Friday, August 31, 2012

Once in a Blue Moon

This morning (at 9:58 am if you're in the Eastern time zone, if you're keeping score at home) the moon will be full for the second time this month, making it the one and only blue moon of the year. There won't be another until 2015.

While it's definitely a rare event—whence the colloquial meaning of the phrase, "That happens only once in a blue moon"—there is also a whiff of mysticism about this phenomenon. Perhaps magic is a bit more likely today, or the veil between the temporal and spirit world is thinner, a la Halloween. It will be fun to see what unfolds.

A Moon by any Other Name
Native Americans developed monikers for full moons that became associated with natural events and conditions that obtained in the month that they appeared. Thus, the August full moon is known variously as:

Sturgeon Moon, to mark when this large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water like Lake Champlain is most readily caught. 
Red Moon, in honor of the countenance of Earth's satellite when observed rising through the sultry, humid haze of late summer.
Green Corn Moon, as grains are ripening now.
Heat Moon: as I recall from an obscure passage in William Trogdon's 1980's bestseller, Blue Highways, the August full moon also has this appellation, for which his father, imbued with part Osage blood, was named. His older brother was thus naturally called Little Heat Moon, and William, who grew up to be an English professor and author, adopted the nom de plume Least Heat Moon.
• • •
So what will today bring? I travel to Twin Oaks (Lousia VA) later this morning to participate in their annual Communities Conference, running through Monday. In addition to operating the conference bookstore and offering a handful of workshops, over the course of the weekend I'll get to visit with old friends and meet interesting people I don't know who share with me a hunger for community. There's always some magic in that.

Saturday night I'll play auctioneer for a benefit auction in support of the Fellowship for Intentional Community. It will be an occasion of high merriment (and hopefully high bids). 

As much fun as I'll have on stage, the part I like best is the space in the interstices of the schedule, where I can enjoy one-on-one chance conversations with the humanity that ebbs and flows by the bookstore, building relationships and trying to be an answer man for folks trying to manifest more community in their lives. There's definitely magic and restorative energy at community events where people gather in numbers to celebrate and learn from one another about cooperative living. 

I'm lucky that my opportunities to do this thing I love happen four or five times a year—much more frequently than blue moons.

In just three short weeks I'll get my next chance at this magic. I'll be at Westminster Woods outside Occidental CA where I'll immerse myself in the FIC's Art of Community event, Sept 21-23—to be followed immediately by a Social Change Summit at the same location, Sept 24-25. After that, I'll be at the annual NASCO Institute, Nov 2-4, in Ann Arbor MI. My cup runneth over.

It's interesting to reflect that in going from Twin Oaks to Westminster Woods to Ann Arbor that I'll not only be traversing three time zones (twice—once in each direction); I'll also be jouneying from Blue Moon to Autumnal Equinox to Samhain. By aligning these community events with traditional Earth religion holidays, we'll effectively be stringing together a necklace of transformers along a two-month power line. I can sense that the Force will be with us,… even if I leave my lightsaber at home. 

If you're in my vicinity on any of these occasions, I invite you to drop by the bookstore for some scintillating conversation.  

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