Before calendars delineating the days with almost meaningless numbers, we watched the phases of the moon to count the passing of time. The sun stays basically the same everyday; it is the moon that shifts nightly, renewing itself about every 29 days. This is called a "lunation," probably the prettiest word I've learned in a long time.
The moon itself is a source of wondrous things: it shifts the very moods of the ocean - the place believed by some to be the very source of all life on Earth. A source of magic for cultures across the world, moon lore is so common it seems there must be serious force behind the lunations. I've met more than one cop who told me that crime rates always skyrocket on the Full Moon. Lunar folklore is too varied and diverse to get into here, but I'll share one interesting belief I've learned while researching for this post. In old Europe it was believed that sorcerers could "draw down the moon," and through some type of spell, called virus lunare, would collect a magical and powerful liquid from it. This classical belief of a sacred moon elixir was immortalized in Shakespeare's Macbeth (act 3, scene 5) in which this liquid, steeped in herbs, was fed to the witch Hecate:
Upon the corner of the moon
There hangs a vaporous drop profound:
I'll catch it ere it come to the ground:
And that distill'd by magic sleights
Shall rise such artificial sprites
As by the strength of their illusion
Shall draw him on to this confusion.
Shakespeare was pretty creepy and weird....
So to celebrate both foraging and lunations, we will be posting each New Moon with a traditional food-related name for that lunar cycle and the seasonal sustenance that defines that particular moon. Upon the peak of that lunation, the Full Moon, we'll post a recipe with emphasis on wildcrafted ingredients that are indigenous to this particular time of year.
We hope you enjoy.