Strawberry moon and summer solstice

strawberry-moon-night-sky

According to the Ojibwe, the sixth moon of Creation is Strawberry Moon. The medicine of the strawberry is reconciliation. It was during this moon cycle that communities usually held their annual feasts, welcoming everyone home, regardless of their differences over the past year, letting go of judgment and/or self righteousness.

Generally, for the rest of us, this has come to mean the full moon in June that is closest to Solstice. This year, the full moon is on the same day as summer solstice. A magical moon indeed… and I was excited to get up in time to see it at dawn.

The sky was lightening at 5 am as I hurried to the river’s edge, worried I’d miss the special moment: sunrise on summer solstice. I was warm in shorts and t-shirt as I came to the Ottawa River and stopped short.

There it was! A strawberry moon! Perhaps a little more peach than pink, but oh…. huge, close to the horizon, bright in the morning sky and reflecting on the grey water.

We haven’t had a full moon on the same day as summer solstice since 1967. Today sunrise was at 5:14 am and sunset will be 8:50 pm. It’s a long day for those who are observing Ramadan- 15 1/2 hours without food, water or cigarettes. “Strawberry” refers to June- time to start picking- but also to the colour of the moon, caused by the great distance between the earth and the moon today.

I enjoy exploring the extreme edges of this day. Usually I stay awake all night, awed by how short it is. Tonight as the sun sets, that great pink moon will flood us with light. If it is cloudless, the sky may not darken at all.

I revel in the light, loll about in the warmth, leave sunglasses in the car. My sunrise appreciation was simple- throwing out thanks to the sky listing the many blessings in my life. Then just doing Qigong in the peace – you might think it was quiet, but oh, the quacking ducks, the chorus of birds and my exploding heart…. it was a noisy celebration.

Happy solstice! Light be upon you.

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