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  • Writer's pictureJohn McQuade

Haiku Moon

Updated: Oct 12, 2023

In some contemplative schools of haiku, it is a tradition to write a haiku on the occasion of the Full Moon. I am not sure why this is the case. Clearly it relates to the importance of the Season in Classical Haiku. The movement of the moon cycles is a visible marker of the way of the Seasons.

However, one could say this of the Sun. Indeed, in our Northern cultures, the official marking of the four Seasons is oriented by the effect of the Sun: the solstice and the equinox. These times mark the duration of light and dark in day and specifically when they are equal and unequal.

Yet this is the case and many cultures across the millenniums found ways to determine these events, yet in terms of experience, it is not so easy to determine the exact difference of durations of daylight and darkness.

The Moon is a visible manifestation. In terms of experience, one might not know exactly when it is Full - but one would be close. One sees a Season cycle coming around with the roundness of the Moon.

In Japanese cultural contemplative tradition, there is the contemplative practice of Viewing. This is a practice of suspending conventional concerns and just being with the poignant manifestation of Nature. The most common viewing practice is the cherry blossoms as they manifest through their ephemeral display. Like everything. Like us and all of us.

However, this is a celebration and a light touch. Not a lament – it is contemplative culture. It is a time of family picnics and so forth. It is a community contemplative culture.

Of course the contemplative haiku practitioners would gather and collectively engage this in their haiku ways.

Another Classic Haiku practice was Full Moon viewing. They would gather to contemplate the Full moon, sip their tea or sake and compose Haiku.

There is some deep force and deep significance about the Full Moon across the millenniums. The Moons have different names and somewhat different resonances from culture to culture. In North American culture – I think through the manifest of the Farmer’s Almanac publication - the names tend to reference the Native Aboriginal culture.

For example, the current May Full Moon is called the Flower Moon because it corresponds with the flowering of Spring through the actual flowering that is Spring.

There are other traditions. The Celtic culture has a somewhat more primordial connection. Rather than the surface manifestation of the blossoms, they go right to the generative.

They call it the Hawthorn Moon because of its tough love regeneration. The emphasis is on fertility, masculine energy and seeding the land. This fertility Moon follows on the culture rituals of the Beltane which at the beginning of May celebrates through ritual, sensual and sexual ways the primordial genitive.

The Moon is connected with the way of the Tides. It moves Oceans. This is another manifest of its force and connection with our Earth and human reality. The Ebb Tides, the Flood Tides and Time Tides.

This month, in my location, there was a special Blossom Moon manifestation. It was also an eclipse Moon – a moon that manifests as red.

However the Sky was full blank cloud cover – so no Moon. But any manifestation is a Haiku.

Deep Red Blossom Moon;

lost in the blank cloud black sky –

scent of apple trees

By: John McQuade

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