I met with my Cherokee medicine woman teacher this afternoon and she helped me translate and better understand some of the terms that I posted about two weeks ago about the Cherokee Moon Ceremony for this moon phase of the year — month is not really the right word since the Cherokee (like many indigenous people, I assume) saw the year as 13 cycles of the moon. (See below)
What is from good ‘ole Wikipedia is in italics.
My teacher’s definitions of the terms are in bold at the bottom.
Cherokee Moons Ceremonies
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Cherokee Moons Ceremonies were the ancient seasonal round of ceremonies practiced during ancient times by the Ah-ni-yv-wi-ya or Cherokee People in the ancient culture. Although a modern calendar year comprises 12 months, there are actually 13 cycles or phases of the moon each year. The seasonal round of ceremonies was based on 13 moons, and was considered a necessary spiritual element for growth and encouraged social gatherings among the Cherokee Clans and Cherokee Society in the ancient culture.
The Ah-ni-yv-wi-ya believed the number 13 was significant. Not only did this number correspond to the lunar cycles of the year, but by a startling coincidence, all species of turtles living in the ancient homeland (in fact, all species turtles in the world) always had 13 scales on the back of their shells. As a result, Cherokee culture associated the spaces on the back of the turtle with the 13 yearly phases of the moon. These phases have shifted over time and do not fall within the 12 month year calendar year precisely every year; therefore Ripe Corn Ceremonies (now called the Green Corn Dances or the Green Corn Ceremony in Modern Times – Ah-ga-we-la Se-lu-ut-si/old woman corn mother) fall in early September as of 2005.
MARCH: Windy Moon, Anvyi, “First New Moon” of the new seasons. Traditional start of the new cycle of planting seasons or Moons. New town council fires are made. The figure used to portray this moon is the historic figure of Kanati, one of the many beings created by the “Apportioner” Unethlana. These “helpers” were variously charged with the control of the life elements of the earth: air/earth/fire/water. Their domains are the sky, earth, stars and the Seven Levels of the universe.
Nv-da u-no-le – WIND MOON (when strong winds strip away the dead wood and foliage and prepare the land for renewal)
Kanati is the name of the local nature entity for the person (and his/her tribe) who wrote up this piece in Wikipedia. Nature entities are the beings who have been appointed by Earth Mother Unethlana, since the formation of the planet, to be in charge of specific areas of the planet, a valley, a mountain, a section of a desert, etc. Nature entities work with all the other spiritual beings in these regions to help plants grow, etc, etc. The “helpers” are all the nature entities of the planet together.
“These ‘helpers’ were variously charged with the control of the life elements of the earth: air/earth/fire/water.” – My teacher took issue with this statement. A better way to say it, according to her was: These nature entities were variously charged with communications with the elementals of the earth: air/earth/fire/water/ metal/volcanoes/thunderbeings/lightning/tornadoes and so on. Elementals are a different level of spiritual beings on the planet that are in charge of these various domains.
“Their domains are the sky, earth, stars and the Seven Levels of the universe.” – Well, she rolled her eyes at this statement. Other than to say that there are Nine Levels of the Universe, she basically explained that this statement was a nice way to make fluff. There are many different levels of spiritual beings who work in all of those domains, far more than just the nature entities and elementals. But what that person wrote for Wikipedia was simple and mystical sounding enough for that forum.
So, this was informative for me to ask her. I’ll do this every month with each one of the moon cycles from the Cherokee calendar of Moon Ceremonies.
(Also, I’ll be covering some of this in the book I’m writing, Book #2. Which I’d like to say will be out tomorrow, but not quite. Still working on it.)
for the earth,
oh, if anyone is interested in reading an interview with my teacher, it is available to download (for a small cost) at www.tocallgod.net.