Of Blooms, Moons, Solstices, and Seasons

I’ve been composing this post for a fortnight, but keep getting distracted and not getting it down in writing.  As such, it keeps growing and growing, being stirred in all three Cauldrons.  It was intended to be an account of my observations around the middle of the moon following the Willow Moon, around the last full moon.  But time slithers on, twisting and turning in the coils of Fate, and Change comes as it always does here in the Cauldron.  The full moon came and went, as did the new moon and the Solstice, and though I acknowledged their passing, nothing was put down in words except a poem for the Solstice that I have yet to share.

Change.  That is the central experience of life in this world.  And of course it must be.  For the Cauldron is Her Womb, and a Womb has no purpose without change.  A Womb is always in flux, at least until menopause, the lining growing thicker and thicker, then being shed off in blood, only to grow thicker again.  The Egg passing into the Womb in hopes of finding the Seed, then shed out with the lining, only to be replaced by the next Egg.  Or it will find the Seed, but still there is no stillness, no changelessness.  Instead of shedding, the lining stays, changes, protects.  But the biggest change is the Egg, which is no longer an Egg but has changed, the Seed which is no longer the Seed but has changed, a new SEED, not like the Seed of a man no longer, but the SEED of a plant, a Tree, a SEED from which comes life, from which new life springs.  And Hers is no different.  A Womb of Darkness, a Womb of Night, an Egg, a Seed, a SEED, not from another but from Herself.  The Yod floating in the Darkness of Space, a Darkness that can be felt.  A SEED that is the SEED of the Tree of Life, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the World Tree, the Centre of the World.  And that SEED has two nuclei, Twins, two Bright Spirits, the Divine Twins.  Herself is the Stillness outside the Cauldron, though the Cauldron is her.  “Be Still.”  But the Twins are the movement, the dynamic, Change, pure Change.  They are the SEED and the fruit of the SEED.  They are the fruit of Her Womb.  They are Her Egg and Her Seed.  The SEED.  Change.  And the SEED sprouts, the Tree of the World.  Three Cowled figures, Three Mothers, Three Fathers, Time and Fate curling and moving, constant movemement, movement that moves time on, moves the Sun and Moon and Stars, moves the Years and Seasons and Months and Days and Hours and Minutes and Seconds ad infinium.  Constant Change, but Constant, set, predictable at least to a point.  Motion out of Stillness.  Change.  And Seven Builders, the Pillars.  Stable, set, but stellar, changing, moving.  Stillness out of Motion.  Change.  Here in the Cauldron, everything Changes, nothing stays the same, nothing is Still.

Change.  Many have heard of the Taoist I Ching, Yijing, the Book of Change.  Yi, Change, is two characters combined, as are many Chinese characters.  易  The upper character is 日 meaning Sun or Day or Japan (where the sun rises, and hence Dawn).  The lower character is no longer is use, so the meaning is obscure.  Some believe it meant Moon and implied an offering the the Moon.  Others that it meant dark or night, hence an offering given in the dark.  Yi also means Give, and implies an offering to the Sun, or an offering given during the light.  Regardless, Yi, Change, is either the Sun and Moon (constantly moving, constant Change), or Day and Night, Dawn and Dusk, also change, transition, liminality.

For the purposes here, Sun and Moon and Light and Dark are interesting meanings, as the New Moon, the Dark of the Moon, landed almost on the Summer Solstice, the Longest Day, close enough to connect the Darkness of the Dark of the Moon with the Light of the Longest Day.  Sun at its most active strength, its most Yang, Moon at its most passive, most Yin.  The middle high point of the Solar Year lining up with the end/beginning low point of the Lunar Month.  A very liminal time.  A time of Change, a time of Yi.  This is a time of Change, but, then, all times are.

I watched as the catkins formed on the aspens, declaring the moon following the Equinox and Passover as the Aspen Moon.  As the catkins fell and leaves replaced them, I watched the pussies form on the willows, declaring the next moon, the moon containing Beltaine, as the Willow Moon.  But what of the next moon, the moon ending right in from of the Summer Solstice?  Despite my argument that Spring starts on Candlemas and ends on Roodmas/Beltaine, Spring seldom comes to these elevations as early as February.  Often, it doesn’t come until after Beltaine and doesn’t end until July.  The seasons follow changes in the world around us, not set static divisions of the year.

The Aspen and Willow Moons aren’t defined by when they happen, but by what is occurring.  Spring here starts when the first aspen catkins start to bud, not on a certain date.  And natural cycles like the budding of catkins and pussies tend to follow fairly closely on lunar cycles.  Whenever it occurs, the Aspen Moon lasts from new moon to new moon and is marked by the aspen catkins, and the first plants starting to sprout up leaves.  By the Willow Moon, the pussywillows are very evident, and many plants have put on at least some leaves, the land is half awake, half asleep.

Following the Willow Moon is the third and last moon of Spring.  By the end, of that third moon, everything is awake. In this third moon, there is so many things awakening, so many things changing, that naming it proved much harder than the previous two.

My first experience of it was the Russian hawthorn we planted in our yard.  When we first planted it, near the beginning of the moon, there were a few buds, but very soon after, it was blooming like crazy.  At the height of the blooming, it was more white than green, gorgeous, and with a flagrance that could be detected thirty feet away.  Which is notable since the tree is less than six feet tall and maybe two and a half across, not a big tree at all.  My first thought was to call it the Hawthorn Moon.  Which would have been a good name in Europe where Hawthorns are native and much more common, but they aren’t native, and are very rare here, so I needed a name reflecting the Landscape I live in, not that of transplants (not just including non-native plants, but also humans).

I made several trips up into the mountains to observe the changes since the Willow Moon, observing all that changed.  I visited the Laramie Range up above Happy Jack, then up near Lake Owen in the Southeastern Snowy Range, then up above Centennial and up to the foot of Medicine Bow Peak in the Northern section of the Snowys.  Everywhere I went and everywhere I looked, there was change and new life, plants flourishing in the moisture of Spring.  In addition to general observation, I was looking for a specific plant to name the moon for, like aspen and willow.  I landed on wild chive, as I found them green and and in bloom everywhere I went.  Chive Moon sounded good, and was descriptive, but the more I thought about it, the more I released too much had changed to focus on one small plant.  It was an important indicator of the moon, but by itself didn’t define it the way the aspen and willow had.

I began thinking about not just the blooming chives, but the wild orchids, the buttercups that were still blooming after starting in the Aspen Moon, the blooming clover, and all the other flowers.  Flowers were glowing everywhere in the mountains, and even out on the High Plains in the valley, the lupine was glowing like purple fire.   Flowers everywhere.  And the Aspen Moon wasn’t marked by the leaves, but by the catkins, the bloom of the aspens, and the Willow Moon wasn’t marked by the leaves, which actually forming under the Aspen Moon, but by the pussywillows, their flower.  Spring is a time of new leaves, but also of blooms, and that blooming reaches its peak during the third moon, ebbing off after that moon ends.  So I decided, the best name for the third moon is the Flower Moon.  And a fitting name it is.

The Flower Moon was beautiful time in this area, but time marches on, cycles change, moon phases pass.  The Flower Moon ended on June 19th, the day before the official Summer Solstice.  As with the Winter Solstice, though, the length doesn’t change much between the day of the Summer Solstice and the day before and day after.  The Solstice is effectively three days, not one, placing the new moon and the end of the Flower Moon on the first day of the Solstice.  So Spring this year began right around Passover and ended right at the Summer Solstice.

We’ve now moved into Summer, and with it, the cool weather and the moisture is gone.  The river peaked around the full moon at the midpoint of the Flower Moon and has been dropping ever since.  It looks like late August levels, and it isn’t even July yet.  We’ve had little rain in the last few weeks, though some yesterday.  The temperature has risen.  And there are major fires in Colorado in the beetle killed lodgepole pine.  There’s one fire in Wyoming, but not near here, but it’s prime conditions for huge fires across the Western United States and Canada in general, and in this area in particular.  The three moons of Spring are characterized by earth and water, but we’ve moved into Summer, into air and fire.  Wind and Sun.  But physical fire pushed by wind as well.  We’ll see what the rest of the moon holds.

FFF,
~Muninn’s Kiss