We know the moon controls the tides and there are some who believe that the moon can have a direct effect on the human body, since it is made up of about 75% water. Many ancient peoples worshiped Moon gods.
We have one full moon every month and sometimes we are lucky enough to have two. Most of us have heard the phrase “once in a blue moon,” but do you know what it means? The way it is usually said is in reference to an event that happens very rarely. In actual lunar terms it is defined as the second full moon in a single month. It happens this month due to the fact that the first full moon occurred on October 1, 2020 and it is called the “Harvest Moon” due to it being the closest full moon to the Vernal Equinox. There will be a second full moon for Halloween on October 31st.
Each full moon has a name and many have multiple names. Most people have trouble understanding their relevance in today’s world and that’s what I’ll explain. The names originate from Native American lore mainly from the Algonquin tribes from around Lake Superior through New England. My source for these names is the Old Farmers Almanac. They have compiled the best and most detailed list that I have found.
Let’s get started with the month of January. It’s called the Full Wolf Moon because of the hungry wolves that would be howling outside the Indian villages during the cold winter. It has also been called the Full Cold Moon or the Full After Yule Moon.
The Full Snow Moon is the most common name given to February’s full Moon. That’s the month with the heaviest snowfalls in the Northeast. The Full Hunger Moon is an alternate which fits with heavy snow making hunting for game much more difficult. You get the picture. These names are very utilitarian. Very meaningful to the day-to-day life of Native Americans many years ago.
The most common name for March’s moon is the Full Worm Moon from seeing the robins finding worms in the ground under the thawing snow. Also called the Full Sap Moon referring to the sap starting to flow in the maple trees so they can be tapped for syrup. Apparently the settlers called this one, the last full moon of Winter, the Full Lenten Moon.
The Full Pink Moon occurs in April and refers to the herb moss pink, also known as wild ground phlox, a very early Spring flower. The coastal tribes called it the Full Fish Moon because it was the time when the Shad began their journey upstream to spawn. In keeping with the flora references another name is the Full Sprouting Grass Moon and lastly the Full Egg Moon.
May’s Full Flower Moon seems obvious because that’s when the flowers really multiply and bloom. The Full Corn (planting) Moon is another name along with Full Milk Moon.
June’s moon is called the Full Strawberry Moon and the name was used by every Algonquin tribe. In a good year the strawberries ripen in the month of June. The Europeans back home called it the Full Rose Moon.
July’s Full Buck Moon got its name from the buck deer getting their new horns at this time. Two other names given for July are the Full Thunder Moon (Peak of the thunderstorm season back East). The Full Hay Moon is the third July name representing the time to bring in the hay for storing.
The Full Sturgeon Moon of August apparently got its name from the tribes that fish for sturgeon during the month. Other names are the Full Red Moon, since the moon appears to be red as seen when through the atmosphere as it is rising above the horizon, and the Full Green Corn or Full Grain Moon.
Next we get to the month of September where the Native Americans called it the Full Corn Moon because that is when the corn crop was ready for picking. It is also the Full Harvest Moon determined by being the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox. Sometimes the Full Harvest Moon occurs in October when the equinox is late.
The Full Hunter’s Moon is in October for the obvious reason of having to get the hunting completed before winter sets in. Other names used are the Full Blood Moon and the Full Sanguine Moon.
November’s moon is called the Full Beaver Moon, not after the Oregon Beavers, but because it was time to set the beaver traps before the waterways froze over in Winter. It could also be called the Full Frosty Moon.
Finally we get to the month of December. The Full Cold Moon is the most common name used for this month. It’s pretty obvious that’s because of the cold temperatures ushering in the Winter months. Two other names for December’s full moon are the Full Moon Before Yule and the Long Night Moon referring to the longest nights of the year occurring in December.
There you have it. You know just about all there is to know about the Full Moon.
Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].