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Full Moon Names

I thought that it was time for some fun trivia information that you may find helpful. In folklore, each Full Moon of the month has a different name and its own qualities affecting the type of magick that is best performed in that month. Because Wicca draws from a number of traditions, you may see different names assigned to the months and used by other Witches. The information that I am using here was taken from “The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Wicca and Witchcraft” By Denise Zimmerman and Katherine A. Gleason. Also; once again I checked with Wikipedia as well as The Farmers’ Almanac to see if there was anything to add. Since we are all of different traditions and from different countries, please post any other Moon Names that you may use and the origin of that name if you can locate it.

According to The Farmers’ Almanac; “Full Moon names date back to Native Americans, of what is now the northern and eastern United States. The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full Moon. Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred, European settlers followed that custom and created some of their own names. Since the lunar month is only 29 days long on average, the full Moon dates shift from year to year.”

January is known as the Wolf Moon

The Wolf Moon, also known as the Cold, Snow, or Old Moon, is a time of protection and strength. The wolves would howl hungrily outside the villages, thus the name for this moon became the Wolf Moon. While it is the first full Moon of the calendar year, in terms of nature it occurs in the middle of the cold winter season, a season of death and desolation. In these respects, the Wolf Moon can be seen as a time of both beginnings and endings. This is the time to start to consider what you want to plant and plan for the spring. You can do magick so that as the spring approaches, your magickal goal will grow closer and closer to fruition.

February is known as the Hunger Moon

The Hunger Moon, also known as the Snow or Candles Moon, is a time to do magick for fertility and strength. Some tribes referred to this Moon as the Hunger Moon, since harsh weather conditions in their areas made hunting very difficult. Since the heaviest snow usually falls during this month, native tribes of the north and east often called February’s full Moon the Full Snow Moon. For most people in the Northern Hemisphere, February is a time of storms and bleak, short days. In the olden days, it was a time of true hardship. This is a good time to do magick to help you face life’s challenges. You could do a spell to help you with a particularly challenging project. Your spell could focus on helping you to accept the challenge, persevere, and make it through. You could concentrate on the idea of weathering the storm and giving yourself the extra stamina to succeed. This is also a time of cleansing both internally = and externally. As such, it’s a great time to get rid of physical things you don’t need and any mental or emotional baggage you might be hauling around with you, too.

March is called the Chaste Moon

As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation that is used. To the settlers, it was also known as the Lenten Moon, and was considered to be the last full Moon of winter. The Chaste Moon is a time to plant mental seeds-thoughts of success and hope. This is also a time of purity and newness. It’s the time to bless the magickal herbs and plants in your garden and to start preparing the soil for the seeds that you will plant. It’s also the time to mentally prepare yourself for new experiences, a new job, pregnancy, taking a trip, or bringing a new animal into your home.

April is called the Seed Moon

The Seed Moon signals a time of fertility, growth, and wisdom. This Moon is also known as the Egg, Grass, or Wind Moon. The name Pink Moon came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names for this month’s celestial body include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon and among coastal tribes the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad; (a number of species of food fish from the Herring family,) swam upstream to spawn. This is the time to sow the seeds of Magick. If you are planting a magickal garden, you want to get out there now and put things into the Earth. This is the time to move from planning into action. If you want to get pregnant, this is a great time to go for it because fertility is in the air. This is also the time to bring that new puppy home, if that is what you have been planning. It’s also a great time to empower some seeds to both help them grow and to do Earth magick.

May is known as the Hare Moon

The Hare Moon, also known as the Flower or Corn Planting Moon, is a time of health, love, romance, and wisdom. In most areas, flowers are abundant everywhere during this time; thus, the origin of that name for May’s Moon; and yet another name is the Milk Moon. This is a great time to plant the seeds that you have empowered. As the seeds begin to grow, the energy you have filled them with will start to manifest in your life. It’s also a great time to rekindle the romantic spark and passion in a relationship. If you’ve been working magick to help your career, now will probably be the time to decide which of your job offers to accept. And you might want to do some divination magick to help you make that decision.

June is referred to as the Lover’s Moon

Also known as the Strawberry Moon because of the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries comes each year during the month of June or (in Europe,) it is referred to as the Rose Moon, the Lover’s Moon brings with it energy for love, marriage, and success. Is it any wonder that in some traditions this Moon is called the Honey Moon? This is a time to nurture your garden; the physical as well as the spiritual, and marvel at its beauty and abundance. If you have taken that new job, now is the time to make sure you have everything running smoothly. And you might want to keep your eyes open to see how you can move into a more desirable position.

July is the Mead Moon

The Mead Moon, also known as the Blessings, Lightning, or Thunder Moon because thunderstorms are most frequent during this time, is a time of enchantment, health, rebirth, success, and strength. It is sometimes known as the Hay Moon or the Buck Moon because July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. This is the time of the first harvests, when you begin to enjoy the fruits of your labors. This is also a time of celebration and magick. Remember that mead is the nectar of the Gods. Now is the time to gather your magickal herbs and do some prosperity magick so you get that raise you’ve worked so hard for.

August is the Wyrt Moon

The Wyrt Moon, also known as the Barley and Corn Moon, is a time of abundance, agriculture, and marriage. The fishing tribes are given credit for naming this Moon the Sturgeon Moon; (a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water,) were most readily caught during this month. A few tribes knew it as the Red Moon because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze. This is the time to collect your magickal herbs and store them for the winter or share them with others. Remember to give an offering back to the Goddess for her generosity. At this time of the year, you might want to offer your magickal assistance to another to help someone else reap the benefits of the Earth’s abundance. (Make sure you are doing this with that person’s permission, of course!) This is also a good time to make a move at work for that higher level position. If you have become pregnant, this is the time to concentrate your energies on having a healthy pregnancy.

September is referred to as the Harvest Moon

Also known as the Fruit, Barley or Corn Moon, the Harvest Moon is a time of protection, prosperity, and abundance. This full moon’s name is attributed to Native Americans because it marked when corn was supposed to be harvested. Most often, the September full moon is actually the Harvest Moon, which is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox. In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October. At the peak of harvest, farmers can work late into the night by the light of this Moon. Usually the full Moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the Moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe. This is the time of year when the grains are being harvested, and it is a good time for magick involving your prosperity, abundance, and the nurturing of others. If you have had a long illness, this is the time to finally come back to full health again. This is also the time to obtain that higher paying position at work. The energy of the Harvest Moon will help along any magick that is geared to bring you or someone else abundance.

October is called the Blood Moon

The Blood Moon is sometimes called the Falling Leaf, Sanguine or Hunter’s Moon. In one year out of three this will also be the Harvest Moon. Native Americans called this bright moon the Hunter’s Moon for obvious reasons. The leaves are falling from trees, the deer are fattened, and it’s time to begin storing up meat for the long winter ahead. Hunters could easily see fox and other animals that come out to glean from the fallen grains in the harvested fields. Probably because of the threat of winter looming close, the Hunter’s Moon is generally accorded with special honor, historically serving as an important feast day in both Western Europe and among many Native American tribes. It is a Moon of new goals, protection, resolution, and spirituality. The night of the Blood Moon is a great time for divination of any kind. At this time of the year, all of nature is making ready for the winter. Animals that hibernate are gathering the last scraps of food and birds are heading south. This is the time to reflect on what you did during the year and to evaluate your accomplishments. You also want to check to see how you will survive the coming months. If you work outdoors, you may consider doing magick to help you survive the cold months ahead. You also want to check on things that are important to your safety and survival. How are the tires on your car? And what about that smoke alarm in the kitchen? Is your pantry prepared for any weather that keeps you in the house for several days? Because the holidays are fast approaching, you also might want to do some work to remove stress and negative energy from your surroundings.

November is the Snow Moon

The Snow Moon is also known as the Beaver, Frost, or Tree Moon. The Native Americans called this the Beaver Moon because it was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Yet another interpretation suggests that the name comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter. This is a good time to work magick of abundance, prosperity, and to strengthen the bonds of family and friendship. This is also an excellent time to use divination to get an idea of what is up ahead. Remind yourself that although winter is coming, it will not last forever; and do what you can to reduce your stress. Back before the advent of grocery stores and central heating; people really counted on family bonds, which could be the difference between making it through the winter or perishing. Know who is really there for you, and count your blessings.

December is called the Oak Moon

Also known as the Moon Before Yule, Winter or Long Night Moon, the Oak Moon is a time for hope and healing. During this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and nights are at their longest and darkest. The Native American name; Long Night Moon, is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long; and because the Moon is above the horizon for a long time. The midwinter full Moon has a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite a low Sun. This time of year the Moon has reign over the Earth. Our thoughts turn to the rebirth of the light and the longer days that are promised after the winter solstice. This is the time of year to complete something you have worked hard on and to make sure that the task is truly completed. It’s also a great time to let go of old patterns or problems and start over again. If something has been eating at you for a long time, work to give it up at this time. Let go of the negative and let the light of longer days shine inside you. Working with children in a nurturing way can be very rewarding and healing for your spirit.

As I was doing my research, I realized that one of the Moons was missing. We have all heard the saying, “Once in a Blue Moon,” but where did it come from. There is such a thing as the Blue Moon, a “Blue Moon” is the name given to the second full Moon in a single month. I had to do the research for the Blue Moon separately because it wasn’t listed as one of the regular moon names. According to The Farmers Almanac Online, the name was coined for the second full moon in a single month by mistake.

The Blue Moon

Blue Moons occur, on average, once every 2 1/2 to 3 years. Perhaps this is why we traditionally describe an unusual event as happening “Once in a Blue Moon,” an expression that was first noted in 1821. In the March 1999 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine, author Phillip Hiscock revealed one somewhat confusing origin of this term. It seems that the modern custom of naming the second full Moon of a month “blue,” came from an article published in the March 1946 Sky & Telescope magazine. That article; entitiled “Once in a Blue Moon,” written by James Hugh Pruett. In this article, Pruett interpreted what he read in a publication known as the Maine Farmers’ Almanac published in Lewiston, Maine (no relation to the more popular “Farmers’ Almanac,”) and declared that a second full Moon in a calendar month is a “Blue Moon.” However, after reviewing the Maine Farmer’s Almanac, Hiscock found that during the editorship of Henry Porter Trefethen (1932 to 1957), the Maine Farmers’ Almanac made occasional reference to a Blue Moon, but derived it from a completely different (and rather convoluted) seasonal rule. As simply as can be described, according to Trefethen’s almanac, there are normally three full Moons for each season of the year. When a particular season ends up containing four full Moons, then the third of that season is called a Blue Moon! So, basically the current use of “Blue Moon” to mean the second full Moon in a month can be traced to a 55 year-old mistake in Sky & Telescope magazine.

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