Moon Lore

In this modern world we rely on digital gadgets and calendars to help us tell time. But our ancestors used the Moon to mark time. Tracking from one Moon phase to the next allowed them to plan everything from daily activities to annual gatherings and celebrations.

There are 12 to 13 Full Moons yearly, or one every 28 1/4 days. Many cultures have given names to the full moons, and different full moon names can be found among the Celtic, Old English, Native American and many other cultures. These names were based on the seasonal conditions and the activities of the people in a given area. The full moon name was used to identify the entire month during which it occurred. The names below are some of the most common, and each one tells us a lot about what life was like for the people during that time period.

January - Wolf / Storm Moon

In January the stormy weather earned this moon its name. Snow covered the earth and the howling of wolves could be heard echoing through the cold winter air. Some tribes called this the Snow Moon, but that name was more commonly used for the February moon.

February - Snow / Ice Moon

This moon its most common called the Snow moon, but the tribes that used this name for the January moon called this moon the Hunger Moon as the food supply was often low this time of year.

March - Worm / Crow / Seed Moon

As the earth starts to warm the earthworm casts appear, inviting the return of the robins. Some tribes called this Moon the Full Crow Moon, because the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter. It was also known as the Seed Moon as it was now time for sowing.

April - Hare / Pink Moon

The Hare was a sacred animal associated in Roman legends with springtime and fertility. In other areas, this moon was known as the Pink Moon, named after the flowers that began to appear, including the widespread grass pink or wild ground phlox. Other variations indicate more signs of full spring, such as Sprouting Grass Moon, Egg Moon, and Fish Moon (common among coastal tribes).

May - Flower / Milk / Dyad Moon

Flowers come into full bloom and corn is ready to plant. Also called the Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon. Some call it the Dyad moon, (the Latin word for a pair) refers to the twin stars of the constellation of Castor and Pollux.

June - Mead / Strawberry Moon

During late June and most of July the meadows, or meads, were mowed for hay. Also called The Strawberry Moon, as Strawberry picking season reaches its peak during this time. This is one of the few names that was universal to all Algonquin tribes.

July - Wort / Hay / Buck Moon

When the sun was in Leo, the worts (from the Anglo-Saxon wyrt plant) were gathered to be dried and stored. Some tribes also called it the Hay Moon Perhaps most commonly known as the Buck Moon, because deer start growing velvety hair-covered antlers in July.

August - Sturgeon / Barley Moon

Sturgeon, a large fish of major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month. A few tribes called it the Full Red Moon because, as the Moon rose, it appeared reddish through any sultry haze. It was also called the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon. Persephone, virgin Goddess of rebirth, carries a sheaf of barley as a symbol of the harvest.

September - Corn / Harvest Moon

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. Native Americans sometimes refer to it as the Corn moon because it marked the time when corn was supposed to be harvested. The chief Indian staples of corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice are now ready for gathering.

October - Blood / Hunter's Moon

Native Americans named this moon the Full Hunter's Moon or Blood Moon as it was now time to begin storing up meat for the long winter ahead. Leaves are falling and hunters can easily see the animals they hunt. The Hunter's Moon is historically an important feast day in both Western Europe and among many Native American tribes.

November - Beaver / Oak Moon

Beavers were actively preparing for winter and they provided a source of warm winter furs for trappers. This moon is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon. Others call it the Oak Moon, named after the sacred tree of the Druids which withstands winter storms.

December - Cold / Long Night Moon

As Winter arrives the temperatures plummet. Some also call this the Long Night Moon as the nights lengthen and the moon spends more time above the horizon.

Blue Moon

A Blue Moon occurs when the moon with its 28 day cycle appears twice within thesame calendar month. Many consider the Blue Moon to be a goal moon where you set specific goals for yourself.

Black Moon

A Black Moon occurs when there are two dark cycles of the moon in any given calendar month. It is believed that the second dark moon is a time of great power within the spiritual world and any magic worked during this time is especially powerful.