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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.

Tonight we’ll see the April Full Moon and this is an occurrence that is sometimes called a micro-moon or mini-moon. It probably won’t look any smaller to you, but this smallest full moon of 2016 will be about 30,000 miles (50,000 km) farther away from Earth than the biggest Full Moon (AKA supermoon) of the year.

This comes less than one day after the moon reached lunar apogee, which is the point when the moon is at its farthest point in its monthly orbit. It is hardly a rare occurrence since every year has a closest full moon and a farthest full moon. These mini-moons return about one month and 18 days later with each passing year. That means that for 2017, the year’s smallest full moon will come on June 9.

This Full Moon in the Cherokee marking of the lunar months was called Kawohni, meaning “duck” as in “when the ducks return.” The Dakotah Sioux called this the Moon When Geese Return in Scattered Formation.

The Full Moon also will not look pinkish, but another name for this month’s moon is Full Pink Moon. That name comes from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. In Paradelle, these flowers (which I have always called Mountain Pinks) did bloom right on schedule.

You can also refer to this Full Moon by other American Indian names such as the Full Sprouting Grass Moon – or The Moon When Dandelions My Lawn – and among coastal tribes the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn.

Some tribes called this the Egg Moon and that may sound more appropriate to a year when Easter occurs during April, but the name comes from the appearance of eggs naturally appearing in nests rather than an Easter egg hunt.

A Medieval name for tonight’s Full Moon was the Seed Moon which is fitting if you’re in a climate where it’s early enough to sow seeds outdoors. For me, the sowing is still indoors in flats.

The Roman festival of Cerealia this month celebrated the goddess associated with grains. This was the time to plant that important crop and the goddess Ceres is where we get our word “cereal.”

This might also be the time of the last frost for your region. Some people use blooms in nature as a key to when to plant: when dandelions bloom, plant potatoes; plant peas on Saint Patrick’s Day if the soil isn’t muddy, otherwise wait for the forsythia to bloom.

Similarly, a Celtic name for this moon was the Growing Moon and in the Chinese moon sequence, this is the Peony Moon

The April Moon is also been called the Chaste Moon, Growing Moon, Hare Moon, Maiden Moon, Grass Moon, Rain Moon, Growing Moon, Wind Moon, Seed Moon, Budding Trees Moon and Green Grass Moon.

I did no spring planting until today. Today is the New Moon and the melted snow, spring rain and warmer days probably has many of us outside planting or preparing for planting this weekend.

If planting and Moon lore mix together for you, then you may have been observing the unscientific but ancient tradition of planting root crops the past two weeks during the waning moon that happens after the full moon and until the new moon.

With today’s New Moon, you would plant your above-ground crops as the waxing moon thickens, like the wax drippings of a candle from today until the May Full Moon on the 4th.

Science will not support this practice, but the belief was that the moon’s magnetic force pulls everything that contains water, and so the water in plants and even in seeds will make leafy plants seek the Moon during its waxing phase. Conversely, root crops growing below the ground will be pushed down, away from the moon, during the waning phase. If you missed getting those root crops in earlier this month, you can try again during the May phases.

 

seed-catalogs
I wrote about tonight’s Full Moon as sometimes being referred to as the Lenten Moon. Egg Moon and as the Moon of the Winds.

Lent began on Ash Wednesday and is a time for sacrificing as it’s the season of penance and prayer, which is why many fast, give up something (food or otherwise) that they normally enjoy, and I think it can be connected in  secular ways to lots of other ways of welcoming the season with a “spring-cleaning” for your life.

I have been writing about this time of year and about spring planting and planting by the Egg Full Moon for a few years. The March Full Moon is also called the Planter’s Moon sometimes, but this year it comes too early for me to be in the garden. There are still patches of snow and lots of mud.

But I am hopeful in this season of seed and garden catalogs that the melting snow, spring rains and warmer days are coming and I can prepare for planting, even if it’s not warm enough to actually plant where you live.

moon plantingMoon folklore about planting says that you should plant root crops during the waning moon (after the full moon and until the new moon) and plant your above-ground crops during the waxing moon (as the moon thickens, like the wax drippings of a candle) from the new moon until the next full moon.

Why? This unscientific practice was based on the belief that the moon’s magnetic force pulls everything that contains water – from oceans to our blood and including water in plants and seeds. Following that line of thought, green leafy plants will seek the moon during its waxing phase and root crops growing below the ground will push their energy down, away from the moon, during its waning phase.

If it’s too cold for garden work where you are, as it is in Paradelle, then you can consider the possibilities this Egg Moon season. Long symbolic of spring, regeneration and rebirth, eggs are associated with both religious holidays and cultural celebrations. Domesticated hens do begin laying more eggs with longer days and many wild bird species also lay their eggs now.

Humans are imitators with their decorated eggs. That goes back to the ancient Persians who painted eggs for Nowrooz, their New Year celebration, which falls on the Spring equinox. In Persepolis, there are paintings of  show people carrying eggs to the king.

At the Jewish Passover Seder, a hard-boiled egg dipped in salt water symbolizes the Passover sacrifice offered at the Temple in Jerusalem.

The pre-Christian Saxons had a spring goddess called Eostre, whose feast was held on the Vernal Equinox, around March 21. Eostre’s special animal was the spring hare (rabbit) and that association of eggs, rabbits and spring is all mixed into the cultural aspects of  Easter.

 

This week is technically the last frost date for Paradelle, but the weather has been rather cold. We had a bit of snow on Monday and below freezing for a few nights.

Nevertheless,  this weekend will be spent in the garden.  I find turning the soil and raking it smooth and even to be very relaxing. One of my sons will be home for Easter and he told me he wants to work in the vegetable garden, as we did when he was a child.

The weekend weather will be dry here and at least 60 degrees, but will drop back down to below 40 at night.

The weather was not kind on this month’s full moon on the 15th. But it was an exciting full moon because we had a lunar eclipse that gave us a Blood Moon.  Colonists in the New World often called the April moon the Planter’s Moon and further south, it is planting time.

Some years, like 2014, we can also call the April moon the Egg Moon. The name came from several places but eggs have long been symbolic of spring, regeneration, rebirth and are associated with some religious holidays of this time, such as Easter.

Domesticated hens do begin laying more eggs with longer days and many wild bird species also lay their eggs now.

Romanian decorated eggs

If you think painting eggs for celebrations is a recent tradition, you are wrong. The ancient Persians painted eggs for Nowrooz, their New Year celebration, which falls on the Spring equinox. Sculptures on the walls of Persepolis show people carrying eggs for Nowrooz to the king.

At the Jewish Passover Seder, a hard-boiled egg dipped in salt water symbolizes the Passover sacrifice offered at the Temple in Jerusalem.

The pre-Christian Saxons had a spring goddess called Eostre, whose feast was held on the Vernal Equinox, around 21 March.

Eostre’s special animal was the spring hare (rabbit), so it is believed that Eostre’s association with eggs and hares, combined with the rebirth of the land in spring was adapted for the Christian holiday of Easter.

The melting snow, spring rains and warmer days, finds many of us preparing for planting, if it’s not warm enough to actually plant.

If you are a follower of farming and moon folklore, then you know that you should plant root crops during the waning moon (after the full moon and until the new moon) and plant your above-ground crops during the waxing moon (as the moon thickens, like the wax drippings of a candle) from the new moon until the next full moon.

This unscientific practice was based on the belief that the moon’s magnetic force pulls everything that contains water.  It pulls the ocean. Some says it tugs at our blood. And the folklore says it pulls at the water in plants and seeds.

Green leafy plants will seek the moon during its waxing phase. Root crops growing below the ground will push their energy down, away from the moon, during its waning phase.

I did no planting so far this month. I will be waiting for the New Moon on the 29th of April and get most of my seeds and plants in by the next Full Moon on the 14th.

The May Full Moon is tonight and you have your pick of many names for it. It has been called the Hare Moon, Merry or Dyad Moon, Fright Moon, Flower Moon, Frogs Return Moon, Thrimilcmonath (Thrice-Milk Month), Sproutkale, Winnemonoth (Joy Month), Planting Moon, and Moon When the Ponies Shed.

This is the third full moon after the March equinox and the Moon is at its lunar perigee – the moon’s closest point to Earth for this month. A newer term for the event is “supermoon.”

Several Native American tribes have called this the Corn Planting Full Moon. The Cherokee people also referred to this as the Moon When Leaves Are Green, Moon To Plant or Moon When the Ponies Shed. This was the time for planting corn, beans, squashes, tomatoes, potatoes, yams and sunflowers, but corn held the highest place and traditionally held at this time was the “Corn Dance”.

In past years, I have written about it as the Buddha Full Moon when it occurred on May 17 which is known as the Buddha-Wesak Festival. It is said that Buddha was born, died and received enlightenment on the Full Moon in Scorpio and many followers consider this the highest spiritual day of the year.

I have also given it my own name of the Moon of the Horseshoe Crabs because this is usually the time when those ancient crabs do their spawning (peaking a few days before and after the May and June new and full moons). That is an event that occurs not far from Paradelle, on the Delaware Bay. This year it will be on beaches that were ravaged by Superstorm Sandy and have been reconstructed very recently to approximate the best conditions for them to lay eggs under the sand. The number of mating horseshoe crabs on the beach peaks at the night of full moon and at the time of high tide. The huge number of horseshoe crab eggs attracts many migrating birds to converge for this annual feast.

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