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Book of Shadows

"Tis the witching hour of night,
Orbed is the moon and bright,
And the stars they glisten, glisten,
Seeming with bright eyes to listen
For what listen they?"
~John Keats~

Bright Moons and their Many Names

The names of each Bright (Full) Moon changes with the environment of the people who named them. The Moonís names reflect the seasons, hunting or planting cycles or a particular climate. Since I live in a desert climate, some of the names don't reflect my seasons accurately. To complicate things I spend much of my summer in a northern state. So, the names of my moonís reflect the climate and environment where I am at the time I am practicing magick. May is too late to name its Moon, the Budding Moon because our trees bud in February and March, and October is too early for a Moon called Falling Leaves although I could use that for the November Moon.

One will notice below that many of the Moonís names repeat themselves for neighboring months, thus following the graduating changes in the seasons of different latitudes. One can choose the names that best describe oneís environment, magickal intention or personality. Besides these, there many more Native American versions, Neo Pagan versions, New Age versions and other versions that people just made up.

Part of becoming a witch is connecting with your environment. As you work with these, take the time to identify the Moon's name that best suits the one you will be standing under.

January: Wolf Moon (English Medieval), Snow Moon, Old Moon, Great Moon, Storm Moon, Cold Moon (Cherokee), Great Spirit Moon (Chippewa), Winter Moon, Alder moon (Irish)

February: Storm Moon (English Medieval), Snow Moon, Hunger Moon, Chaste Moon, Bony Moon (Cherokee), Sucker Moon (Chippewa), Eagle Moon, Ice Moon, Wild Moon, Trapperís Moon, Willow Moon (Irish) March: Chaste Moon (English Medieval), Seed Moon, Sap Moon or Maple Sugar Moon or Sugaring Moon, Worm Moon, Crow Moon, Wind or Windy or Strong Winds Moon (Cherokee), Crust Moon (Chippewa), Bud Moon, Geese Moon, Fish Moon, Ash Moon (Irish)

April: Seed Moon (English Medieval), Hare Moon, Grass Moon, Growing Moon, Pink Moon, Flower Moon (Cherokee), Broken Snowshoe Moon (Chippewa), Egg Moon, Fish Moon, Frog Moon, Planterís Moon, Hawthorn Moon (Irish)

May: Hare Moon (English Medieval), Faery Moon, Milk Moon, Flower Moon, Blossom Moon (Chippewa), Budding Moon, Seed Moon, Planting Moon (Cherokee), Corn Planting Moon, Oak Moon (Irish)

June: Dyad Moon (English Medieval), Mead Moon, Honey Moon, Rose Moon, Flower Moon, Fallow Moon, Strawberry Moon (Chippewa), Green Corn Moon (Cherokee), Full Leaf Moon, Strong Sun or Hot Moon (how's that for an oxymoron) Holly Moon (Irish),

July: Mead Moon (English Medieval), Wort Moon (English Medieval from wyrt meaning plant. I like this name for July because it reminds me of a genus of Alpine wildflowers that grow around our summer cabin in Idaho, Figwort, Spiderwort, Lousewort Ė ugly names, pretty flowers.) Herb Moon, Thunder Moon, Buck Moon, Raspberry Moon (Chippewa), Blood moon, Ripe Corn Moon (Cherokee), Hay Moon, Summer Moon, Hazel Moon (Irish),

August: Barley Moon, Corn Moon (English Medieval), Green Corn Moon, Herb Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Blackberry Moon (Chippewa), Red Moon, Fruit Moon (Cherokee), Grain Moon. Vine Moon (Irish)

September: Barley Moon(English Medieval), Wine Moon, Harvest Moon (when it is closest to the Equinox), Fruit Moon, Corn Moon, Nut Moon (Cherokee), Rice Moon (Chippewa), Yellow Leaf Moon, Hunterís Moon, Elder Moon (Irish)

October: Blood Moon (English Medieval),, Wine Moon, Harvest Moon (when it is closest to the Equinox, also Cherokee), Hunterís Moon, Travel Moon, Shedding Moon, Falling Leaves Moon (Chippewa), Reed Moon (Irish)

November: Snow Moon (English Medieval), Hunterís Moon, Frost Moon, Freezing Moon (Chippewa), Traderís Moon (Cherokee), Beaver Moon, Tree Moon, Birch Moon (Irish)

December: Oak Moon(English Medieval), Cold Moon or Long Nightís Moon (nearest Winter solstice), Wolf Moon, Snow Moon (Cherokee), Beaver Moon, Small Spirits Moon (Chippewa), Rowan Moon (Irish)

The name of the 13th Moon (or second moon in the same month) has several traditions. American Indians often called the second moon the same name of that month's Moon but called it "Little" as in Wolf Moon and Little Wolf Moon. But Modern witches call it the Blue Moon, no matter which month it appears in.

According to folklorist Philip Hiscock, the term "Blue Moon" is at least 400 years old, but its popular meaning has shifted many times. The earliest known references to a blue moon were intended as examples of obvious absurdities. If a 16th century person asserted "That's as likely as a Blue Moon", they meant that it simply couldn't be. As time passed the expression evolved to mean something that rarely happened. Hence the expression "Once in a Blue Moon" which is still popular today. A second, modern definition of a Blue Moon as the second Bright (Full) moon in a calendar month was apparently introduced to popular culture by a mistake in the magazine Sky & Telescope 53 years ago.

With witchcraft expanding definitions of what attains "balance" in magick, more witches are practicing magick ((banishing - not negative (there's a difference)) on the Dark (New Moon) each month as well as the Bright (Full) Moon. Consequently, there are 13 Dark Moons (New Moons) in a year too. Modern Witches call the second Dark Moon in the same month, the Black Moon. As far as my research shows, there is no historical basis for this because no one has named the Dark Moons.

© 2004-2017 Ardriana Cahill


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