The last few nights and early mornings have been illuminated by a brilliant full moon in the March sky. The media world has alerted us to watch for the “Worm Moon” as it is known in the Farmer’s Almanac. However, few among us in southern Ontario would expect any self-respecting robin to be out looking for worms in the frozen snow and ice covered ground that now blankets most of our landscape.
This March moon got it’s current name from the colonists who had imported both the robin and the earthworm from Europe. But before the arrival of these invasive species, the First Peoples on this northern portion of the continent had named this moon the Snowcrest Moon, or the Wind Moon depending on the geography of the local community. It marked the slow end of winter and the gusty entry of spring when the bark beetles began to emerge from their winter tree trunk shelters.
Our indigenous Turtle Island explained it all, with 13 large scutes surrounded by 28 smaller scutes on the turtle’s shell. Thirteen moons with 28 days each equals … are you ready for it … 364 days! Each full moon was named by the local community according to the geography of their habitat and marked a seasonal shift based on the local climate.
Unfortunately, that intimate knowledge of the land did not match with the puritanical Christian colonists worldview that 13 was an unlucky, even evil number. This primarily western concept led to the development of the Julian calendar which took their “perfect number” 12 and tried to divide it into 364.25 natural days of the year. And so we now have 12 months divided into 28/29/30/31 days depending on the month and year.
That’s what happens when you try to impose an artificial patriarchal world order over the natural cycles of life. Thirteen moons, twenty-eight day cycles. Fittingly, this exquisite full March moon coincided with International Women’s Day. The grandmothers knew what they were talking about. The way I see it.
kid Crease, Caledon