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As is often the case, the Moon looked full last night although it just became an official Full Moon as I hit the publish button on this post at 10:54 am ET. It will certainly look very full tonight.
This winter-into-spring moon is often called the Worm Moon, and last year I chose the name the name Earth Cracks Moon. The latter sounds rather ominous, but like the Worm Moon it refers to the heaving soil as we transition into spring with cold nights and warm days. That thawing ground will be marked in many areas with the earthworm casts that appear as they emerge. They are very attractive to another symbol of spring – worm-loving robins. The Full Crust Moon is another name that was used by some Indian tribes.
Although the wind in March is often quite blustery in some parts of the U.S., I optimistically chose the gentler Hopi name for this lunar occurrence of the Whispering Wind Moon. The Hopi tribe now primarily live on the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona. Their name for this Full Moon is fitting for the tribe because Hopi is a shortened form of their autonym, Hopituh Shi-nu-mu which means “The Peaceful People” or “Peaceful Little Ones.”
New World settlers called this last Full Moon of winter the Lenten Moon and also the Sap Moon. The latter name marks the time of tapping maple trees. The Lenten Moon marks the religious observance in the liturgical calendar that occurs during this lunar month. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later, before Easter Sunday.
As Lent is seen as the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement, and self-denial, it fit well with the non-religious view of starting the year anew for farmers, ranchers and those looking to do “spring cleaning” and get a fresh start.
There are more Indian names for the Full Moons than the Colonists used because there were many tribes in many locations and their names for the Moon phases were based on their local observations of nature. Some northern tribes knew this as the Full Crow Moon, because the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter. Other names used by Native American Tribes: Rain (Diegueno). Bud Moon (Kiowa). Eagle Moon,Rain Moon (Cree). Green Moon (Pima). Deer Moon (Natchez). Moon of Winds (Celtic). Lizard Moon (San Juan). Death Moon (Neo-Pagan). Wind Strong Moon (Taos). Amaolikkervik Moon(Inuit). Little Frog Moon (Omaha). Little Spring Moon (Creek). Crane Moon (Potawatomi). Long Days moon (Wishram). Big Famine Moon (Choctaw). Moose Hunter Moon (Abenali). Whispering Wind Moon (Hopi). Little Spring Moon (Muscokee). Fish Moon (Colonial American). Snow Sore Eyes Moon(Dakota). Catching Fish Moon (Agonquin). Snow Crust Moon (Anishnaabe). Spring Moon (Passamaquoddy). Much Lateness Moon (Mohawk). Chaste Moon (Medieval English). Buffalo Calf moon (Arapaho, Sioux). Seed (Dark Janic), Plow Moon (Full Janic). Strawberry, Windy Moon, Lenten Moon (Cherokee). Worm Moon, Sugar Moon, Crow Moon, Crust Moon, Sap Moon. (Algonquin).
Not all calendars, including our traditional Western calendar, follow the phases of the Moon. In the solar Hebrew calendar, the months change with the new Moon, so the full Moons fall in the middle of the month. A solar year is about 11 days longer than twelve lunar months, so to keep holidays tied to their seasons, the Hebrew calendar occasionally repeats the month of Adar.
In the Islāmic calendar, the months start with the first sighting of the waxing crescent Moon, a few days after the New Moon. Unlike the Hebrew calendar, the Islāmic calendar has no leap days or leap months to stay in sync with the seasons, and Islāmic holidays occur approximately 11 days earlier each solar year.
I have been writing occasionally over the past few years about the Mayan Long Count Calendar that comes to an end on the solstice of December 21, 2012. You can tell by my earlier posts that, although I find the subject fascinating, I am not on the side of those who see the event as “the end of the world.” I am more on the side of believing that their calendar turns over to a new one, and that the date will signal a major shift – hopefully a good one.
The Maya were not the native people to have seen the end of an age this year. A program that I saw on the History Channel awhile back talked about Native American tribes with similar – but rather gloomy – prophecies.
Most of their prophecies focused on the destruction of the Earth by us. The Iroquois prophesied in their “Instructions” that the end of the world will be near when the trees start dying from the tops down, when there will be no corn, when nothing will grow in the garden, when water will be filthy and unfit to drink. Then a great monster will rise up from the water and destroy humanity. One of the names of that monster is “the sickness that eats you up inside.” People go pretty far afield in their interpretations of these prophecies. I found online sites saying that the Iroquois monster might be something like diabetes, cancer or AIDS.
There is a legend that Four Beings, like angels, came from the Four Directions (of the compass) and told of diseases never heard of before. Then, a great wind, more powerful than any hurricane, would cleanse the earth and return the planet to its original state. This purification of the Earth is a common theme in these prophecies.
The part of the History Channel program that I found most interesting in this aspect concerned the prophecies of the Hopi people.
The Hopi nation is located in the Southwestern United States . Their prophecies contain a belief that the world goes through periods of destruction and renewal. The Hopi believe that the earth was already destroyed three times before and that we are in the fourth Earth now, soon to enter the Fifth World.
The part relevant to this time is known as the Blue Star Prophecy which is a message from the Gods concerning the end of the world.
Although there is no date attached to the prophecy, some Hopi elders believe that the 9 signs of the end have now arrived.
The story is that a white-skinned man named Pahana will appear wearing certain symbols and a stone tablet when the time is here to help us make the transition to the fifth and final world.
There are signs that signal the end is near. One is “the coming of spinning wheels filled with voices.” This has been interpreted as possibly being the wagon wheels that brought settlers into the Indian lands. Another sign is “a strange beast like a buffalo but with great long horns that will overrun the land in large numbers” – the white men’s cattle.
The signs to follow are that: “the land will be crossed by snakes of iron” (railroad); “the land shall be crisscrossed by a giant spider’s web” (power and communication lines, including the Net/Web )
Want to interpret the last signs? The land shall be crisscrossed with rivers of stone that make pictures in the sun. The Seventh Sign is that you will hear of the sea turning black, and many living things dying because of it.
Next, is when you will see many youth, who wear their hair long like the Hopi people, come and join the tribal nations, to learn their ways and wisdom.
The last sign is that we will hear of a dwelling-place in the heavens, above the earth, that shall fall with a great crash. It will appear as a blue star. After this, the ceremonies will cease.
This is not an optimistic story. But Daniel Pinchbeck has written in “The Fifth World and the Hopi Apocalypse” that “The Hopi prophecies also tell of the return of Pahana, the elder white brother, in a real exchange of knowledge and a true communion, as the Fourth World comes to an end.” That’s about as hopeful as this prophecy might be.