Almost every month, a full moon graces the earth. Once in a blue moon there’s a Blue Moon (a second full moon in one month), and, much more rarely, sometimes there is no moon in a month. The month is always February, the shortest month, and the last time it happened was 1999. Next time will be 2018. In general, the full moon phase of the moon is as dependable as the coming of winter, the ripening of corn, the flowing of sap in the maple trees.
Native Americans were far more aware of such things than us modern calendar scribbling, PDA driven supermarket scavengers. If one is dependent on adapting with the seasons to survive, then following the waxing and waning of the moon is a top priority. It must also have been reassuring to see that passage of time, to mark it while shivering out the winter and to know that, next time the moon grew fat, bountiful summer and fall were 28 days nearer.
Such an important beacon, beautiful and mysterious yet constant and friendly, deserved a title. One, in fact, for each time the moon reached maximum girth to denote the important changes expected that season. The name depended to some extent on the location of the namer. Some, like the Bone Moon in February were likely dreaded. Others, like the Harvest Moon, the Frost Moon and the Egg Moon were and are celebrated as the end of one season or the beginning of the next.
Below are just some of the many names for full moons still used or remembered today. Do you notice them and mark their passage as being of significance? Tomorrow night, will you gaze at the full moon and imagine the snow and hunger and bones of centuries gone by?
January: Wolf Moon, Ice Moon, Old Moon
February: Snow Moon, Hunger Moon
March: Storm Moon, Sugar Moon, Lenten Moon
April: Seed Moon, Waking Moon
May: Milk Moon, Hare Moon, Flower Moon
June: Mead Moon, Honey Moon, Rose Moon, Strawberry Moon
July: Hay Moon, Thunder Moon,
August: Corn Moon, Red Moon, Lightning Moon
September: Harvest Moon, Barley Moon, Fruit Moon
October: Hunter’s Moon, Travel Moon, Blood Moon, Harvest Moon
November: Beaver Moon, Frost Moon, Snow Moon, Hunter’s Moon
December: Oak Moon, Winter Moon, Frost Moon
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