|"Drawing Down the Moon" by Gerald Gardner.|
Image reprinted in Doreen Valiente's The Rebirth of Witchcraft.
Sitting here beginning this work at eleven p.m. while all the others doze away the night (this is the only time I can find for myself anymore, if I can bear the sleep deprivation) I realize, as the Sunlight streams in through the kitchen windows, that I have not laid eyes on our Lady Moon since Las Vegas.
Has it been a month already?
I was wondering, as I was mentally planning this July's Full Moon poetry dedication, why "Blessing Moon" seemed so familiar, why it seemed as though I must have already covered that name this year. Perhaps there are two months that share the same name? Repeat names are not unheard of, but that is not the source of the confusion. The bewildering familiarity of the Blessing Moon comes from this: Poetry for the Esbat: Blessing Moon 2011.
Has it been one year already?
I began to consider what sort of poetry could follow the work of my beloved Doreen Valiente & I began to lament leaving her book of poetry behind. However, it is best that I chose safe over what turned out to be very, very, sorry -- our box of books finally arrived in Alaska. Decimated & containing a standardized "we're so sorry note" from the postal service, the box was missing all of my summer reading material; my new Carl A. P. Ruck books & my copy of Ecstasy, Ritual, and Alternate Reality by Felicitas D. Goodman. Depressing. They stuffed the space where my books used to be with paper filler. Interesting that the children's workbooks arrived unscathed, don't you think?
But I end the gripe & digression there. My thoughts turned to poetry I have read. Then, to various writings I was reading at this time last year. I felt drawn to use something which explores, expresses, or celebrates the process of "Drawing Down" the Moon. I probably began leaning that way since Gardner's widely-used composition for this rite was ostensibly written by Doreen (as was the majority of his best work) & this makes for a rather natural sequel to the first Blessing Moon poem.
Before I get to the poetry, I will take a moment to cover some of the other names for the Moon when she is at Her fullest in July. (Unless otherwise stated, the Moon names listed below come from the following sources: Farmers' Almanac, WWUP, NASA, FAandPP & SPACE.) Since the Moon's monikers seemed to lend themselves to categorization this time, I thought I would sort them into thematic groupings.
- Names which center around Foraging, Wild Harvest & Ripening are the most plentiful this month & include, "When the Limbs of Trees are Broken by Fruit Moon," "Time of Ripeness Moon," "Little Ripening Moon," "Time of Much Ripening," "Ripening Moon," "Blackberry Moon," "Raspberry Moon," "Red Berries Moon," "Moon of the Red Cherries," "Moon When the Cherries are Ripe," "Moon when the Chokecherries are Black."
- The Agricultural/Cultivation names are less numerous for this month's Moon (in contrast to other times of the year), but there are a few (mostly involving corn), such as; "Little Harvest Moon," "Squash are Ripe Moon," "Moon of the Young Corn," "Ripe Corn Moon," "Corn-popping Moon" & "Hay Moon."
- Weather, as a theme is bioregion specific of course, but most names point to high temperatures, such as "Moon when the Hot Weather Begins," or just "Hot Moon" For those with a monsoon season, there is the "Thunder Moon."
- The Seasonal/Temporal names all point to the summer ala "Summer Moon," "Midsummer Moon" & "Middle of Summer Moon." I found a variety of Moon names with a Wildlife theme (some of which might constitute "seasonal" themes as well) like, "Moon when Ducks Begin to Molt," "Buck Moon," (antlers begin growing) "Moon when the Buffalo Bellow" & several variations on "Salmon Moon" (in certain regions, some species of salmon begin running).
- Finally, there is a handful of more Regionally/Culturally Specific Moon Names like "Moon of the Horse," "Grass Cutter Moon," "Rose Moon," "Red Blooming Lilies Moon," "Mead Moon," & "Moon of the Homedance." If you are aware of others, please add them below.
Being a big fan the Horned Ones, I am partial to the "Buck Moon." But if I were to create my own name for this month's Moon, making sure to give proper attention to my bioregion, I would have to call Her, the "Bashful Moon" & given what has been happening in my other bioregion, perhaps the most apt name this year for that area would be "Inferno Moon." I wonder how She will appear to those who look to Her through those choking skies?
Nowhere among my various (admittedly, primarily North American) resources did I find "Blessing Moon." So what's the deal with this "Blessing Moon" name & where did I get it last year? Look no further than that very pretty but sometimes not-quite reliable calendar of mine. This time, to get my answers, I went straight to the source. According to the Llewellyn Worldwide website, "The old-timers knew July’s Full Moon as the Blessing Moon, because this is the time when Mother Earth begins to bless us with her richness." Gee, those old-timers, they sure knew lots of stuff…
Shaking off my usual skepticism, I looked further & found another explanation of the Blessing Moon written by "Midnight Moonchild" which says, "… this moon may often be known as the the Blessing Moon in reference to the blessings of the sacred marriages of earth and sky, or dark and light, or the King and Queen of summer." While I find this more poetic, it still doesn't give a source. I was thinking it might actually be of Judeo-Christian origin, but if that were the case, wouldn't it be easier to find & verify? This is a quandary. My library is stateside, internet sifting has rendered no useable leads & (Gah!) there is not a Wiki entry (!) -- not even a reference in the Wiki to the "Blessing Moon." So, there you go. I can't help an ounce. (Maybe you can?) But, I can still like the name.
from the Bohemian Gothic Tarot.
Finally, to return to the poetry. I took certain liberties here, loosely defining "poetry" as well as adapting two separate sources to create what I feel is a very fine tribute to our Lady Moon. Both works are from Magical Rites from the Crystal Well, by Ed Fitch & Janine Renee. This book is a collection of articles reprinted from the original magazine, The Crystal Well which began publication in 1965.
What follows is my personal selection of lines from two separate "Outer Court" Moon rites; "Calling Down the Moon" & "Feast of the Full Moon." Each in its entirety is a beautiful rite, but they are both very lengthy, elaborate & not exactly appropriate for my purposes here. What I have done is to abbreviate a small portion of each for this dedication. All quotes here belong to Ed Fitch & remain in their proper sequence. None of the original language has been changed. However, some lines have been omitted to create a shorter, but hopefully sensitive adaptation. The marked break denotes the end of my selections from "Calling Down the Moon" & the beginning of my selections from "Feast of the Full Moon." If you wish to read the rites in their complete form, the book can be purchased directly from the publisher, or various other online retailers.
Selections from Calling Down the Moon & Feast of the Full Moon,
two partial rites by Ed Fitch, et. al.
As we breathe deeply in and out.
It is not just air we take in…
It is the soft silver light of the Moon…
So we breathe in and out.
And so does this circle become a fitting place
For our Lady's presence.
We are the children of the Moon.
We are born of shining light.
When the Moon shoots forth a ray,
We see within it the Goddess…
What we call in our hearts
Goes forth everywhere…
Beyond the stars themselves.
And we have no doubt
That we are heard.
O gracious and beautiful Goddess,
Teach us to weave magic!
Teach us to draw from the Moon…
Teach us of love, and of beauty,
and of sensuousness,
Of the spinning and shaping of moonlight.
Show us to the Paths between the worlds,
To realms strange and beautiful.
Lead us through mist and moonlight.
Teach to us, O Lady of Radiance
To speak the language of the wilds,
To know the ease, the beautiful ease
And to know ecstasy and joy
To stir the very heights of our being!
Blessings to you this Esbat, my friends.