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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.

 

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The Moon turns precisely full on June 9, 2017 at 13:10 Universal Time. This the farthest full moon  and so the smallest full moon of the year. I see it described by some unofficial terms such as micro-moon or mini-moon.

This June full moon occurs less than one day after reaching lunar apogee, the moon’s farthest point in its monthly orbit. The near alignment of full moon and lunar apogee team up to give us the farthest and smallest full moon of the year.

What do we mean by a “Moon shadow?”  I think a moon shadow is technically an Earth shadow. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth lines up directly between the sun and the moon, blocking the sun’s rays and casting a shadow on the Moon. As the Moon moves deeper and deeper into the Earth’s shadow, the Moon changes color before your very eyes, turning from gray to an orange or deep shade of red.

I’m not sure I really gave any thought to the term until I heard Cat Stevens’ song “Moonshadow”  back in 1971. When he sings “I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moon shadow, moonshadow. Leapin’ and hoppin’ on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow,” I assume it is a shadow cast by a person or object from moonlight.

Ipomoea alba

Ipomoea alba

A plant classified as Ipomoea alba, is also called the tropical white morning-glory, moon flower or moon vine. It is interesting because it is a night-blooming plant. It is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the New World, from northern Argentina north to Mexico and Florida. This is the flower that is shown in the Japanese screen with this post. It certainly would be of interest to cats and humans as it hangs down like a small moon itself in the night.

There is also another plant that is a moon flower. The night-blooming cereus is the common name referring to a large number of flowering cacti that bloom at night. The flowers are short-lived, and some of these species, such as Selenicereus grandiflorus, intriguingly bloom only once a year, for a single night. I would love to see one of these bloom on the night of a Full Moon!

Night-blooming cereus

Night-blooming cereus

Other names for the June Full Moon include the Mead Moon (Medieval), Rose Moon (more common in Europe) and Thunder Moon. The most common name I see used for the June Full Moon is Strawberry Moon. As far as I can find, that name was used by every Algonquin tribe. The relatively short season for harvesting strawberries in June was a good nature sign for this Full Moon.

The Moon becomes full at the same instant worldwide, but we are more locked into clock times.  In Paradelle, it occurs at 9:10 a.m. EDT, but in North America (except for a bit of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands) we won’t be able to see the moon then because it will still be below the horizon.

I will see the Moon at its fullest just before moonset (around sunrise) today. As always, it looked pretty full to the eye last night and again tomorrow.

That bright “star” near tonight’s moon isn’t a star. It is Saturn.

strawberriesToday’s Full Moon slipped into place at 12:21 pm behind rain and clouds here in Paradelle.  It beneath the horizon and under my feet but, like tonight, it’s still out there, hidden like a New Moon.

If you looking up at it tonight (or tomorrow), look for it grouped with the planet Saturn and star Antares in the eastern sky at dusk and nightfall.

As Earth turns, Saturn and Antares will move westward across the nighttime sky and the threesome will climb highest tonight around midnight.

If the clouds clear, I will see them low in the west at dawn.

A Rose MoonIn North America, we commonly call the June full moon the Strawberry Moon.

Though the Full Moon might appear today, or any month, to be reddish like a rose or strawberry, or amber like honey and mead, those names are related more to nature.

We have used the term “honeymoon” to connect to weddings going back to  1552. June once was the most popular month for marriages. Apparently, that has changed to August and September.  There was a Romantic notion that the first month of marriage was the sweetest, and that a marriage is like the changes phases of the Moon. The Full Moon was viewed as analogous to the wedding.

The Strawberry Moon was so named for that first crop of that ripening fruit. In Europe, where strawberries are not a native fruit, this moon was often called the Rose Moon since they also had first blooms at this time.

ChaucerMead_braggot_Some American Indian tribes knew this as the Green Corn Moon because it was the time of the first signs of the “corn in tassel.” It meant the start of preparations for the upcoming festivals in the growing season.

American colonists ancestors in Britain may have known it as the Mead or Honey Full Moon echoing back to medieval times. Those names are also associated with Druids and pagans. Beehives would be full of honey from the heavy pollen of spring and that led to the mead (honey wine) believed to have been discovered by Irish monks during medieval times.

Mead has a reputation for enhancing virility and fertility and acting as an aphrodisiac. Some etymologists say the term “honeymoon” came from the Irish tradition of newlyweds drinking honey wine every day for one lunar month after their weddings and so it found its way into Irish wedding ceremonies.

renoir-the-bathers

Renoir’s THE BATHERS

I like the Icelandic folk story that says that if you bathe naked in the morning dew on the morning of June 24, you are supposed to keep aging at bay for a longer period.  Today is your day to try.

Hopper-Boy-Moon

“Boy and Moon” by Edward Hopper

According to earthsky.org, this month’s full moon, which rises on June 23 (Sunday), will be the closest and largest Full Moon of the year – a supermoon. A supermoon is a new moon or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.  They are not very rare. There are 4-6 supermoons a year with 3 in a row this year (May 25, June 23, July 22) but this June full moon is the most “super”.

I wonder how the early Native Americans explained the supermoons. They often called this full moon the Green Corn Moon because it was the time of the first signs of the “corn in tassel.” It meant the start of preparations for the upcoming festivals in the growing season.

American colonists were more likely to refer to it as a Strawberry Moon or Rose Moon.  Their ancestors in Britain may have known it as the Mead or Honey Full Moon. Those names go back to medieval times and are also associated with Druids and pagans. Beehives would be full of honey from the heavy pollen of spring. That brought them mead (honey wine) that is believed to have been discovered by Irish monks during medieval times.  Mead has a reputation for enhancing virility and fertility and acting as an aphrodisiac and so found its way into Irish wedding ceremonies. Some etymologists say the term “honeymoon” came from the Irish tradition of newlyweds drinking honey wine every day for one lunar month after their weddings.

In North America, late June is usually the first crop of strawberries and the first rose blooms.

Many cultures have celebrated the full moon with ceremonies. Though not very common today, neo-pagans, Wiccans and other  groups still mark the event.

img-candlesYou don’t have to be a member of any of those groups to have your own Full Moon release ritual which is said to center you and allow you to release something you hold inside that is doing you harm.

You use a “sacred space” of your choosing outdoors. People might use sage smudging to purify the space. They would bring some personal power totems – objects of special significance to them. You sit under the Full Moon on the ground and try to allow yourself to feel a connection to it. You can think of it as a centering ritual or meditation.

After all, the Moon is the mover of the living waters of the Earth and within our own bodies. Feel the earth under your feet and allow it to absorb any tension in your body. Feel the pull toward the Moon.

You don’t need to be alone, but talking is discouraged. Place before you a large water-filled bowl.  You want to have a small votive type of candle that you can float on the water. Each person “writes” what they want to release on a candle. The writing is more symbolic than literal. It doesn’t matter if the thing written can be seen, as long as it is actually written by the person.

Light the candle and try to feel the transfer of what you’re releasing into the candle and into the water.

Does that sound too New Age for you? Again, just think of the exercise of this quiet concentration and becoming aware of where you are and acknowledging the Moon in all its beauty far above you. You might be surprised to feel relieved after the ritual.

The June Full Moon is often called the Rose, Strawberry or Flower Moon. For 2012, it appears on Monday, June 4th, and I chose an older name of the Honey Full Moon (AKA the Mead Moon) that goes back to medieval times. Both of those names are associated with Druids and pagans.

We are past the moons that signal spring and new life reaching for the warmth and light of the summer sun. Birds have hatched, animals have given birth and insects are swarming. Just last month, bee hives would have been empty but now after the heavy pollen of spring, they are laden with honey.

And that brings us to mead. This honey wine is believed to have been discovered by Irish monks during medieval times. The drink figures in both Gaelic poetry and Irish folklore. The basic recipe for mead consists of honey and water and sometimes a bit of yeast. The fermented honey wine has its flavor variations based on the flowers that produced the honey and the way the mead was prepared. Some people compare it to a Riesling wine with a range from sweet to quite dry.

Mead was believed to enhance virility and fertility, while also contributing supposed aphrodisiac qualities. As a result, Mead quickly found its way into Irish wedding ceremonies.

Some historians and etymologists say the term “honeymoon” came from the Irish tradition of newlyweds drinking honey wine everyday for one full moon (a month) after their weddings. Today, some Irish weddings still include a traditional Mead toast to the newlyweds.

If you want to stay with the pagan beliefs, then the natural energy of this time is a time for personal transformation, especially near this fertile moon. It is also a time ripe for prosperity, inspiration, and creativity. Pagans may also wear shades of yellow, gold, and amber to honor the harvesting of the honey. You may even want to try brewing your own mead.

This Sagittarius Full Moon is also the time of the Christ-Goodwill Festival or the Festival of Humanity, and the World Day of Invocation – all times marked to unite the human family. This year the Full Moon is a Lunar Eclipse at 14 degrees of Gemini/Sagittarius.

In North America, the harvesting of strawberries in June gives this full Moon one of its names. Europeans often refer to it as the Rose Moon. Other names include: the Moon of Horses, Lovers’ Moon, Strong Sun Moon, Aerra Litha (Before Litha), Brachmanoth (Break Month) and the Moon of Making Fat.

The Full Moon festival of Edfu in Egypt honored the goddess Hathor. The cow horns on her head represented the Crescent Moon. Every year at the New Moon the statue of Hathor was taken from her temple at Dendera and transported by boat to the temple of the god Horus at Edfu, arriving on the Full Moon. This festival celebrated the sexual union of the two deities. It was a time of great festivities and very likely human marriages, since it was considered a period of good luck.

Rodlima is the ninth month of the Druid year and is known as the time of the Bird Moon. The first day of this month is the full moon. Rodlima is from May 30 (when the Celts celebrated Midsummer) to June 27 (Bright Moon). The patron deity for Rodlima is Tasimea.

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