A dear reader asked for my list of personal moon names. I came up with these many years ago when frustrated with all the northern native moon names. Some of them were mentioned in The Storyteller of Cyriae, one of the tales in Driftways. I believe we benefit from developing intimate relationships with nature - therefore, noticing what each month (moon) brings to our own neighbourhood and acknowledging that with a particular name.
These are my personal moons, the songlines of my sky ...
August. Imbolc in my part of the world: the first stirrings of spring. I have written about the Bee-wing moon here. It's probably my favourite chapter in the annual story of life.
September. This is the month when lilac and wisteria begin to blossom all through my neighbourhood. It was a little late this year, but climate change has been making obvious alterations to the natural pattern of weather and growth here, and the lilac blossom was one of them. Infact we had little blossom of any kind in 2017. Next year, I may have to begin calling this moon something else. It will be a floral name for sure though, in honour of Ostara which is on the 21st of this month.
October. This is mid-Spring in my part of the world. I remember as a child Winter traditonally began in May, but now its start is June, which shoves all the other seasons along a month too, and so whereas I would call October late-Spring, it's now the middle. None of it matters of course as our quadrant of seasons increasingly dissolves. More and more Aotearoa is developing a wet/dry seasonal pattern. We still have Spring, but Autumn is much reduced now where I live.
Moon of Love-Singing.
November. The heat begins to increase and the cicadas emerge with their mating call. I also call this month the Moon of Love-Singing because it begins with Beltane, the marriage of the God and Goddess.
December. This moon is named in honour of the God who is celebrated on Litha, or summer solstice, December 21st.
January. This is the time of increasing heat and humidity, but also storms. Almost every single January for as long as I can remember, people have gone on their New Year's camping holidays and been flooded out by storms. And every single time, they are surprised. So I name this moon for the damp air and the dream of rain and the sudden storms that swing in from the hot north-western seas. I might have once called it Flower Moon I think, but flowers no longer flourish in local gardens this month, it's just too hot and dry and then it all gets flooded.
February. The heat reaches disgusting levels, just as children go back to school. Increasingly, we have been experiencing droughts, and instead of rich green summer fields we see great swathes of crackling gold. You can't walk on it barefoot, there are too many prickles. The first harvests begin to come in, lovely gold wheat for bread, lovely gold fruit sold cheaply in the markets - infact, today is Lammas.
March. This could also be known as Harvest Moon, or Thanksgiving Moon, for the fuller harvest comes in. I personally like Gathering Moon because it's a time to not only gather fruits and vegetables for storing so you have a plentiful supply over winter, but also because in March I begin to wash all my blankets and winter sheets in preparation for the cold months ahead. I buy hot water bottles and candles and such things. I should mention that March can be the hottest month of all here, or perhaps just feels that way because I'm so weary of summer by then, and my gathering is more from wishing than any immediate need.
April. It should be deep Autumn now, but lately this is the month when trees begin to show a little brown, and the weather starts to become cooler. I read back over something I wrote three years ago about April, and am surprised at how much the season has changed even since then. It's still cardigan weather, but duller and less enchanting than it used to be. I love the moons of this month, they are lush and red-gold, rising from a new angle on my horizon which contrasts them with certain terrain to make every one of them look like a supermoon. I also notice the sparrows a great deal in this month, and so named it for them.
The Moon of Peace-Dreaming.
May. This used to be the start of winter but is now our proper Autumn month. Perhaps the conditions are different in the hinterland and hills of Aotearoa, but here on the coast the trees are shedding leaves and the prevailing mood is quiet and brown. Easter's storms have passed and nature seems to be gentling itself towards rest. I used to call this Shedding Moon, back when I lived in a wooded valley. Here, by the sea, the feeling of deepening peace is stronger.
The Midwife Moon.
June. This is the month of Yule, the winter solstice, when the goddess gives birth in the dark to the sun. I believe that winter, darkness, and shadow are rich, gently wild, and fertile places of growth, simply unnoticed by our sun-lit above-ground eyes. Cailleach, the crone, the old mother, the winter goddess, is the midwife into life (and death). You can meet her as Hecate in the story of Persephone & Demeter; as Baba Yaga; as the witch of many old tales. She stands at the doorway and opens, closes, for us all. I have half a novel written about her - one day I really ought to get back to it.
July. This is the old heart of winter. It's cold, white-cold, burning cold. The whole world seems quieter as people tuck themselves in. I love the smell of chimney smoke that drifts through still night skies. I love the silence behind the winds. I'm too old now to say this is my favourite month, as it used to be - my joints suffer too much from that cold. But I love its quiet. I love the feeling of rest.
For each of these months I have a step in a Heroine's Mythic Journey, a narrative pattern for stories and therapy, which I devised some years ago. I've written about it before. If you'd like to hear it again, do let me know.