March’s Buffalo Moon

Felix Plenilunium!

(“Happy Full Moon” in Latin)

Welcome to Issue 3 of Volume V of Earth, Moon and Stars!

In this issue:

      • Moon Names ~ Buffalo Moon
      • Seasonal Calendar ~ Moon dates and times
      • Spring Art ~ Child’s painting | Tulips in Holland
      • Spring Poetry ~ e. e. cummings
      • Celebrations ~ Holi, Passover, Easter
      • Folklore ~ Ring Around the Moon | Celtic Tree of the Month
      • Astrology ~ Monster Moon – Watch Out!

MOON NAMES

Buffalo Moon

   As we like to note each month, 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 this full moon following the Equinox.

   Since there aren’t an infinite number of different moon names for each month, and since I’ve burned through quite a few of them over the past five years, I’ve decided to narrow this Moon Names section down to one (or maybe two) names each month. This will also give us the chance to delve into the featured name a bit more deeply.

   This month I’m highlighting the Arapaho’s name: Buffalo Dropping Their Calves Moon. or more simply, Calf Moon. I find this name intriguing because of the images it conjures, especially when you contrast it with some of the other names we’ve featured here in past March issues, particularly Snow Crust Moon and Sore Eyes from Bright Snow Moon. So the image of these swollen buffalo cows (they’re technically bison, but “buffalo” has come to be an accepted common-usage name) dropping their orange/rust-colored calves in the snow made me look for some photos and also do some research.

DSC_0235.JPG copy   First, I want to assure you that, short of interviewing an Arapaho myself, the nosing around the Web that I did confirmed agreement from a variety of sources that, indeed, this was the Arapaho name for the March full moon.

   So why do I think this is problematic? Well, first of all, common sense would tell you that dropping your calf in the snow is not the best timing for its survival.  (The calf in the photo to the left is of Zisa, who was born late in the previous season and survived the winter against all odds. See the article “The Little Bison That Could“.) A newborn bison spends its first few days of life resting — resting in the snow does not seem to me to be the ideal new-beginnings scenario.

   Digging a little deeper, we find the National Bison Association’s website, which states that “cows have their calves from mid-April through June”.

   So — did the Arapaho actually see buffalo calves dropping in March? Was it wishful thinking after a long, hungry winter? Was it a mis-translation back there somewhere? Or did Spring come earlier back then? (Hey ~ the Arapaho were probably not even using our Gregorian calendar when they came up with this name.)  It’s really not a critical issue ~ there’s a lot of leeway in folklore. I was just curious. 

Buffalo calf nursing

   I thought you would enjoy this photo. I found it on Diana Robinson’s Flickr website, where it says she took in on April 5, 2011. So indeed the little feller very well could have dropped in March. (The photo’s copyrighted, but I’m sure Diana won’t mind my showing off her work here, especially with attribution and the above link to her page.) 

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MOON ART

March Chaste Moon [Cyndi Lavin]

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 The beautiful beaded embroidery you see here was created by Cyndi Lavin 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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SEASONAL CALENDAR

March’s full moon:          Wednesday Mar 27 09:28 UT (5:28 am EDT, 2:28 am PDT)
Passover:                           began at sundown Monday March 25
Easter (Western):            Sunday March 31 (Western)
April’s new moon:           Wednesday Apr 10 09:36 UT (5:36 am EDT, 2:36 am PDT)
April’s full moon:            Thursday Apr 25 19:58 UT (3:58 pm EDT, 12:58 pm PDT)
Easter (Eastern)              Sunday May 5 

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SPRING ART

Tulips in Holland's Keukenhof Park (credit Alison Cornford-Matheson)

Tulips in Holland’s Keukenhof Park (credit Alison Cornford-Matheson)

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SPRING POETRY

in Just-   (by e. e. cummings)

in Just-

spring        when the world is mud-

luscious the little

lame balloonman

whistles      far      and      wee

and eddieandbill come

running from marbles and

piracies and it’s

spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer

old balloonman whistles

far      and      wee

and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and

it’s

spring

and

       the

                goat-footed

balloonMan      whistles

far

and

wee

[E. E. CummingsPoetry Foundation (Cummings’ original spelling and layout preserved)]

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CELEBRATIONS

   Major moon-related celebrations this month include the Hindu festival of Holi, the Jewish festival of Passover and the Christian holiday of Easter. 

Holi

   Hindus follow a lunisolar calendar, which  honors each full moon (purnima) with a celebration. On this spring full moon (transliterated as Phalgun Purnima), the festival of Holi – the Spring Festival of Colors – is celebrated.  Similar to other Spring rituals, this major Hindu holiday celebrates new life and hope, accentuating the joy with colors (everywhere and on everyone!) that reflect the colors of the flowers blooming all around.

happy-holi-wallpapers   The holiday also has deep cultural, mythological  and religious roots.  For lots more details about Holi, visit the Wikipedia article and Holi Festival.

Passover

   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.

Easter

   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.

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.

   If you would like to see an expanded explanation of Passover and Easter, including how determinations of their calendar dates relate to the moon’s cycle, just look to your right under Archives and click on April 2012.

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FOLKLORE

Ring Around the Moon

   While a lot of older folklore was based on pure superstition, sometimes an element of fact is interwoven with the story. Such is the case with the old wives’ saying, “If a circle forms ‘round the moon, ‘twill rain or snow soon.” People noticed the correlation, which the Farmer’s Almanac explains thusly:

   The halo that sometimes surrounds the moon is a beautiful sight. The halo is caused by light that is refracted as it passes through ice crystals of high-level clouds.While these high-level clouds themselves don’t carry any precipitation, they often foretell an advancing system of low pressure, which tends to bring undesirable weather conditions. While rain or snow may not always follow, the appearance of a halo provides a higher probability of wet weather.

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The Celtic Tree Calendar

   The Celtic Tree Calendar is a calendar with thirteen lunar divisions. Rather than following the actual waxing and waning of the moon, most contemporary Pagans use fixed dates for each “month” so as to stay in sync with the (solar) Gregorian calendar. The modern tree calendar is based on a concept that letters in the ancient Celtic Ogham alphabet corresponded to various trees.

The Alder Tree

   The tree honored this month (March 18 – April 14) is the Alder, which is connected to the intuitive process and spiritual decision-making. Whistles were once made out of Alder shoots to call upon Air spirits, so it’s an ideal wood for making a pipe or flute if you’re musically inclined. (The above was excerpted from the About.com article “Celtic Tree Months.“)

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ASTROLOGY

Molly Hall ~ Intense “Monster Moon” in Libra

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

   This Full Moon in Libra is unusually hot, so being aware helps you to prepare! She suggests that this could be the moment to overcome inertia, to bravely move with the energies of life, freedom, physical vitality and creative risks. It’s a tipping point moment, of action, to forge ahead fully engaged in the moment. There can be a great re-balancing, with brave acts that flip the story drastically. However, she warns that this is not a time to provoke an “enemy” or pull a power move — it could backfire bigtime.

(For the complete read, including the astrology behind these insights, see Molly’s full article “Libra Full Moon, 2013“)

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 April, here’s wishing you and yours a month of rejoicing and action.

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INTENTION FOR THIS EARTH, MOON AND STARS BLOG

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.

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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, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to March’s Buffalo Moon

  1. Cyndi L says:

    I knew nothing about the “Buffalo Moon” aspect before…thank you!

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