What will you call this full moon?
It is known by many names: the Strawberry Moon, Honey Moon, Mead Moon, Lover’s Moon, and many more. All these names are rooted in local traditions in various regions, revealing the connection between the land and its people.
Some call it the Strawberry Moon for its timing with the ripening of strawberries in many locales. In European cultures, another common name for June’s Full Moon was the Honey Moon or Mead Moon (an alcoholic beverage made with honey). Post Bealtaine, this was a time of marriage (“June brides”), after the first harvest of hay, and popular gifts for the wedding were honey and mead. And “honey moon” has now morphed into its present day meaning of a romantic post-wedding holiday.
I do find it interesting the our name for this month, June, comes from Roman traditions: the goddess of women and marriage Juno. It would seem the association with love and romance is long-standing!
I read recently that in Northern and Western India, the May-June full moon is celebrated as Vat Purnima aka Vat Savitri, based on a legend from the Mahabharata about Savitri and her husband Satyavan. She fasted for three days before her husband’s death, predicted to take place a year from their meeting. But Satyavan was resurrected when Savitri negotiated with Yama, the god of death, for his return. Today, celebrations include fasting and tying a thread seven times around a banyan (vat) tree at the Full Moon (purnima) to wish one’s husband a long life.
Naming any full moon truly depends on one’s locale, its history, lore, and ecosystems.
I always like to name my own moons. For instance, here in the Lower Mainland of BC (Greater Vancouver and thereabouts), the strawberries and salmon berries are ripening, so Strawberry Moon could work. But I also look to the locale, and what is important for me, and to the traditions and naming conventions of the indigenous people of this land, the Coach Salish peoples.
So, while delightful and tasty, these berries did not sustain the economy or health of the Coast Salish year round. Instead, for many Coast Salish peoples, the names and months were aligned with the salmon runs and other activities related to them.
In Wsanec / Saanich traditions, Salmon saw that the people were poor and took pity on them, and helped them by showing the people how to fish and how to honour the salmon they caught. The sockeye salmon runs typically began in June and by July, in the dry coastal summers, they began to dry the fish meat and skins. In July, the Humpback salmon aka Pink Salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha, a small northern Pacific coast salmon) returned.
For these reasons, the Wsanec named the June Moon CENTEKI (The Sockeye Moon) and July Moon CENHENEN (Humpback Salmon return to Earth).
I may call this Full Moon the Yellow Flower Moon, the Healing Moon or the Blood Flower Moon, as St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is now peaking in my locale.
It has a beautiful yellow flower (pictured to the right) which, when squeezed, exudes a deep red liquid.
This is an annual ritual for me, ethically foraging the flowers and using them for medicinal purposes.
When infused in a preferred carrier oil such as extra virgin olive oil, these blossoms create a wonderful healing oil for the skin (and nerve conditions like sciatica) and can be combined with Calendula and Arnica infused oils as a trauma oil or salve. When made as a tincture or tea, is used as an anti-depressant.
CAUTION: As with all herbs, it can have a powerful effect and cannot be used by all. Be sure to research any herb thoroughly before using. If in doubt consult a herbalist or physician.
Do any of these naming traditions call to you?
What is flourishing or manifesting or your locale that will help you name this June Full Moon?
Perhaps you are inspired by local names and traditions. Perhaps you are inspired by the names given to it in your ancestral traditions. Or maybe you are inspired to create your own name.
I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments area below, or in our private women’s group in Facebook, the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle.