February in our mountains. The snow crocus are lifting their heads, the days are beginning to seem a little longer and the morning fog dances in and out. We always make sure that between the rains we have plenty of bird food and deer corn out, just to keep everyone healthy and happy. As the lakes are down, you hear stories about bits and pieces of pottery and arrow heads being seen (do NOT pick them up please). It reminds us that each of the peoples that have populated this area have left an impact, even if the celebrations and traditions were not the same.
Bony Moon or Kaga`li, traditionally for the Cherokee, a time of personal-family feast for the ones who had departed this world. A family meal is prepared with place(s) set for the departed. This is also a time of fasting and ritual observance. A community dance officiated by a “doctor” Didanawiskawi commonly referred to as a Medicine-person. The medicine men and women were revered people of their clans. The teachings of making medicines from different herbs were taught to particular Cherokee that had the knowledge to learn the many medicinal practices. Many of these are practiced yet today. Connected to this moon is the “Medicine Dance”.
Social Dances are more prevalent in modern Cherokee societies and some of these dances were adopted as the result of contact with other Native American tribes. One example of this is the Cherokee Butterfly Dance, which is also known as the Ladies’ Fancy Shawl Dance on the modern day pow wow circuits. The Cherokee have a legend explaining how this dance came to be, but the Crow also have another legend with their own version of this dance. In both cultures, it started out as a powerful medicine dance, but in today’s culture it is one of the popular competition dances at social powwows on the Northern pow wow circuit.
February’s full Moon in 2020 reaches peak fullness at 2:34 A.M. EST on Sunday, February 9. For the best view of this Moon, look for it on the night of Saturday, February 8; it will rise in the east and reach its highest point in the sky around midnight. So says the Farmer’s Almanac.
So here is my take on not getting into winter’s slump this week. Take care of the nature that surrounds you. Invite family to come see you. Dance!! Stay up late, make a hot tea and watch a moon rise. Everyone that has come before you has enjoyed a version of celebrating February. Come the mountains and make your own traditions!
Thank you for spending a little time with us today and as always,
WELCOME TO THE MOUNTAINS