April’s Wildcat Moon

সুচেতা পূর্ণিমা!
(“Happy Full Moon” in Bengali)

Welcome to Issue 4 of Volume V of Earth, Moon and Stars!
In this issue:

      • The Choctaw’s Wildcat Moon
      • Cyndi’s Beadwork for April Grass Moon
      • Seasonal Calendar (dates and times)
      • Poetry and Art (April Showers and Moon Haiku)
      • Skywatch (Eclipses)
      • Celebrations (Beltane)
      • Folklore (The Celtic Tree of the Month)
      • Astrology (Healing | Unpacking | Wormholes)

MOON NAMES and MOON ART

   As we 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. 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 name section down to one (or maybe two) names each month. This will also give us the chance to delve into the name a bit more deeply.

   This month we’re highlighting the Choctaw peoples, who named this moon the Wildcat Moon. As you may know, the Choctaw are a Native American people who  coalesced as a people in the 17th century and inhabited the Southeastern United States. In addition to a name for each full moon, these people also had a separate set of names for the thirteen months on their calendar ~ each name associated with the food that was available at that time of year.

   Interestingly, the Choctaw called their twelfth month, Hash Koinchush (which corresponded more or less to our end of September to early October) the “month of the wildcat”, because that was when they hunted these animals to make dried jerky for the lean winter ahead. I have not yet been able to determine why the April full moon was dedicated to the wildcat, when the name of their calendar month at this time was Hash Bissi, or the month of the blackberry. Also, this wildcat was evidently not the same as the Old World wildcat, but more likely was either the common bobcat or mountain lion. [sources: Everything Under the MoonAncient Choctaw CalendarChoctaw.]

Night of the Werecats

Night of the Werecats

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April Grass Moon [Cyndi Lavin]

April Grass Moon [Cyndi Lavin]


The beautiful artwork you see here was created by Cyndi Lavin for the Bead Journal Project, where you can see all twelve, one for each full moon. Cyndi calls this one April Grass Moon, after the Sioux Green Grass Moon and the Algonquin Sprouting Grass Moon.
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SEASONAL CALENDAR

April’s full moon:     Thursday Apr 25 19:58 UT (3:58 pm EDT, 12:58 pm PDT)
Beltane is celebrated on May 1
Easter is celebrated on Sunday May 5 (Eastern Orthodox)
May’s new moon:    Friday May 10 00:29 UT
.                                  Thursday May 9 8:29 PM EDT, 5:29 PM PDT
May’s full moon:     Saturday May 25 04:25 UT (12:25 AM EDT)
.                                  Friday May 24 9:25 PM PDT

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POETRY and ART

APRIL SHOWERS

April Showers Bring May Flowers (by Zina on Let's Lasso the Moon)

April Showers Bring May Flowers (by Zina at Let’s Lasso the Moon)

MOON HAIKU

The thief left it behind,
the moon
at the window
                         ~Ryōkan

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SKYWATCH – ECLIPSES

   Much has been made of the lunar eclipse this full moon — the first of three lunar eclipses in 2013. However, this one was only a partial (that is, none of the Moon fell inside the Earth’s umbral shadow) and was not visible from North America, as the Moon was on the opposite side of the Earth at the time. (You can read more about this faint event at Sky and Telecope’s article “April 25th’s Partial Lunar Eclipse“.) The remaining two this year will be penumbral and thus barely even detectable. But — hang onto your hats! Next year (2014) will have two total lunar eclipses, both visible from North America. So stay tuned!

   The above S&T article notes that lunar and solar eclipses often come in pairs, and sure enough today’s event will be followed in two weeks (at the new Moon on May 10) by an annular solar eclipse, observable in Australia and across the South Pacific. You can find links for further information in the above article, and also at the Wikipedia article “Solar eclipse of May 10, 2013“.

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CELEBRATIONS

BELTANE

   Beltane is an annual Celtic festival celebrating the beginning of summer, that is celebrated on May 1 and is related to the Northern Hemisphere spring festival of May Day. We note it here because it is a “cross-quarter day”, marking the midpoint in the Sun’s progress between the spring equinox and summer solstice. Fires and costumed processions are often a part of the merry-making.

Edinburgh Beltane Fire Festival 2012 (from Wikimedia)

Edinburgh Beltane Fire Festival 2012 (from Wikimedia Commons)

You can discover much more at the Wikipedia article Beltane, or simply Googling “beltane 2013”.

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FOLKLORE

THE CELTIC TREE CALENDAR

   The Celtic Tree Calendar consists of thirteen lunar divisions. Rather than follow 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.

Willow Tree Moon (from Paganism / Wicca)

Willow Tree Moon (from Paganism / Wicca)

   The tree honored this month (April 15 – May 12) is the Willow. The Willow Moon was known to the Celts as Saille, pronounced Sahl-yeh. The Willow tree grows best when there’s lots of rain, and thus is associated with healing and growth. They are thought to offer protection, and are often found planted near cemeteries. (The above was excerpted from the About.com article “Celtic Tree Months.“) [See also the Willow Moon astrology, below.]

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ASTROLOGY
RavynStar ~ Letting Go of the Past and Healing

Here is an excerpt from fellow WordPress blogger RavynStar’s post about this Willow Moon in her Journeying to the Goddess blog:

   The watery month of the Willow Moon teaches you to release pent-up emotions and experience your grief.  Tears are linked to healing, and as you express difficult and painful feelings, you are able to purge yourself of subconscious fears.  The Willow Moon offered a healing month to the Celts, who literally spring-cleaned themselves in steamy saunas, known as sweat lodges, in readiness for the Beltane festival at the start of May.

Willow Moon

Willow Moon (from Journeying to the Goddess)

   A new addition to our astrology section, RavynStar describes herself as an Army veteran and full-time mommy who loves all things Goddess and Pagan related. Lots more in her Willow Moon post. Go check it out…

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Molly Hall ~ Penetrating the Shadows

   Molly has a lot to say on this first of three lunar eclipses this year. Here’s a brief excerpt from her Scorpio Full Moon post this month at About.com:

   This full moon and eclipse could unpack a bundle of something that’s perceived as dark or dangerous. Eclipses are known for shocking events, so it could be more like your suitcase bursting open in the airport. What’s usually kept under wraps, is made visible — a truth revealed.

From Dark Into Light

From Dark Into Light (from Reflections in the Word)

   In a separate post on the Scorpio Lunar Eclipse, Molly draws on Irish card and rune reader Melodi Grundy, and writes:

   This could be a day of retreat, seeking the healing Need-Fire that was created in some Celtic and Germanic traditions. But as Melodi suggests, there can be pulls on the energy that require vigilant attention and action.

(For the complete reads, including the astrology behind these insights, see both of Molly’s full articles “Scorpio Full Moon” and “The Cave and Need-Fires).

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Michael Lennox ~ Jumping Through Wormholes

   Another new contributor, Dr. Michael Lennox specializes in dream interpretation. Here’s a brief condensation from his article “First Eclipse Of 2013: Full Moon In Scorpio“:

   The two lunar eclipses with a solar eclipse sandwiched in between them (April – May – June) is what is known as a wormhole, which picks you up in one place in time/space and transports you into brand new territory. During this period (April 25 through June 7), the more aware you are of where you want to go, the more likely you will be to land where you will be happy.

   The full article has much more in it ~~ check it out at the above link. While you are there, you can jump to many other interesting dream interpretation articles.

Full Moon in Scorpio

Full Moon in Scorpio (from tarot.com)

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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 courage, connection, and growth.

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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.
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One Response to April’s Wildcat Moon

  1. Cyndi L says:

    I *love* the name “wildcat” moon!

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