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Posted by Michael Finkelstein | November 6th, 2010

The Moon When Horns Fall Off

In Dakota Sioux tradition, the new moon in November is named “The Moon When Horns Fall Off.”  While this phrase may seem strange to our culture at first glance, it makes some very interesting points about nature’s cycles and this time of the year.

One of the most regal images in the animal kingdom is that of a deer adorned proudly with the powerful branches of antlers crowning his head.  However, nature has cycles and even the majesty of the buck with his beautiful antlers falls under its reign. This time of year, after the fighting for mates has finished, deer’s antlers fall off.  A buck grows the big, strong antlers to fight with other bucks for the right to reproduce, but once that season has passed, the antlers drop and all the buck retreats from the battle and blends back in with the herd.

This de-crowning is not a death or an illness, it is a part of nature’s cycle that is just as important and powerful as any other. Indeed, it is a rebirth of sorts; before the deer can grow new horns, he must lose the old ones.

This process reminds us that everything has its own time.  Often we see something as ending when it’s actually a beginning. Many people see winter as a time of darkness and death-like dormancy.  However, winter can be viewed as the season of early rebirth.  And some people may see a buck losing his antlers as a surrender of sorts, when it’s truly an act of transcendence.

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