THE NAMES OF THE FULL MOON

“The Full Moon belongs to everyone, but no one celebrates it like us Witches.”

Here is a list of various names for the Full Moon by month. It is not comprehensive, but it’s pretty complete. The Lunar month is roughly 29.5 days in length on average, so the dates of the Full Moon shift from year to year.

January — Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside, so this Full Moon became The Full Wolf Moon. It is also known as the Old Moon or the Moon after Yule, or the Winter Moon. It is also called the Full Snow Moon by some, but that name is usually applied the Full Moon in February. And in some traditions, things are kept simple and it is called the Cold Moon, or Ice Moon. It is the time of year when all those stores need to be used, so in some areas it is the Cooking Moon. This is the time of year when folks stay indoors, sit by the fire, and tell stories, so some call it the Quiet Moon.

February — This is the Full Snow Moon, or the Ice Moon, because usually the heaviest snows fall in this month. Stores are running low and hunting becomes very difficult, and so it is also called the Full Hunger Moon, which might be why it is called the Bony Moon in some cultures. Other groups just call it the Little Famine Moon. However, some hunting can begin, so this is also called the Trapper’s Moon. February is a tough month, so in some regions it is known as the Storm Moon.

March — March enters like a Lion, so the Windy Moon makes sense, or the Moon of Winds. It is also called the Full Worm Moon because with March rains the ground softens and the earthworm reappears, which invites the return of the robins. Now that worms are available, fishing can start, so it can be called the Fish Moon, which also appears in April. It is also called the Full Crow Moon, because the cawing of crows signals the end of winter. You’ll also see it called the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The sap in the trees also starts to rise, so the name Full Sap Moon appears. Not much is really ready to harvest, though, so you will see this Full Moon called the Big Famine Moon. This Full Moon occurs during the Lenten Season, so it is often called the Lenten Moon. This is also the Paschal Full Moon, the first Full Moon of Spring. The first Sunday following the Paschal Moon is Easter Sunday. Maybe that is the reason some folks call it the Chaste Moon, hoping that those Spring passions will turn toward the Church, not each other. I’ve also seen it called the Death Moon, but I have no idea why and will not speculate.

April — This is the Full Pink Moon because the kind of grass that is called pink or wild ground phlox is one of the earliest, widespread flowers of the Spring. This same moon is also the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon and the Full Fish Moon. It is time to start the planting, so this is the Planter’s Moon, or Seed Moon. When those new plants start to come up, it is the Growing Moon, or Awakening Moon. Of course, the flowers start to really make themselves known, so it is also called the Flower Moon. It is also called the Wildcat Moon because all types of hunters can achieve success now.

May — Flowers are abundant everywhere this time of year, so the most common name for this Full Moon is the Full Flower Moon, or the Grass Moon. It is also known as the Full Corn Planting Moon or just the Planting Moon. Baby animals are all around, so the dairy animals have plenty of milk and some cultures call this the Milk Moon. Lots of wild animals are leaving their Winter dens, so it is also the Hare Moon. Of course, all those babies attract hungry predators, so it is also the Panther Moon. Maybe they can see better because it is the Bright Moon.

June — That beautiful Full Moon is usually called the Full Strawberry Moon or the Rose Moon. Further North the Rose Moon occurs in July, so you will see that designation in that month. You will also see it called the Green Corn Moon because those plants are starting to produce. And in some cultures is called the Moon of Horses. This is the month of marriages, so some call it the Dyad Moon, the Moon of couples.

July — Bees are buzzing and their honey is ready to gather. The honey serves many uses, but it can be made into the drink mead, which is why this Full Moon is called Mead Moon. The new antlers of buck deer start to push out from their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur so this Moon is called the Full Buck Moon. It is also called the Full Thunder Moon because this is the season with the most frequent thunderstorms. You will also see it called the Full Hay Moon. Summer is in full swing, so it is sometimes called the Summer Moon. What was the Green Corn Moon in June is now the Ripe Corn Moon. I have long called July the month of weed, water, and wait because crops are not quite ready, so the name Moon of Calming makes sense.

August — Because the large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water like Lake Champlain are most readily caught this Moon is often called The Full Sturgeon Moon. It can be called the Full Red Moon because it rises looking reddish through a sultry haze. Another common name is the Grain Moon or Corn Moon. You will also see this Full Moon called the Wyrt Moon, because it is one of the times of year when not only plants, but herbs used for both cooking and medicine can be gathered and the drying process started. The constellation Sirius is very obvious in the night sky, so the Dog Days of Summer are happening, and in some traditions this is called the Dog Days Full Moon. Temperatures are high, and so are tempers, so some call this the Dispute Moon. It’s also a time of storms, so in some areas it is called the Lightening Moon. And the trees are yielding up their bounty, so it is the Fruit Moon.

September — Traditionally, this Full Moon occurs closest to the Autumnal Equinox, Mabon. At the peak of the harvest farmers can work 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 United States, and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe, so the Harvest can take place long into the night. Hence, this is the Full Harvest Moon. A very important grain crop is barley, especially for making beer, so this is sometimes called the Barley Moon. Work goes faster if you sing, so it also called the Singing Moon. Another type of tree harvest is coming into ripeness now, so in some regions this is the Nut Moon.

October – The leaves are falling and the Deer are ready for the hunt, so this is the Full Hunter’s Moon. It is also called the Blood Moon for that same reason, the hunt.

November — Sometimes called the Full Beaver Moon, this is the time to set beaver traps before the swamps freeze to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. This Full Moon is also called the Frosty Moon because this is when the nighttime starts bringing frost. It can also bring snow, so the Full Moon is sometimes called the Snow Moon. Nights are getting really long, so the name Dark Moon is used in some regions.

December — Winter and its long nights and cold temperatures have caused this Full Moon to be called the Full Cold Moon and the Full Long Nights Moon. You will also see it called Moon before Yule, the Winter Solstice, which is the longest night of the year. The Christian world began calling it the Christmas Moon. An older tradition calls this the Oak Moon because it was the turning point of the year when the Oak trees were dormant, but still alive, waiting for Spring to return.

A Blue Moon occurs when there are two Full Moons in a single month, which is actually on the rare side, about seven out of every nineteen years. Typically, there are three full moons for each Season, but once in a while the First Full Moon of the next Season will occur in a month that has already had a Full Moon. It is the second Full Moon of that month that is called the Blue Moon. About once every 19 years, February has no Full Moon at all. When February has no Full Moon you can actually have two Full Moons in January or two Full Moons in March.

*This is a list that is specific to the Northern Hemisphere.

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