Full moon time again – in the same week as the Longest Day or summer solstice when the sun appears highest in the sky. This is very auspicious and signifies abundance, lightness and joy - new beginnings and bright days. How appropriate that this was, for me, the day when I finally resumed guiding after 20 months of pandemic-related unemployment. I also hope my fishing friends are out tonight because according to folklore, crabbing, shrimping, and clamming are best when the June moon is full.
It won’t be as big as last month’s Supermoon but it’ll still be 9 times the circumference of Earth even though it’s 360,221km away (which is 8000 km closer than it’ll be next month).
I read a theory that the moon was created during a collision between the Earth and another small planet, about the size of Mars. The debris from this impact collected in an orbit around Earth to form the Moon. I wish I had the brain to fully ‘get’ these things. I read them and think ‘wow’ but I never really understand properly.
If the clouds clear, you’ll be able to see the craters on the moon which have been caused by billions of years of bombardment from meteorites. There are almost 10,000 of them and usually they are named after deceased scientists and other explorers. I told you recently that it was Galileo who observed the moon through his first telescope in 1609 and realised it had these ‘depressions’.
The big bright one, kind of left of centre, is called Copernicus: it’s the baby of the craters, only 80 million years old. The smaller one over to the left is Aristarchus and the huge one at the bottom is called Tycho: it reminds me of the air valve where you would blow up a beach ball.
Native American Indians called tonight’s moon ‘The Strawberry Moon’ which is appropriate because my strawberry patch is thriving on neglect as usual and I have been eating strawberries for the past few days. Other tribes knew it more generally as the ‘Berries Ripen Moon’; the Birth Moon; the Blooming Moon; or the Mead Moon.
June was traditionally the month for marriages in Ireland. May was considered unlucky (Marry in May and Rue the Day) – whereas June is named after Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage. After the wedding ceremony, the new bride was encouraged to drink mead, a strong wine sweetened with honey. This was said to promote fertility and she drank it for a full lunar month: this is where the term ‘honeymoon’ comes from. You really wanted to get married before the full moon in June, when the moon was ‘growing’. If you could tie the time of the wedding in with a flowing tide, you were sure of a successful union.
In modern times, traditions associated with newly weds range from tying cans to the car bumper before the couple drive off, to playing pranks in the honeymoon bedroom. These have got to be preferable to an older Irish custom where the groom’s mother broke a piece of cake on the new bride’s head - I can’t see how that could possibly be lucky.
For Hindus, this full Moon corresponds with Vat Purnima when married women will show their love for their husbands by tying a ceremonial thread around a banyan tree. The celebration is based on the legend of Savitri and Satyavan. In the illustration below, Savitri is begging Yama for Satyavan's life.
Wishing you all the happiest month yet with strawberries and abundance 😊