The Heretic's Corner

Buck Jump

Greetings, my Pagan friends-may your Gods be well-disposed to you. May the rain be sufficient unto the needs of your gardens but not so much as to change the creek bottom geography. May the fish be attracted to your bait and the deer flies and mosquitoes find you nauseating.

Now is the sweet season of our year when our sweet Mother the Earth is at Her most satisfying, must nurturing aspect. Ripe Summer just a moon to come, Spring with her fickle teasing just a moon past. Now the days are long and our thoughts are longer. The nights are short and our sorrows even shorter. To add my blessing to the blessing of being alive in this glad season would be to lay a penny on a gold-piece. Rejoice and be glad that you are alive in this season.

According to my Almanac, which holy writ I have so far found to be true, on the night of June 25 the Sun and Moon will both be in Cancer. That night if the clouds are not intervening we will be treated to the sight of the new moon with the old moon in her arms. The earth light then is so bright on the moon that we can see it from here.

The Teutons call it the geigenschine, and, in the old times at least, believed it was the time when one might peer through the veil of time, to see both past and future. The Celts held that the new moon was pregnant with the harvest to come on these nights. Those who follow the seasons in their doings hold it a grand time for beginnings. A good time for marrying and giving in marriage. The Hebrideans hold it to be the luckiest of times for launching a fishing boat. Come to think about it those two things are not very different.

Any way it's a fine night for a bonfire and a picnic. I must confess in my own case it's hard to think of a night that isn't good for a fire and a feast, but when the new moon holds the old moon in her arms seems the best of nights for partying and feasting. It is a time without equal for blessing ceremonies - especially ceremonies to bless the beginning of something. Most of you, I am sure, know more about this than I do, but I thought I'd just give you all a gentle reminder. Another thing - it is generally said to be ill luck to start the new cider in the fall with over half the old cider still not drunk. Party time, friends!!

Now I may seem to change the subject. I have found that only the Absolute Ultimate Intelligence and the tables of mathematics can be trusted totally. That is why I trust the Almanac, the axioms of geometry, and the equations of physics more than the revealed words of all the prophets. Not that I think prophets are liars, far from it, but one man's truth may be another man's fairy tale. If you don't think that is so, consider: Three honest, fair, sober citizens witness the same event, say a wreck on the highway. One is a farmer from the San Luis Valley, one a Denver truck driver, and one a sheep herder from Craig; they tell their story in what they all fondly believe to be standard English. What do we hear? Three different stories that don't even seem to concern the same event. Now take three metallurgists, or chemists, or physicists - any three people all knowledgeable in the same physical discipline. Let one be a Swede, one a Chinese and one an American; let them all make the same observation and report on it each in his own language. The equations they use explaining the observation will be identical. That is why I hold Almanacs and such to be holy writ.

Interesting, but what has that piece of information to do with a feast by a bonfire or a ceremony under the new moon? Music is what. Music is that form of mathematics that describes and evokes emotion. A ceremony without music is like a feast without food, a confusion in terms.

I can't speak the highland Gaelic, but when a good piper blows "I will see ye no the more" I understand what it is to go bravely into a battle knowing you won't win, and can't win, but can't avoid either. They had no piper, but I wonder if someone didn't whistle that sad brave tune inside the Alamo that morning when Santa Anna's trumpeter blew "Death and Glory." A native American blowing on a bone flute can tell you more about the Hopi nation and what the coyote's song means than a whole library full of anthropological studies. A classic Chinese orchestra playing "Dragons Crossing a River" will put you more in tune with China than a year spent studying Kung Fu Tse in translation. A drummer from the Congo banks and a drummer from the Shetlands don't have the same beat, nor do they carry the same message, but each can understand the other.

Magic is at least in part emotion, a mood-thought or as we say in the country `you have to hold your mouth right.' So if you do plan some ceremony for the night of the double moon, give a thought to the music. It is not enough that a ceremony "work" it has to "work right."

Now for my question. I am not just being silly with this, I ask it in hope that we can establish some uniformity of terms. At the night of the new moon we who count time by moons begin a new count. Different folk in different places name the moons differently. That is, the full moon occurring when the Sun is in Cancer or first after the Summer solstice is called Green Corn moon, Catfish moon, Strawberry moon, or First Heat moon, to name only a few designations. I am not trying to establish any uniformity in these names. As the heart feels let the mouth speak. Any way a list beginning with the Full moon next after the Vernal Equinox is easily translated from one name system to another.

What I'd like to know is something else. The other day I was playing trivial pursuit and one of the questions was "what is the second full moon in a month called? I missed it. The answer was a "blue moon." I lost fair and square, a game is played by the rules of the game and damn the facts. In fact, a blue moon occurs whenever there is a cloud of volcanic dust in the stratosphere. We had several after St. Helens blew up. There were some emerald sunrises at that time too. We had `blood on the moon' some fifty years ago during the dust storms. That red moon phenomenon occurs during forest fires too. Signs in the moon of impending doom and disaster are too well known to warrant comment, so I won't make any.

What I want to know is what does one call the second full moon occurring in the passage of the sun through a single sign of the Zodiac? In four full years there are 48 sun signs, but 49 full moons. What does one call that extra full moon? For instance it happened now would it be "second full moon", or "early currant moon", or "more catfish moon", or "If you didn't catch 'em last time moon get 'em now moon"? Being as I'm not color blind I know it's not a "blue moon" but what is it?

So dear friends the year rolls on. Enjoy the good green days when Summerland is here and not hereafter. To look ahead at the cold to come will spoil the enjoyment of Summer but it won't make Winter any less sharp. So enjoy the sweet days while you may. May you so live that the Summer days will live in your hearts throughout the whole cycle of seasons and be with you even when you pass this way again. May our Mother bless you and guide you. With these words I do now part from thee.

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