The Full Cold Moon

Native Americans named the moons to track the passage of time. The Full Cold moon, or “tsothohrha” (time of cold), comes from the Mohawk tribe (the most easterly tribe of the Iroquois Confederacy, southeastern Canada and northern New York). This is the final moon of the year and the one in which we have finally moved into the coldest weather patterns. Other names for this moon include “rvfo-rakko”, big winter (the Creek Tribes of Georgia), “wahi mua”, evergreen moon (the Comanche Tribes of the Southern Plains), her winter houses moon (the Wishram, the Columbia River of Washington and Oregon), and my personal favorite, “ik’ohbu yachunne”, sun has traveled home to rest (the Zuni Tribes of New Mexico).

My daughter’s art, she reminds me of an Evergreen Goddess, the Full Cold, or Full Evergreen Moon. @blu.s_drawing.s on Instagram.

The “sun traveling home to rest moon” refers to solstice, which generally falls on December 20th or the 21st. The Mohican called this moon The Long Night Moon because of how it sits closest to winter solstice; with the nights at their longest, the days at their shortest, and the moon sitting high and long in the cold sky.

The Full Cold Moon hits it’s peak tonight, December 29th, at 7:28 pm (Pacific).

The Full Cold Moon, one night before her peak, December 28, 2020.

Winter Moon

Brightly the moon like a jewel is beaming,

White in the east, o’er a lone landscape gleaming,

Over the meadows and over the snow,

Glimmering, shimmering, silvery glow.

Low in the east, when the gloaming is ending,

Slowly this white winter moon is ascending,

Looming so large and appearing so nigh,

Satellite framed by a star-spangled sky.

High in the sky, with soft radiance teeming,

Nigh to the time when men, women, are dreaming,

Weird is her splendor on valley and hill,

Cold is her gleam upon river and rill.

Brightly the moon like a heel is shining,

White in the west she is slowly declining;

Beautiful Moon! Which beams gorgeous and grand

Over the homes of our own Native Land.

-Charles Nevers Holmes

Links

Native American Moon Names – Western Washington University

Yule and the Solstice – Welcoming the Return of the Light

The Cold Moon – Old Farmer’s Almanac

Winter Moon Poem

Blu.s_drawing.s

The Full Beaver Moon and Penumbral Eclipse

Drawing of the Beaver moon, a brown beaver swimming with a branch through a pond, but the pond is also the moon. Art by Anna Loscotoff, 2020

Castor Canadensis

Safely back in the lodge

Living room you share

A lunch of bark

Golden sharp teeth peeling it skillfully

From the young branch

Before grinding it between your molars

Later that now naked limb will be carefully

Added in to the new structure

Your beaver family has begun work on

Andrea Schwenke Wyile

As I sat outside this Thanksgiving, keeping social distance while still enjoying a small gathering of family, I watched as the V formation of geese flew overhead, honking as they make their way south on their winter migration. The geese remind us of the transition of seasons, always having their own clocks, their own maps, oftentimes using the light of the moon to guide them on their way.  

November’s moon is called the Full Beaver moon.  The beaver is settling down, not for hibernation, but storing food for a long winter within their lodges.  Lack of food in winter, as well as frozen lakes and ponds, force the beaver to prepare.  Their pelts are also at their thickest and most luxurious, making this time of year optimal for hunters.  

November’s full moon is also called the Geese Going Moon (as we watch them fly over in their formations), the Frost Moon, the Freezing Moon, and sometimes the Digging (or Scratching) Moon, as animals are scratching through the fallen leaves, trying to find the last bits of growth before winter.  

The moon will hit her fullest at 1:30 in the AM on the morning of November 30th.  Watch for her the night of November 29th, as she will be on the cusp of her peak.

Not living in an area with beaver, but connecting so deeply with birds, I think Geese Going Moon resonates with me the most deeply. Which of the moon names do you relate to?

Two sounds of Autumn are unmistakable…

The hurrying rustle of crisp leaves

Blown along the street…

By a gusty wind

And the gabble of a flock

Of migrating geese.

– Hal Borland – 

A moon nearing the full rises behind the red leaves of a fall tree.  Photo by Anna Loscotoff, Nov 2020
The moon, near the full, rises behind the changing colors of a tree in Autumn. Photo by Anna Loscotoff, 2020

The Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse’s are not what we imagine when we hear the word eclipse, their isn’t the dramatic disappearance of the moon, the way we often think of a full solar eclipse.  The moon doesn’t change to deep red, the way it will in a total lunar eclipse.  What you will see, however, is what appears to be a slight shadow on the upper rim of the moon.  There may be a slight change in color, depending on weather, from grey to brown or even a yellow hue.  

The penumbral eclipse will last for just over 4 hours on the morning of November 30th, however the best time to see it is within a 40 minute window, from around 1:24 am (PST) until 2:04 am, with the peak of eclipse falling around 1:44 in the am.

If you stay up to watch the eclipse, I’d love to know what it looked like for you.  We’re you able to see earth’s shadow? What colors did you see?

Links

About the American Beaver

Busy beavers plan ahead for long cold winter

Castor Canadensis Poem

How do geese know to fly south for the winter?

Lunar eclipses: What are they & when is the next one?

Look for November’s Full Beaver Moon

A Beaver Full Moon lunar eclipse occurs Monday. Here’s what to expect

November’s Beaver Full Moon 2020: See a lunar eclipse and a near-minimoon

If you are new here, my most important blog

Ritual of the Full Moon

I think of the full moon as a time of letting go.  As the moon loses her roundness, so we release the things that no longer serve us.  

  • Think about the things that are no longer serving you, the things that are hurting you, the things you no longer need in your life.
  • Write the things you wish to let go on small slips of paper or bay leaves.
  • Using a fire safe bowl in a fire safe space, a fire pit, a fireplace, burn these things that you wish to release.  
  • Watch the flame, thinking about these weights being released from you. 
  • When the fire has been extinguished, your thoughts burned, reground with a bit of chocolate, or in honor of the Harvest Moon, hot cider, cinnamon, or tree nuts. 

What is NaNoWriMo?

The sunset on November 1, 2020. There are some dark silhouetted clouds with a bit of orange color on the horizon. Photo by Anna Loscotoff.

Welcome to November and National Novel Writing Month! Yep, you heard that right, National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo. This is the month where hundreds of thousands of writers from all around the world come together to write, to let go of their inner critic, to start on the first draft of a new novel, to complete 50,000 words in 30 days. But it’s not just for adults, NaNoWriMo also offers a Young Writer Program where children under the age of 18 can set their own writing goals for the month of November. NaNoWriMo is a non-profit, it’s a social support network, and it’s a community.

This is my first year of committing to the process. 50,000 words is pretty intimidating! It means writing without editing (I am a constant re-reader and ongoing editor). It means trying to let go of personal judgement (you know that super mean, critical inner voice telling you that you just aren’t good enough? Yeah, it can get pretty loud sometimes.) It means trying not to judge myself when I don’t get to my daily goal of 2,000 words (some days 2,000 words can be easy, and on other’s, it’s a fight of epic proportion.)

It also means supporting my daughter through the process, despite school and anxiety and her own artistic passion projects. What I love above the Young Writers Program is that she can set whatever goal is appropriate for her. You can find the Young Writers Goals here. They receive badges as they go and can type their story directly onto the site. The YWP keeps track of their word count, freeing them up to experiment with their words.

Computer screen shot of my figuring out ages and relationships between characters for NaNoWriMo, 2020.  Photo by Anna Loscotoff.
What do you do when your character has lots of sisters and you need to figure out how they all fit together? Using an age calculator to learn more about their relationships and interactions.

One of the rules of NaNoWriMo is to not start your story until November 1st, but you can lay the groundwork. You can establish the world where your story takes place, your characters, your outline. I didn’t do any of that. I wanted to, but I was stuck with what story I wanted to write. There was the young adult trilogy that has been bouncing around my brain for years. There was the small town ghost story with a tiny bit of history thrown in. There was the graphic pagan romance. Ultimately, I’ve decided on a YA story that links to the middle grade book I’ve been working on.

The middle grade novel, The Mourning Rose, has a little write up here. I’ve been editing this book for forever! And through the editing process I’ve realized, maybe I need to tell Rose’s story first. And once I’ve told her story, perhaps the middle grade it’s based on will grow up too. Perhaps Ellie isn’t 13, perhaps she’s 16 and on a mission of her own.

There is a saying that there are a three of writers: Planners, Pantsers, and recently added, the Plantser. Planners plan their novels, they know where they are headed and how they are going to get there. Pantsers just fly by the seat of their pants. And Plantsers are somewhere in the middle; they think know where they are headed, they have established ideas, but they aren’t afraid to deviate from the path and the book may head in a completely unexpected direction. I would say I’m a Plantser. I know Rose’s story, I know where this story is headed, but I haven’t completely figured out her world yet.

The sun sets with a sky full of grey clouds and wispy white streaks.  A little color from the sunset sits on the horizon.  Photo by Anna Loscotoff.
As the sun sets on November 1st, 2020, we start our NaNoWriMo writing journey. Photo by Anna Loscotoff.

As the sun set on our first day of National Novel Writing Month, I’m already behind. I did not hit my 2,000 word goal. I realized that as I began Rose’s story, she has sisters. She has a lot of sisters. I needed to spend some time with them today, to figure out who they were and how they play into Rose’s story. Once I know them a little better, I will have new characters to write with. Tomorrow I will continue to write, off on my journey of 50,000 words.

Links

Join us on this journey at NaNoWriMo

The Young Writers Program at YWPNaNoWriMo

Why is this under the Daily Sunset category?

The Hunter’s Blue Moon

Original mandala drawing of a woman, Artemis, standing in front of a full yellow moon. She has long red hair and pulls an arrow to her bow. Art by Anna Loscotoff.

The way she shines as she peeks over the mountain to the East.  A pine silhouetted. Her light fills the sky.  The huntress with her bow moves slowly, silently, as she prepares the hunt for winter.

This October, we are given two full moons.  The first, The Harvest Moon, reached peak on October 1st.  The second arrives on Halloween.  This moon, the Hunter’s Moon, will reach it’s peak at 7:49 (pacific) in the A.M, giving us two nights of very full moon rises. Because the Hunter’s Moon is the second in October, it is also a “Blue Moon”.  This is the first Halloween full moon for all US time zones since 1944.

As the Harvest Moon gives us extra light to harvest, the Hunter’s Moon gives light to the Hunters, preparing their store  for winter.  Harvesting opened the fields and allowed hunters to see the animals which came to graze on the remnants of the harvest.  It also allowed light to see the predators; the coyotes and foxes and wolves. The Hunter’s Moon has been know as “The Blood Moon”, whether from the blood of animals or the turning of the seasons, as the leaves become red. 

There is some mixing of information this year, as 2020 brings us 13 moons.  Traditionally, the Harvest Moon falls in September. If you search many sites, that is exactly what you will see. However, both the Harvest Moon and the Hunter’s moon are based upon the date of the Autumn Equinox.  

A mandala full moon, drawn on black paper in blue and white.  Original art by Anna Loscotoff.
The blue moon, shown in a drawing on black paper with colored pencils. Original art by Anna Loscotoff, © 2020

Traditionally, the Harvest Moon is the full moon which is nearest to the equinox.  The equinox this year fell on September 22nd with the September moon reaching it’s peak on September 2nd.  The following moon reached her peak on October 1st, giving her the designation of “The Harvest Moon”.  The moon following Harvest is always “The Hunter’s Moon”.  Because of the way the calendar fell, the September full moon this year was titled “The Corn Moon”. 

The Hunter Moon is also the farthest moon from the earth this year. The moon has an oval orbit around the earth which brings it closer (a supermoon) and farther (a minimoon). Despite being further, it will not seem smaller.  And even though it is called “A Blue Moon”, it will not be blue. 

A Prayer to Artemis

Goddess of the Hunt, the Wilderness, The Moon, Wild Animals, and Chastity

Artemis, huntress of the moon, make my aim true.

Give me goals to seek and the constant determination to achieve them.

Grant me communion with nature, allow me to live surrounded by plants and animals

that I can grow, protect and nurture.

Allow me the strength and wisdom to be my own mistress,

not defined by the expectations of others.

And sustain my sexuality to be as yours — wild and free as nature itself.

Ritual of the Full Moon

I think of the full moon as a time of letting go.  As the moon loses her roundness, so we release the things that no longer serve us.  

  • Think about the things that are no longer serving you, the things that are hurting you, the things you no longer need in your life.
  • Write the things you wish to let go on small slips of paper or bay leaves.
  • Using a fire safe bowl in a fire safe space, a fire pit, a fireplace, burn these things that you wish to release.  
  • Watch the flame, thinking about these weights being released from you. 
  • When the fire has been extinguished, your thoughts burned, reground with a bit of chocolate, or in honor of the Harvest Moon, hot cider, cinnamon, or tree nuts. 

Links

A list of Hunting Dieties

About Artemis

Farmer’s Almanac Full Moon’s of October 2020

My most important blog; My Creative Muse

The Harvest Moon

A mandala of the Harvest Moon. Crops in reds, greens, and yellows grow in front of the moon. Original Mandala by Anna Loscotoff.

Tonight we welcome the full moon, the Harvest Moon, the moon closest to the autumn Equinox.  The moon will rise along the eastern horizon just after sunset, bringing extra light to the sky, traditionally allowing farmers extra time to harvest their crops as the weather began to turn cold.  

October brings us a rare two full moons, the next falling on Halloween.  A full moon has not fallen on Halloween since 1944.  This next full moon is also a Blue Moon (the second full moon in a month) and the Hunter’s Moon (tied to the equinox as the moon always following the harvest). 

Mandala on black paper. A landscape. Yellow grain grows at the bottom, with purple hills rising behind. The sun, shrouded in fog as it rolls over the hills. Original artwork by Anna Loscotoff.
Mandala of a Harvest Moon coming up over a field of grain. Original art by Anna Loscotoff.

Ritual of the Full Moon

I think of the full moon as a time of letting go.  As the moon loses her roundness, so we release the things that no longer serve us.  

  • Think about the things that are no longer serving you, the things that are hurting you, the things you no longer need in your life.
  • Write the things you wish to let go on small slips of paper or bay leaves.
  • Using a fire safe bowl in a fire safe space, a fire pit, a fireplace, burn these things that you wish to release.  
  • Watch the flame, thinking about these weights being released from you. 
  • When the fire has been extinguished, your thoughts burned, reground with a bit of chocolate, or in honor of the Harvest Moon, hot cider, cinnamon, or tree nuts. 

To learn more about the Harvest Moon, check out these links:

The Old Farmers Almanac

Full Moons in October – CNN

Manzanar

The rays of a sun shine out to the upper right and lower left as it sets behind a hill

I love the feel of the air as it changes into fall.  There is a dry whisp of a scent.  Two different temperatures; a warmth to the front of the breeze but something colder just behind.  I find myself thinking of the interment camps of WWII, and what it was to be taken from your home, to watch a sunset in a place unfamiliar to you.  To watch the sun set behind Mt. Whitney from Manzanar as the weather turned cold. 

The last rays of a sunset come through the weeds in silhouette
The last rays of the sun shine on Sept 28, 2020.

The Japanese internment camps of WWII have been present in my thoughts the last few months.  It started with reading, “Snow Falling on Cedars” in April.  I knew about the camps, but that book, so beautifully written, re-awoke me to the time in our country when land was taken, Japanese immigrants and citizens imprisoned (anyone with Japanese ancestry classified as “enemy aliens”), families torn apart.  This weekend I finished reading, “Daughter of Moloka’i” which also explores the Japanese-American isolation of WWII. I didn’t understand how the land was worked and developed in Florin (Sacramento), California by Japanese families.  I didn’t realize the early relocation camps involved housing people in dirty horse stalls at race tracks. I didn’t understand how businesses were sold for nothing, that there were no options allowing those of Japanese ancestry to hold on to what they had built.

I didn’t know that residents in internment camps were asked to fill out forms which, depending on their answers, could label them “loyal” or “disloyal”.  Question 27 asked if you would be willing to serve as a soldier or a nurse in the war.  Imagine the fear in making this decision; to say no could mark you as disloyal, to say yes could mean leaving your young children or your elderly parents in the dire landscape of internment.  Question 28 asked “Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States… and forswear any form of allegiance or obedience to the Japanese emperor, to any other foreign government, power or organization?”  For those who were immigrants, forbidden US citizenship, would it leave them without a country?  If Japan won this war, would they be killed or tortured for signing this form? If they didn’t sign the form, would they ever leave the camps?

My daughter will be reading “Farewell to Manzanar” this year, an unexpected assignment again connecting us to this time and place. She broke down last nigh, feeling like she has been betrayed by history in that this is something she is only learning now.  I explained that I’m learning too. 

A yellow and orange light around the Tehachapi Mountains after the sun has set
The last colors of the sunset on Sept 28, 2020

And so I watch the sun set, and think about how it must have been almost 80 years ago, with the wind shifting towards winter. 

Links:

Japanese Internment from The History Channel

Japanese Americans and The US Constitution – The Questionnaire

Books:

Snow Falling on Cedar by David Guterson

Daughter of Moloka’i by Alan Brennert

Farewell to Manzanar by James D. Houston and Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston

A Daily Sunset

A sun sets to the left of the frame, disappearing behind a hill. There is a field of golden light in the front.

On May 29th there was one of those sunsets where you can’t help but watch and dream. It split the sky; light and dark, orange and gray and purple. On that night I made a commitment to myself, to spend time each evening watching the day fade away. To take a photograph of each sunset. To acknowledge the transition from day to night. To slow down and participate in the rhythms of nature.

A dramatic sunset of oranges, grays, and purples.  The sunset is split with clouds, creating an image both dark and light.
Sunset on May 29th, Tehachapi Mountains, California

Since that night, I have not missed a sunset. There are nights I’ve been a bit early, others where I have been a tad bit late. I’ve taken a photo of every one. Through the month of July, the sunsets were straight forward and the sun dipped behind a hill with very little color or drama. In September, the sun took a new color with the smoke of California’s fires. One evening the smoke was so thick, the sun just disappeared into the haze. I have watched the sun travel south, down my horizon from it’s summer point furthest north.

The sun is a small red ball disappearing past a hill, surrounded by California wildfire smoke.  The landscape looks red.
The sun sets in California wildfire smoke, September 7, 2020.

These are the dailies; the raw, unedited footage of my life. A flower I thought was pretty. A line of ants marching on. A quote, a thought, a sunset.