The Mourning Moon is upon us. As the days grow shorter and the sun’s life-giving fires are banked, sometimes it seems so dark we feel the light will never return. This moon, however, is a reminder that death is just a part of the endless cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
It’s also known as the Fog Moon or Snow Moon, depending on where you live. Some Native American tribes referred to it simply as The Moon When Deer Shed Antlers (although in most regions it’s more accurate to say they’re shedding their velvet – a buck doesn’t usually lose antlers until later in the winter, unless you’re very far north).
- Colors: Gray, blues
- Gemstones: Lapis lazuli, turquoise, topaz
- Trees: Cypress, alder, hazel
- Gods: Bastet, Isis, Kali, Hecate, Astarte
- Herbs: Thistle, betony, verbena, fennel
- Element: Water
In the early Celtic society, November was the beginning of the new year, and so it makes sense to use the magic of this moon phase to celebrate new beginnings.
This is a time of washing away the baggage of the past and letting it go. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to focus on the joys of the future. During the Mourning Moon phase, say goodbye to bad habits and toxic relationships, and get a fresh start for the new year. Work on developing and strengthening your connection with Spirit.
Correspondences for February
- Nature Spirits: house faeries, both of the home itself and of house plants
- Herbs: balm of Gilead, hyssop, myrrh, sage, spikenard
- Colors: light blue, violet
- Flowers: primrose
- Scents: wisteria, heliotrope
- Stones: amethyst, jasper, rock crystal
- Trees: rowan, laurel, cedar
- Animals: otter, unicorn
- Birds: eagle, chickadee
- Deities: Brigit, Juno, Kuan Yin, Diana, Demeter, Persephone, Aphrodite
Power Flow: energy working toward the surface; A good time for spell work on purification, growth, healing. Loving the self. Accepting responsibility for past errors, forgiving yourself, and making future plans.
About The Month of February
February was named for the Roman goddess Februa, mother of Mars. As patroness of passion, she was also known as Juno Februa and St. Febronia from febris, the fever of love. Her orgiastic rites were held on February 14th, St.Valentine’s Day. In Norse traditions, she is equated with Sjofn.
The Irish called this month Feabhra or an Gearran, the gelding or horse. The horse was used to draw the plough, but Gearran also means ‘to cut’ and ‘Gearran’ can be used to describe the ‘cutting’ Spring winds. To the Anglo-Saxons, this was Solmonath, “sun month,” in honor of the gradual return of the light after the darkness of winter. According to Franking and Asatru traditions, this month is Horning, from horn, the turn of the year.
The first full moon of February is called the Quickening Moon. It shares the titles Snow Moon with January and November, Wolf Moon with January and December, and Storm Moon with March and November. February’s Moon is also called the Hunger or Hungry Moon, and it has been called the Ice, Wild, Red and Cleansing, or Big Winter Moon.
The month of February, truly a month of ice in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, is a dormant time, when all activity and life appears to be low-key or below the surface movement. In both the Celtic and Roman cultures, it was a time of spiritual purification and initiation. The country of Tibet celebrated the conception of Buddha and the Feast of Flowers during this time of year.
Aquarius and Pisces share power over February, with Pisces taking over around the 19th of February. Violet is the flower for those born in February. Though hyacinth and pearl appear on some lists, amethyst is the jewel for those born in this month and for Pisces, while aquamarine is the stone for Aquarians. Other stones associated with Aquarius are chrysoprase, garnet, labradorite, lapis lazuli, and opal. Albite, aquamarine, chrysoprase, fluorite, green tourmaline, labradorite, moonstone, and opal are linked to Pisces.
February can be an ideal time for dedicating or re-dedicating oneself to whatever deity or deities one worships. It is also a wise practice to cleanse and purify yourself, your dwelling place, and even your property lines before the dedication. Purifying changes the vibrations by removing negative ones and inviting in positive ones. The month of January was a time of ending old cycles and preparing for new ones. February prepares the environment and the body, mind, and spirit for receptivity of new spiritual and life experiences.
Hatun-pucuy, or the Great Ripening, was celebrated among the Incas.
The Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries of Greece was also called the Festival of the Returning Daughter. This was a celebration of the Kore’s return from the Underworld and the rebirth of earthly vegetation. This ceremony, unlike the Greater Eleusinian, was open to many people and was a time of initiation into the lower Mysteries. Initiation into the Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries was open to all free men and women who were not guilty of murder and similar crimes. All initiates were bound by an oath of silence so effective that the secrets of the mysteries were never told. Today we know very little about the actual ceremonies, except what was performed in full public view.
Kuan Yin is the Great Goddess of the Oriental people. She has been known to offer her aid primarily to women and girls, but there is no reason why men cannot honor her and ask her help. She is said to guide lost travelers, protect from attack by humans or animals, bless a family with children, and heal. She is called the Compassionate and is revered for her wisdom and love. Oriental women offered oranges and spices before her statues.
The Roman Lupercalia festival was a time of purification and fertility. A priest of the god Pan signaled the beginning of the Lupercalia with sacrifices of a goat and a dog. The skins of these animals were made into whips which chosen young boys used to strike people, particularly barren women. This was thought to bring good luck in conceiving and having a healthy baby. It is quite possible that our present Valentine’s Day has seeds of its beginnings in this ritual.
The Roman Parentalia and Feralia celebrations were a time to honor the ancestors. It was a period of solemnity with no feasting or marriages; all the temples were closed. Houses were cleaned thoroughly and food offerings made to the spirits of the dead. The goddesses Mania and Vesta were honored with solemn rituals.
The priestesses of Vesta (the Vestal Virgins) were accorded great respect and trust. They kept the wills of the citizens of Rome and saw that they were properly fulfilled when the maker died. At a word or appearance of any Vestal, any condemned criminal was set free without question or argument.
Later in the month, the festival of Carista was held as a family celebration for peace and accord. This festival was known as the Concordia. Condordia, or Caristia, was the goddess of harmony. It was a time for exchanging gifts with family members and resolving problems. Differences and feuds were not to be carried within the family beyond this date.
The Roman god Terminus was the deity of land boundaries. His festival was the Terminalia. Boundary stones marking the property lines were anointed and blessed by the head of the household. This ceremony is rather like the one honoring the household guardians, as the Nature spirits residing in the boundary stones were asked for protection and prosperity for the land and family. This ritual could be adapted for today by blessing the boundaries of your property, stones or not.
July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It was also often called the Full Thunder Moon, for the reason that thunderstorms are most frequent during this time. It is known as the Hay Moon or the Meadow Moon because the meadows are at their greatest point of growth in this month, and it is a time for hay-cutting. Other names for this month’s Moon include: Blood Moon, Grain Moon, Green Corn Moon, Herb Moon, Hungry Ghost Moon, Wort Moon.
Native American fishing tribes called it the Sturgeon Moon because sturgeon, a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month. A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze.
The energies surrounding this full moon are ones of success, happiness, and fulfilment. We are blessed with the first harvest of the season – a reward for all our hard work. For this reason, July’s full moon is also known as the Blessing Moon. Energy moves into creation. Opportunities for self-reliance and confidence, unity and balance abound.
The Moon at this time brings us feelings of being connected. Connection to Spirit encourages us to first recognize blessings in our own lives, and then pay them forward – thus continuing the cycle of positive energy.
- Colors: Green, silver, blue-gray
- Gemstones: Moonstone, white agate, opals or pearls
- Trees: Ash and oak
- Gods: Juno, Venus, Cerridwen, Athena, Nephthys, Lugh
- Herbs: Mugwort, hyssop, lemon balm
- Element: Water
This is a great time to do divination and dreamwork. Find a way to incorporate the watery energy of the Blessing Moon into your spell crafting and ritual. Enjoy the relaxing feeling of July’s full moon and use it in your personal meditation.
Celebrating the Full Buck Moon:
- Wear shades of green to honor the herb harvest
- Adorn your hair and altar with herbs and greenery
- Burn sage, lavender or rosemary incense
- Prepare herbal tea and lavender or lemon balm cookies
- Bless your herb garden
Collected from various sources
The first (or only) full moon in June is called the Honey Moon. Tradition holds that this is the best time to harvest honey from the hives.
- Colors: Sun colors — gold, yellow, orange
- Gemstones: Topaz, agate
- Trees: Oak, maple
- Gods: Isis, Cerridwen, Persephone
- Herbs: Parsley, mosses, skullcap, mugwort
- Element: Earth
This is the month where magical workings are well suited to maintaining and enhancing things you already have. Weed your garden, prune the bushes, give your lawn all the tender loving care it needs. Take time to let your personal life blossom as well – focus on things that improve your job or education, as well as your relationships with family and friends.
This time of year, between the planting and harvesting of the crops, was the traditional month for weddings. This is because many ancient peoples believed that the “grand [sexual] union” of the Goddess and God occurred in early May at Beltaine. Since it was unlucky to compete with the deities, many couples delayed their weddings until June.
June remains a favorite month for marriage today. In some traditions, newly wed couples were fed dishes and beverages that featured honey for the first month of their married life to encourage love and fertility. The surviving vestige of this tradition lives on in the name given to the holiday immediately after the ceremony: “The Honeymoon.”
In June, we’re beginning to see some early summer fruits and vegetables (a great time for strawberry crops!), and the days are getting longer and longer. It’s a far cry from the darkness of winter, and we typically try to spend as much time outside as possible. Also known as Lover’s Moon, Long Sun Moon, it’s a time for bonding with friends and family, and forging what connections we can. Nurture your relationships, your garden, your career, and your soul this month.
In pre-historic times, summer was a joyous time of the year for those Aboriginal people who lived in the northern latitudes. The snow had disappeared; the ground had thawed out; warm temperatures had returned; flowers were blooming; leaves had returned to the deciduous trees. Some herbs could be harvested, for medicinal and other uses. Food was easier to find. The crops had already been planted and would be harvested in the months to come.