in holes, in caves, beneath fallen trees, in deserted buildings, or beneath waterfalls. They are generally careful and quiet creatures. Brown bears are omnivorous, eating anything they can get their paws on. Among their favorite foods are honey and berries. their only enemies are humans and forest fires.

Bears are curious just like their cousin the raccoon. Bears are slow, deliberate, and pleasure oriented. They take time to watch and learn from the things around them. They hurry in the fall when they must eat enough to sustain them through their long winter sleep. The bear's hibernation is not a complete one. During the latter time of hibernation females have their cubs, so they have to be awake enough to nurse them.

Bears have a cheerful and good nature and share many abilities with humans. They can stand on two legs and walk for a short distance. they can climb trees; remove honey from bee trees; and spear fish, using their claws as spears.

To Native peoples, the bear was a very special animal. In many legends of the animal world, such as the one telling how the Spirit Keeper animals were designated, the bear is acknowledged as the head of the council of the animals. In that legend bear had long been chief of the animal council but his leadership was being challenged by buffalo, eagle, and coyote, all of whom felt they had attributes that wound make them good leaders. As the debate between advocates of these different animals threatened the unity of the council of animals, Mudjekeewis, Spirit Keeper of the West, came into the council and told the four debating animals that because of the special qualities each had, each one would serve with one of the Spirit Keepers. In this way all of their gifts would be utilized, and the animal council would stay united with bear, who would also serve with Mudjekeewis, as the chief. Bear is council chief because of his fairness, his strength, and his courage. IN most tribes the Bear clan was either the medicine, leadership, of defense clan.

From working with bear you can learn about deliberation, pleasure, observation, slow and steady movement, fairness, courage, strength, healing and teaching.

Plant:

Violet is the plant associated with the Harvest Moon. Violet symbolizes quiet, warmth, and reserved sentimentality. The violet is also a powerful medicinal plant. both the leaves and the flowers are good as soothing agents, particularly for irritated mucous membranes. It is also high in vitamin C. Medicinally, violet is good for penetrating the blood and lymphatic fluids, dissolving toxins in those areas. Violet can assist in healing cancer, and toxicity in the stomach or bowels. It relieves sore throats, difficulty in breathing, and helps cure tumors of the throat, ear problems, and headaches. Violet is good for relieving toothaches and skin problems. It cools high temperatures. Violet can be used as a thickener in stews and for flavoring in hot dishes, salads, jams and syrups. Being around violet awakens the heart to the fullness of its feelings and helps you understand the depths of your love.

Mineral:

Amethyst is the mineral associated with the Harvest Moon. The amethyst symbolizes good judgment, justice and courage. It is a stone that soothes, pacifies, and teaches discrimination. Amethyst is purported to protect against black witchcraft, lightning, hailstorms, and intoxication. It can help you achieve spiritual attunement as well as a good balance between the energies of the physical and spiritual levels.

Amethyst can help you understand the sources of your anger, and thus begin to release it. It also helps to soothe and clarify the Dream State. Amethyst is a stone that stimulates nobility and purity within those who carry or wear it.