Friday 5 June brings us the last full moon of the first half of the year.
Many lists of moon names use the names given to the moon by Algonquian Native American people, who call this the Strawberry Moon. Both to avoid cultural appropriation of indigenous traditions and to better connect with my own land and history, I like to look to the different names used in medieval Britain.
According to the 2020 Almanac by Lia Leendertz, “The medieval name for this month’s moon is Rose Moon, reflecting the dog roses that are scrambling over hedgerows, their simple, pale pink petals catching the moonlight, as well as the abundance of roses wafting fragrantly from midnight gardens”.
The name Rose Moon fits better with the natural pattern of the seasons at least where I am in East Anglia. The hedgerows are blooming with dog roses, and the white rose in my back garden is putting on a great show with its moon-like white globes, but my wild strawberries haven’t even put out flowers yet this year.
At this point of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is at its highest in the sky and so, because of the angle of the ecliptic, the moon is low, and hangs in the sky with a less bright, more golden glow.
The Druid tradition associates the full moon with the call for peace. In Druid ritual, we call to the North, South, East and West, saying “may there be peace”. Welsh Druids use the word Heddwch, which is an imperative, a command for peace. You can hear more about Heddwch on the Anglesey Druid Order‘s monthly peace meditation.
Peace is seen not as passive but as an active process, the hard work and real work of bringing peace to the world. In ancient times, the classical texts tell us, Druids would walk between warring armies on the battlefield and command them to be at peace.
Now, we may not be able to do that today, but there are ways we can work for peace in our world today, both on the small, personal, scale and on the larger scale. Peace in this sense cannot be untethered from justice, from equality, from freedom. To call for peace, in ritual, in meditation and in our daily lives, is a radical act of resistance.
May there be peace throughout the whole world.
Anglesey Druid Order – Urdd Derwyddon Môn. https://www.facebook.com/angleseydruidorder/. Accessed 2 June 2020.
‘Peacemaking in Druidry’. Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids, https://druidry.org/get-involved/peacemaking-in-druidry. Accessed 2 June 2020.
Leendertz, Lia. The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to 2020. Mitchell Beazley, 2019.