Sunday, December 20, 2009

Long Night's Moon

There are two full moons this month. The first was early in the month and the Algonquin call it The Cold Moon and the second moon in December is called The Long Night's Moon. The moon names of this month refer to the wintry surface of the earth, blanketed by snow and patterned by frost, but also to the secret life unfolding underneath the surface of the season. The Sioux know that Deer are shedding their horns while the trees pop with hoar frost, but also the buffalo's fetus is growing large in her uterus. The Cheyenne note the month as the one when the wolves run together in packs. The Wishram move to their winter houses and the Tlingit know that the unborn seals are getting their hair. Such close attention to the details of seasonal markers makes the indigenous people keen observers of global warming. The Haidi in Alaska see the white ptarmigan feasting on ripe red berries in the snow, and the Passamaquoddy know where the fish run under the ice.

Here in Vancouver we have only had one snowfall this year, and now we are back to rain. I took a photo of the bees last week and every time I look at it I wish I could see inside the hive and know their secrets. What do you see under the surface of December? Soon it will be solstice, the longest night of the year, and then this New Year's Eve will be a Blue Moon. I wonder how often that happens? I think it's probably very special. Happy Solstice to all of you and have a peaceful and joyful holiday season.

Abenaki: Winter Maker Moon
Algonquin: Cold Moon, Long Night's Moon
Anishnaabe, Chippewa, Ojibwe: Small Spirits Moon
Northern Arapaho: Popping Trees Moon
Assiniboine: Center Moon's Younger Brother
Cherokee: Snow Moon
Eastern Cherokee: Moon When the First Snows Fall in the Mountains
Cheyenne: Moon When the Wolves Run Together
Eastern Comanchee: Big Cold Moon, Evergreen Moon, 13th Moon-Year Moon
Cree: When the Young Fellow Spreads the Brush
Cree: 13 Moon version--Frozen Over Moon, Scattering Moon
Creek: Big Winter Moon
Haidi: Ripe Berries Moon
Hopi: Month of Respect
Kalapuya: Not Bad Weather
Kiowa: Real Goose Moon
Lakota: Moon When the Deer Shed their Antlers.
Passamaquoddy: Frost Fish Moon
San Juan: Ashes Fire Moon
Shawnee: Eccentric Moon
Sioux: Moon of Popping Trees/When Deer Shed their Horns, Buffalo Cow's Fetus is Getting Large
Tlingit: Unborn Seals are Getting Hair
Winnebago: Big Bear's Moon
Wishram: Her Winter Houses Moon
Zuni: Turning Moon or The Sun has Traveled South to his Home to Rest Before he Starts Back on his Journey North