Moon Madness by Andrew Wyeth

This Tuesday’s Full Moon (2/7/12) is the Moon of Snow and the Moon of Ice.  For many areas of America, the February Moon marks a time of the heaviest snowfall.

Native American  tribes of the north and east often called this the Snow Moon and some tribes referred to this as the Hunger Moon, since harsh weather conditions in their areas made hunting very difficult.  The Choctaw called it the Little Famine Moon

The ancient Druids marked this as the  Storm Moon and it occurs during the fifth month of their year. The first day of Carmoil is the Full Moon and it runs until March 1  which is the Moon of Ice.

The name for this month probably comes from the Roman goddess Februa (AKA  Juno Februa) or the god Februus, who was later identified with the Roman Pluto or Dis. In Roman culture, it was a time of spiritual purification and initiation. It was seen as a time to cleanse and purify yourself and your dwelling place. It was believed that purifying changes the vibrations by removing negative ones and inviting in positive ones and so prepares the environment, the body, mind and spirit for receptivity of new spiritual and life experiences.

February is a month of ice in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere and a  time of dormancy when activity and life (both by humans and in nature) is low or below the surface. Even water (the zodiac sign is Aquarius) slows, freezes and seems to disappear.

To Colonial Americans, this was the Trapper’s or simply the Winter Moon.

Not all parts of the Earth are covered with ice or snow now. Celebration during this time include Hatun-pucuy, or the Great Ripening, which was celebrated among the Incas. The Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries of Greece was also called the Festival of the Returning Daughter and celebrated Kore’s return from the Underworld and the rebirth of earthly vegetation.

In China, this a Holiday Moon connected with the New Year. The country of Tibet celebrates the conception of Buddha and the Feast of Flowers during this time of year.