Bill Jarosin Presents The Storm Moon: July 1– 30, 2011

The Storm Moon

The first full moon of the northern-latitudes summer is the Storm Moon or, depending on the tradition involved, goes by a number of other names: Thunder Moon, Summer Moon, Buck Moon, Hay Moon, Ripe Corn Moon, or Mead Moon.z

The Storm Moon’s name is derived from the experience of monsoonal moisture in the American Southwest from about July trough September. But summer storms in general are a phenomenon of many areas across the globe, particularly in equatorial and northern latitudes that see heat and moisture combined.

The high-summer Storm Moon is an unusual time of great fecundity, a splendiferous height of power in nature—almost too much of a good thing. We rejoice in the sheer deluge of fructifying rain, while at the same time stay on watch for lightening, deluge, and flood. This is also a time of sweat, literally—those days of sitting around in ribbed-Ts on the front-porch while drinking cold tea and pulling ice cubes out of the glass to rub on the face and arms. Intense and mollifying both.

Likewise for the inner realm, it’s time to rejoice in an explosion of nature, like spiritual fireworks, while also keeping a mollifying cup of ice-tea-for-the-soul at hand. (A cup of mead will do, Mead Moon being the neo-pagan name for this month.)

Do you know how to dance? It’s time to celebrate. “Spiritual fireworks” means the sheer exuberance of being alive. Swim, run, dance, eat. The crops are in the ground, the harvest is not yet come. But even modest acknowledgements of the nature gods are sufficient: recognizing something as simple as a breeze through the open window at night, or listening to a favorite song, or seeing a good movie, or taking a walk in the rain. Kathy Cybele, the Wiccan teacher and healer, in claiming this as the Mead Moon, advises joy (symbolized in mead, the celebratory drink): “Allow yourself to be immersed and absorbed by the nature that surrounds you. Feel your connectedness to all of nature.” But she also recognizes the moon in its yearly cycle and so adds: “This is a time to tend to the crops that you planted during the spring.” Lammas, the festival of first harvest (usually wheat) is celebrated at the next new moon. (The two quotes above are from Kathy Cybele’s Lunar Wheel of the Year workshop in San Diego. For a schedule of her healing energy work and classes, click back to the Tree of Life homepage.)

If you live in less humid northern latitudes (as do I), find some water, jump in, and splash around! If you live south of the equator where winter has begun, you might envision how the passing season has drawn out the best in you and made ready your “winter stores,” those qualities and skills that ensure a fruitful season despite shorter days and a lessened sun. It’s time to consider accomplishments, celebrate survival, and plan ahead in promise.


There is one eclipse, partial solar, in this moon cycle. It is mentioned under the New Moon. More information is on NASA’s 2011 Eclipse webpage.

The Phases

As mentioned in the introduction, the four quarter phases are discussed here. They are 1. new (in the heart of the dark moon, though some argue that “new” should refer to the first sign of the crescent sliver), 2. first quarter, 3. full, 4. last quarter, and 5. the dark moon. The crescent phases are incorporated, where noteworthy, into the quarter information. (Complete information about the phases and this column as a whole is in the Introduction.)

Dates given below are for the “height” of each phase, based on angle to the sun. Exact times on the 24-hour clock are given for GMT (Greenwich Mean Time: London), EST (Eastern Standard Time: New York), and PST (Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles). Note though, that Daylight Savings Time begins on March 13, and the listed Pacific and Eastern times will reflect that; Greenwich time does not change.) In practical terms, there is no precise delineation from one phase of the moon to the next. Expect about one day either side of the date for a “coming into” that phase and a “passing onto” the next. Allow two days either side for the full moon.

July 1
New Moon in Cancer (9°)
09:54 GMT May 3, 04:54 EDT, 01:54 PDT
(Partial Solar Eclipse. Visible only in a small area off Antarctica)

New moons cannot be seen; they are “held inside” the sun—conjunct, in astrological jargon. From the Earth’s viewpoint, the sun and moon are aligned (this month, nearly exact as a solar eclipse). The day before and for about a day afterwards here (July 29–31), a New Moon is more specifically called the Dark Moon, a time to retrench, rest, re-imagine, and get ready. This is not primarily physical, except as our spirit and emotions are carried in energetic patterns within the body. It is a time for introspection, a retrospective upon the previous cycle. Should you actually stop the day and withdraw? No. This phase is a time or remembrance, a time to include reflection in (and on) one’s daily activities.

With the new moon in Cancer, it’s time to grab a comfy sofa and get some shut eye. A quiet room in your garden cottage, willows sighing outside an open window—anything that pulls you to your heart’s hearth. Sleep and dream. Let your mind wander to what “home” means to you. What “garden” is yours? On what soil or within what walls do you celebrate what you had, what has come your way, and what is yet a dream? Time to think of what flowered meadow you’ll create inwardly, this moon cycle. Don’t go picking daisies yet, but consider where they are and how you’ll get to them. (Hint: Follow your nose, which means don’t cerebrate, instead celebrate—heart over head this time around.)

July 7/8
First Quarter Moon in Libra (16°)
07:29 GMT Jul 8, 02:29 EDT Jul 8, 23:29 PDT Jul 7

Who will you share your home with? Who will dance through your garden? Time to find a partner and do-si-do. What this means on the inner realm is tracking the scent of love and bringing it home—self-care, nurturing surroundings, and achievable hopes taken step-by-step into the future.

July 14/15
Full Moon in Capricorn (22°)
07:40 GMT Jul 15, 02:40 EDT Jul 15, 23:40 PDT Jul 14

First full moon of summer! How’s your garden growing? Any night bloomers? Check your seed catalog, what you planted, and what should be popping by now, because for all the moony-swoony warm midnight breezes a-blowin’, it’s time to take stock for what can be reaped come the new moon and Lammas (first harvest, August 1). Because we’re still with the sun in Cancer, the emphasis remains hearth and home—the inner world, so read this garden talk as metaphor for the summer within you, the light of full-blossomed nature on your own soul. Indeed celebrate, let the cup run over, but Capricorn full-moon that it is, make sure the overflowing water is channeled to irrigate some necessary beauty of a rose.

July 22/23
Last-Quarter Moon in Taurus (0°)
06:02 GMT Jul 23, 01:02 EDT Jul 23, 22:02 PDT Jul 22
(Sun enters Leo on July 22 at 21:12 PDT)

Less than an hour before the last-quarter moon peaks, the sun enters a new sign—Leo. No longer the home-body and midnight gardener, you bellow to the moon with the desire of ages—a ripe stand of hay, a shady barn, and a nose ring to outshine the halo of angels. I’m indicating the bull of nature (Taurus) fully decked out in shiny hide, polished hoofs, and a bellow befitting the roar of a lion (Leo). What does it all mean? You are this bull-lion beast. The moon is past full, your belly is distended with grass, you’re drowsy and content. But don’t doze till the hay’s cut—who have you invited home, “culled,” so to speak? If you’ve been attentive to the seeds and soil, the bud is waiting (and he’s/she’s no wall-flower). Time to turn the earth, dig him (or her) up, grab the roots, and make ready to feast. (I’m advising making friends with the lover within, shining out to others through your very eyes.)

July 28 – 30
Dark Moon in Cancer and Leo
(New Moon on July 30)

Okay, pillow talk time, tender endearments. Collect your family (whoever they are) and speak softly in the dark night. The lion’s asleep. Are the horses stabled? (Dream horses, blue shadows prancing across the walls.) Wheat scythed? (Your harvest, the “fruit” of practical dreaming.) Then sleep and dream of savannas where fields of grass stretch to the horizon and all beasts roam free. This is Leo’s domain, and the land of the coming moon.