Daily Archives: October 29, 2011

Locally-Named Lunar Months

So there’s an Activity that Starhawk[1] recommends in… gods, one of her books (I think it might be The Earth Path: Grounding Your Spirit In The Rhythms Of Nature, but I could be wrong)… She suggests naming the different lunar months in accordance with what’s going on, nature-wise, in your specific area at the time.

So, right now — seeing as we’re just turning into a new moon (how convenient!) — we would be shifting out of Hunter’s Moon[2] and into Frost Moon.

To that end, I’ve cobbled together a list of lunar-months for my area.

Frost Moon (just starting, late October/early November)
Snow Moon (late November/early December)
Long Nights Moon (Late December – big shock about this name, eh?)
Ice Moon (mid/late January)
Hunger Moon (mid/late February[3])
Sugar Moon (mid March)
Flood Moon (mid April)
Flower Moon (mid May[5])
Honey Moon (mid June[6])
Fruit Moon (mid July[7])
Thunder Moon (early/mid August)
Harvest Moon (early/mid September)
Hunter’s Moon (early October)

Voila. My locally-named lunar calendar (more or less).

What would you name the lunar months where you are?

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] I read a lot of starhawk. She’s pretty articulate and, really, goddess-oriented ecopaganism is pretty close in attitude to the kind of stuff I do, so…

[2] Much as I would love-love-love to say that Hunter’s Moon happens around Hallowe’en and the last harvest (meaning the slaughter), the local large-mammal-hunting season has been on for a little while now, but we’ve only just started getting frost on the windows over night.

[3] It feels weird to call it this, since I have access to grocery stores, but — according to my Food Land Ontario chart — there’s not a lot available from in-province at this time, so it seemed to fit. Also, from the perspective of jewelry-making[4]? “Hunger Moon” is a lot niftier-sounding than, say, “Slush Moon” or “Seasonally Depressed, No REALLY Moon”. Although, actually, I can imagine the latter…

[4] The plan is to do a collection of earrings based on these names.

[5] This could be the crocuses and scilla that come up in early May, but it could also be the lilacs and apple blossoms that come out later in the month.

[6] More because the bees are busy than because it’s honey-harvest time. That doesn’t come until early August, or even October, depending on when you harvest your hives.

[7] I’ve picked service-berries on the first of July, but the first beans and raspberries don’t typically show up until just about August, so that’s my reasoning behind calling the moon that covers approximately July “fruit moon”.

Knitting an Autumn Forest

This is actually a post about knitting.

Knitting is, for me, a very seasonal thing. I was talking about it with my sweetie this morning[1] and she said she thought knitting – as a very stationary activity – was well-suited to the Summer, the time of year when not moving around a lot and, ideally, sitting quietly in the shade, will keep you most comfortable. But, for me, it’s so very connected with Winter. My guess is that it’s because, when it’s cold out, I want to bury my hands in something cozy and give myself excuses to curl up in a little ball somewhere warm with a blanket around my shoulders and a cup of tea close at hand.
However I think I also made this connection because it’s something you can do (to a point — all I can do is “garter stitch”) by feel, something you don’t need to think about all that much, something that – more to the point – you can do indoors, after the harvest is in, while the wind is howling outside. I associate it with winter because, for my agrarian ancestors at any rate, it was (most likely – I am making a big assumption here) something that was done during the time of year when they weren’t sheering or weeding or threshing or what-have-you.

Anyway. Knitting (and spinning; I found a neat drop-spindle tutorial on youtube – over here – which I rather like) are on my mind.

The “autumn forest” part of this post’s title comes from the variegated yarn I’m using to knit my mother a hat[2] which is going to be somewhere between a tuque and a cloche.
I picked the yarn because it’s (a) variegated, which makes the same-stitch-all-the-time look a bit less monotonous, and (b) because it’s in the right colour palate for her — she’s an Autumn, meaning that she looks best in golds, rusts, ambers, and olives.
I’ve been knitting double-stranded from two balls of variegated yarn, which means that the knit doesn’t move from colour to colour in blocks but, rather, is a constantly changing mix. I was looking at it this morning and what I saw was the forest in autumn, specifically Vincent Massey Park in mid-October, as viewed from the Carleton University campus early in the morning. The hazy mix of rust and pumpkin, gold and maroon and brown, mixed with the dark hunter-green of the conifers, emerging from the morning mist.
I like it. I think it will be perfect for her.

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] Reader, I confess it: I was knitting in bed.

[2] I don’t, at this point, work with patterns. As stated, above, I only know how to do garter stitch, so not a lot of point worrying about patterns just now.

Arts, Crafts, and Ancestors

So I’ve made a decision: I’m not doing any[1] craft fairs this winter.

I know, I know. It’s not actually all that monumental. But I figure I don’t have a lot of new stock, the last couple of (Spring) craft shows I did were… not remotely lucrative[2], and I’m not actually hurting for money right now (which is usually why I do these things), so I’m not feeling a deep and hungry need to spend my Saturday sitting in a community centre for the bargain price of $30/table.

I figure I’m better off hanging onto the soaps and candles I’ve already made and using them as gifts for various family/phamily members come Solstice and Xmas; better off quietly sorting the jewelry I’ve already made into collections, then getting the different groups fancied up and photographed so that I can (re-)launch my Etsy store come January and see if I can’t be a professional crafter that way.

Other than its relationship to honey pots and other come-hither money spells, this post doesn’t have much to do with magic, let alone Pagan Goddessry or Animism. But I think it’s worth posting here, none the less.

“Arts and Crafts” – all the gals who do fibre arts, who do their own canning[3], who DIY their own clothes; all the “hobby” stuff that gets dismissed as “fooling around”; all the “work” stuff that gets shifted to factories where it makes money for someone who isn’t the people doing the doing – it’s all links to our ancestors.

When I write to my grandparents and talk about my balcony garden, talk about putting up preserves, talk about knitting this or that item for somebody’s xmas present; when I make soap that we actually use, or that I sell to cover the bills, when I make preserves that we actually eat or that I trade for other groceries… When I do this, I’m linking the work of my hands to the work of theirs and saying – to myself, to them, to anyone who sees me doing it and taking pride in it – this work has value. This work is work, and it’s real, and it matters, and it’s not just a quaint Thing that people did in The Olden Days.

So, yeah. I think these are important skills to know – regardless of whether or not I’m using them to pay the bills. But I also think it’s worth noting that I can use those skills to keep the roof over our heads or the larder stocked. That the work of my hands is something I can turn to when I need it to make rent.

So that’s where my head is at today.

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] Probably. I can think of one that I might do, but even that’s unlikely at this point.

[2] Granted, I at least always managed to break even, and one was outdoors during a thunder storm, so…

[3] And it is, by and large, women who do this stuff. Most, if not all, of the men I know who do this stuff grew up either trying to fit into girl world when it was never going to fit them, or grew up as hippy feminists and were honourary granola dykes before they’d finished puberty. Either way, they grew up in women’s culture, whether they wanted to (the latter) or not (the former).