This month’s Full Moon will have passed before the next meeting, but it still has meaning for us all; after all, for all of you hunters, it is the time when the antlers of male deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. This gives us the Full Buck Moon. Also, even though we have already had a fair share of thunderstorms this early summer season, it appears as if July is ripe for them; hence, we can also look up and enjoy the Full Thunder Moon, that is, if there aren’t too many storms limiting our views of the sky. This is also often referred to as the Full Hay Moon, for obvious reasons.
With July now here, many of us probably think of taking a summer vacation. If you happen to decide to travel to the Cape, you might be amazed to realize that this region was actually one of several places that, in the 18th and 19th centuries, was home to a rather lazy form of pirates: The Mooncussers. In the past centuries, lighthouses weren’t as common as today; they were very few and far between. As such, there were many more shipwrecks occurring than we thankfully have today. But, to appear to “aid” ships nearing a coast, these dastardly demons, under cover of a night with no or a very tiny Moon, would ride on horseback alongside the sea, planting decoy lanterns at certain points. When they would see a ship in distress, they would grab the lanterns and wave them around, as if welcoming the ship to a safe harbor. Once the ship had run aground, it was a very fast job to do away with the crew and take whatever cargo was aboard before any rescuers came on the scene. Of course, if the Moon were in a gibbous or full phase, the night would be too light for these scoundrels to do their work, giving them the name Mooncussers. In fact, if this sounds a bit familiar, some of you may recall a Disney show which featured this horrendous part of history, and the ballad:
The Mooncussers cussed the Moon
When it was shining bright,
Because the Mooncussers’ dirty work
Could only be done on a dark and moonless night.
Also, these days, nothing should prevent our creating our own Moon lore. As 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the last landing on the Moon, perhaps we should honor the astronauts who made the dazzling tour from Earth to our nearest neighbor. From now on, we should declare, in addition to the traditional names, July as having the Full Apollo Moon.