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Rare pair of full moon, solstice a ‘celebration of life’

FARGO -- With singing metal bowls, an African drum, chants and song, the summer solstice was welcomed Monday, June 20. But this once-in-a-lifetime astronomical moment, the marriage of the the sun's peak and a full moon, won't return for nearly 50...

FARGO -- With singing metal bowls, an African drum, chants and song, the summer solstice was welcomed Monday, June 20.

But this once-in-a-lifetime astronomical moment, the marriage of the the sun’s peak and a full moon, won’t return for nearly 50 years.

For a group at a “creative healing center” in south Fargo on Monday night, it meant shedding the old and welcoming the new.

“It’s a time for the celebration of life, because life is at its fullest,” said Jessica Zdenek, a yoga teacher, creative healer and apprentice priestess.

It’s dubbed the Strawberry Moon for its sometimes golden-orange hue when it sits low on the horizon, sending its light through thicker, more humid air. It got its name from Native American tribes for signalling the likely start of the strawberry harvest.

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The astrological pair of a full moon and solstice is cause for celebration for some, either as a mark of summer or a time to observe ancient rituals.

Zdenek led a dozen people in a church service of sorts at Winds For Change, a small building tucked underneath a water tower just off of University Drive South.

She led the crowd in setting their “intentions,” writing them on small strips of white paper.

“What are we going to dissolve and what are we really going to focus on bringing into our lives,” Zdenek said of the process.

The paper strips were collected into a brown bowl to be burned later in the night, under the approaching full moon, Zdenek said.

With the longest day of sunlight, the shortest night of the year also means less time to gaze upward for astronomers.

“Actually it makes tonight totally miserable for astronomy,” said Matt Craig, a professor in the Minnesota State University Moorhead physics and astronomy department.

But any excuse for people to look up is worth it.

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“If it gets people talking more about the sky, great,” Craig said.

Zdenek followed an order similar to many church services in her ceremony, borrowing from her experience as an Episcopalian.

“I can’t get the church out of me. I love Jesus,” she said.

Zdenek sang several songs, tapping the drum beneath her, while the sun continued its slow setting, ahead of the moon’s bright rise a few hours later.

Related Topics: MOORHEADEDUCATION
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