The Full Moon that occurs tonight, October 29, is most commonly known as the Hunter’s Moon. This Moon has also been known as the Blood Moon, Sanguine Moon, Travel Moon, Dying Grass Moon, Moon of Falling Leaves, Moon When the Water Freezes, Blood Moon, Leaf Fall Moon, Basket Moon, Big Wind Moon, Blood Moon, Shedding Moon, Winterfelleth (Winter Coming), Windermanoth (Vintage Month), Ten Colds Moon and the Moon of the Changing Seasons.

Whatever name your traditions or culture attaches to this particular moon, it is the first full moon after the Harvest Moon (the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox).

This year it is getting a little extra attention because it will occur when Hurricane Sandy hits into the Delaware/New Jersey/New York area and Full Moons make high tides even higher.

The Hunter’s Moon was so named as it was the preferred month to hunt summer-fattened deer and for the hunts for the fox who is unable to hide in the baring fields. Like the previous moon, this full moon appears brighter because of its lower position in the sky. The extra light gave hunters the opportunity to stalk prey at night. It was suited to hunting migrating birds such as geese and ducks. The name was also used by some Native Americans as they tracked and hunted by autumn moonlight, stockpiling food for the winter ahead.

The rather unpleasant name of the Blood Moon may seem to be connected to the idea of hunting or harvest sacrifices. In fact, October or Octem, was the eighth month in the oldest Roman calendar. It marked the of the custom of killing and salting down livestock before the winter months made it impossible to feed all of them. Only the choicest stock was saved for next year and for breeding.

It may not involve any blood, but you might use this time to prepare for the changing season by “winterizing” the car, your garden and things around the house such as the the heating system, windows etc.

At the time of this Hunter’s Moon (as seen from the Northern Hemisphere), moonrise on successive evenings is shorter than usual and occurs approximately 30 minutes later, from one night to the next. This gives us a shorter period of darkness between sunset and moonrise.

The Feast of the Hunter’s Moon was an event for parts of Western Europe and among some Native American tribes. The Cherokee Moon Harvest Moon, Dunin(i)di, is the time of the “Harvest Festival” Nowatequa. The people give thanks to all the living things of the fields and earth that helped them live, and to the “Apportioner” Unethlana. Cheno i-equa or “Great New Moon” Festival is customarily held at this time. Ritual fasting would be observed seven days prior to the festival.

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