2021.10.20 Hunters Moon, October 2021
Hello friends - or I should say 'buon giorno'....
Please remember to look up tonight at the beautiful full moon. I will be looking at it from the ancient Tuscan hill town of Volterra because I am in Italy! When the Hunter's Moon came round in 2020, my world was very different. The 13 moons of the last year have seen everything change and I am very reflective today in this ancient Etruscan place.
(Moon above Volterra, Tuscany)
The moon is, in terms of distance, the closest heavenly body to earth: we can see it in the sky for three weeks out of four, and for thousands of years, people have used its light to guide them in the dark and to keep track of the passing of time.
As you know, full moons have different names because the early Native Americans didn't record time using months of the Julian or Gregorian calendar. Instead tribes gave each full moon a nickname to keep track of the seasons and lunar months.
Most of the names relate to an activity or an event that took place at the time in each location. However, it wasn't a uniform system and tribes tended to name and count moons differently. Some, for example, counted four seasons a year while others counted five. Others defined a year as 12 moons, while others said there were 13.
Can't remember where I nicked this image from, but it's all apparently photos of the moon. I can't imagine those purple ones are real...
So why is this one called the Hunter's Moon? Well this time of year is reportedly the best time for hunting because leaves have fallen, deer have fattened and harvesters have cleared the fields, making it easier to see the animals. It’s the time of the rut for deer and elk (mating season), and game are currently well-nourished.
Elsewhere it is known as the Travel Moon (appropriately for me), the Dying Grass Moon and the Sanguine or Blood Moon (maybe after the changing colors of the leaves).
The English also called it Winterfylleth, or “Winter Full Moon.” They considered this full moon to be the start of winter. In weather lore, we note, “If October brings heavy frosts and winds, then will January and February be mild".
The first recorded mention of a “Hunter’s Moon” was in 1710. The Hunter’s Moon typically appears in October, except once every four years when it doesn’t appear until November.
The Hunter’s Moon marks the end of the harvest season and it brings a time to reflect on what you have accomplished during this cycle.
(Moon in Massachussetts, courtesy of Peter Harrison)
This is the season for preservation, and preparation for the icy cold days and nights ahead. Before industrialism, people focused on harvesting and preparing for the coming of Winter. Failure to do so meant facing one’s own death or mortality.
Spiritually you need to focus on internal work and self-reflection as the dark half of the year begins. Accept and welcome the darkness with open arms and spirit - it's a moment to look back in history to our ancestors and the lessons they can teach us.
It’s also a wonderful time for gratitude and appreciation for what Nature has given us. You can feel the magical energy in the air right now as the veil grows thin and the ability to communicate with our loved ones increases. It’s an opportunity for personal growth and goal setting.
Anyway, I am in a land of vineyards and olive trees, gelato and coffee and I am grateful for the company I'm with - while I grieve for the company I've lost - so under the Hunter's Moon, I raise my glass 'Saluti' to you all. Ciao Carissima.
Photo courtesy of Evelyn Waring