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Though the Moon will be “fullest” in Paradelle at 01:56:12 pm today, I will (like most of us) be looking up at it tonight.

One neo-pagan name for this August Full Moon is the Lightning Moon, and around Paradelle there has been a lot of thunder, lightning and rain.

This August Full Moon is also known as the Sturgeon Moon, since that large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water were most readily caught during this month. It may be called the Red Moon because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze.

The video visualization that tops this post tries to capture the mood of Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” (moonlight in French) from 1905 with images from NASA of the Moon built from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. “Clair de Lune” is the third of four movements in his Suite Bergamasque, but this section is quiet, contemplative, and melancholy. It feels right for solitary gazing at the Moon, full or not, inside or outside.

Maybe you can combine the video and music with one of these relaxation techniques tonight and ease yourself into a gentler new week ahead.

golden moon

Tonight’s July Full Moon is usually called the Buck Moon. I saw on the calendar that there is a Night Hike under the Full Buck Moon at the Sandy Hook National Recreation Area near me in New Jersey. That is a beautiful natural beach area and if all the rain of his week clears out for the evening there, it should be a great setting to observe the ecosystem below that Full Moon.

That Buck Moon name comes at a time of year when a buck’s antlers are in full growth mode. This is known as when the antlers are in velvet. They will do their bloody scraping of those antler and prepare for rutting season closer to autumn.

Both American Indians and colonists used the Buck Moon name, but there are many other American Indian tribal names that use notable nature signs from their geographic region. For example, the Cree noted this as the Moon When Ducks Begin to Molt.

The Lakota called this the Moon When The Chokecherries Are Black and other tribes noted this as the time for huckleberries. Several tribes referenced the corn which was an important crop that they planted and relied upon. This gives us names such as the Corn Moon, Young Corn Moon or Ripe Corn Moon (Cherokee). For the Choctaw this was the Little Harvest Moon or Crane Moon.  depending on your location. The Algonquin called this the Squash Are Ripe Moon.

I used this year the more general Mohawk name of the Time of Much Ripening because wherever you are in the Northern Hemisphere some things are ripening.

And yes, today is also the “century’s longest lunar eclipse” is also today BUT this lunar eclipse is primarily visible from the world’s Eastern Hemisphere (Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand). In South America, you can watch the final stages of the eclipse just after sunset July 27, whereas New Zealand will catch the beginning stages of the eclipse before sunrise July 28. For those of us in North America, most of the Arctic and much of the Pacific Ocean, we will miss out entirely.

The name Strawberry Moon was used by all the Algonquin tribes for the June Full Moon that arrived today. The most popular name in Europe was the Rose Moon. (Strawberries are not native to Europe.) Both names reference the fairly short seasons for harvesting the berries and the blooms this month.  American Indians tended to use the more practical names of foods rather than the more decorative blooms.

This is the month when summer arrives in the North, the days are longer and the sunsets are later.  If you look up to the Full Moon tonight, it will be near the planet Saturn and the star Antares in the eastern sky at dusk and nightfall. As our planet turns, the three of them will move westward and climb highest around midnight, and be low in the west at dawn.

It would be Romantic to think that a rose or strawberry moon would be reddish in color, but when the Moon appears colored it is about atmospheric conditions and not the Moon itself and can occur throughout the year.

My youngest son was married this month and June has been traditionally a popular month to wed. The belief that the first month of marriage is the sweetest, gave us a “honeymoon.” Some compared marriage to the phases of the Moon – changing from the Full Moon of the marriage day and changing constantly, sometimes fuller, sometimes less.

The Brits who came to the New World may have known this as the Mead or Honey Full Moon which was a name more commonly used in Europe in medieval times. The heavy pollen of spring did make hives full of honey, and that led to the honey wine (mead) that was discovered by Irish monks during medieval times.

The mead acquired a reputation for enhancing virility and fertility and acting as an aphrodisiac. Perhaps, this is the true etymology of the “honeymoon.” I read that there had been an Irish tradition for newlyweds to drink honey wine every day for that first month of marriage.

The combination of strawberries, roses and honey are not a bad threesome for a romantic night, even if you are far from any true honeymoon.

NOTE: I am reminded by  earthsky.org that the bright reddish “star” near the Moon these nights is Mars, now very bright at the midpoint between your local sunset and midnight every night, and that by the month’s end, Mars will exceed the brilliance of Saturn by some 15 times.

 

This month’s Full Moon arrives today, May 29. The Dakotah Sioux called this the Moon When Leaves Are Green because it was the first Full Moon of the year when the trees and plants were truly full with leaves.

Many of the names for the may Full Moon are connected to plants. It has been called Flower Moon, Corn Planting Moon, and Planting Moon. Even a name like Milk Moon is related to the abundance of new growth for the cows to feed on that also gave us the name Grass Moon.

The Medieval name, Hare Moon, marks the appearance of the hare out feeding on all that new growth. And the Moon When Frogs Return is a Native American name taking note of the return of one hibernating species.

The leaves of most plants are green. These leaves are full of chemicals that are green, and the most important one is chlorophyll. It is the chemical that allows plants to make food so they can grow using water, air and light from the sun.

I’m sure you were taught in school about photosynthesis. This process occurs throughout the plant and all leaves contain chlorophyll, but not all of the leaf has chlorophyll. Some leaves have green and white or green and yellow stripes or spots, so only the green bits have chlorophyll and can make food by photosynthesis.

Yes, you will find plants and trees with red or purple leaves all year round. They still are full of chlorophyll, but so much of other chemicals that are red or purple that the green is masked.

This is the time of year that I am outside planting and admiring the greening and flower-coloring of the season. The last frost is past and it’s safe in my area to put out the more tender flowers and vegetables.

The health benefits of eating foods with chlorophyll are amazingly numerous. It seems to have positive impacts on almost everything in our body. All hail chlorophyll in our bodies and in nature!

The April Full Moon this month comes late in the month, as do all the remaining Full Moons for 2018.  The April full moon is typically known as the Sprouting Grass Moon, Egg Moon, Fish Moon, Pink MoonPlanting by the Full Egg MoonNight of the Planter’s MoonSeed MoonBlood Moon (which only occurs for some Full Moons and is not really an April event), Mini Moon When Ducks Return and the Growing Moon. It is obvious that this is a time when our focus is on the true flowering and growing of spring.

Had the Full Moon arrived early in April this year, I could have written about snow and winter hanging on, but by this time in the month spring has finally taken hold and there have been a few days that already felt like summer.

My seeds have all started inside and are waiting for that last frost, which in Paradelle can still occur in May.

I’m not a believer in lunar cycle gardening which is an old mythological approach to gardening. The “science” of it is not very strong, but you can use the lunar cycles as a way to plan your gardening. But there are some scientific studies that suggest the changing gravity pull of the lunar cycle affects the water level in soils and even seed and plant cells.You can go look into that theory a bit here.

I plant based on my own calendars kept over many years of when things have sprouted, bloomed and yielded a harvest.

The ducks and geese never leave here for winter and they are grabbing the sprouting grass at the parks, golf courses, and around the ponds.  If you haven’t gotten the mower out yet and see some dandelions popping up and blooming, you might consider leaving them be for a while. They are one of the early flowers for the bees to feed on.

In the Neo-Pagan tradition, this is called the Awakening Moon.

Don’t forget that for anyone in the Southern Hemisphere this could be called the Harvest Moon or Hunter’s Moon.

moon

There was no Full Moon last month, so did you miss seeing a big Moon in the sky?

Someone asked me how the ancients or Native Americans must have reacted to no Full Moon. They didn’t react at all. The distance between Full Moons is always about the same. We only notice because we are locked into our calendars which are a fairly modern way of viewing time.

Look at some of the names for the March Full Moon. It can be the Fish Moon since frozen waters are melting and fish are more active. It is called the Windy Moon also the Moon of Winds and March is often a windy month. Even Winnie the Pooh would tell you it is a month of blustery days.  I’ve written about the Worm Moon before. And a name with religious connections is the Lenten Moon.

Hopefully, this is not a Big Famine Moon for you. But if your tribe is running low on winter food stocks and it is too early to plant or harvest new crops, that name applies. It is certainly true for many animals. The suburban deer in my neighborhood are pretty desperate for anything green to eat and are grabbing even the tiny shoots of bushes and bulbs that popping up early due to a few early spring days.

March is a month that can look like winter – bare and snow-covered – or like spring – warm with fresh green growth.

Tonight’s Full Moon also coincides with the start of Passover and the eve of Easter.

Tonight is another Blue Moon – that label hung on the second of two full moons in a single calendar month. There is an older definition that defines a Blue Moon as the third of four full moons in a single season. There was a Blue Moon on January 31, 2018 that was also a supermoon with a total eclipse. You don’t get that trifecta too often.

A seasonal Blue Moon (third of four full moons in one season) can occur in the same calendar year, but that would mean there are 13 full moons in one calendar year and 13 full moons in between successive December solstices.

The rarity we associate with the phrase “once in a blue moon” doesn’t seem so rare in recent years. I have posted about blue moons fairly regularly. But two Blue Moons in a single calendar year last happened in 1999. If you’re still around in 2037, February will have no full moon, and the months of January and March will each feature two full moons.

And though the Moon will not be any more “blue” tonight than on other nights, moonlight does tend to look blue in color – especially when you photograph it – so you might get some atmospheric or photographic blue with your moonlight tonight.

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