Last night I went and stood under the moon, which was just a fingernail paring off full and of that hazed honey colour that only comes with the heat of summer. The back yard was beautiful in the light, all moving shadows and pathways of silver here and there. I could smell the last of the roses, past their blowsy fullness now, and the ripe raspberries over the fence, and the clover thick grass before morning’s dew. I could feel the roundness of the earth, the femininity of it, which is especially apparent in this most fertile of seasons.
As I stood there, I thought of the deer I had seen earlier in the day, standing knee-deep in the river, drinking water that sparkled with sunlight, as though they were drinking liquid diamonds. I thought of the perfect peace of them, so easily shattered by any instrusion, but perfect in that moment when nothing and no one disturbed them. Somehow, under the moonlight, when it is summer-thick and warm, it feels possible to shift to another way of being, another way of thinking, another life, one where you too have deer pelt upon your shoulders and can run through alfalfa fields in a few simple bounds and slip through the woods unheard. Because moonlight has an energy of its own, it has an old magic at its core that is not felt in the same way in the light of day.
I thought too about the spider that lived on my bedroom window these last two summers- on the outside that is. My bedroom is three stories up from the ground, and so we don’t get too many visitors other than moths and bats and bumblebees. But the spider built her web there for two summers and it was such a lesson in patience, in life itself, to watch her build her web and how she coped with the vagaries of weather and wind, of heat and chill and rain. It was a wonder to see the web lit by moonlight and to understand that there is magic everywhere, in something as simple as a spider building her web strand by strand. I was sad that she didn’t return this summer, though I know enough of spiders to realize how very brief their lives are.
My thoughts always wander this way in the light of a full moon, for moonlight contains a different knowing in it, a knowing that is like that of the spider spinning a web, or a deer drinking water, or a crow flying low over the tops of fir trees. It is a knowing of root and water, of earth and the force of the green fuse that grows through it, of chants to old gods and goddesses, of the old Woman who weaves the fates of the world. It is an edge place that opens up and allows for other worlds and other ways of being. It is a magic that occurs every month, and yet its wonder never grows old, never ceases to awe.
As a woman, I understand the call of the moon, for our bodies yearn toward it in tides just as the sea does. Our bodies are permeable, and we dissolve outward into others as they into us, through words, through touch, through laughter and through tears. Like the tide we withdraw at other times, returning to ourselves, the moon turning her shoulder in the sky and giving us a darkness that is healing and complete. The full moon always calls to mind images of women in covens dancing under the it, calling up the Goddess to be present with them, in them. It calls to mind the ‘Charge of the Goddess’—
‘Whenever you have need of anything
Once in the month and when the moon is full,
Ye shall assemble in some desert place
Or in a forest all together join…’
I feel the touch of moonlight on my skin as though it is dusted with the dew that was once believed to make pearls, I feel the energy of it and know it as feminine and of a knowing that precedes my time, our time, humanity’s time on this fragile planet. I feel my connection to every thing on the planet and how necessary each of those things is to my survival, to all our survival. Call it a moon knowingness, in which it is fine to whisper to the moon as the clouds race across her, limned gold and shadow, in which it is fine to ask a spider for advice or to realize that the owl skimming on slants of silver light knows wonders you will never encounter, has wisdom not imparted to humans. And that that is as it should be, as it was meant to be.
When the next moon rises and waxes golden-full of August mead, it will be a different entity, for as warm as the nights may be, they will no longer smell of roses and ripe raspberries on their thorny cane, and it will hold autumn’s sharper edge in its roundness, for summers pass as quickly as a spider’s life. And that is as it should be.