The International Space Station can be seen in the upper left of this moon image as seen from space.                Image Credit: NASA/Lauren Harnett

On March 8, 2012 will be the last full moon of this winter. You can’t rely on the March Full Moon to really signal the end of winter, since not only does its arrival change year to year, but the weather that means spring to you probably varies from what we feel here in Paradelle. This has been a very mild winter in Paradelle and much of the U.S., so while March is commonly thought of as a blustery month that might come “in like a lion, out like a lamb,” I saw bulbs blooming in my yard in mid-February.

Of course, we might easily see snow falling on our early spring but a number of the names for this month’s moon come from the signs of spring. Emily Dickinson called March the month of anticipation.

Full Worm Moon is an odd name but it comes from the earthworm casts that appear as the ground thaws. Those casts are also connected to another spring sign – robins.

Some native Americans called it the Full Crow Moon because of the cawing of crows that signaled the end of winter. Another name used by tribes was the Full Crust Moon, so called for the crusted snow cover that resulted from thawing and refreezing.

Other names are the Oak Moon, Storm Moon, Seed Moon. The Oak moon was named for the Celtic tree god or king and at one time oak was considered to be the wood from which people were first created.

The names Maple Moon and Full Sap Moon refer to the maple syrup made from the sap of sugar maple, red maple or black maple trees that rises in the spring. Maple syrup was first collected and used by Native Americans and First Nations and was later adopted by the European settlers.

In medieval England it was called the Chaste Moon.

To the New World colonists, this was sometimes known as the Lenten Moon.

As Emily Dickinson said, this month is always filled with anticipation – mostly of spring –  and ancient civilizations also believed that equinoxes, like the spring one on March 20, were sacred days of the year – a time to perform rituals and connect with the divine.