Reimagining the Gray

“Gray is the queen of colors because she makes everyone else look good.”

Helen vanWyk

The Bone Moon

In the Cherokee understanding of the world, we are currently under Nv-da Ko-la; the Bone Moon. This is a gray time when food can be so scarce that we are down to eating marrow soup. (My apologies to my vegetarian or pescatarian readers!) Winter can sometimes feel pointlessly tenacious in February. In some years I can spend the entire month like a little kid in the back of the car on endless repeat:  “Is it Spring yet? Is it Spring yet? Is it Spring yet? Is it Spring yet? Is it Spring yet? Is it Spring yet? Is it Spring yet? Is it Spring yet????” 

It does not help that February is generally unkind Maryland. Just when my body and being start to feel like maybe, just maybe things will warm up? It’s like the sky decides to clean out it’s refrigerator and dump it all on us at one time:  Ice, sleet, snow, hail, oobleck…whatever it can find hiding in its nasty back corners.  

Sometimes I think it’s just pure spite. For instance, when it recently dumped treacherous, relentless ice from Ohio through Texas, leaving people without power, heat and food. (I’m going to guess that most people did not have even bone marrow to make soup out of.) It’s brutal.

IS it Spring yet??

The 462 gray days of February As short as February is, it always feels stubbornly wintery to me. Time gets bendy and weird and the days, (while in truth growing longer,) feel endless. The gray can feel consuming. 

I’ve been reading a book by Jamie Sams, who is a Cherokee/Lakota writer and culture-keeper. The book is titled, The Original 13 Clan Mothers. In my reading today, I got a whole new take on the gray of February.  Sams identifies a different “Clan Mother” who presides over each moon cycle. We are currently in the second moon cycle, which is said to be kept by “Wisdom Keeper” Clan Mother. Wisdom Keeper Mother encourages us to use the gray of February's Bone Moon as a time to focus on honoring our truth. 

Gray as neutral Sams frames the gray as a neutral, safe-enough space for friendship and connection. That really spun my head as the endless gray of February typically leaves me just wanting to crawl into bed and stay there, speaking to no one, and connected to no one! 

As Sams understands it, the gray is a space where we can honor our personal truths, freeing us up to make room for the different experiences of the people around us. We don't need to defend our own beliefs because we are confident in them. We no longer need affirmation from the "invisible chorus" around us. 

From this vantage point, in the non-threatening gray backdrop of the Bone Moon, we have an opportunity for to grow and gain greater understanding while connecting heart to heart with others. 

In other words… The Bone Moon makes room. (Say THAT 10 times fast!)

Identity In Cherokee lore, the Wisdom Keeper helps us all heal the loss of memory we have around who we are. If we can own our truths, we know who we are and also how we connect with others. When we know who we are, it doesn’t really matter if others “get us” or not. People can misunderstand all they want; it’s not going to change us. When we are confident in who we are, we can connect with others with boldness and the ability to accept others as they are. 

Who knew all of that could come from gray?

March 13

As much as I appreciate all of that, I also really appreciate that the Bone Moon will be leaving to make way for the Wind Moon on March 13. May the wind be kinder to us than the bone-chilling ice has been.  

Until then, however, I want to encourage each one of us to think of the remaining gray, not as an end in and of itself, but rather, as a neutral backdrop. It’s uncluttered with its own colors and makes room for your truths as well as the truths of those around you.

What will you “paint” on it today? 


If you’d like some help figuring out what’s in your “paintbox,” contact Tiffany here today!