Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Full Frosty Moon of November

I think of November's full moon as the orb of cold nights, frost and winter ascending, for this full moon makes its appearance after calendar Samhain (or Hallowe'en), when autumn has departed and Eastern Standard Time has returned in a futile gambit to grant us a few more moments of daylight. This is the time of leafless whiskery trees, frost bedecked grasses and bitter bone chilling cold at night.

One has to be a hardy soul to venture out with camera in hand and try to capture this splendid moon on a memory card, and one does not remain outside long if she is wise. I am (alas) not wise, for the region of the winter stars is precious to me. I am always venturing out to watch the winter moon and stars glittering like jewels in their dark indigo settings, and I always stay outside too long. Astronomy and Astroarcheology, the twin sciences of night and the infinite cosmos, are old loves indeed.

The moon is a lambent reminder of natural turnings and all that is cyclical - she is cosmic wisdom and grace up there in the purple deeps, shining down on us with her blessing light and watching over our human "toings and froings", our ever unfolding exercises in futility. At this time of year, the great winter constellation Orion rises over the trees in the southeastern corner of the garden behind the little blue house in the village, and for as many years as I have been watching it climb high into the night in November, I am still entranced whenever I witness it.

The region of the summer stars is a gentle and benevolent place and the region of the winter stars is something else again, but the jewels of the winter skies dance clear and cold above my head - they dazzle these old eyes every single time - they fill me with wonder, and perhaps they lend me a little grace of my own. All the sentient beings on this earth were forged from the dust of the stars, and so, we too are part of the great cosmic turning or universal equation. Radiant and passionate creatures, we shine brightly in the darkness for a brief and intense interval, and then we are absorbed back into the great turning, to return some day as someone or something else entirely.

November's full moon is most familiar to us as the Hunter's Moon, but we also know it as the:

All Gathered Moon, Antler Moon, Beaver Moon, Bison Moon, Blood Moon, Chrysanthemum Moon, Cold Begins Moon, Cooling Sun Moon, Corn Harvest Moon, Dark Moon, Deer Rutting Moon, Eleventh Moon, Falling Leaves Moon, Fire Friend Moon, Fog Moon, Freezing Moon, Freezing River Maker Moon, Frost Moon, Gardenia Moon, Geese Going Moon, Harvest Moon, Holy Frost Moon, Jacaranda Moon, Large Trees Freeze Moon, Little Bear's Moon, Long Moon, Mad Moon, Moon of Fledgling Hawk, Moon of Freezing, Moon of Much Poverty, Moon of Storms, Moon of the Falling Leaves, Moon of the Turkey & Feast, Moon the Rivers Begin to Freeze, Moon When All Is Gathered in, Moon When Deer Shed Their Antlers, Moon When Horns Are Broken Off, Moon When the Cold Comes, Moon When the Rivers Freeze, Moon When the Water Is Black with Leaves, Mourning Moon, Prunus Moon, Sacrifice Moon, Samoni Moon, Sassafras Moon, Snow Moon, Snowy Mountains in the Morning Moon, Summer’s End Moon, Trading Moon, Trail Moon, Tree Moon, Weselánew Moon, White Moon, Whitefish Moon, Willow Moon, Winter Divided Moon, Yew Moon


Endment said...

Spent hours and hours taking photos of the moon last night but nothing so beautiful as your photos. Watching the moon is such a delightful adventure This morning frost is decorating the trees and the few leaves remaining.
Your words add to my enjoyment of the beauty that surrounds me.

Anonymous said...

I have missed reading your blog and seeing your photography. I'm back from a short break.

The thing I like so much about your posts is that I always go away feeling like my life has been put in context.

I'm not one for astronomy really. I much prefer the microscope to the telescope, but I did notice the moon last night. I woke up at 1:00 a.m and thought that the morning had already come. It was so bright shining through the leafless trees.

K Allrich said...

Exquisite. I could feel moonlight on my skin as I read your words.

Last night as we stood outside craning our necks to gaze skyward, you and I saw the same moon, shared the same blessing. We are the stuff of stars, indeed, as Carl Sagan wrote.

Just the thought of it, astonishes and consoles me.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely photograph of the Moon! I too like to watch Orion cross the winter sky. Later in the season, sometimes I go out to see him a few times in one evening as he travels so far each night.

Rowan said...

A wonderful photograph of the moon, I'd so love to be able to take good photographs of her but my husband says I need special lens' on a proper camera, my digital one just doesn't have the settings. Always the photos are blurred - so I shall just have to be content with enjoying other people's pictures. I knew there were other names for the November Moon but had no idea that there were so many,I still prefer Hunter's Moon though. I watched Orion low in the sky one night last week, it's about the only constellation I can recognize. I'm interested in both astronomy and astro-archaeology but know litte, partly it is because there is so much artificial lighting here on the edge of a city that seeing the night sky at all is difficult.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Lovely photo of the moon and wonderful to have that list of names for the November moon. Moon when the water is black with leaves is my favourite I think.