Tonight, the December Full Moon will be full in my part of the world at 11:08 p.m. For other places, it will be officially full in the early morning of December 8.
This month’s Full Moon is often called the rather dull and generic Cold Moon. December is when winter really begins in most of the Northern Hemisphere. Of course, parts of the U.S. and the world have already had significant snowfall and cold weather. In Paradelle, there hasn’t been snow yet, but we have had nights below freezing and almost all the plants have died or gone into their winter phase and the trees have lost their leaves. It is no surprise that in our hemisphere most of the ancient names for this Full Moon are related to the low temperatures and darkness. Long Nights Moon is another fairly common name. The Anglo-Saxon name was the Moon Before Yule, anticipating the ancient celebration around the winter solstice.
The winter solstice is still two weeks away, but ancient people were more likely to track the changing seasons by following the lunar month rather than the solar year. The Moon is much easier to observe and the 12 months in our modern calendar are based on that observation.
The Moon names used by the many Native American tribes are usually more interesting (and sometimes harder for me to find etymologies for) and vary based on geography and climate. The cold brings the Hoar Frost Moon, Moon of the Popping Trees, Winter Maker Moon and Drift Clearing Moon. The Choctaw people’s ancestral homeland spanned from most of central and southern Mississippi into parts of eastern Louisiana and western Alabama, so it is not surprising that in November it was the Sassafras Moon and December brings the Peach Moon.
The Anishnaabe (Chippewa, Ojibwe) people called this twelfth moon the Little Spirit Moon. It is a time of healing and recovery when we might receive both visions of the spirits and good health.
For many people, winter is a time to stay indoors and turn our attention to different tasks. Sailors might be mending sails and nets. Farmers might be repairing tools, preserving foods, storing meat and planning for spring planting. Warm-weather athletes might be recovering from injuries and training for a new season. Now that I can’t work in my garden and do outdoor projects, I turn inside with home projects and also increase my writing and painting.
It is a good time to walk the Red Road with pure intentions. The Red Road is a modern English-language concept of the right path in life. Though inspired by some Native American spiritual teachings, the term is used more in the Pan-Indian and New Age communities than amongst traditional Indigenous people. When I read Black Elk’s words, the metaphoric red road was a spiritual way of life. Oglala Sioux medicine man and holy man, Black Elk, saw everyone on the red road as being one interconnected circle of people. It is a sacred hoop that while you need to walk it alone, many others walk with you.
The metaphor had been adopted and adapted by groups from the Christian church to some modern addiction treatment programs. The idea of the Red Road as a way to recovery connects to the Little Spirit Moon.
I came across this book – 365 Days Of Walking The Red Road: The Native American Path to Leading a Spiritual Life Every Day – when I was reading for this post.
No review or recommendation – just a reference.