A Moon by Any Other Name
Tonight is the Full Sturgeon Moon landing in the sign of Pisces, and I wanted to share with you why we call it this, mostly because it is interesting and part of our collective human history. Some of us like to mark the Full Moon and or New Moon cycles Cultures the world over have given specific names to each monthly full moon. Interestingly the name given to the Moon was used to name the entire month in which it occurred.
Used for many, many years as a reliable resource, The Farmer's Almanac gives a list if the names of assigned to the Moon for each month of the calendar year. These names are among the most commonly used in North America. Worth noting for those of you who are sticklers for detail, the almanac also details the fact that there were some differences in the moon names used by the Aboriginal Peoples, but for the most part, the same names were used by the Algonquin tribes from what are now the New England states all the way west to Lake Superior. Additionally, it is important to recognize that the European settlers followed their own traditions and generated names of their own. It is very interesting to observe that despite the distances and differences in cultures, language, tradition and even religion the Moon has always held the fascination of human kind.
Below is a list of this years full Moons and when they will occur in 2018, according to NASA:
Date Name U.S. East UTC
Jan. 1 Wolf Moon 9:24 p.m.02:24
Jan. 31 Snow Moon 8:27 a.m.13:27
Mar. 1 Worm Moon 7:51 p.m.00:51 (3/2)
Mar. 31 Sap Moon 8:37 a.m.13:37
Apr. 29 Pink Moon 8:58 p.m.00:58 (4/30)
May 29 Flower Moon 10:20 a.m.14:20
Jun. 28 Strawberry Moon 12:53 a.m.04:53
Jul. 27 Buck Moon 4:21 p.m.20:21
Aug. 26 Sturgeon Moon 7:56 a.m.11:56
Sep. 24 Harvest Moon 10:53 p.m.02:53 (9/25)
Oct. 24 Hunter's Moon 12:45 p.m.16:45
Nov. 23 Beaver Moon 12:39 a.m.05:39
Dec. 22 Cold Moon 12:49 p.m.17:49
Other names in other places
I don't know about you but I've often wondered why and where the Full Moon names have the ones they do. Our ancestors didn't have clocks and wall calendars so as a method of tracking time and the yearly changes they would see in nature. Most early cultures followed a lunar month cycle as the transitions of the moon's phases were a reliable way to track time and to some extent forecast coming changes in the natural environment. they used Full moon names that corresponded to seasonal events. For example, a Harvest Full Moon happens in September or October, which is the end of the growing season. So you can see how it makes sense that the Cold Moon occurs in cold December. Makes obvious sense when you think about it. Now, it is worth noting that in other parts of the world there are other names for the Full Moon.
Chinese moon names
January Holiday Moon
February Budding Moon
March Sleepy Moon
April Peony Moon
May Dragon Moon
June Lotus Moon
July Hungry Ghost Moon
August Harvest Moon
September Chrysanthemum Moon
October Kindly Moon
November White Moon
December Bitter Moon
In the Southern Hemisphere, where the seasons are pretty much opposite ours, which means that in Argentina and Australia, winter begins in June.
The winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere is from June 20th or 21st, while the summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year, is December 21st or 22nd. Therefore The Harvest Moon occurs in March and the Cold Moon is in June... Pretty cool huh!
Like, its totally just a phase dude.
In case you might be wondering lets talk about how the full moon works.
As you know the moon is a big old glob of cheese... ok maybe not.
The Moon is a sphere that makes it's way around Earth once every 27.3 days. Also, while it goes around the earth it takes about 27 days for the moon to rotate on its own axis. So, even though the moon always shows us the same face; there is no stationary "dark side" of the moon. Sidenote - Dark Side of the Moon is a good album by Pink Floyd.
So while the moon travels around Earth, it is lit up from different varying angles by the sun — because the Moon has no light of her own. Interestingly on average, the moon rises about 50 minutes later each day, which means sometimes it rises during daylight hours and sometimes during nighttime hours which is where we get the Moon phases.
Now, here’s how the phases happen:
The New Moon is when the Moon is between Earth and the Sun. The side facing us gets no direct light so it seems that the moon has disappeared from the sky. If you are able to see the Moon where you live
during this time it is because what light it does receive is reflected to it from the Earth.
Moving on, a few days later, the moon continues to move around Earth, the side we are able see becomes more visible. Little by little Luna is illuminated by direct sunlight which produces the thin sliver we call the waxing crescent.
Continuing her travels, a week past the New Moon, the Moon is now at 90 degree angle away from the sun is half-illuminated, what we call first quarter. It is named so because the moon about a quarter of the way around Earth.
As we watch the Moon's illumination grow towards fullness we can see as more than half of the moon's face appears to be receiving sunlight. This phase is called a waxing gibbous moon.
When the moon has moved to a position of 180 degrees away from its new moon position, the sun, Earth and the moon form a nice little line. The moon is now as close as it can be to being fully illuminated by the sun, so this is, for obvious reasons called full moon.
The next leg of the journey through it's phases, the moon moves until bit more than half of its face is getting light from the, but now the amount of light it gets is decreasing. This is called the waning gibbous phase.
Days later, the moon has now moved yet another quarter of the way around Earth, to the third quarter position. The sun's light is now illuminating the visible face of the moon.
After that the moon moves into the waning crescent I was born under one of these, so I'm very confident I'm not a werewolf. This phase is when less than half of the Moon's face appears to be getting sunlight, and the amount of sunlight it receives is steadily decreasing.
Finally, the moon returns to its new moon position, where it will begin the cycle all over again. You should know that the Moon’s orbit is not exactly in the same plane as Earth’s orbit around the sun, and because of this they rarely are perfectly aligned. Most usually the moon passes above or below the sun from our point of perspective on Earth. When the Moon passes right in front of the sun, we get an eclipse of the sun.
All Full Moon's are calculated to occur at an exact moment, which may or may not be near the time the moon rises where you are. So when a full moon rises, it’s typically doing this some hours before or after the actual time when it’s actually full, but we as casual observers wouldn't even notice the difference. In fact, the moon will often look pretty much the same on two nights nights in a row during the full moon phase.
Pretty cool huh!
Now to take it one step further... because you knew I would. The Moon phase you were born under actually has an astrological significance in your natal chart. For example, if you were born under a waning crescent or Balsamic Moon - in this life time you are working to complete karmic cycle. You might even feel an urgency to complete things in your life, as though you are aware of a a cosmic countdown. You may also feel that most of your relationships seem to be with people you feel like you've known forever. This is because you are completing Karmic contracts with them. Very interesting, no?
If you would like to know more about what Moon phase you were born under and how it affects you, click here and I will help you out - wink, wink!
That's all for now Moonlings, I hope you've enjoyed this and if you have... share it :)