Today brings us a gift – a most important, very juicy Full Moon. It is the Sagittarius Full Moon, since the Sun is in Gemini; and it is the last Full Moon before Summer Solstice.
Throughout the world, today is the holiest day in the Buddhist calendar. Buddha Purnima (Buddha Birthday), or Wesak (also spelled Vesak), also called Vesakha Puja, is celebrated in honor of Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha.
Siddhartha was the name given to the son of the Gautama family when he was born, sometime around 623 B.C.E. “Buddha” means enlightened, or awakened one — someone who is completely free from all faults and mental obstructions. Today’s celebrations commemorate the three most important events of the Buddha’s life – his time of birth, his enlightment, when he is said to have attained supreme wisdom, and his attainment of Nirvana at the death of his mortal body at the age of 80.
Gautama Buddha was not a God and the philosophy of Buddhism does not claim any theistic world-view or creation story. The teachings of the Buddha are solely to liberate human beings from the misery and sufferings of life.
This festival is celebrated with tremendous gaiety. Homes are cleaned and decorated, and local customs are varied and colorful. In Thailand, for example, special Wesak lanterns are made of paper and wood, and often there are large ceremonial releases of caged birds.
Similarly, Chinese Buddhists incorporate elements of their own country’s culture into their religious celebrations like the traditional dancing dragons. In most countries during the festival, Buddhists will visit their local temple for services and teachings, and will give offerings to the monks of food, candles and flowers.
Chanting and prayer are an important part of Wesak, as well as the ‘Bathing the Buddha’ ceremony, when water is poured over the shoulders of a representation of the Buddha, serving as a reminder to purify the mind from greed, hatred and ignorance.
In Western folklore, this Full Moon of May is sometimes known as the Dyad Moon or Lover’s Moon, celebrating the union of physical and spiritual. Also known as the Strawberry, Rose, or Flower Moon, some traditions say that this is the Moon that is most sacred to Artemis/Diana, the Huntress, and a Maiden aspect of the Goddess.
This Moon favors expanding your consciousness, through chanting, sacred sexuality, or working with your plant allies, and for embracing the wild. Let your mood expand and become more adventurous and optimistic.
Sagittarius is the consummate traveler, seeker and vision quester. Sagittarius seeks wisdom through combining physical and spiritual experience, in order to understand the true nature of existence. So this is a night to celebrate the adventurer within you. What is your deepest longing? Do you have the courage to go in search of it? Be open to the idea that some of our best lessons are in the seeking, and not the finding.
You might want to greet this Moon outdoors in your most sacred private sanctuary. Expect intuitive insight and inspiration in your dreams, if you can sleep! This Full Moon may bring a potent combination of intellectual and physical restlessness. (This has certainly been the case for me; for the last two nights I have been utterly unable to fall asleep before 1:30 a.m.)
As you consider the ways you will be observing your Moon rites in your home or your circles and groves, including perhaps yesterday’s suggestion, you might also be inspired by this wonderful article from astrologer Julia Bondi.
But if all that’s not enough, today, Uranus moves into the sign of Aries. This augments energies of intensity and revolution and is another step towards the explosive setup coming later this Summer. Tomorrow, I will share my friend Lynn Hayes’ message about it.
Meanwhile, may our Full Moon magic be blessed.