Ozark Moon Customs


In Ozark lore there is the belief that if you see the moon ‘clear of brush’ for the first time in that moon cycle, you should kiss your hand 3 times and you will receive money before the moon changes phases.  Perhaps this is a remnant of a widespread ancient Pagan moon ritual, because  the Bible forbids “kissing one’s hand to the moon” (Job 31:26-27) and there probably wouldn‘t be a prohibition against it if it wasn‘t a Pagan custom. 

Another Ozark belief is that a woman who happens to get her first glimpse of the new moon clear of brush is lucky.  To see the new moon through the leafy branches of a tree is bad luck for the entire month.  Clearly, this is a remnant of Pagan tradition- the importance of the moon was preserved in this folk belief so that the custom of greeting the moon without obstacle could be carried on.
There is also a bit of Ozark lore concerning the moon and silver coins- when you first glimpse the waxing crescent moon, turn over a coin in your pocket for good luck.  Also, touch a silver coin, or wear silver coin jewelry while looking at the moon, for prosperity.  I think this may also be a clue to the earlier moon rites of pagan times. 

These customs are like ‘mini rituals’, but can also be combined and elaborated on to form a more fleshed-out moon ceremony.  These customs could be combined with folkways from an older ancestry, like song prayers from by the Carmina Gadelica, for example.   Or this song, inspired by the Carmina Gadelica, by Lisa Thiel:

“Jewel of the Night”

Hail to thee o Jewel of the Night- Hail to thee o Lady of the Heavens
Hail to thee o Jewel of the Night- Hail to thee o Queen of the Stars
Hail to thee o Jewel of the Night- Hail to thee o Mother of the Worlds
Hail to thee.

O thou fair Moon of the Heavens
O thou luminous lamp of grace
She who made thee created me likewise
Thou Queen-maiden of loveliness.
O thou Queen-maiden of virtue
Thou Queen-maiden of radiance
Thou glorious jewel that shines through the ages
Though glorious jewel that shines through all.


2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Remnants of Paganism in Ozarks Culture « Ozark Pagan Mamma

  2. Pingback: Sliding into the dark – October 2012 | Ellen Evert Hopman

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