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More than half a century ago, a man walked on the moon and changed our perspective of this brilliant object of the night sky forever. We became blase about our closest heavenly neighbor. We banished many of the ideas our ancestors held about the moon to the realm of folklore and myth.
Lee Pennington, Louisville resident, posts to his Facebook page a photograph of the full moon each month and calls them by their Native American name. This year Lee is busy enjoying a cruise around South America, but did not forget his moon post. He delighted his many friends with a Lakota Times Moon Calendar for the year 2023.
There are variations among the tribes but a brief list of the names are Wolf, Snow, Worm, Pink, Flower Strawberry, Buck, Corn, Harvest, Hunters, Frost, and Cold moon. As you can see they roughly correspond with the human life cycle in relationship to the seasons.
Our ancestors used the phases of the moon to plant their crops. These phases are produced by the amount of light from the sun falling on the moon pierced by the shadow of our planet as it moves between the sun and the moon.
When we say “dark of the moon,” the moon is decreasing in size and intensity. This period is known as the waning moon. Old farmers planted crops that produced their seeds, such as beans, above the ground.
The opposite is “light of the moon’ when the moon is increasing in size and intensity. The moon is then known as the waxing moon which was considered best for planting crops like potatoes that produce their seeds underground.
The orbit of the moon is elliptical and the earth wobbles as it spins in space. Perigee is when the moon’s orbit is closest to the earth. Apogee is when the moon’s orbit is farthest from the earth. The Apollo moon landing took this fact into consideration when plotting the trip to take advantage of the shorter distance.
A ‘wow’ fact is that NASA managed to put a man on the moon using 14 computers whose total combined power did not equal the ability of your cell phone.
“Blue moon” is not a myth for lyricists to praise in song. It is a term applied to the moon when two full moons occur within the same month. It does not happen every year and every once in a while there will be a year when it occurs more than once. This year, 2023, we will have a blue moon in August on the 1st and the 30th.
Enjoy the light of the moon or the man in the sky as it travels around us. Remember the ancients were not dumb they knew a thing of two which they described in elegant language and fruitful practice.