This particular new moon will wax full into the Blood (or Hunters' or Shedding) Moon. In New England, this is a busy time of harvest in preparation for winter. Farmers and hunters, wild animals and human householders alike are harvesting and storing food... either as body fat or in caches and storerooms. For many, this includes shedding the blood of animals in order to provide meat to eat during the cold months ahead. How appropriate for a new moon gathering in which we honor the females' monthly (blood shedding) cycles. Even the trees are "shedding" their leaves in preparation for a time of rest. Darwin sorted apples.
Margaret made an apple pie with locally grown apples and butter from our own cows. Jean showed us how to print greeting cards with some of the leaves she had picked up and pressed the day before.We gratefully shared nourishment from our friend Brigitte's first deer of the season:
"The doe was the third I had seen in a healthy year. Many acorns, lots of grass and now wild and domesticated apples.
The state of Connecticut certified me to teach hunting- to boys and girls and men and women. So I do my best to teach what I have learned- from a good innate sense and from others who know about patience, and an appreciation for the wild that must be a religion.
I tell them, let go that first shot with your arrow. Take the second. If your can't match the rhythm of your breathing, in the rush of adrenalin, to the rhythm of the deer, don't shoot. let it go.
Anti hunting critics say bow hunters injure deer. I tell them about the deer I shot at 35 yards with an arrow through the lungs, that had a shotgun shell hole through its ear.
The Indians had a belief that deer chose the hunters that would fell them. Hunting silently, as close enough to your prey to see the ticks on its ear, is far different than the machismo of gun hunting. they are ruminants, like cows, and have many similar movements. So this doe was the third I had seen. I passed on the other two, that had single fawns in September still in spots. It was a late rut last fall, warm. The fawns are weaned now. Still its hard to rationalize the emotion. This doe had twin fawns, perhaps I thought better able to care for each other. She took the arrow at 21 yards, and ran 50 before falling dead. It was a good, painless kill. The fawns lingered in the distance, then ran up ..
I dragged her down, and across, carrying my metal stand on my back, and my bow in my hand, as proud as any Indian could have been on Indian Mountain."
Read Blood Moon for more thoughts on the sacred act of eating meat and this special time of year.