There’s a big moon rising’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Have you seen the moon this week? It is gloriously full and something to behold on a clear cool spring night.

It hung suspended in a charcoal sky peeking through the limbs of my oak trees casting shadows across the yard. As I looked at it surrounded by the silence of the night, I thought about my daddy, how he loved the night sky and about the times he called us children outside to see the moon through his telescope.

It was a magic time, and I felt that magic again on this night. As I looked up at the brilliant light raining down from on high, a bunch of moon-references – verses from poems and song lyrics – popped into my head.

Hey diddle diddle the cat and the fiddle

The cow jumped over the moon…

I see a bad moon risin’ (or in this case a full moon)

All my life’s a circle sunrise to sundown

Moon rolls through the nighttime

Til daybreak comes around…

In the midst of my musing, I remembered that this wonderful spring moon had something to do with Easter. So, I set out to learn more and what I discovered is fascinating.

It seems for humans the moon holds a strong attraction and has since the beginning of time. There are also special names for the moons, and each moon was of great importance in ancient cultures.

The moon we see this week has several names. For the northern hemisphere, this is the first full moon of spring – or to follow the March 20 spring equinox. The first springtime moon is the Egg Moon, Grass Moon, Easter Moon, Crow Moon, Seed Moon, Sap Moon, Crust Moon and the name that fascinated me – Worm Moon.

That name comes from the fact that as the temperature warms and the ground thaws, earthworm casts reappear along with the return of robins. Northern tribes called this the Crow Moon because the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter. Crust Moon was due to the snow crusting from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Sap Moon marked the time of tapping maple trees.

Settlers also knew it as the Lenten Moon, a biblical name referring to the last full moon of winter.

I learned that in 2010, this is also the Paschal Full Moon. I looked up the definition of that and this is what I read.

“The paschal full moon refers to the first ecclesiastical full moon of the northern spring used in the determination of the date of Easter. The name “paschal” is derived from “Pascha” which is a transliteration of the Greek word, which is itself a transliteration of the Hebrew pesach, both words meaning Passover. The date of Easter is determined as the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon. This full moon does not currently correspond directly to any astronomical event, but is instead the 14th day of a lunar month, determined from tables. It may differ from the date of the actual full moon by up to two days.”

That was sufficiently confusing enough to sent me back out to just enjoy the beauty of the night instead of fretting over names and orgins of names. All I know is that looking up at the majesty of the moon, I felt an overwhelming sense of rightnesss, the joy of experiencing the beauty that surrounds us this time of year.

So if you haven’t seen the moon this week, it’s not too late. Take the time to step outside and share an experience as old as humankind, dreaming under a full spring moon.

And, you might want to repeat these words that popped into my head, the ones Daddy taught me when I just learning to talk:

“I see the moon

And the moon sees me

God bless the moon

And God bless me…”