Moon Astrology: The Hunter’s Moon and the Month of Ivy

Fairies and Moon(Astrology Explored) The Full Moon after the Harvest Moon is what the American Indians called the Hunter’s Moon. The Moon at the full is reddish orange and the indigenous tribes gathered and prepared the meat that would sustain them through the winter. For the ancient Celtic tribes, this is the Moon of Ivy, the evergreen plant that is said to harbor fairies dancing in its abundant folds. This association with fairies, an immortal race that rides the backs of butterflies, invokes the themes of the timelessness of the soul, physical death and resurrection. It is the time of Samhain, (Sow’ when) when the veil between this world and the next thins and those sensitive enough can communicate with the souls of the departed.

For the astrological significance of this moon we turn to the book the Celtic Lunar Zodiac by Helena Paterson, a painstaking and rich work that recreates the meaning of the lost Celtic Calendar.

“Astrological rulership is partly designated to the moon, for in esoteric astrology the sun and moon are said to veil or eclipse hidden planets. The moon in the month of the ivy is therefore veiling a hidden planet yet to be discovered, and which, according the ancients, lies on the other side of Pluto. The of name of Persephone has been chosen because of the evidence for this planet . . . This choice of name is not by chance, but fits into the mythological cycle of the planets in our universe. In Greek mythology, Persephone, daughter of Ceres, the great earth mother goddess, was kidnapped by Pluto, god of the underworld, forced to remain with him for six months of the year.”

This planet was discovered, but not named Persephone. It is now called Sedna, the Inuit Goddess of the Sea, who among other things, demands a shaman to visit her from time to time in her watery depths, to tell her stories and comb her long beautiful hair so she would allow her sea children, the seals, the whales be hunted for food. Sedna was transmuted into the Goddess of the Sea by the betrayal of her father. He murdered her rather than face the wrath of Sedna’s demon husband. Persephone, of course, was forced into marriage to the powerful god of the Underworld who kidnapped, then raped her, to make her his bride.

In the story of Persephone and Sedna the common theme is that of facing the overwhelming force of the male principal as controllers of our destinies, those that will use any means, murder, kidnapping, rape, to secure what they desire. But the story of Persephone and Sedna hold hope as well. Against impossible odds, Persephone is released into the light six months out of the year and despite her betrayal Sedna provides the bounty in the frozen wastes to those that considered her the Mother of the creatures of the sea.

The message is that no matter what the hardships, the female bounty of birth and life will not be denied even as we enter into the Month of Ivy and the dimming of the light for the winter months.

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The Harvest Moon: Remembering the Future

harvest-moonThe Celtics were a people that reconciled opposites, day and night, dark and light as the continuum of the same forces that bound the lives of men and gods together. Unlike us, with our 9 to 5 routines, the Celts viewed Time as fluid, as having the ability to flow back on itself. The Druids called prophecy “remembering the future/”

Also, unlike us, the Celts found the seeding of things in the darkness. A Neolithic people of the land, they were keyed to the rhythms of life and death, the fertility of the land and of their tribes, and the phases of the Moon. As the Sun dipped below the horizon, the moon rose, and literally, a new day began.

Instead of being the end of the day’s activities, sleep and dreaming were the start of the daily cycle for Celtic peoples. It was the natural time for adults to spend some alone together, as children slept and the adults got to the business of making their brothers and sisters. The darkness was associated with planting seeds for future growth.

The Celtic worldview centered on balancing the dark and the light. As such, the Four Fire festivals, Olmelc, Beltane, Lughaan, and Samhain, all festivals celebrating the cycle of life, were not celebrated at the solstice points, but at the midpoints of them. The view of balancing dark and light is evident with the start of their monthly calendar, which they marked at the Full Moon. The seed of the dark new moon had flowered, and like the Sun at Midday, the fullness of the power of the moon was on display. Poised in mid cycle, between new and old moon, the Full moon was ripe with future promise of the seed planted in the darkness.

This past week, the full Harvest Moon, marks the fullness of the fruits of our past efforts.
It is the month the Celts called Samonois, the seed-fall. It is a time of preparation for the cold and the darkness as we remember what the future will be. In a few weeks, we will be at the time of the fourth fire festival, what we call Halloween and which the Celts celebrated as the New Year.

Photo published under a Creative Commons License fromFlickr

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