Happy Sunday! Welcome to our pick of the Highlights of our last World Tour Session, looking at superstitions from North America and the European Continent. This was the final stop of our digital adventure around the globe to discover all the wonderful beliefs of the varied cultures of our planet.
Our first Highlight was shared by Emily Jane Rothwell, telling the tale of the Strawberry Moon, which rises in the month of June. This sweet-sounding name is rumoured to have derived from Native American culture – specifically from roaming Algonquin tribes who were said to harvest strawberries in June. Indeed, the modern strawberry as we know it came from Virginia in the 1600’s – from a species called Fragaria Virginiana. Being much hardier than wild berries found in Europe, this Virginian strawberry was combined with variants across the Atlantic and hey, presto! Delicious red and juicy strawberries were born. But according to NASA, the name “Strawberry Moon” can only be traced back to a 1930’s edition of the Maine Farmer’s Almanac. Nevertheless, the name stuck and it began to comprise one of twelve to thirteen Full Moon names that occur every year. These are:
January – Wolf Moon
February – Snow Moon
March – Worm Moon
April – Pink Moon
May – Flower Moon
June – Strawberry Moon
July – Buck Moon
August – Sturgeon Moon
September – Full Corn Moon
October – Hunter’s Moon
November – Beaver Moon
December – Cold Moon
Finally, the thirteenth and final moon that shows itself only every two and a half years due to the difference between the yearly rotation of the Earth and the Moon (365 days vs 354) is called Blue Moon. You may recognise this astronomical phenomenon from the expression “once in a Blue Moon”, which means something that occurs very sporadically. Click here on MOON or STRAWBERRY if you would like to read more about both.
Moving on to our second Highlight, we picked another belief related to the Native American peoples, as shared by Autotelic Tales. The Sioux, who originally lived in Mississipi but were displaced towards Dakota in the 18th century, say that they may dream about a supernatural figure called “Double Woman”. This prophetic vision brings Sioux women the ability to excel in quill and bead work. However, the talent is not one for gendered restrictions, as both men and women may dream of the Double Woman, and be welcomed to the art of quill making. More on this HERE, via South Dakota Heritage Fund – or HERE, via JSTOR, if you have access to it.
Our last Highlight came from Somerset in the UK, as shared by Gothic Girl. In this informative thread, we got to learn about the history of the “Witch’s Ladder”, an artifact thought to have enabled witches to trespass and climb into someone’s house. Curiously, the example shown by Gothic Girl was actually found in the roof of a house in Somerset, making you wonder whether the witch who left it did manage to break in to the house! Additionally, Witch’s Ladders were also said to be used for the usual witchcraft claims of stealing cow milk and cattle cursing. Persecution of alleged witches was widespread in the European Continent from the 1400’s onwards. Various countries such as Scotland, England and Germany are notorious for their brutal sentences of burning or hanging (depending on the region), but it was Germany who saw the highest death toll reaching multiple thousands.
For more on the History of Witchcraft, why not register for this online event taking place tomorrow (13/06/22), organised by the University of York in collaboration with the Centre For Folklore Myth And Magic? Tickets are available HERE and it’s called: Witchcraft and Counter-witchcraft in Europe: Historical, Archaeological and Folkloric Approaches.
As for us, we shall see you next week (18/06/22) with a return to our usual themes with superstitions of
WEEKDAYS & MONTHS
Thank you for embarking on our digital World Tour to find all the superstitions. As always, whether you’re old, new or just passing through, your presence is very much appreciated and I am glad to see you stop by. See you next Saturday!
– Superstition Sam 🐾