Sunday, December 11, 2011

winter maker moon

winter maker moon
floats above the popping trees,
deer shed their antlers

I am standing outside in the cold early morning, watching the just-past-full moon lowering its pink-ringed orb in a lavender sky and listening for the sound of trees popping and antlers falling in the snow, but all I hear is my breath.
          Native Americans kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon, and that name was applied to the entire month in which it occurred. The lunar month averages 29 days, so the dates of the full moon on the modern calendar change from year to year. Below are the names for the first full moon of winter according to some of the tribes of North America (Cf: Western Washington University Planetarium). Climate and geography play a part in the different names, from the cold East Coast to the mild Pacific Northwest.

Abenaki - Northeast - pebonkas - winter maker moon
Algonquin - East Coast - cold moon
Anishaabe - Great Lakes - manidoo-gizisoons - small spirits moon
Arapaho - Great Plains - popping trees
Assiniboine - Northern Plains - cuhotgawi - joins both sides moon - wicogandu-sungagufrost moon, center moon's younger brother
Cherokee - East Coast - viskihyi - snow moon
Cheyenne - Great Plains - deer rutting moon, moon when the wolves run together
Choctaw - Southeast - rvfo-rakkobig winter
Comanche - Southern Plains - wahi mua - evergreen moon
Cree - Northern Plains - papiwatiginashispizunmoon when the young fellow spreads the      brush
Creek - Southeast - big winter
Haida - Alaska - gaangalang kungaaysnow moon, ripe berries
Hopi - Southwest - kyaamuya - moon of long hair
Kalapuya - Pacific Northwest - adshampak - not bad weather
Lakota - Northern Plains - wanicokan wi - moon when the deer shed their antlers
Mohawk - Eastern Woodlands - sothohrhatime of cold
Passamaquoddy - Great Lakes - punam - freezing moon, frost fish moon
Shawnee - Midwest - washilatha kiisthwa eccentric moon
Shoshone - Great Basin - dommo-mea' - winter moon
Sioux - Great Plains - when deer shed their horns
Tlingit - Pacific Northwest Coast - shanax dis - unborn seals are getting hair
Winnebago - Great Lakes - big bear's moon
Wishram - Columbian River Basin - her winter houses moon
Zuni - Southwest - ik-ohbu yachunnesun has traveled home to rest

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