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Monday, January 17, 2011

Magical Monday: Howl at the Wolf Moon

Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
From their shadowy coat the white breasts peep
Of doves in a silver-feathered sleep;
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws, and silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream.
~Walter de la Mare

Today’s Magical Monday feature is a discussion about this Friday’s January full moon, the Wolf Moon.

Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages.

While we think of this January as the first moon of the new year, in the natural world, however, it is the middle of the winter season, a time of death and desolation. For this reason, legends about the Wolf Moon are tales of both beginnings and endings.

I’ll recount a story from the Pawnee Indians of North America. Their name comes from the word pa’ni, meaning wolf, or tribe of the wolf. Their beliefs, legends, and ways of life honor the Wolf Spirit.
Tirawa, the Great Spirit, placed Wolf Spirit in the sky to watch out for the Moon /Evening Star. Tirawa also placed Wolf’s animal brothers - Black Bear, Mountain Lion, and Wild-Cat - next to him in attendance of the

Great was the power of Wolf Spirit and his brothers in their place in the sky. They came to be known as Black Star, Yellow Star, White Star and Red Star. These Star beasts sent animals like themselves to live upon the earth. These same animal spirits were responsible for many of the Earth’s creations. They sent clouds, thunder, lightening, and the wind. They sent the cottonwood, elm, willow, and box elder. They created the four kinds of corn - black, yellow, white, and red. And it was these great and powerful spirits that guarded Evening Star each night.

As great as these Star Warriors were, the power of the Morning Star, the Sun, was greater. In time, the Sun vanquished Wolf Spirit and his three brothers. In honor of their greatness, Morning Star set Wolf Spirit and the other Star Beasts to hold up the four quarters of the universe.

Wolf Spirit, once guardian of the Moon, now stands as a devoted servant of the Sun. Yet his likeness upon the Earth is still heard howling when Evening Star rises in the sky. Could it be that the creation of Wolf Spirit yet remembers the ancient ties to the Moon? The lone wolf who sings his songs to the Moon is following the ways of his ancestors, who first helped the Moon ascend to her nightly station.

Other names for the January full moon include: Ice Moon; Old Moon; Moon after Yule; Frost Moon; Birch Moon; Moon of Beginning.

Colors to improve personal healing: black (jet stone), white and blue-violet (the color of crocus flowers)
Plants: herbs and produce of the woodland are closely connected, and with nuts and cones, musk, marjoram and mimosa lending sweetness

The Wolf Moon will rise on Friday 19th at 21:21 GMT. 

Although we don’t have wolves in my neighborhood, I’ll be listening for coyotes and any wild ancestral spirits from pet doggies that may bring out a howl or two.

Any wolves or other howlers in your neighborhood?
Pawnee legend:
Art: (top to bottom) skeelar; emerald-depths; lethalnightmarez


Roseanne Dowell said...

What a lovely story. I'll have to listen for coyotes too. I doubt we have any wolves in my neighborhood. Thanks for sharing.

~K. McCracken said...

This is a beautiful story, Marsha. I love learning about Native Americans and their legends/beliefs. I have Cherokee in me. Your story is captivating. Thank you for sharing.

Marsha A. Moore said...

I love Indian lore too. Glad you both enjoyed the story. :)

Savanna Kougar said...

Great blog about the Wolf Moon. I don't think there are any wolves, but we do have coyotes. Unfortunately, the sky will probably be overcast and I won't see the Full Wolf Moon.

Marsha A. Moore said...

Overcast winter skies are inevitable, but I'll be hoping you have some clear weather that night. Thanks for visiting, Savanna.