Continuing our exploration of what celebration looks like in modern Pagan families, this is the first in a series of blogs from the Children & Families Team write about the traditions they have developed to celebrate the 13 moons of the year with their children aged 3 years and up; starting with the July full moon.
We have a beautiful book called ‘full moon lore’ that we read for each full moon. July is all about the buck moon, as they grow their antlers at this time of year, so we will read some stories about deer and go for a walk in Bradgate park where they have lots of deer roaming. I plan on doing some crafts with my 3-year-old to make antler headdress or deer mask using paper plates.
In my personal path, this month’s moon is the herb moon so my 3-year-old and I will be going on herb walks, spotting, foraging and drying what we can. Many will come from our garden and allotment, and it is a great time to teach my little dilophosaurus about some of the herbs and their uses, and what kid doesn’t like potion making. The herb moon, or wort moon, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, it was the time of harvesting herbs for use as spices or remedies.
We will also do our general full moon stuff like making and decorating moon biscuits, lighting candles, giving thanks and making wishes. My little dilophosaurus also has their own crystal collection and likes to line them up on their windowsill under the full moon.
Manager, Children & Families Team
July full moon is a time that myself and the children will honour water as part of our moon ritual, not only is the moon connected to water but water features in the old folklore of July on St Swithin’s Day which is the 15th and predicts whether rain will come or not. As a gardener if it has been a particularly hot June and early July water in the form of rain is especially important.
I try to garden by the moon as much as I can and the July full moon of 2021 is a great for weeding, harvesting, digging and insect control.
We also like to include herbs and there are many herbs associated with the July moon including honeysuckle, lemon balm, hyssop, mugwort, agrimony, gardenia, myrrh, sandalwood and calamus. As we grow lemon balm, we freeze lemon balm leaves in water to make lemon balm ice cubes which we add to drinks to toast the moon.
Mid-West & Wales Liaison, Children & Families Team
Astrologically, July brings a new moon in Cancer on the 10th followed by a full moon in Aquarius on the 24th. As well as tuning into the phases of the moon, their energy and magic, adding an awareness of the zodiac cycle opens up new possibilities. Cancer energy is nurturing and nourishing, perfect for family magic and creativity. This is an especially good new moon for fertility magic so if you’re looking to grow your family it’s a great time to set intentions. Cancer also rules the home, making this a perfect new moon for a house cleansing – I get the kids involved by getting them to bang pans and make noise to banish unwanted energies.
The full moon in Aquarius is all about embracing our freedom and creativity. It’s a good time for collaborative family projects and honouring our own unique contributions to the world. One way to celebrate this full moon is by doing something as a family for the wider community, such as donating to a local food bank or simply getting out to meet other pagan families. This full moon will bring plenty of visioning the future in our house as my daughter prepares to move up to secondary school, honouring her unique gifts as she goes.
London District Liaison, Children & Families Team
The Grain Moon July’s full moon is on July the 24th and will reach 100% visibility, which means the maximum we can see is lit up, at around 3:30 am. Many of us won’t be up to see that! But the good news is the moon appears full for a day or so either side, so you can enjoy some summertime full moon as long as you keep an eye on the sunset and moonrise times. Weather apps on smartphones are normal great for this – plus if you’re planning some moon watching, you can check if it’s going to be cloudy or not. Many of the full moon names used today come from North American First Tribes culture, but there are some English full moon names that appeared in almanacs, popular pamphlets that focused on seasonal, astronomical and astrological calendars during the 15th century and up to the modern day. July’s moon was sometimes called the Grain Moon, probably because this time of year corresponds to early grain harvests. The festival of Lammas, often marked by making bread with grain from the first harvest, is soon after the Grain Moon. If you get out and about in the countryside in the U.K., you may notice new hay bales appearing in fields, and barley and maize are starting to be harvested so the combine harvesters will be out in the fields too. When you celebrate the Grain Moon, think about what you’ve done so far this year. What goals did you want to accomplish? How close are you to them? Are you satisfied with what you’ve done, or do you want to change anything? If you’ve physically grown anything, from flowers to vegetables, take some pictures and share them with pride! July’s full moon is a great time to celebrate anything you’re proud of, to share good food and drink with friends or family, and to plan ahead for the rest of summer and the upcoming festivals.
Secretary, Children & Families Team
When my kids were little, I was not in a coven and did not know any local Pagans that I could do a monthly ritual with. As I was raising my kids as Pagan, I felt it was best to work out a simple ritual for them and me, that would be an introduction to spiritual life for them and a way for me to remain connected to my craft.
At home we followed Anglo Saxon craft and use the Anglo-Saxon names for full moon, in July this is the Grain Moon and relates to divination.
Our full moon ritual was quite simple. We would draw our circle and we had our own quarter calls, that were a shorter version of the Wiccan ones I had learnt. We then each light a birthday size candle of the appropriate colour, for July’s moon this would be silver, blue or grey.
As the candle burnt, we would sit quietly for a moment and concentrating on the question we were going to ask during our spell work. We would then take turns with the pendulum or, if the question were private, we would simply share the question through our thoughts and use the pendulum later.
I introduced my kids to pendulum divination when they were around 5/6-years-old, and I know my youngest still uses this today.
Once this was done, we would share hot chocolate and some biscuits. When I was prepared and the day/week had gone well, these would be homemade shortbread or honey biscuits. If the day/week had been busy or difficult, these would be shop bought. If we had decided to have a fire with ritual, we would have s’mores, of course!
Deputy Manager, Children & Families Team