September 11, 2015

Do you know the names of all twelve full moons of the year?


Soon, before we can blink, autumn - my most favourite of all the seasons - will be here and with it, so long as poor weather conditions don’t block it from our view, comes the glorious phenomenon that is the harvest moon (a topic that I delved into a couple years ago here in this post).

As someone who has always been powerfully drawn to the moon and its ageless beauty all year round, I adore that the harvest moon will soon grace our skies again. You can certainly bet that I will be out there in the crisp evening air, so long as its not raining (and thus usually not visible), to try and spot this glowing orb of gorgeousness in both September and October.





Technically though, working off  of the traditional names for each month's full moon, it is only September's moon that is called such, though colloquially, and certainly in my family, we always use the term to referee to the fiery, golden moons of both months. That said however, there is an exception to that statement: Once in every three years, the harvest moon technically falls in October.

I was thinking again recently about the fact that each and every one of the twelve full moons of the year of the year its own name, a point that many of our ancestors, especially if they were farmers, likely knew, but which far fewer folks nowadays, especially outside of traditional earth based religions and belief systems, are apt to be as aware of.

With the harvest moon season upon us again this month, I thought it would be fun and informative to share with you a little about each of the twelve different moons of the year and how it is believed they came to be known by the names that they are.


January ~ Full Wolf Moon: As a new year emerges, if you're lucky and sky isn't salted heavily with snowflakes when the complete moon appears, you can can spot the Full Wolf Moon (sometimes also known as the Moon After Yule, the Moon After Yule, or the Full Snow Moon), so named because often in some parts of the world, the wolves were especially hungry during the icy time of the year and their prescience was frequently seen and sensed around many early communities.


February ~ Full Snow Moon: Also known as the Full Hunger Moon, which is a telling reference to just how hard and bleak a time the winter could be for our ancestors, as they battled it out in the centuries before tined food, grocery stores, and central heating, during the dark, snow covered days of February (which could make hunting a real challenge).


March ~ Full Worm Moon: Come March's full moon, the temperate is often starting to warm again and in some areas, the ground is slowly thawing, which means that earthworms - those vital garden helpers - are on the move again, much like the many birds and other critters that rely on worms as a source of food. Certain northern cultures also called March's full moon the Full Crow Moon, because it was believed that crows would caw to herald the end of winter. Yet another name for the third full moon of the year was the Sap Moon, because maple syrup is harvested in February and March.


April ~ Full Pink Moon: One of the prettiest of all the full moon names, April's radiant moon takes its name the (pink) wild ground phlox, one of the first wildflowers to appear again each spring. In various parts of the world, April's moon was also known as the Full Sprouting Moon, Egg Moon, and Fish Moon, as well, all names relating to what Mother Nature was up to this month (in the case of the name "Full Fish Moon", it related to shad swimming upstream to spawn).


May ~ Full Flower Moon: Known in some parts of the world also as the Full Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon, respectively, May's full moon is often the first of the spring that isn't blocked by rain and its name stems from the fact that in most areas, flowers are immerging in full force once more.


June ~ Full Strawberry Moon: Perhaps the loveliest of all the moon names, June's full moon takes its moniker from the fact that strawberries and many other fruits and vegetables are coming into season again. In parts of Europe, it was traditionally called the Rose Moon as well, for much the same reason (that roses often bloom in June).


July ~ Full Buck Moon: The seventh month of the year's moon is also referred to as the Full Thunder Moon, due to the abundance of thunder storms that occur during the early summer. When known as the Buck Moon, it is because buck deer are starting to grow new antlers in the warmth of the summertime sun. Another term of July's moon is the Full Hay Moon, as haying was often traditionally done during the long, hot days of this month.


August ~ Full Sturgeon Moon: For some cultures to whom fishing was an integral part of life, August’s moon was dubbed the Sturgeon Moon, because this large fish could sometimes be caught more easily during the later weeks of the summer. Other names around the world for August's full moon include the Red Moon, Green Corn Moon, and Grain Moon.


September ~ Full Harvest Moon: Often the brightest and most beautiful full moon of the year, September's moon is also known as the Full Corn Moon, as this vital crop is usually harvested during the ninth month of the year. Long seen as a powerful, magical moon, the harvest moon stands a symbol of this abundant season and the splendid crop it yields, which will help see us through the long winter ahead.


October ~ Full Hunter's Moon: Commonly known as well as the Sanguine or Blood Moon, due to the fact that it's not uncommon for October's moon to take on a mysterious red tinge or glow, the moon that accompanies the tenth month of the year is usually big, beautiful and majestic. All three names for it also relate to the fact that October was traditionally a month in which hunters and farmers butchered animals to preserve and then use as an integral food source for the coming icy season.


November ~ Full Beaver Moon: Various sources cite November's moon as being named the Full Beaver Moon either due falling during a time (of the year) when beavers were hunted and/or because these animals, like many in the wild kingdom, are starting to prepare in earnest for the lengthy, snow covered months that are to follow. That very weather lends itself to an alternative name for November's full lunar appearance, the Frosty Moon.


December ~ Full Cold Moon: Winter has returned in full force and with comes a moon that surely must be as chilly in the heavens as we are down here on earth. In addition, the final full moon of the year is also known as the Long Night Moon and the Moon before Yule, when it precedes this traditional December festival.








♥ ♥ ♥



But what, you may be wondering, of the term "blue moon", why isn't it the name of one of the monthly full moons? Great question! Whereas most seasons have three full moons apiece, in some cases, just depending on the lunar cycle of a given year, a fourth full moon occurs during the course of a season and when it does, this wonderful bonus full moon is refereed to as a blue moon.

The next time - be it this month with the sublimely beautiful harvest moon or at any other point in the year - that you turn your eyes upward and gaze upon a full moon, as billions of people have done since time immemorial, I hope that you'll delight, as I do, in knowing that each full moon comes with its own special name that harkens back to a time when most people's lives were far more intertwined with the natural cycle of the year and how it affected their ability to eat and even to survive, than it does today.

While we may not have to rely on the buck or beaver moons, for example, any longer, they are still as present and inspiring as ever and I for one adore the fact that each full moon of the year comes with its own special title. It just drives home how vital this celestial orb is to the ebb and flow of life down here on planet earth, no matter how high tech and modernized we may become.

30 comments:

  1. Love this piece about the moon and its names every month! Very interesting!

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    1. Thank you very much, sweet Liz. Sometimes I get a strong hankering to post about topics outside of the usual things I cover here and given that we're heading into harvest moon season, now seemed like a great time for this entry.

      Wishing you a beautiful start of autumn,
      ♥ Jessica

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  2. You won't go to bed without lerning something else...
    Wow! thanks a million for this post. I did not know that there were so many names in English for the different "full moons".
    I am going to celebrate the "Corn moon" in Spain with my family.
    Wishing you a wonderful end of the second week of September and a good beginning for the next one.
    Lots of hugs!
    Eva

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    1. Thank you very much, darling Eva. I hope that you have a joyful corn moon and whole fall. This is such an upbeat, marvelous time of the year and I love that I get to pen plenty of fun posts about it again (and wear seasonally hued and themed outfits to boot, too! :)).

      Many hugs from Canada,
      ♥ Jessica

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  3. I've always had a deep love for the moon, but I didn't learn that each full moon had a name until last year when someone mentioned a strawberry moon to me and I had no idea what they were talking about. We had a blue moon in July I believe, and there won't be another until 2018 so I found it quite exciting!

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    1. Isn't "strawberry moon" one of the nicest of the moon names? I can't hear it and not picture the moon looking like a glowing berry up in the heavens, perhaps with tinier berries around it for the stars.

      We did indeed have a blue moon this summer and it was gorgeous!!! I made a point to be outside to celebrate it and really loved enjoying this bonus full moon.

      Tons of hugs & happy weekend wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

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  4. interesting!!!
    since i live in an area with very low light pollution i embrace the full moon much more then back in the city! actually every shape of moon is much more visible out here. on the flip side i can´t sleep a few days around full moon. its not for the light, our bedroom is well sheltered against any light from the outside - it must be that special atmosphere that goes along with a full moon!
    xxxx

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    1. There is definitely a special mood and energy to the full moon. It always, and I really do mean always, gives me such a powerfully needed jolt of energy and often turns out to be the most productive time of the month for me (I find lightning storms to have much the same affect on me). I'm sorry though that it keeps you from getting a proper night's rest. I'm sure that must be a bit of a downside of this monthly occurrence for you then.

      We're very fortunate to live in an area with relatively low light pollution (by 21st century standards), too, and to be able to see stars on cloud/rain/snow/fog free nights daily, as well as all moon and some planets usually, too. I would have a very challenging time living somewhere at this point in my life where such wasn't the case and feel deeply for those that do. We lose something vitally important as a species when we can no longer see the heavens in all their splendor when the sun goes down.

      Many hugs & joyful weekend wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

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  5. I prefer autumn, it is good time for interesting stylization :)

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    1. Very much so! Autumn is my favourite season too for an absolute plethora of reasons, not the least of which is the styles and colour palettes it brings back into our lives.

      Big hugs & happy weekend wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

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  6. I love the moon, too, dear Jessica! And I didn't know about moon's names, just full, blue, usual things... but I didn't know about the Harvest Moon and what for sweet names some have, Flower, Pink, Strawberry! I also liked Beaver :) And the moon for my birthday month is the Wolf one! I have to be short, now, dear Jessica, because I am on treatment - my eyes need some healing :) But I wish you a great weekend! Really loved knowing about moon's names, I love to learn!
    DenisesPlanet.com

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    1. Same here! My brain has always been a sponge for knowledge and I try to learn many new things each day. I can't claim to remember each of them for all of time, but I like to think most of them are there somewhere n the archives of my memory. This (a passion for learning) is a big part of the reason why I've always been an avid nonfiction reader (and indeed, as an adult about 95% of the books that I read in an average year are nonfiction).

      My healing wishes and hugs are with you, sweet Denise. Please try to rest and take things very, very easy for the next while.

      ♥ Jessica

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  7. Denise @BuyRVintageJunkSeptember 11, 2015 at 5:18 PM

    You have lots of great info here! The harvest moon is special in our area-the Midwest-as farms take up a lot of our landscape. Most years we see the combines in the fields late at night during a harvest moon! And there is a Feast of the Hunters Moon weekend each year close to us with very accurate historical reenactments. Ah, welcome autumn...I've got my warm fuzzy socks on. :)

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    1. That sounds absolutely gorgeous! We're located in a valley with tall hills flanking each side of our town, so while we don't get to see the moon from a prairie perspective, we do get to rise majestically above the mountains, which is always a glorious sight to behold.

      With all my heart, I wish you a fantastic, beautiful autumn from start to finish, dear Denise!

      Big hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

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  8. What an interesting post. I never knew this about the moon, however it would be different in the southern hemisphere. We actually have a blood moon coming up this month apparently, something to do with the sun and moon crossing over each other.
    Amber
    http://www.sweetwordsprettypictures.com

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    1. I would imagine so, yes - and will be looking that up now, as you've piqued my curiosity, dear gal.

      That's really cool about the blood moon. Every phase and "version" of the moon is fascinating to me.

      Have a stellar new week,
      ♥ Jessica

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  9. I've noticed some spectacular moons this past summer and I marvel at its beauty. I had to laugh, "As I gazed up into the Full Sturgeon Moon," is not the most romantic line. Nor is, "Oh, your face shines as the Full Worm Moon." Haha. Thank you for this information. No matter the name, the moon remains a place of beauty and imagination.

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    1. As have I - June's in particular was utterly stunning. My mom and I were together on the evening that it was most full and watched it rise over the hills here in Penticton. It was so stunning we were both enraptured by it and agreed it was one of the most beautiful full moons we've ever witnesses.

      Your comment made me smile big time! :) So true - that doesn't quite as the romantic ring to it that "harvest moon" or "strawberry moon" does. Delightful observation, dear lady.

      Oodles of hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

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  10. I never know about the different moon names! How interesting! I guess it's not the same for Australia though?

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    1. That is a really good question! According to Earthsky.org, the list is pretty much the verse of what it is for the Northern Hemisphere: http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/full-moon-names#southern - which is what I would have guessed, as our seasons are essentially reversed. It's really cool that the names still ring true in most cases though for either half of the world. Love that!

      Big hugs & happy wishes for the new week,
      ♥ Jessica

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  11. Oooh, this is really interesting! I didn't know much of this at al! Thanks for sharing! <3 x

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    1. My pleasure!!! Thank you for your lovely comment.

      Have a terrific week,
      ♥ Jessica

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  12. Woah, I had no idea! I had only ever heard of the harvest moon! Thank you for teaching me something new :)

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    1. You're very welcome, my sweet friend. Sometimes its a lot of fun to post about topics that aren't per se just vintage related and I'd been wanting to share this one for ages now. The return of harvest moon season seemed like the perfect time.

      Tons of hugs & happy wishes for the new week,
      ♥ Jessica

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  13. Very interesting! As a city girl I am lacking in information about nature. Thank you for this enlightening post.

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    1. You're sincerely welcome, dear Christina. I'm delighted to know that you enjoyed this fun astronomy + autumn related post.

      Have a beautiful last week of summer,
      ♥ Jessica

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  14. I've never heard that each moon had its own name, I am not sure if we have the same in Denmark, but I will look into it. I found it very interesting and read it all. Right now I am sitting and reading and writing comments to you while a thunderstorm is having a party outside, quite cosy. :)

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    1. That sounds marvelous!!! Thunder storms are one of my favourite things ever. At least 95% of the time I can sense them coming hours in advance because my energy levels will suddenly spike, which almost nothing other than extreme joy or extreme adrenaline will do usually. I get this surge and am often super productive thanks to it. If only such storms happened more often here, I could really use the boost they temporarily give me (I also get a similar affect from the full moon).

      Definitely feel free to let me know what you find out. I would imagine, being a venerable, history rich country that Denmark may have names for the monthly full moons, too.

      Big hugs & many thanks for all of your great blog comments today,
      ♥ Jessica

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  15. I didn't know any of this so I found it really interesting. It is a shame that we are not as well connected to nature anymore when we miss out on things like this.

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    1. I couldn't possibly agree more. Technology is all well and good, and I certainly avail of much of it, but I think that we lose something truly vital and important to us a a species the more we - as a whole - become disconnected with the natural world.

      I really enjoyed this post, too, and will put on the ol' thinking cap to come up with some other science/nature related posts for the future (suggestions/ideas are always welcome :)).

      Many hugs & cheerful Thursday wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

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