April’s Full Geese Moon

Quch teblu’ta’ maS!
(“Happy Full Moon” in Klingon)

Welcome to Issue 4 of Volume IV of Earth, Moon and Stars!

In this issue:

      • Moon Names ~ Traditional names for the April/Spring full moon
      • Moon Art ~ Artwork related to this month’s theme
      • Skywatch ~ Photo of the Moon, Jupiter and Venus over Budapest
      • Seasonal Calendar ~ Full and new moon dates and times
      • 2012‘ ~ More on the Mayan calendar doomsday predictions
      • Celebrations ~ Passover, Easter and the Moon
      • Art and Poetry ~ April and the Moon
      • Folklore ~ Origins of “April”
      • Astrology ~ Letting Go | Bright and Balanced | Partnerships


   Many cultures kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring Full Moon, appropriate for the month in which it occurred. As the earth warmed and plants awoke from their winter dormancy, Native American tribes of the north and east, particularly the Algonquian-speaking peoples of northeastern North America, gave a variety of names to the full moon of Spring.

   Among these names were Sprouting Grass Moon, Fish Moon, Pink Moon, Seed Moon, Waking Moon, and Budding Moon. The Haida peoples of Alaska called it xíit kungáay or Migratory Geese Moon, while many Chinese knew it as the Peony Moon. The Medieval English named it the Seed Moon, and the Dakotah Sioux knew it as the Moon When Geese Return in Scattered Formation(suggesting the artwork below). [sources: Moon Month NamesAmerican Indian MoonsKeith’s Moon Page]

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Descending Geese at Katada (Utagawa Hiroshige)

Descending Geese at Katada (Utagawa Hiroshige)

   In keeping with the Dakotah Sioux full moon name theme for this issue: This woodblock print in the Ukiyo-e style is by the prolific Japanese artist Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858); it is one of eight prints in his Omi Hakkei-no Uchi (Eight Views of Omi). 

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April Grass Moon [Cyndi Lavin]


 Embracing the Grass Moon theme, Cyndi Lavin created this beautiful beaded embroidery for her Bead Journal Project (a part of her Beading Arts Facebook page) where you can see all twelve of her Moon creations. Cyndi also has her own websites Mixed Media Artist, and Beading Arts, rich with examples of and information on beads, jewelry, and other art mediums.




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Jupiter, the Moon and Venus align over Buda Castle in Budapest

Jupiter, the Moon and Venus align over Buda Castle in Budapest (Tamas Ladanyi

   This 30-frame time-sequenced composite photo of the recent conjunction of Jupiter, Venus, and the Moon was taken by astrophotographer Tamas Ladanyi over Buda Castle in Budapest, Hungary, on March 25 and 26, 2012.  The orbs look like an arrow in space, with the crescent moon closest to us, Venus on the top right and Jupiter below. (Found at The World at Night.)

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April’s full moon:      Friday Apr 6 19:19 UT (3:19 PM EDT, 12:19 PM PDT)
.                                     Passover begins at sundown Friday April 6
.                                     Easter is celebrated on Sunday April 8 (Western)
.                                     Easter is celebrated on Sunday April 15 (Eastern Orthodox)
April’s new moon:     Saturday Apr 21 07:18 UT (3:18 AM EDT, 12:18 AM PDT)
May’s full moon:       Sunday May 6 3:35 UT
.                                    Saturday May 5 11:35 PM EDT, 8:35 PM PDT
May’s new moon:     Sunday May 20 23:47 UT (7:47 PM EDT, 4:47 PM PDT)

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Each issue this year will include this section where we’ll take a look at interesting aspects of the significance of 2012, especially as it relates to astronomical events.

   Much ado has been made over the past few years about the ending of the Mesoamerican “long count” calendar, with some eschatologists claiming the Mayans were predicting the end of the world, or the end of the world as we know it.

The above cartoon was found at Pritchett’s Pen

   According to a compilation of Maya creation accounts, we are living in the fourth world, which succeeded three previous failed worlds created by the gods. Some calculations say this fourth world will end on December 21, 2012.

For nearly half a century, Maya scholars have relied on a fixed numerical value called the GMT constant as a means of correlating the dates on the ancient Maya calendar with those on the Gregorian – or modern – calendar. However, recent research conducted by Gerardo Aldana, associate professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at UC Santa Barbara, suggests that the GMT constant – which has never actually been proved conclusively – could be inaccurate by 50 to 100 years or more.

So we may have a reprieve here. (See the full UC Santa Barbara press release, from which the above was excerpted, for the full skinny.)

In coming months, we’ll delve deeper into some of the more interesting theories, including their astronomical aspects, along with some metaphysical interpretations.

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   The major moon-related celebrations this month include the Jewish festival of Passover and the Christian holiday of Easter. Even though most people in Western countries are familiar with these holidays, I present a brief synopsis of each below, followed by an explanation of how determinations of their calendar dates relate to the moon’s cycle.


   Passover (or Pesach in Hebrew) is a major Jewish festival commemorating the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, as recorded in the Book of Exodus in the Torah (the Jewish bible).

   The Hebrew word pesach means “to pass over”. During Passover Jews take part in a ritual meal known as a seder, which incorporates the retelling of the story of the Exodus and of God’s deliverance from bondage in Egypt when the Angel of Death “passed over” the houses of the Israelites. Hag HaMatzah (Feast of Unleavened Bread) and Yom HaBikkurim (Firstfruits) are both mentioned in Leviticus 23 as separate feasts; however, today Jews celebrate all three feasts as part of the eight-day observation of Passover.

   The Torah refers to this festival as Chag he-Aviv, or the Festival of Spring. The holiday also celebrates the birth of the Jewish nation after being freed by God from slavery in Egypt. Today Jews all over the world take this time to celebrate and thank God for being able to observe their religion freely. On a more spiritual level, many Jews make the holiday relevant to today by celebrating the freedom from the bondage of a worried and anxious mind that reliance on God provides.

Determination of the Start of Passover

   The Hebrew calendar is a lunisolar (lunar/solar) calendar, used in modern times to determine when Jewish holidays occur (and for some other liturgical purposes). The Torah dictates that Passover is to begin at sundown on the evening before the 15th day of the month of Aviv/Abib (now called by its Babylonian name Nisan), which is the first month in the Hebrew calendar. Since each Hebrew month begins on a new moon, Passover always begins on the night of the full moon in Nisan. While this is usually the first full moon following the Spring equinox, it is sometimes the second one.

   The reasons for the “sometimes” are somewhat complex, since they relate to the age-old attempt to keep lunar calendars more or less in line with the seasons. Because the seasons are determined by the Earth’s journey around the sun, and not in any way by the Moon’s revolution around us, attempts to reconcile solar calendars with lunar calendars have always been approximate at best.

   Whereas the Hebrew calendar was originally observational, based on a number of factors that were used to empirically determine when Spring had actually arrived (for example, when the barley had ripened), this practice ended back in 350 CE when Hillel II standardized the Hebrew calendar to be fixed by mathematical calculation.


   The Christian holiday Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ following his crucifixion, and is the oldest and most important annual religious feast in the Christian liturgical year. In a larger sense, Easter celebrates the triumph of the new life of Spring over the death of Winter, both literally and figuratively.

   Easter also refers to the season of the church year called Eastertide, or the Easter Season. Traditionally the Easter Season lasted for the forty days from Easter Day until Ascension Day but now officially lasts for the fifty days until Pentecost. The first week of the Easter Season is known as Easter Week or the Octave of Easter. Easter also marks the end of Lent, a season of fasting, prayer, and penance.

   The earliest known observance of Easter, called Pasch, occurred between the second and fourth centuries. These celebrations commemorated both Jesus’ death and his resurrection at once, whereas today these two events have been split up between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Determination of the Date for Easter

   For Western churches, Easter is calculated as the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon, which occurs on or after the vernal equinox. If the full moon falls on a Sunday, then Easter is the following Sunday. The holiday can occur anywhere between March 22 and April 25.

   The Western church does not use the actual, or astronomically correct date for the vernal equinox; instead it uses a fixed date (March 21). And by full moon it does not mean the astronomical full moon but the “ecclesiastical moon”, which is based on tables created by the Church. These constructs allowed the date of Easter to be calculated in advance rather than determined by actual astronomical observances, which at the time were less predictable.

   The Council of Nicaea in 325 established that Easter would be celebrated on Sundays; before that Easter was celebrated on different days in different places in the same year.

   The Eastern Orthodox Church uses the same formula to calculate Easter, but bases the date on the (older) Julian calendar rather than the more contemporary Gregorian calendar that is most widely used today.

   Unlike the Western Church, the Eastern Church sets the date of Easter according to the actual, astronomical full moon and the actual equinox as observed along the meridian of Jerusalem, the site of the Crucifixion and Resurrection. Consequently, both churches only occasionally celebrate Easter on the same day.

The Connection Between Easter and Passover

   The Jewish holiday Passover and the Christian holiday Easter have been intertwined ever since the Last Supper which, according to some versions of the story, was a Passover seder. The Last Supper took place just before the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, thus interlocking the two holidays. The word Pasch, from the Hebrew for Passover, came to mean Easter (Pascha) as well.

   Christian celebrations of Easter were originally tied to Jewish celebrations of Passover. Similar to Passover as a celebration by Jews of their deliverance from bondage in Egypt, Easter for Christians is a celebration of deliverance from the bondage of death and sin. Jesus is the Passover sacrifice, and since in some narratives of the Passion the Last Supper of Jesus and his disciples is a Passover meal, Easter can be seen as the Christian Passover celebration. Both holidays resonate with the celebration of new/everlasting life.

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APRIL and the MOON

April Flowers (Cecil Williams) [FineArtAmerica]

April Flowers (Cecil Williams) [FineArtAmerica]

The Waste Land: I.The Burial of the Dead
APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.

 [Opening lines of The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot (1888–1965)]

The Moon Versus Us Ever Sleeping Together Again
I sit here, an arch-villain of romance,
thinking about you.
Gee, I’m sorry I made you unhappy,
but there was nothing I could do about it
because I have to be free.
Perhaps everything would have been different
if you had stayed at the table
or asked me to go out with you to look at the moon,
instead of getting up and leaving me alone with her.

[Richard BrautiganFamous Poets and Poems]

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   The Latin for April is Aprilis, but no one knows its origin for sure. The traditional etymology is from the Latin aperire, “to open,” in allusion to its being the season when trees and flowers begin to open. It has also been suggested that Aprilis was originally the goddess Venus’ month Aphrilis, from her equivalent Greek goddess name Aphrodite. (Wikipedia “April”)

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Carola EastwoodLetting Go of Old Patterns

   Here is a condensed  summary of what Carola Eastwood writes about this Full Moon in Libra, in her Planetary Cycles column this month in the Life Connection magazine:

The high frequency self-realization and healing energy beaming from this Libra full moon may cause us to feel compelled to rush into action once we “see” the path before us. But more time is needed to allow a full release of our old patterns of being, doing, and relating, at least until April 14.

   Read the actual full paragraph, along with astrology and horoscopes for each sign, at Carola’s Planetary Cycles.  

Carola Eastwood provides in-depth personal astrology readings that open the doorway to fulfilling your life-purpose. Her office is in San Marcos. 858/259-1590. www.HumanDesignForUsAll.com.

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Molly HallBright and Balanced

   Here’s a brief excerpt from Molly Hall’s Full Moon article this month at About.com:

This is a clear night of reflection, and seeing the vital self in the eyes of the beloved, a friend, your own wise guides. Libra’s call is to polish the mirror, and see the ideal that we’re striving to become.

It’s a Good Time to:

  • Find the power of balance, as a strong platform to initiate something brand new.
  • Take action to achieve resolution — compromise or confront — to move forward.
  • Bring the elegant and artful into view around you.
  • Make a new friend or partner, network, get social.
  • Use this peak moment to weigh a significant issue.

   (For the complete read, including the astrology behind these insights, see Molly’s full article “Full Moon in Libra: Bright and Balanced“)

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Jeff JawerThe Sign of Partnerships: Selfish vs. Selfless.

   Here is a summary of Jeff’s Full Moon in Libra page:

The Libra Moon reminds us that compromise is a key to success in relationships. Knowing when to take charge of your life and when it’s appropriate to meet others halfway is the lesson of this Full Moon. Being fair to yourself and others helps to find a healthy balance between these contrasting forces.

   The above is from the introduction to Jeff’s article. Check out his full article “Full Moon in Libra Horoscopes” for the full text, plus horoscopes for each zodiac sign.

Full Moon in Libra

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   If you especially like (or dislike) something you see here, or would like to see something in particular covered in a future issue, or you have something interesting about the Earth, Moon, or Stars you would like to share, please leave a comment. I’m always interested in how folks who stop by here are moved/influenced/affected.

Until the full moon in May, here’s wishing you and yours a month of opening, renewal, and balance.

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The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with (hopefully interesting) facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about our one and only natural satellite and how all of us — people, animals, plants, water, even rocks — are affected and connected by her.


About aquarianman

Aquarian interested in anything to do with the Earth, our Moon, and anything flying around out there in space.
This entry was posted in Astrology, Folklore, moon and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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