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Full Moons and Their Spiritual Effects on Humans – Part I


Each full moon holds a little extra special meaning to those who work with magic. It represents the universe in brilliant glory, wholeness or completeness. But as with each phase of the moon, each cycle of the full moon also contains its own special energy. Aligning your intentions with these energies can also enhance your magical work.

Ages ago, cultures around the world kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon. Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred. Today we have the advantage of aligning our energies with the cultures we’re drawn to, or to the perspective our tradition follows. So if you’re of a European tradition, or Norse or Native American tradition; you can pick and choose the name set that you feel most connected to. There are many reasons for different name sets. Cultures, regions of the world, differences in weather, the timing of seasonal changes (such as winter arriving earlier in the north than in the south) and so on.
While names from the Farmer’s Almanac were largely in use in England and the Celtic lands, these are not the only names in use in those areas. Many people think all Native Americans followed the same traditions and implemented the same names and significance across the board to aspects of life. While there is a large similarity between American tribes and nations, they are not all the same. The Cherokee Nation held different names in part because they governed over the lands of the south from what we know as Virginia south to Florida.
Full Moon names date back to Native Americans, of what is now the northern and eastern United States. The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full Moon. Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred. There was some variation in the Moon names, but in general, the same ones were current throughout the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior. European settlers followed that custom and created some of their own names. Since the lunar month is only 29 days long on the average, the full Moon dates shift from year to year. Here is the Farmers Almanac’s list of the full Moon names. Many human cultures have given names to the full moon throughout the year. Different full moon names can be found among the Indian, Chinese, Celtic, Old English, and New Guinea cultures, to name a few. In addition, Native American tribes often used moon phases and cycles to keep track of the seasons and gave a unique name to each recurring full moon. The full moon names were used to identify the entire month during which each occurred.
The names given below aren’t the only ones that have been used. Every full moon, with one exception, had variations on its name among various Algonquin tribes, not to mention other tribes throughout North America. But the names below are the most common. Some of the variations are also mentioned.
Full Wolf Moon – January: Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. In January snow gathers deep in the woods and the howling of wolves can be heard echoing in the cold still air so the name Wolf Moon. Sometimes it was also referred to as the Old Moon or the Moon after Yule. Some called it the Full Snow Moon, but most tribes applied that name to the next Moon.
Full Snow Moon – February: Since the heaviest snow usually falls during this month, native tribes of the north and east most often called February’s full Moon the Full Snow Moon. Some tribes also referred to this Moon as the Full Hunger Moon, since harsh weather conditions in their areas made hunting very difficult.
Full Worm Moon – March: As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. To the settlers, it was also known as the Lenten Moon, and was considered to be the last full Moon of winter.
Full Pink Moon – April: this name came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names for this month’s celestial body include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn. -To Be Continued

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