BY MACEY LAVOIE
Some of my favorite childhood memories can be accredited to glancing up at the moon and taking a deep breath. My grandmother taught me that was our families equivalent to stopping to smell the roses. The deep night air was thought to clear the mind and the moon was a constant companion, far more reliable then the rich perfume of a flower.
It was this odd tradition that inspired a creative spark in my brain and the knowledge that magic can be found in the mundane. Since then, whenever I feel overwhelmed I take a page from my grandmothers book and take a deep breath, she gives some pretty good advice.
It is also an old tradition in my family that we curtsey to the full moon each month to protect ourselves from misfortune until the next full moon, a tradition I’ve always found graceful and goofy. I remember curtseying outside my college dorm with pink cheeks hoping no one happened by. I would get a text message from my mother and aunts making sure I complied. There have been times when my family is gathered together and will head out onto the porch and curtsey together, hand in hand it feels nothing short of magical.
My grandmother’s family originated in Ireland, a place known for its ancient worship of the moon. When I asked her why we were supposed to look up at the moon and curtsey every month, she merely shrugged her shoulders and replied, "It’s what my grandmother taught to me.” This instilled in me a deep sense of tradition and link to my heritage.
After this conversation, I did research on the Irish and their superstitions with the moon. One in particular drew my attention as it described going outside to glance at the full moon with a mirror in your hand. It was said that if you searched hard enough you would find the face of someone from your future. Had my ancestors stepped out of their homes with mirrors, and if so what did they see?
These traditions introduced me to the word of mythology and fairytales. In many of them, any woman associated with the moon was strong, confident and rarely followed the traditional path laid out for her by social expectations. A common example of this is the Greek Goddess Artemis, who represented the moon--the wild thrill of the hunt and decided she never wanted to be tied down by a man. The woman of my family always encouraged me to be as spirited and confident as Artemis. Each one was a powerful role model and to them there was nothing I couldn’t do.
It was this empowering upbringing that led me to become a feminist, and despite countless social normalcies indicating otherwise, never once made me feel lesser because of my gender. This is something I hope to pass on to younger woman in my family. I hope curtseying to the moon and taking deep breaths on those crisp nights will instill in them a sense of magic and power as it has for me.
Macey Lavoie is a new Bostonian trying to find her way around and working on her MFA at Emerson College. She has a fondness for sushi, walks on the beach, donkeys, and drawing. When she is not busy having crazy adventures with her friends, she can be found either jotting down writing ideas in her small notebook or curled up with a book and her two cats. Her dream is to one day change the world with a book and to own a large library.