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Moon, Sun and Stars

Full Moon Names and Meanings

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.

Full Wolf Moon – January Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. Thus, the name for January’s full 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.

Full Flower Moon – May In most areas, flowers are abundant everywhere during this time. Thus, the name of this Moon. Other names include the Full Corn Planting Moon, or the Milk Moon.

Full Strawberry Moon – June This name was universal to every Algonquin tribe. However, in Europe they called it the Rose Moon. Also because the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries comes each year during the month of June . . . so the full Moon that occurs during that month was christened for the strawberry!

The Full Buck Moon – July July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It was also often called the Full Thunder Moon, for the reason that thunderstorms are most frequent during this time. Another name for this month’s Moon was the Full Hay Moon.

Full Sturgeon Moon – August The fishing tribes are given credit for the naming of this Moon, since sturgeon, a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month. A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze. It was also called the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon.

Full Corn Moon or Full Harvest Moon – September This full moon’s name is attributed to Native Americans because it marked when corn was supposed to be harvested. Most often, 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. At the peak of harvest, farmers can work late into the night by the light of this Moon. Usually the full Moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the Moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe. Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice the chief Indian staples are now ready for gathering.

Full Hunter’s Moon or Full Harvest Moon – October This full Moon is often referred to as the Full Hunter’s Moon, Blood Moon, or Sanguine Moon. Many moons ago, Native Americans named this bright moon for obvious reasons. The leaves are falling from trees, the deer are fattened, and it’s time to begin storing up meat for the long winter ahead. Because the fields were traditionally reaped in late September or early October, hunters could easily see fox and other animals that come out to glean from the fallen grains. Probably because of the threat of winter looming close, the Hunter’s Moon is generally accorded with special honor, historically serving as an important feast day in both Western Europe and among many Native American tribes.

Full Beaver Moon – November This was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter. It is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon.

The Full Cold Moon; or the Full Long Nights Moon – December During this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and nights are at their longest and darkest. It is also sometimes called the Moon before Yule. The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long, and because the Moon is above the horizon for a long time. The midwinter full Moon has a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite a low Sun.

Magical Moon Garden

What could be more enchanting and enchanted than to cultivate your own Moon Garden! Honor the Silver Goddess in all her glory with a fragrant and luminous evening garden. A wonderful offering, from which you will benefit as well.

Many night-blooming flowers are white and rely on strong fragrance, rather than bright colors, to attract insects. Plant night-bloomers near a bedroom window, where the breeze can carry the fragrance indoors right into your dreams.

Night-blooming flowers for your garden include:

  • Angels Trumpet (Datura innoxia)
  • Moonflower (Ipomoea alba)
  • Four O'Clock (Mirabilis jalapa)
  • Yucca (Yucca filamentosa)
  • Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa)

Plant some night-blooming flowers in a circle to mimic the Moon. They look terrific alongside silver-foliaged Lambs ears and Artemisia. Illuminated only by moonlight, pale flowers and foliage add a dreamy, ethereal feeling. You don't need to have a big space, potted plants work too, just remember to add a trellis or place onto which viney plants can grow.

You can save and dry night-blooming flowers to use in amulets or talismans, or to dress a Moon candle. Add fresh flowers to a special oil you have fashioned on the Full Moon or to water for magical workings. Press flowers and leaves into your Book of Shadows, or make magical bookmarks for special journals.

Following a Moon planting calendar will add a magical touch and keep you in the flow of the cycles of the Goddess. You can place Moonstones and Crystals in the dirt of your Moon Garden to energize the plants for meditations and spells. Don't forget that when you take from a plant, you should ask its permission and give thanks, perhaps an offering of water, mulch or plant food.

The Charmer
     John William Waterhouse

Pray to the Moon
   When She is Rounde

Luck with you
   Shall then abounde.

What ever you seek for
   Shall be founde,

In Sea, or Sky
   or Solid Grounde

        - Traditional Wiccan Rhyme

Magic During Eclipses

Solar Eclipses
Consider this fact about solar eclipses: A solar eclipse can only occur during the day, on a new moon. This means that you are working with new moon energy, which is great for getting rid of things and letting go.  A solar eclipse does not have to be visible for you to work magic.

Working magic during an eclipse is rather advanced. In order to understand the energy of an eclipse, you must understand the energy of time and of the seasons. You must also be able to raise and focus energy within a quite limited amount of time.

During an eclipse, some people may sense a time of stillness, others experience a feeling of uncertainty. You may experience either of these like the tiny glimmer of time before a pendulum swings back after having swung all the way in one direction. This is the essence of an eclipse, and is a similar sensation to that felt within a magic circle.

Lunar Eclipses
Consider this fact about lunar eclipses: A lunar eclipse can only occur during the night of a full moon. This means you will be working with full moon energy.  A lunar eclipse does not have to be visible for you to work magic.

Magic spells performed during lunar eclipses combine the power of the full and new  moons simultaneously. Therefore, consider carefully your wishes. Any spell performed during a Lunar Eclipse must be done carefully, as one is invoking the Triple Goddess in each of her forms. Consider carefully what you wish and write it out beforehand.

Moon Phase Magic

The Moon is the most important heavenly body to witches. We draw on her power for lunar magic. We cast our spells in accord with her cycles. She inspires and illuminates us. There are moon gods, but the Moon has always been perceived as female. The Moon is cyclical, like women. She mirrors the stages of our lives: "Maiden", "Mother" and "Crone". She is Changing Woman, as are we.

The Moon is the astronomical body closest to us and, therefore, she has a profound influence upon us. The highest energy occurs at the Full Moon and, therefore, this is the most powerful time for magical workings. The New Moon is the next most powerful time for Magic.

New Moon Magic: Initiation
The New Moon has a more inward feel than the Full Moon. The New Moon has a void or empty quality, and therefore can be frightening to those not comfortable with uncertainty. Can you learn to trust the dark? It's the moment when the old passes away and the new is not yet here. That's why it's a powerful time for sending out your prayer, wishes, desires to the Universe.

New Moon workings can be done from the day of the New Moon to three-and-a-half days after. The New Moon is great for new beginnings, starting a new venture, initiating a new project or embarking on an adventure. This is the time when new love and romance can flourish. This is the time to hunt for a new job or to start trying to get pregnant. Under the New Moon, work with the new: the beginning of a new life, a new career, a new love, a new you.

Waxing Moon Magic: Growth
The Waxing Moon, when the Moon appears to grow larger in the sky, is a time of growth. From seven to fourteen days after the New Moon, use the Waxing Moon for constructive magic, including love, wealth, courage, success, friendship, luck and health. As the Moon grows larger, the more powerfully you will feel the energy of the Goddess.

Under the Waxing Moon, you want to work with building on what you have started under the New Moon: gaining in prosperity, getting money, developing or receiving love, working toward having a pregnancy develop in a healthy way. This is the time to bring positive and constructive things into your life, such as performing magic to bring prosperity and health. 

Full Moon Magic: Your Heart's Desire
From fourteen to seventeen-and-a-half days after the New Moon comes the Full Moon and its magical potential. This is the prime time for rituals for prophecy, protection and divination. Perform any workings that require extra power, such as helping to find a new job or healing for serious conditions. This is also the time for love, knowledge, money, dreams and legal undertakings.

The Full Moon is the time to really go for what you want. The Moon's energy is incredibly powerful, and you can ask her to help you in nearly any request. Full Moon energy is available three days before and after the actual date of the Full Moon, so use this time for divination, dreams, love and whatever else your heart desires.

If you don't know what you want, resist the temptation to work magic under the Full Moon simply because it's a good time for magical workings. Instead, consider performing a ritual to honor the Goddess and feel as one with her. This can be a powerful enough experience on its own.

Waning Moon Magic: Removing

From three-and-a-half days after the Full Moon comes the Waning Moon. The moon is getting smaller, and this time is used for banishing magic; for ridding oneself of illness, addictions or negativity.

The Waning Moon is the time go rid yourself of negative things in your life. Perform banishing magic to lose some weight or rid yourself of a minor ailment. Work to eliminate negative influences in your environment, such as banishing stress from your office or silencing malicious gossip. Consider going to the source and banishing the tensions that are causing you to have stress.

Dark Moon Magic: A Break, or Binding
Many magical practitioners believe that magic should not be worked during the three days each month that the Moon is dark and is not visible in the sky. The Goddess is thought to have descended into the underworld; she is in mourning, and her energy is at its lowest point of the lunar cycle.

During the Dark of the Moon, Hecate, the Goddess in her aspect of queen of the underworld rules, and some witches have been known to call upon her dark powers to perform negative workings at this time. Better to take a break from magic and relax and meditate during this time.

Should you choose to perform magic during the Dark of the Moon, this can be a time of ridding oneself of bad habits. You may perform binding spells, to explore your darkest recesses and understand your anger and passions. This also is a time for bringing justice to bear.

Zodiac Sun Signs

Aries: March 21 - April 20
Taurus: April 21 - May 21
Gemini: May 22 - June 21
Cancer: June 22 - July 22
Leo: July 23 - August 21
Virgo: August 22 - September 23
Libra: September 24 - October 23
Scorpio: October 24 - November 22
Sagittarius: November 23 - December 22
Capricorn: December 23 - January 20
Aquarius: January 21 - February 19
Pisces: February 20 - March 20

Moon Magic Through the Zodiac

Moon in Aries:
Spells involving authority, willpower and rebirth.
Moon in Taurus: Spells involving love, real estate, and money.
Moon in Gemini: Spells involving communication, public relations and travel.
Moon in Cancer: Spells involving domestic life and honoring lunar deities.
Moon in Leo: Spells involving power over others, courage, child birth.
Moon in Virgo: Spells involving employment matters, health and intellectual matters.
Moon in Libra: Spells involving court cases, partnerships and artistic matters.
Moon in Scorpio: Spells involving secrets, power and psychic growth.
Moon in Sagittarius: Spells involving publications, sports and the truth.
Moon in Capricorn: Spells involving career, political matters and ambition.
Moon in Aquarius: Spells involving science, freedom, personal expression, problem solving, friendship.
Moon in Pisces: Spells involving music, telepathy and clairvoyance.

Moon Water Tonic

Tonic waters containing the energies of the moon embody powerful healing benefits that bring about integral balance and wholeness throughout the body, mind and soul. Clear quartz crystal catalyzes the absorption of lunar energies as well as amplifies the healing benefits.

To Prepare Moon Water:

  • On a clear night, preferably on or right before the full moon, place a clear quartz crystal in a clear glass and cover it with one cup of purified or spring water.

  • Check an almanac for the exact time of sundown on the day you have chosen. At sundown, place the glass out of doors in a moonlit place (cover the glass with clear plastic wrap).

  • Remove the glass at dawn. The water is now filled with lunar potency. Drink the moon water every morning to prepare your body, mind and spirit for the stress of the day.

Herbs of the Zodiac

Aries: Garlic, Hemp, Marjoram, Mustard Seed and Angelical Root
Taurus: Colts Foot, Dandelion, Sage, Thyme, Patchouli and Cedar
Gemini: Caraway Seed, Lavender, Mandrake, Vervain, Mugwort and Wormwood
Cancer: Lemon Verbena, Marigold, Geranium, Apple and Catnip.
Leo: Anise, Bay Leaves, Dill, Mint, Oak, Clove and Chamomile
Virgo: Fennel Seed, Valerian, Skullcap and Cyprus
Libra: Penny Royal, Thyme and Lemon Verbena
Scorpio: Basil, Sasperilla, Horehound, Ash and Hops
Sagittarius: Red Clover, Burdock, St. John's Wort and Tobacco
Capricorn: Comfrey, Slippery Elm, Thyme and Jasmine
Aquarius: Frankincense, Myrrh, Valerian, Sandalwood and Peppermint
Pisces: Irish Moss, Seaspirit, Hyacinth, Lovage and Willow

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