Motherhouse held our first drumming workshop in the Local Farm barn on March 12, a wintry evening, with the rise of the full Worm Moon. Thanks to intrepid drummers; Vicki, Debra, Susan, Joan, Beth, Chris, Bianca, Nancy, Pat, and Zena; for braving the 18 degree outside air and warming our new yurt-space with rhythm, fellowship, and fun.Vicki taught us some basic patterns that we repeated until we could improvise by adding additional beats. Then we played with “call and response.” First, Vicki would “call” by beating out a rhythm and we would repeat it as the “response.” Using a similar pattern, half the circle gave the “call” and the other half, the “response.” Sometimes, the “response-ers” would rebel, take the lead and change the pattern! Firmly, the new “response-ers” would then take back the lead by drumming another new pattern.
We learned that one can use a simple phrase or word like “peace on earth… peace on earth… peace on earth…” to guide one’s rhythmic pattern. As ideas flowed to us, we suggested different word-based rhythms and went from “su-per-cal-i-fra-gi-lis-tic-ex-pi-al-i-do-cious” to “we hon-or the ho-ney-bees” to blessing all aspects of our lives; the skies, the waters, and the earth.
So engrossed, were we, in listening and responding to each other and to our own internal rhythms through drumming, that we missed the moonrise! The evening closed with welcome warm chai and Chris’s hearty plateful of bread, cheese and sausage. Finally, we gathered our gear and dashed out of the semi-warm yurt for a quick look at the glorious full moon and headed home.
Photographer Lazlo, did face the cold at just the right moment to capture this glorious photo.
The Full Worm Moon occurs in March when the sunlight is getting stronger and the frozen ground begins to thaw. You can tell the worms have begun to come awake when you find little curly mounds of dirt on the ground. These mounds, or castings, are part of nature’s way of preparing the earth for new growth. ~“Full Worm Moon,” a children’s book written by Margo Lemieux ~…Now the turning of the seasons is marked by the earthworms return from their underground shelters. They wriggle to the surface and dance joyfully under the full moon. …they dress in red and gold. They have no need of torches because the moonbeams are so bright. They have no need of drums because the music comes from the air. ~and illustrated by Cornwall’s Robert Andrew (Bob) Parker.
This poem by Julie L. Moore describes the natural sights of a typical full worm moon however, this year is unseasonably cold and the earthworms remain deep in the ground. Returning robins flutter around the multiflora roses picking rose-hips for sustenance.
Sap Moon, Crust Moon, Crow Moon—
by any of its names, this moon
announces, in all its fullness, worms
stirring in earth’s softening center;
sap thawing in the maples;
snow dissolving by day, crisping by night;
& calls of crows converting from haunting ballads
to heralding hymns. A robin reappears,
throwing off the pine cloak it hid behind
all winter like a god hard to find, hard to hear,
maybe hard of hearing in the ruckus
wind made as it bayed across the plains
& yowled in the valleys, hard to see in ice
suffocating once-tasseled fields, pinecone & bayberry,
numbing perhaps even wings,
rendering the soft touch this moon offers
twisting & teeming with prophecy,
welcome, crows & robins, plucking
these crawlers from grass now breathing green,
welcome, syrup, born again, pushing through the spout,
welcome, waxing light & waning dark,
welcome one, welcome all, no matter your longing
for answered prayer, come, sun yourself
beneath the low Lenten Moon.
~published in the Aug. 23, 2015 issue of Christian Century