Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Lunar Cycles, Part Two

Yesterday I wrote about a few of the ways to mark the moon cycles through the year - the different ways to name the moons, and a bit on the many different names any one moon cycle can have. Today I'll write about one possible example of a year of moon cycles, what they represent, and how they flow together. I want to stress that this is not the only system out there, just one example of many. It is my own personal system, based on the equinoxes/solstices (as written about yesterday), and it does not follow and one existing naming system. Rather it is a mix of systems, which I felt best meshed with my own personal practice, what I noticed and enjoyed locally.

I start each lunar cycle with the new moon, as one might expect. However, it is where the full moon lands that determines which cycle is which. For example, the first full moon after Yule is the Long Nights moon cycle - even if the new moon was before Yule.

The winter season is where I start my lunar calendar. The Long Nights Moon is the first of the winter moon cycles, so named because the nights of this cycle are some of the longest of the year. The second moon of the winter season is the Snow Moon, as this is the time when the snow really starts to pile up. The third and final winter moon cycle is the Wolf Moon, named for the hungry wolves that in older times could be heard hungry and howling in the deep parts of winter.

The three spring moons come next. First is Sugar Moon, as this is the cycle when it's time for tapping the sugar maples to make maple syrup and maple sugar. Next we see the Flower Moon, as spring is starting to bloom. Finally the Milk Moon, as this cycle usually falls around Beltane, in which milks plays an important role.

After spring, the three summer moons. Wild strawberries are usually starting to be ready for picking around this time, and so this is the Strawberry Moon. Mid-summer brings the Thunder Moon along with it's summer thunder storms. The Grain Moon comes in late summer, with it's early grain harvests.

Finally, we come to the three autumn moons. Around the equinox the harvest is often in full swing, and so the Harvest Moon, which brings a little extra light for farmers bringing in their crop before the winter comes. Many of the leaves have fallen from the branches by mid-autumn allowing game to be seen a little easier by hunters - this is also the time when the animal herds would be culled, both acts ensuring enough meat for the winter months, this is the time of the Blood Moon. Last, the Frost Moon comes in late autumn, as we start to see the first frosty signs of the approaching winter.

Each season usually has three full moons within in, but occasionally there will be four. The third full moon becomes the Blue Moon, with the fourth going back to the cycle as usual.

Again, this is but one way to names the moons. Some parts honor what is going on around me locally, with other parts focusing on older times - a mix of old and new. I strongly encourage anyone who wishes to incorporate a named lunar system into their path to explore many different names, play with the month and seasonal system, see what's going on locally... really take your time, and make it your own.

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