Why Buck Moon?
Once more the moon has circle around and reached it’s fullness tonight, well actually it was the early hours of this morning. When I write about the moon I always want to say her, as that is how I learnt about working with the moon, her connection with women and our cycles, however in the Norse Cosmology the moon is masculine, Mani, his sister Sol, the sun. Anyways I digress. Full Moon is here once more and I saw and heard it being called Thunder Moon, and as ever I wondered where this name came from and what were our old traditional names for this moon here in the UK. Although it has to be said that as thunder storms are forecast for the next few days it is very relevant for us here right now. For those of you that follow me you will know that this is something that I have been doing over the past year; reclaiming our traditional names rather than adopting ones from other peoples.
A popular name used for this Full Moon is Buck Moon which I knew came from America but didn’t know where, so looking at my trustee book Seasons of the Moon by Michale Carbetta I discovered that its from the Algonquian tribes. Late July is when new antlers have reached their full size. So I wondered when do our deer have full antlers, knowing that when I’ve been to Scotland in September I’ve often seen the Red Stags in their full splendour. A little trip to the British Deer Society website tells me that: “Antlers are dropped, or cast, and grow back over a period of months while covered in a furry skin called velvet. When growth is complete the velvet is rubbed off and the antler is described as clean. Older animals tend to cast and clean their antlers first.” Our Red and Sika Stags cast their antlers March to May, with the Fallow being behind them starting to cast in April. All three then have their antlers in velvet May to August with them being clean September to March, although once again our Fallows extend this to April. Roe, which we see here at our house don’t cast theirs until November to December. Which means their antlers aren’t in velvet until January to March and not clean until April to November. We also have Muntjac’s here in the UK but apparently although there are also guideline dates for their antlers they “can breed all year round, you may see immature bucks in velvet or bearing clean antlers outside these date” As I read this it leads me to think that Buck Moon doesn’t fit so much here for us in July? So why have we adopted this name here too?
Back to my trustee moon books and first of all back to Michale Carbetta. He tells us that this moon is Mead Moon, now I’m probably biased in liking this name as it does of course connect me to the Norse Cosmology that I am and have been studying. If you want to know more about the magic of mead then look no further than “The Maiden With The Mead” by Maria Kvilhaug. You can find a pdf of her Master Dissertation of this online to read. Anyways back to the moon it is a time when the first crop harvest was undertaken a time for our English medieval farmers to celebrate with mead according to Carbetta.
My other book, “The Almanac, A Seasonal Guide to 2020 by Lia Leedertz) brings in the Old English word Wyrt – a word for herbs and the medieval name Wyrt Moon. She talks about the “mid-green high summer coats” of the trees. A phrase that sings to me. All we have to do right now is look around us and see how verdant the landscape is. A full lush greenness, we are past the initial gentle unfurling of spring, the first flush of the gentle greens, we are in the height of summer, some of the trees are beginning to grow their fruits. Little green hard berries are beginning to appear, but all around them remains full abundance of leaves. The flowers and herbs in our gardens and all around us along the roadsides and in woodlands are in abundance, green to be seen for miles around. These flowers, these herbs bring medicine a time to gather and create tinctures and all sorts. I have to confess I was a bit ahead of myself this week and for some reason, unknown to anyone, especially me, I thought Full Moon was Thursday! This meant that in Nidra on Tuesday morning we turned the landscape of our body into a flourishing herb garden.
Leendertz does also refer to the Moon Mead and a time that the beekeepers collected their first honey of the year, perhaps some of my beekeeper friends can tell me if that’s still the case, is now still the time of the first honey collection? Honey is of course a key ingredient in the making of the mead.
Well thank you if you’ve stayed with me until now and hope this gives you something to ponder upon. Enjoy this Full Moon, hopefully the clouds will clear here in Yorkshire tonight whilst I’m drumming at the river before I take a dip under the Wyrt Moon knowing she/he is there even if it can’t be seen, the magic will still be happening.