Episode 1.7: The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Happy full moon! November’s moon (the most magical!) is in Taurus and known in the pagan tradition as the Tree Moon.

Here are some of the other names for the November moon: Dark Moon (Celtic), White Moon (Chinese), Snow Moon (English), Beaver Moon (Algonquin), Trading Moon (Cherokee), Sassafras Moon (Choctaw), Moon When Horns Are Broken Off (Dakotah Sioux), and Frost Moon (other Native American peoples). In the southern hemisphere it’s called the Corn Moon, Milk Moon, Flower Moon, and Hare Moon. Read more about November’s moon here.

In this episode we discuss Newbery medal winner The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.

Our theme song is “Moon and Spruce” by Sarah Littledrum.

Here’s a listening guide for the episode. (For a description of our segments, go here.)

Introduction (0:00 – 3:33)

NB: We skipped our formal discussion of craft this time, but our observations about Barnhill’s writing are scattered throughout the episode.

“Are You a Good Witch or a Bad Witch?” (3:38 – 12:15)

  • Complex, nuanced depictions of female characters (most of the characters are women!)
  • There actually is a good witch and a bad witch in this book! Ignatia vs. Xan
  • The Sisters of the Star (female police force) vs. the Elders (male governing body)
  • Two primary characters, Ethyne and Antain, step away from the established institutions in order to enact change
  • The Elders’ authority is undermined by women’s friendship
  • We end with a brief discussion of race

“Bald Heads and Queer Noses” (12:18 – 46:29)

  • Adara’s “madness” and her magic
  • Antain’s scarred face (bodies as text!)
  • Luna’s neurodivergence, dyslexia, and changing body (and how it intersects with her magic)
  • Love beyond physical appearance
  • Systemic problems in U.S. maternity care
  • Hunger as a motivating force

Related Links

“Braids, Cornrows, Dreadlocs, & many more and why it’s not ‘just hair’: A thread”

“When ‘Fatal’ Foetal Abnormalities Are Not So Fatal”

October was Dyslexia Awareness Month. Here are some ideas about how to improve our educational system for dyslexic children.

“Round About the Cauldron Go” (46:30 – 1:06:15)

  • Centrality of nature: the bog, volcano, forest, magical full moon!
  • Importance of birds
  • “Good” characters are aligned with nature and “bad” characters work against it
  • (Magical) significance of trees, wood, and paper as instruments of creation/ art
  • Stories and memory

“Treguna, Mekoides, Trecorum, Satis, Dee” (1:06:17 – 1:34:13)

  • Sorrow and self-care in the digital age
  • The importance of art and hope
  • More than one way to be an activist
  • Luna’s visions and the love that binds families (of all stripes) together

Related Links

“Mob Shaming: The Pillory at the Center of the Global Village”

“‘Our minds can be hijacked’: The tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia”

Irresistible : The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping us Hooked by Adam Alter

Reclaiming the idea of the maiden in the tower: A Tumblr post by star*anise

Secret Feminist Agenda episodes 1.11, 1.12, and  1.13 (about mental health, sickness, rest, and activism)

Final Spells (1:34:17 – 1:41:05)

  • The necessity of change
  • Luna’s father
  • The things that can be accomplished when women work together


On December 3, we’ll end the year with a special episode reflecting on our first season. See you on the next full moon!