Chant At The Moon Day
The Moon has always been a significant part of our lives. Without its guiding hand on the Earth’s axis; our home would be harsher and inhospitable. The tides that ebb and flow under the Moon’s influence also set the rhythms of human activity and enterprise. With such an essential role in our existence, it is no wonder that our endeavors reflect these deep lunar connections.
Moon cherries, as they are fondly called, grow in a specific location that is believed to be the reason for their distinctive taste. These are the dark-sweet cherries of Stemilt from Wenatchee, Washington. Kyle Mathison, the fourth-generation grower, cultivates his trees in this unique microclimate and coordinates his harvests around the lunar cycles. He believes that his cherries develop such complex flavours because of the extra gravitational pull of the Moon on the trees’ roots.
Chant At The Moon Day was therefore established in 2018 as a way to promote the distinctive high-elevation, “Half A Mile Closer To The Moon”, cherries that Stemilt is famous for, as well as to give thanks for the Moon’s benevolent effects. It is best observed by going outdoors, coming together with friends and partaking in delicious cherries under the night sky. Chanting jubilantly in salute to this nurturing lunar force is this special day’s culminating activity.
A Bit of History
The origins of tarot date back to the 1400s, with the illustrated cards used mainly for parlor games rather than divination. The use of playing cards for fortune-telling, or cartomancy, began gaining ground in the 1780s when Jean Baptiste Alliete developed correlations between astrology, ancient Egyptian beliefs, and the cards. The foundations for tarot cards were laid down in the late 1890s, when founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn wrote a manual detailing the symbolism attributed to the illustrated cards. 1909 saw the birth of the Rider-Waite deck, loosely based on the teachings of the Golden Dawn and created by Arthur Edward Waite and Pamela Colman Smith. Since then, this has become the most popular variant of the tarot. Occultist Aleister Crowley and Lady Frieda Harris published an alternative version in 1943 based on their own interpretation of the Golden Dawn’s doctrines. The Thoth deck, so named after the Egyptian god of alphabets, relates the symbolism in the cards to astrological and cosmological influences.
Nowadays, tarot cards have gained ground not as tools for divination, but as a way to access your intuition and inner voice. Consulting them has become less about predicting the future and more about reflecting on your life. Although the traditional meanings tied to the symbols are still applicable, the interpretation of their imagery is primarily influenced by your own story, and how the symbols resonate with you. As such, tarot cards have become more popular as context-driven devices for introspection and increasing self-awareness. Aside from their functionality, the aesthetics of the tarot cards have evolved as well, with a multitude of designs and artwork now available that would appeal to a wider base of practitioners.
Tarot and the Moon
As for the Moon, it is the 18th card among the Major Arcana. Being a trump card, its symbolism plays a role in major events and underlying themes in your life when pulled from the deck. The imagery of the Moon in tarot reflects its real-life influence. It is the card of intuition, encouraging you to use your own insight to discern a path through the shadows.
For me, and maybe others, with limited to no access to those delectable cherries as well as the environs to freely chant at the Moon, there is an alternative. We can work with our fountain pens, inks and paper to make this day noteworthy. Using the symbolism of the Moon taken from the tarot, we can write about our fears during this time of uncertainty, giving our anxious minds an outlet for release. Perhaps, when we concretize those negative thoughts by putting pen and ink onto paper, we can disentangle some of them that have wound us up so tightly. With this exercise of letting go, we can see clearly and beyond what is in front of us, and see our situation in a better light.
This might not be the conventionally public and boisterous way to chant at the moon, but a quiet, personal time for contemplation inspired by the Moon’s influence might just be the celebration each of us needs.
Aside from sketching, another way that has been contributory to developing my mindfulness is reading tarot. The act of pulling cards, interpreting the imagery, and weaving a story from them has helped shift my perspective of a specific situation. It has become part of my practice to write these down with a dedicated fountain pen in a particular journal. I believe that adding this step allows me to be more present in the moment and enhances my learning from it. Journaling this way and finding other ways to creatively use my fountain pens, inks and paper have deepened my appreciation of these instruments and materials.
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Written by Lekz Umali
Check out her art on Instagram!