Each full moon, and more accurately the month it encompasses, has a name. In America these names are derived from those used by the Algonquin tribes and they are descriptive of where nature is during that time and place. March's moon has several names, but the most common you will hear is the Worm Moon. Google the meaning for that and you will find references to this being the month when worms reappear above ground to feed the spring birds, which is a great way to mark the seasonal change, for sure. But when I think on the spiritual meaning behind the Worm Moon I go in a different direction.
Worms are amazing. As a gardener there is a great delight in turning a spade full of soil and seeing their wiggling bodies. It means your soil is alive and healthy and that your plants have a good shot at thriving. Biologically they provide three tremendous benefits. (There is a lot to this but I’m going to try and keep it simple even though that creates some mild inaccuracies in what I am saying…)They break down decaying material and their castings (poop) fertilize the soil, forming humus. They break down minerals and nutrients into forms that are accessible to plants. Their burrowing creates a healthy soil structure that allows for good aeration and drainage, which typically is essential for healthy root systems. And healthy root systems are essential for healthy plants.
Wow. This humble little creature is an instrumental part of life.
And ah…cycles. I love them. I love thinking about them and observing their significance in my life. We have big cycles that span years and decades. Small cycles that span hours and days and weeks and months. And we have vast cycles that span the length of our souls.
It’s that last one that I will be contemplating tonight as I sit under the full moon. Our soul has work it does. We love and we lose. We try and we fail. We have joy and we hurt. And all of that experience must be processed. It is what forms our matrix: that which grows who we are and what we do. Often times that experience is small and easily managed. The scrapes and bruises from learning to ride your bike easily fade away. The simple kindness of holding open a door with a smile for a stranger is easily taught to be second nature. But sometimes that experience is huge. The death of a loved one. A betrayal of trust. The gift of talent. The gift of being extraordinarily loved.
For me, there is still such a particular joy to pedaling my bike down a road in early morning sunshine. My molecules are moving, the is wind in my hair and joy in my being. It was worth the scrapes and bruises…and I remember them well. I remember falling again and again in the rocks of my childhood driveway. It seemed I would never get it, but I did and it was worth it. And there is such a nice return on being sincerely kind and polite. When I returned from my first walkabout in Europe I literally thanked my mother for raising me up that way. It had opened magical doors for me. I was kindly supported by strangers everywhere I went. I was given opportunities and experiences that I otherwise would never have known.
But what about the bigger work of our soul? Schwoo. I can see myself working on them. Chipping away at the hate and love; at the anger and grace; at the regret and the gratitude; at the knowledge and the ignorance. And man, I do it perfectly and imperfectly, by turns. Luckily, I have a fair amount of hope that the soil I am creating is good soil, life sustaining soil, awesomeness producing soil. Luckily, I say, because it’s a lot of work. Too much work, if the work had no purpose behind it.
(And often enough it feels like I am just wiggling around in a big pile of poop for no purpose and to no point. And that’s where faith comes in. Hard work only gets you so far. On occasion we also need faith…But if I go off on this tangent I will lose the integrity of this blog post…)
It would be nice to imagine that the worms are working away under the soil during the winter so our spring blossoms can burst onto the scene in all their glory. But, actually, worms die during the winter. Winter is not the time you do this work. Winters of the soul are the times that create this work, that deposits the decay. No, winter is contractive. Winter might could not be the best time. But Spring, with its feeling of rebirth and redemption, seems quite appropriate. And yes, it is important to process the “positive” so that you can figure out how to bring its expression into the world. But we know that it isn’t love that gets stuck in our hearts, minds, bodies and souls and makes us unwell.
Hopefully you will remember to take a look up tonight at the Super Worm Moon rising on the Spring Equinox. May it get you thinking about what it is time to digest and make use of. May this Spring will become an opportunity to process and release that which troubles you, pains you, or no longer serves. And I hope you mix that soil with the soil of love and support and hope. I suspect the former gives depth and the latter resiliency.