Lunar Tunes

August 20 was the Full Barley Moon . . . or Sturgeon Moon  . . . or Fruit Moon . . . depending on moonwhether you’re English or a farmer or a Cherokee.

I have been propelling myself forward through time by means of a lunar calendar for the past fifteen years. The calendar I deploy for this is a datebook entitled, We’Moon: Gaia Rhythms for Womyn.   It is one of those intensely earnest feminist publications, bristling with women’s art and poetry and packed with astrological information, which I ignore. It is my resource for moon phases, solar events and pagan festivals – all vital, need-to-know information, if you’re me.

Let me explain.

Every day I wake up, weigh (naked, by which I mean not so much as a hair pin or an earring to tip the scale), mark down that day’s weight, and whether I attended a yoga class the previous day or took the dog for a long walk or both.  I also document the degree to which my attempts to not drink myself to death were successful the previous evening.  Sometimes I’ll scribble something of a more diaristic nature, like “Bartlett Lodge for 20th anniversary!” or “Off to Montreal for Brina’s wedding!”  but more often I do not allude to events taking place in the real world.  I do, however, allude to events taking place in my head.

I am addicted to New Leaves. Well, not so much New Leaves per se as to turning them over.   That’s where moons come in.  Most months have two moons – a new one and a full one.  Every once in a while you get a blue moon –  a second full moon in one month.  Bonus! Yes, there are waxing half-moons and waning half-moons …  but they don’t count.  Why?  Because I decided so and, since this is all in my head, that’s my prerogative.

Moons provide an excellent opportunity to turn over a New Leaf, something I, as a bad person, quite regularly need to do.  What do I mean by bad?  Well, not Hitler bad.  Definitely not Ann Coulter Bad. More .  . .  Bad Rabbit.   My personal motto is, “love that full well that you will lose ‘ere long.”  Do I live by it?  I do not. Therefore I am bad. Therefore I need to turn over a New Leaf.  Therefore I need a moon.  Or a solstice or an equinox.  Or a good old rousing pagan festival – an Imbloq or a Beltane or a Lammas or a Samhain.  Any one of these will do.  Just not half-moons.  That would be too easy.

Here’s how the system works.

Suppose the next moon is days or weeks away, but I need to turn over a New Leaf and I don’t want to wait.  The rules state clearly that I can turn over a New Leaf in anticipation of an upcoming moon provided it is one of the following: seven days away, three days away or the day before: i.e.:

  • WOP (Week of Preparation)
  • Triduum  — reminiscent of Catholicism’s liturgical Paschal Triduum – the three day long religious observance beginning on the evening of Maundy Thursday and continuing through until  Easter Sunday.  (Spoiler Alert:  I was an ecclesiastical historian in a previous life and continue to this day a proud member of the Disorganization of Lapsed Catholics.)
  •  DOP (Day of Preparation).

If one of those three intervals is not available, then I must just stew in my slough until enough time passes that I can at last go into Turning New Leaf mode:  wash my car, take a ritual bath, buy myself something new that will serve to remind me of my new intention (Yay!), then . . .  Turn the New Leaf. Tah dah!  I am transformed!

The New Leaf, once turned, is bright and pliant for a few days.  Then it begins to dry out.  Then it crumbles to dust and, once again, I find myself leafing through my We’Moon to determine just when next I can legitimately turn over a New Leaf.  Because I really need to.  Because I really want to change. I can’t go on like this.  I can’t.

Once a woman behind the counter in an ice cream parlour offered me a sample.  “Oh, I’m not allowed to eat ice cream,” I told her, then thought, Did I say that out loud?  Because, of course, the person who does not allow me to eat ice cream … is me.

It turns out that blogging is like turning yourself inside out. When you turn yourself inside out, the person behind the curtain, the one barking orders, is likely to be exposed to daylight.  As Governor Rick Perry of Texas so famously put it, “Oops!”

Once, years ago, I decided that I should put an end to New Leaves, that the next New Leaf I would turn would be that I would turn no more New Leafs.  In other words, this was my last New Leaf. Ever.  So I wrote down my intention on a piece of paper and burnt it in a small cauldron I retain for such purposes.

Guess how long that lasted.

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