Raccoon Moon

moon rotating

Tonight the Moon will be full but here in Paradelle is reached fullness at 11:57 a.m. EST. Names for the February Full Moon include Ice MoonHunger Moon, Grandfather Moon, and Storm Moon.

The Hunger and Bone Moon names come from a time when animals and humans in the north might and a soup made from only bones might have been all that was available. The Cherokee people called it the Bone Moon because animal bones as a soup or eating the marrow was the only source of nutrition in the dead of winter.

The full February moon is called Raccoon Moon by some Lakota cultures because as sap freezes, cracks branches, and perhaps begins to rise, so does the blood and urges rise in raccoons. Some people say they can hear them crooning their love at this time. Breeding peaks in February and copulation lasts up to an hour. Raccoons usually den in a hollow tree, culvert, or burrow, (or perhaps your chimney). They will leave those dens in April and do their night foraging for fruit, garden crops, fish, snakes, eggs, and small mammals.


Names for the Full Moons vary from place to place. This month is sometimes called the Snow Moon, but that name is also applied to the November Moon and December Moon. It depends on when snow hits your part of the country.

We must note that the calendars and Moon names used by ancient and native peoples were not as exact as our calendars. The Shawnee people used the Full Moons to create two seasons – summer and winter. Like our own modern calendars earliest versions, the months needed to be adjusted. One way to adjust the moon with the seasons was to add an extra month every second or third year. Their March Full Moon was when the sap would begin to flow. If the Moon was full but the sap was not flowing it was a signal that the moons were out of sync with the season. This month would have been their Crow Moon and the Sap Moon would be next month.

The ancient Druids called this the Storm Moon. In their calendar, this would be the fifth month of the year. The Full Moon is the start and it ends with the next Full Moon which is the Moon of Ice.

Feeling cold where you are? If you were in the Southern Hemisphere, this is mid-summer and this could be the Grain Moon, Red Moon, or Corn Moon. Location, location, location.

This calendar of the Moon’s phases this month is a nice illustration of how the Moon will look full on the 16, 17, and 18th – though it becomes full on the 16th.

Missed Moon On Midnight Snow

half moon
A waning half Moon during the day today.

I missed a Full Moon.  It has been years that I have written here about the Full Moons, but I missed the January 17, 2022, Full Moon.

There was a snowstorm that swept through the country the night before. I like snowfall that appears, turns the world black and white, and then disappears like a page turned. I had this post written days before the Moon’s shift to fullness, but I failed to hit the “publish” button. So, here it is, on a night of a waning Moon with another snowstorm – a nor-easter, a bomb cyclone – coming for the weekend.

Photo: Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash

It is quite lovely to see a Full Moon on a clear winter night when the ground is covered with fresh, glistening snow.

From November through February the Moon is high at midnight.  From May through July the Moon is very low in the sky. In March, April, August, September, and October the Moon is somewhere between. So, tonight’s Full Moon will be high in the sky at midnight.

Looking through a very long list of Moon names used by American Indian tribes, I found wide variety for this January Moon. The Algonquin tribes call it the Moon When the Sun Has Not the Strength to Thaw. That would be true in the North. The Chippewa and Ojibwe use the name Great Spirit Moon. The Apache, being in a warmer climate, call this the Time of Flying Ants. But colder January times figure into most names, such as Northern Arapaho’s When the Snow Blows Like Spirits in the Wind and the Cheyenne Moon of the Strong Cold. I like the Muscogee (Creek) name for this Full Moon – Winter’s Younger Brother.

For those who follow such things, this first Full Moon of 2022 falls in the intuitive, sensitive sign of Cancer, a sign that is supposed to remind us of feeling at home within ourselves. As with New Moons, this Moon of the new year could be a signal for a fresh start and letting go of what we don’t want to carry into the new year.

A friend who does follow astrology told me in an email that tonight I should “cleanse my aura.” I had to research that suggestion.

First of all, what is my aura? “Your aura is the energy field that surrounds your body. It acts as a magnetic field of energy that picks up on emotions, health, psychic debris, and circumstances around you. Your aura can experience stress as you exchange energies with those around you, which is exactly why you need to clean your auric field from time to time.”

It turns out there are many ways to do this and some of them are things I do regularly, such as getting into nature, soaking baths, or meditation. There are cleansing tools, such as crystals, herb sticks, bells, sage smudging. Using a New or Full Moon as a time for self-reflection is certainly not a bad twice-a–month reminder.


A Child’s Moon of Oak and Mistletoe

December Moon
Druid, Oak, Mistletoe, Full Moon

The Moon becomes full on Saturday, December 18, 2021, at 11:37 P.M. EST but it always looks full the day before and the day after to the naked eye.

You can look for it just before sunset as it appears above the horizon and this month’s Full Moon has a distinctive high trajectory across the sky and so it sits above the horizon for a longer period of time and at midnight it will be high in the night sky.

You’ve heard (or read here) names for this December Moon. Cold Moon is a Mohawk name, Snow Moon (Haida, Cherokee), and Winter Maker Moon (Western Abenaki), Drift Clearing Moon (Cree), Moon When the Deer Shed Their Antlers (Dakota) and Little Spirit Moon (Anishinaabe), Frost Exploding Trees Moon (Cree), Moon of the Popping Trees (Oglala), and Hoar Frost Moon (Cree) are all possibilities of names filled with wintery images. They are all very Northern Hemisphere names.

The Long Night Moon (Mohican) is a name that became popular with colonists because it connects to the Winter Solstice and the “longest” nights of the year.  December’s Full Moon also shines above the horizon for a longer period of time than most Full Moons.

Some believe that the Oak Moon name ties back to ancient Druid traditions of harvesting mistletoe from oak trees, a practice first recorded by the Roman historian Pliny the Elder in the 1st century CE. The term “druid” may derive from the Proto-Indo-European roots for “oak” and “to see,” suggesting “druid” means “oak knower” or “oak seer.” The mistletoe tradition remains with us, though it devolved into a kissing tradition.

Mistletoe growth is what is knowns as parasitic symbiosis. It is an unromantic relationship when one organism exploits the other. Mistletoe seeds embed on oak trees and roots into the oak and steal water and nutrients. A few are harmless but a heavy mistletoe infestation can even kill the tree.

European pagans had long known this as the Moon Before Yule to mark the Yuletide festival celebrating the return of the sun at the Winter Solstice.

I discovered recently that this could be called the Child’s Moon. On the NASA website, they relate the story of 7-year-old Astrid walking home from school with her father and seeing the rising full Moon. She said: “You know what this Moon is called? It’s called a Child Moon. Because the Moon rises at a time that the children, they can see it, because they’re not in bed, and they might even be outside like we are right now.”

My new granddaughter is 20 months old, so this winter is the first time she is aware of it getting dark while she’s still awake for a few hours. I will have to look up at the Full Moon with her this month. Good night, Moon.

child moon

November’s Micro Beaver Blood Moon Eclipse

moon approach
NASA image

The next full moon will be on Friday, November 19th at 4:02 am ET. This month you can hang many labels on the Full Moon.  Micro Beaver Blood Moon Eclipse is a mouthful, so let me explain.

Common names for this Full Moon are the Beaver Moon, Frost Moon (or Freezing Moon depending on your location) and the Deer Rutting Moon.  But this year it will get more attention because it will be what some people call a blood moon eclipse.

The Moon will reach its full redpoint 4:02 a.m ET and Americans can get a quick glimpse if they are awake. If you want to see the complete eclipse, you’ll have to start watching at 2:18 a.m ET when the white moon starts shifting to red.

This is a  partial lunar eclipse but it will put 97% of the Moon into darkness. Depending on where you are in the world it occurs on Thursday, November 18 and into the early hours of Friday over North America. It will also be visible from Australia, New Zealand, eastern Asia and part of South America.

The big buzz in the media is that this will be the longest partial lunar eclipse since 1440. The entire eclipse lasts around 6 hours, Not to spoil things but the longest lunar eclipse in recent history was the total lunar eclipse of July 27, 2018, which lasted about 12 minutes longer than the one this week.

Here’s another label to hang on this lunar event. Lunar eclipses only happen on the night of a full moon. This month’s Full Moon will be the smallest full moon of the year. This is known as a “micromoon” which is the opposite of the “supermoon.” Supermoons are a popular term for when the Moon is closest to Earth. This month, the Moon will be at near apogee (the point in its orbit when it is farthest away from the Earth) and so it is a micromoon. It will appear about 14% smaller and 30% dimmer than a supermoon. Will you notice this with the naked eye? Probably not.

If there are no clouds obscuring the Moon, you should be able to see it even in a light-polluted place, unlike meteor showers. If its cloudy or you don’t want to go outside, the timeanddate.com website will be providing live coverage of the event on YouTube from 2 a.m. ET.

North America will experience a pair to total lunar eclipses next year in May and November.

A Birthday Full Moon

Moon and clouds golden

Most commonly known as the Hunter’s Moon, this year the Full Moon occurs on my birthday. It’s not an uncommon event because the October Full Moon is usually around this time. I was not born under a Full Moon (you can check yours here). My day of birth was a waxing gibbous Moon which I see as optimistic as it is a growing Moon. (full report on that at the bottom of this post)

It looks full tonight but the true “full” peak illumination is at 10:57 A.M. Eastern Time tomorrow, the 20th, but then it will be below the horizon for me and I will have to wait until at least sunset to see it. It will still look quite full the net night too.

This Full Moon of October may appear larger and more orange when it first rises but that is a  “Moon Illusion.

Last month’s Harvest Moon and this Hunter’s Moon are unique in that they are names not fixed to a calendar month. The Hunter Moon is the first Full Moon after the Harvest Moon, but since the Harvest Moon can occur in either September or October based on the equinox, then the Hunter Moon can occur in either October or November.

The Cree people call this the Migrating Moon because it is the time when birds begin to fly south to warmer climates. In Paradelle, this was the month to climb up to the New Jersey Audobohn hawk watch to see birds headed south and following the mountain ridgeline and coast all the way to the tip of the state at Cape May.

Names for the Full Moons vary based on location and culture. The Drying Rice Moon is a Dakota name given for this time after the harvest for preparing rice for winter. The Falling Leaves Moon is an Anishinaabe term that highlights the transition between summer and fall. The Freezing Moon of the Ojibwe and the Ice Moon (Haida) tell me that they are located in a colder climate than Paradelle where frost is more likely than freeze.

According to moongiant.com this is what I should be because I was born on a waxing gibbous Moon day.

“This is when the Moon is nearing its full potential. Individuals born under this Moon are predisposed to be caring, nurturing, and calming. You likely excel at developing relationships with other people, guiding them and inspiring them to reach new heights in their lives. If you put in the time and effort, you can easily surround yourself with people who love you, or at least respect you.

On the flip side, this also means that you are acutely aware of your own potential – specifically, your own potential to achieve perfection. Tragically, even though you can be an amazing mentor and guide to others, that same impulse transforms into perfectionism when it comes to yourself. This compulsion can be debilitating if you don’t keep it in check. To fully achieve your potential, you need to accept that you will never actually be perfect, that there will always be room for more growth – and that’s what makes life beautiful.”

Moon of Mabon

Moon tree

We have two celestial events to mark this week. First, the Moon goes full today, September 20, 2021. Then we shift gears to autumn on Wednesday, the 22nd.

The common name for this September Full Moon is the Corn Moon but this is pretty late in the corn season in my part of the country. You can also call this the Harvest Moon which is the name attached to the Full Moon closest to the September equinox. (Most years it is in September, but around every three years, it is in October.)

The Celtic autumn festival is on the equinox marking when the sun is almost directly over the equator and so there is an equal amount of day and night. This Celtic traditional holiday is called in modern times as Mabon, after the name of the God of Welsh mythology and is still celebrated by New Agers and Wiccans.

This is the second Celtic harvest festival. The first begins the harvest and is called Lughnasadh, and the third, Samhain, ends the harvest season.

Many cultures – the Greeks, Bavarians, Native Americans, and Chinese – have a similar celebration on or near the equinox which could be determined by those who observe and measure the movements of the Sun.
The symbol of Mabon is the cornucopia which is still used to represent a bountiful harvest. The original cornucopia was a goat’s horn overflowing with flowers, fruit, and corn. Although the word “corn” is part of cornucopia, the word’s origin is actually from Latin cornu + copiae meaning horn + plenty. In mythology, this horn was able to provide whatever is desired.  You often see the image used around the American Thanksgiving holiday.