Mother Moon: dream balls and moon milk
The full moon at the end of January is a very special moon indeed. It is the second full moon this month, making it a Blue Moon. It will also be a total lunar eclipse, which will make the moon look red, also known as a Blood Moon. It’s on January 31st this year, so be sure to go out and see it! I’ve been thinking lately about our solar dance with this celestial being, and the energies associated with her.
Mother moon hangs in the sky, voluptuous and full, the epitome of soft femininity. Her silvery light spills, milk-like, over the soft blanket of newly fallen snow. The stillness of those gossamer beams in the cold quiet of winter feel familiar and calm, like the touch of a mother.
There’s a long-standing association of the moon and motherhood. Many early civilizations believed that the moon determined fertility in women, perhaps because the menstrual and lunar cycles are similar in length, or maybe because as the moon grows from crescent to full every month it mimics the pregnant swell of a woman. Female moon deities were worshipped in cultures around the world, from the Roman goddess of the moon “Luna”, to the Chinese goddess “Chang’e”, to the Ashanti’s “Akua’ba”, to the Incas’ “Mama Quilla.”
... I standing on your crescent, madonna, moon,
Old woman that never dies, being perpetually
Renewed, made nothing again, made small again,
Waxing again, going through it all over again,
I would lift up my song, bark, howl, bay to you;
I would say to you, remember me, beloved 3-headed nurse,
I have swallowed your milk, you wiped me and wrapped me;
Beautiful motherly monster, watch over me still.
— Constance Urdang
The moon also carries with it the association of milk. The Egyptian hieroglyph, mena, means both “moon” and “breast.” Warmed and spiced milk sipped in the evenings to aid sleep goes by the name “moon milk” to many. Perhaps you’ve sipped on your own cup as you’ve waited to lull yourself to sleep under its silvery glow, feeling more restless and awake than usual. It’s old folk wisdom that a glass of milk (warm or cold) and the comforting hand of a mother do wonders to soothe one before bedtime.
Of course, making your own “moon milk” is as simple as heating some milk with your spices of choice, and a little sweetener if desired. But making non-dairy moon milk is also quite easy, and there are many flavorful options found in the choice of nuts to make it out of. And what to do with the pulp leftover from making your milk? Turn it into decadent and sleep-inducing evening treats that echo the beauty of the moon in all her fullness.
These full moon bon bons are filled with nourishment and sleep-inducing herbs. Healthy fats from the cocoa butter and coconut cream help your body function smoothly, ginger soothes your digestive system, and nutmeg lends a delicious flavor and functions as a natural sleep enhancer. You can add adaptogenic herbs to your blend to increase their relaxation power. Valerian is my personal favorite - it’s an ethereal plant that grows all over the mountains in the Pacific Northwest. It can be spotted in early summer by its bright-white clustered flowers that look delicate and vibrant. In the fall or winter the roots are dug and then tinctured or dried. It’s a strong plant and requires delicate handling; even just the scent of the freshly-dug roots is enough to make me feel pleasantly woozy and dozey. Try a little bit at first in a tea (or in the dream balls) and see how you feel; you can always add a bit more next time.
Homemade nut milk:
1 c. nuts of choice (I like almond and cashew)
a pinch salt
Directions: Place the raw nuts into a bowl and cover with about 1” of water. Cover this with a kitchen towel and place in the fridge overnight. Strain and rinse the nuts well, then place into a blender with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Blend on high for 2 minutes; the mixture should look smooth and creamy. Strain through a nut milk bag or a thin kitchen towel placed over a strainer, squeezing to extract all of the milk. You can drink the milk as-is, or heat it with your choice of sweetener and herbs. I particularly like lavender, cinnamon, almond extract, and maple. Heat the milk until it is warm, then blend again on high until it is frothy (optional.) Garnish with a sprinkle of a colored herb (I used butterfly pea powder for that beautiful indigo blue), then enjoy! Be sure to save the nut pulp for the recipe below!
Full Moon Dream Balls:
These will comfort you and also help you sleep and make a delicious bedtime snack.
3/4 c. nut milk pulp, well strained
3 Tbs. honey or maple syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. cocoa butter, melted
1/4 c. coconut cream (skim the solids off of a can of coconut milk)
1 Tbs. tahini
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. powdered valerian root, kava kava, or ashwaganda
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon juice, or to taste
coating of choice (I like unsweetened coconut, sparkling sugar, or sesame seeds)
1. Combine all of the ingredients except the coating in a small bowl and mix well. Taste the mixture and adjust seasonings as desired - adding a bit of lemon juice will make it taste a lot like cheesecake! Roll into loose balls and refrigerate for an hour or so. Then roll them into rounder balls and roll each ball in the coating of choice. The texture of these is soft and fluffy and they’ll soften at room temperature, so be sure to store them in the fridge!
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