Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ve tasked myself with creating a manifesto reflecting wonders, curiosities, and delights currently captivating me – all through the lens of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words.
F is for…
foison – plentiful harvest; abundance
Perhaps you recognize the word from Shakespeare’s The Tempest:
“Earth’s increase, foison plenty,
Barns and garners never empty,
Vines and clustering bunches growing,
Plants with goodly burden bowing…”
This archaic word, first used in the 14th century, delights me. While we often think of harvests as autumn affairs, foison inspires me to think of it in much broader, expansive terms.
This may well be my favorite vintage postcard image of all time.
It exemplifies Springtime foison to me. While each season may not bring the kind of harvest we think of as we do our autumn gathering, I rather think we should consider our hearts are capable of harvesting the abundant joys all around us all the time.
Soon Spring will bring into my world the tulip magnolias bursting with blooms, the mounds of gorgeous wild violets, and the trees budding their leaves in that indescribably beautiful light-filled green that is the ineffiable vernal hallmark.
Because I enjoy working consciously with the cycles of the natural world, I pay a great deal of attention to the lunar cycle. Every month we have the opportunity to frame our world through the turning wheel of the moon. I think of the new moon as seed planting time; the crescent moon brings sprouting; the first quarter is the growth phase; the gibbous reflects the bud waiting to burst; the full moon is the open blossom transmitting its beauty; the disseminating moon is the period of fruit; and the last quarter is the harvest/foison; with the cycle ending in the dark with the period of composting. From which the new moon will rise again.
The knowledge of optimal farming and gardening based on moon phase attention has long been practiced, but recently I learned about the practice of moon phase harvesting for trees.
Research is now confirming that like affecting ocean tides, the moon also influences the rise and fall of water and sap in trees. The moon harvesting practice cuts trees when the sap is lowest, which offers natural protection that prevents insects and fungus from infesting the wood, and thereby increasing the wood’s durability. Trees are left to dry for a month or two in the forest with their bark and the tree crown and a few side branches intact. This helps reduce the amount of warping and cracking as the wood dries. In this practice trees are cut during the three day period before the new moon, but only during the period between the autumn equinox and winter solstice.
This is an ancient practice, and yet, can you imagine what it would be like if we returned to such respectful slow-time practices instead of the clear-cut razing we do now?
Often when I think of abundance I remember the words of Epicurus:
“Not what we have but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.”
Isn’t that a wonderful way to think about it?
I’m very grateful for all the quite tangible expressions of abundance I enjoy – love and good friends; work and projects that delight me endlessly; a profusion of books to read and ideas to muse on; the bounty of treasures and beauty that surround me, But most of all
I feel very blessed and celebrate the foison in my life. May our hearts always be open to understanding all the true ways we are infinitely resourced, and may we find the joy in it all.
What abundance are you celebrating? Are there some wonder seeds you’ve planted and are waiting to harvest? Do tell – you know I love to hear.
Foison – um…too close to poison for me 🙂
The phases of the moon have huge significance in the Indian calendar – in fact our date of birth is recorded in terms of nth day of gibbous/waning moon rather than a date. So it’s a birth-phase rather than a birthday.
And imo many of our current problems stem from wanting ‘to have’ too many things which are only there for us to enjoy, to cherish and pass on rather than hold them in a vice-like grip…very apt and wise quote today.
I hadn’t realized that about the Indian calendar Nilanjana. But I certainly understand paying attention to the birth-moon-phase. I like to imagine we’re imprinted as we arrive upon birth, and those imprints get vibrationally activated at corresponding future times.
I whole-heartedly agree with Epicurus, and believe as you do, that our disregard for flow and our penchant for grasping and claiming as our own is a fundamental misalignment that is creating exponential harm in our world.
Such a lovely post Deborah thank you. While we are heading into winter, you are almost in Spring. How lovely to imagine (for me) such bounty rising. So interesting about the ancient times of waiting for the right time to harvest trees so that their longevity can be assured. Also with regard to the moon cycle, women who live together (eg in a cloister) appear to have synchronised menstrual cycles .. (womenstrual cycles) –
And just because, I looked up Epicureanism -interesting pronoia ‘a’ words – 🙂
Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based on the teachings of Epicurus, founded around 307 B.C. It teaches that the greatest good is to seek modest pleasures in order to attain a state of tranquillity, freedom from fear (“ataraxia”) and absence from bodily pain (“aponia”)
I have always been fascinated by the affect of the moon, and those living closest to nature without all the artificial interruptions to natural rhythm clearly understand that in ways we can likely can only imagine. Yet the pull is strong for many of us, and it’s not without reason that I call myself a lunar daughter.
And yes, yes, yes to the pronoia “a” words of the Epicurean system, and the philosophy in general. It’s curious how a philosophy that taught moderation and the middle way turned into our modern understanding of the word of appreciation of food and sensual pleasures bordering on over-indulgence bordering on gluttony.
As a schoolteacher(now retired), we paid close attention to the full moon which seemed to have an effect on students’ (and our?) behavior. I’m all about the small moments to enjoy, and want/need fewer and fewer things.
I’m not surprised you noticed behavioral affects of the moon Margaret.
I hold the belief that when we come to understand energetics more clearly, we discover it’s not actually things that matter, but what feeling is evoked. And when we understand that, it’s much easier to bypass the things themselves.
Hi Deborah – interesting word ‘foison’ – when I couldn’t understand a word in Shakespeare or other ancient writing … as long as I could get the gist of the meaning … I was happy. Fascinating post you’ve written here … and yes our Spring foison is coming forth with an abundance of green … and blossoms of varying colours … cheers Hilary
LOL – I think reading Shakespeare inspired a lot of that I’ve-got-the-gist understanding.
How delightful Spring is delivering magic to you Hilary. We’re still on the edges of winter here and the green is still mostly yet-to-appear.
Another nice word. The boxes in the wagon look like the decorative boxes we have at Michaels. I love them!
A prettily-wrapped gift is a present in itself isn’t it?
Not the prettiest word for what is a beautiful concept – which is perhaps why it is now fallen from use!
I have what I need and no more. Abundance is within and I am joyful for it. As for spring… still waiting, here at the Hutch. YAM xx
I’ll have to disagree with you Yamini, I think it’s a lovely word.
I celebrate your attitude about abundance, and always wish you joy.
Foison is a new word for me. I like your ability to connect it to the moon phases. I pay attention to the moon phases not because I’m a farmer, but because I like the moon’s energy. It calls to me each morning when I get up early and set my intention for the day. The sun is great, but the moon is where it’s at for me.
I’m certainly a lunar daughter as well Ally. Your morning practice sounds perfectly lovely!
Oh so bountiful and beautiful is this post that by being here I feel like I’m in a field of gold, like a speck on Van Gogh’s brush swaying with the irises and the sunflowers.
Looking forward to a photo of your wild violets when they bloom.
This abundance of words and thoughts, shared by bloggers, in the month of April, is what I’m thankful for.
The last time I read those line of The Tempest, they read like a play. Today, they read like a blessing.
G is for Golden Cap
Oh that Van Gogh image fills me with delight Arti! I, too, am grateful for April’s bounty of amazing A-to-Z goodness.
Magnolia, my favorite fragrance and I too can’t wait till it is in full blossom again. Today I noticed most of the flowers are ready to shine there beautiful selves.
I do grow all kinds of vegetables and herbs myself and I heard of the theory to sow accordingly to the strength of the moon(light). But I never started to follow this method, because I somehow have ‘green fingers’ by nature/instinct.
My husbands sometimes think I am crazy, because I talk to my ‘garden’, hihi
Hm… a thought just popped up. I always say ‘I am a woman of the Sun’, I think the moon is beautiful and I know of her beautiful energy too. Maybe, due to my biological father not/never present in my life, I am drawn towards the masculine energy of the Sun?
Something to explore….
Always amazes me, what your posts stir up inside of me…
Yay for your “green fingers” Patty. I’m not sure why we say “green thumb” instead of fingers – your version seems entirely more reasonable. My brother is the green thumb in my family, and I’m very lucky he generously shares his gardening bounty. And I have no doubt your plants appreciate being talked to – I know mine do. 🙂
That’s an interesting revelation you’ve had about masculine Sun energy. It’s amazing isn’t it what unexpected things can trigger a new understanding or invite us to explore more.