Native Americans call tonight’s moon the Full Beaver Moon of November. “Time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter. It is also referred to as the Frosty Moon.” (Farmer’s Almanac) We have already seen frosty nights this year. An important message of this moon is to be prepared!
We recently watched a documentary about beavers. The habitat these builders provide for a massive number of creatures of both land and water, from plants to fish to frogs to turtles to insects to birds and mice and more, who all live in a delicate balance among the nooks and crannies within their dams. The busy beavers have an instinctual knowledge of what’s best for rivers and streams. They generate their own safety in their beaver lodges within the ponds created by the dams. They work hard to be protectors of the natural world as the architects of this ecosystem of coexistence.
There are many lessons for humans here in forging complex relationships. Another theme of this full moon in Gemini is communication, which can often be complicated by our preconceived ideas. Learning to see the validity of opposing arguments as two sides of the same coin or two wings on the same bird or two shores of the same sea is within the power of these star twins. It makes room to have hard but healthy and meaningful conversations around the responsibility we carry forward together to strengthen our own fragile Earth’s ecosystem.
Thanksgiving, this month in the United States, says it all in its name. Since the holiday has just passed, we may have a clear view, noticing patterns and focusing on positive attitudes of gratitude. Setting this stage of life by welcoming all to sit around the table is a good tradition. Gatherings are undertaken now, both of the last-of-the-last of the harvest and of the people gathering to share a meal. Giving thanks and sharing the bounty brings us joy. Share the good times, bad times, and everything in between because that is real life.
Like the lighter side of the story of the Pilgrims and Indians, we can arrange agreements instead of stoking division. But did you know November is Native American Heritage Month? And that Thanksgiving is a National Day of Mourning in the Tribal community?! As a Mayflower descendant (really, both Bradfords and Brewsters on my mother’s side), I was naively proud of my past as a small child. Mostly, I’d heard of the bravery and tenacity in starting over. I still applaud that, along with their ideas of leaving the rule of monarchy for one of democracy, and I can appreciate the writing of the Mayflower Compact, which was the basis for the US Constitution. But as I grew to learn the true history of the Native Americans and those immigrant settlers who landed on Plymouth Rock, I wanted to know more about the indigenous people and their relationships with these lands. I’ve always been drawn to the rituals. Their way of life, in tune with nature, makes sense to me. I believe we have a more honest foundation when we seek connection with the original people of the place where we were born and understand their concepts of the soil we live on.
Our farm is located in the hills above Covelo, CA, which is also home to the Round Valley Indian Reservation. The “Round Valley Indian Tribes” is a federally recognized tribe that actually consists of seven confederated tribes, including Yuki, Concow, Little Lake, Pomo, Nomlacki, Pit River, and Wailaki. We are very aware of the well-documented history of atrocities in this rural area and that it still desperately needs attention and assistance today. We can’t erase the tragedies, but we can look to the recent renaming of ‘UC Hastings Law School as ‘UC College of the Law, San Francisco’ by statutory amendment as an example of both part of the horror story of what happened here and of steps to take to begin to right the past wrongs. It’s also important to include the accomplishments of Nicole Mann because she hails from the Round Valley Reservation, and in October 2022, she became the first Native American woman in space. A real live role model, reminding her community and the rest of us that opportunities to excel are possible. I am mindful of the fact that I carry ancestral guilt and that our country is in need of redemption. My hope is that, with more awareness, the work of our generation can be part of repairing relationships in the name of healing.
Here in Mendocino County, we had a gathering last week that could easily have been called Thanksgiving. On a super rainy afternoon, 60+ farmers came down from the hills to launch a new aspect of the local Grange. Laytonville’s Grange is a hopeful home to the Mendocino Cannabis Guild. It’s only the second of its kind so far, but we’d love the seed of this idea to grow. Sonoma County was the first to bring cannabis into the Grange and make sure it was recognized at the State level of the Grange. Hopefully, we can go global with this initiative. A movement within a movement. The “National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry” was established in 1867 as a fraternal organization promoting social and economic issues for the farming community.
According to their website, the Grange was The Farmers Party, then The Peoples Party, and the Grange values align with those of modern progressives. Since the 2018 Farm Bill, the US defined hemp as agriculture. And it can be argued that cannabis is hemp, and so cannabis is also agriculture. Even though cannabis is not yet classified the same way hemp is by our Federal, State, or even local government, local Grange chapters in northern California are beginning to embrace it. In our area, and probably in other areas of the county, the Grange, in recent times, has not been as active, has declining memberships, and owns buildings in disrepair. We believe cannabis farmers can revitalize the Grange, locally and nationally. As an agrarian collective, the National Grange is non-denominational, non-partisan, and stands for many causes both in and out of the realm of agriculture.
We are the small farms of today! Cannabis farmers and other farmers have many shared goals and values. Healthy crops are at the center of it all. It was amazing to congregate at the Grange with a turkey in the oven, overflowing tables of potluck offerings, of course, alongside plenty of delicious pot. A cause to celebrate! Just like an old-fashioned (cannabis) revival, it’s yet another grassroots movement in Mendocino County. Mendocino, and the Emerald Triangle as a whole, is also considered the birthplace of solar power, organic gardening, off-grid living, and the back-to-the-land movement. Many thanks to our fearless fellow small farmers, who, in conjunction with the Mendocino Producers Guild, are taking steps as the new Grange cannabis committee. Tim Blake, founder of the Emerald Cup, was there and wrote on Instagram, “The dream of seeing cannabis integrated into the local Grange has been realized.” It’s a testament to the hard work of many hearts and hands.
As we have become more deeply involved in regenerative farming over the past two decades, we see more clearly how to work to align our life with the sun, the moon, and the rest of nature’s cycles. As the cannabis space moves further into the mainstream light of day, our annual crops are curing in the dark now while also being lab-tested and packaged up to get ready for sale. We’ve begun to reach out to the retailers with our 2023 flowers, letting them know about early test results and visiting with tasty samples. We’ve been selected to participate again alongside 27 other small cannabis farms of northern California in the Best of Harvest Box by the Natural Cannabis Company. It can be pre-ordered now and will be available by early December. Highly recommend this collector’s box, an always beautifully packaged present for any cannasseurs on your holiday list. They will love what’s inside! The truth is, there is a ton of stress within our community of small farmers this year about the current state of cannabis, from policy to prices. Will it be a bear or a bull market in the year to come?!? On every front, from seed to sale, we are quite literally in hurry-up-and-wait mode.
It’s a great time to recognize where we need to work toward sustainability in our material world, in our relationships, and, maybe most importantly, in our inner landscape. Compassion is invaluable. Gratitude and forgiveness are balancers for our souls. World peace is only attainable if we create peace inside ourselves. Giving daily thanks is a good practice; it can transform our perspectives. Gratitude often shines the light needed to lift us out of the dark places in the corners of our minds. Humor helps. Hope does, too. Keeping a gratitude journal can pull us through tough times. And even in the toughest of times, there is always, always, always something to be thankful for. Start now. Go get a pen and paper and make a gratitude list. What are you most thankful for? There are no wrong answers; pick one, pick many. What are your lifetime top ten acknowledgments of appreciation? Write it down. Reflect upon it often.
This moment calls all of us, each in our individual situation, to step outside our comfort zone. But at the same time, it calls on us to rely on what we already know. Outcomes are never guaranteed. The process is what’s important. And maintaining our internal reserves is crucial. The best way to prepare for the unknown is to feel it all fully and then surrender to the moment. Giving thanks for what’s good is the key here. For all of our experiences teach us and bring awareness, especially if we allow ourselves to delve into the deep places. Gratitude gives us strength through ups and downs. Community support is important, too. We need each other! As it gets colder outside, we feel in our bones that autumn is a transformative season toward the intensity of winter.
Be prepared to manifest the dream of what comes next in the light of tonight’s Thank Full Moon.
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Photos courtesy of Martyjuana™
Laura Clein once upon a time worked as a recreational therapist in retirement communities and an event coordinator on college campuses. While in graduate school for an MSW at the University of Southern California she wrote a term paper for a Social Policy class on medical marijuana in 1996. Although now disabled and living with complex chronic illness for many years, she, alongside her husband, Marty, has created a lifestyle that works. Laura is proud to be patient #1 at Martyuana™ and often says, "Thank goodness, cannabis helps."