The Travel Moon of October

If the October Full Moon is closer to the equinox than the September Full Moon, we would call tonight’s Full Moon the Harvest Moon. This year it is not and so it is most often called the Hunter’s Moon. The name is sometimes said to have come from the idea that the bright moonlight made it easier for night hunting. But it’s no easier than other moonlit nights. The name comes from the chilling weather being the time for Indian tribes to hunt in order to prepare for winter. Hunting seasons for deer, turkey and other game still occur in the fall. Two other names for October’s Full Moon also come from hunting. The Blood Moon and Sanguine Moon both refer to the reddish color of blood and are more of a hunting reference than the idea that the Moon appears to be red. (It does appear larger and sometimes red/orange when it first rises.)

Other names include the Dying Grass Moon and Drying Rice Moon, Falling Leaves Moon, Freezing Moon, and Ice Moon. All of those are dependent on your geography. Two other names are the Travel Moon and Migrating Moon. The latter name refers to birds and some animals that might love to warmer areas or even those that move to winter homes. So too did some tribes travel to winter camps.

Modern-day humans also travel to warmer climes around this time and some migrating “snowbirds” who live near Paradelle in the northeast travel south for the winter. too.

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 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.”

Hunting the Halloween Blue Moon

We had our Harvest Moon at the start of October, and tomorrow we will have our second Full Moon of the month. This Full Moon is often called the Hunter Moon because it occurs during hunting seasons in many places and because a Full Moon offered better light for hunters.

But this particular Full Moon has some other oddities.

Back on the 16th, we had the year’s closest and largest New Moon. This Full Moon will be the year’s farthest and smallest one. It’s also a Blue Moon and appears near red Mars which makes for a nice Halloween Blue Full Moon.

Halloween was traditionally called All Hallows’ Eve because it occurs on the evening before the Christian holy day of All Hallows’ Day or All Saints Day (November 1). That’s why Halloween is celebrated on October 31.

This pandemic year has changed Halloween trick-or-treat traditions as going door to door is probably not a good idea. In my town, they will have an event at the community park where kids can come with their parents by car and drive around the big parking lot, stopping at candy and treat stations. That doesn’t sound very appealing to kids.

There has been a movement to change Halloween to the last Saturday of October in the past so as not to conflict with school and work. Of course, this year a lot of schooling is at home as parents are working from home or not working at all. This year Halloween coincidentally does fall on the last Saturday. By the way, that movement for a Saturday Halloween was started, unsurprisingly,  by the Halloween and Costume Association.

The next time we’ll see an October 31st Halloween Full Moon is in 2039, so you should plan to get your werewolf costume this year.

Werewolf, Full Moon, and Blue Moon all together send my thoughts immediately to the film, American Werewolf in London. I love this scary and also funny film by John Landis about two American college students on a walking tour of Britain who are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will even admit exists.

Be careful out there tomorrow night.

Harvesting a Moon of Dreams

full moon orange cloudsMy birthday month of October will be interesting in a lunar way this year. There will be two full Moons.

The first is the Harvest Moon tonight (October 1).  The Harvest Moon is either in September or October depending on which one occurs nearest to the autumnal equinox (It was September 22 this year).

The second Full Moon of the month just makes it in on the 31st. A second Full Moon in a month makes it a Blue Moon, but I suspect it will be more orange due to it falling on Halloween.

Perhaps, you would like to try an old English Harvest Moon ritual this year. It was thought of as something for women to do, but if you’re a man and you’re not old and English, I say go for it. It is supposed to show you your future.

You need to gather a key, a ring, a flower, a sprig of willow, a small piece of cake, a crust of bread, the 10 of clubs, 9 of hearts, ace of spades, and ace of diamonds. Wrap these in a handkerchief and place it under your pillow.

As you get into bed for the night, say:

Luna, every woman/man’s friend,
to me thy goodness descend.
Let me this night in visions see,
emblems of my destiny.

If you dream of storms, it means coming trouble; if the storms end, a calm fate after strife.
If you dream of a ring or the ace of diamonds, marriage.
Bread means a good job.
Cake means prosperity.
Flowers bring joy.
A willow indicates treachery in love.
Those spades foretell death. (Don’t dream about spades. Maybe don’t even put that card under your pillow!)
The clubs card means living in a foreign land.
Diamonds (by the way, it doesn’t have to be a card in your dream) means money.
Keys foretell great power.
Birds mean many children and geese means more than one marriage.

The Harvest Moon is the only Full Moon name I can think of that was used by both the English settlers and by many American Indian tribes of eastern and northern North America. Many staples like corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice were typically ready for harvest by this Full Moon.



Leaf Falling Full Moon of October

moon autumn tree

The Moon just reached its full phase here in Paradelle at 5:10 PM ET.  The Full Moon immediately following the Harvest Moon is often called the Hunter’s Moon. The Hunter’s Moon (like the Harvest Moon) rises along your eastern horizon for the next several days, from either the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, and you’ll see the moon rising farther north on the horizon each day.

September in some years is the month of the Harvest Moon but other years it is in October because that name is given to the Full Moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox.  That was last month’s September 23rd Harvest Full Moon for 2019.

Going back to before artificial lighting (and light pollution), the moonlight was important for anything done after sunset – from traveling, to working, to hunting. At this time of year, a Full Moon rising in the east around sunset and being highest in the sky around midnight, and setting in the west around sunrise could provide. In the northern latitudes, people noticed the differing rising times of September and October full moons. The Moon rising near sunset for several evenings could mean that farmers might continue working in the fields and bringing in the crops. That partially led to the Harvest Moon name.

The American Indian names are always more interesting, longer and sometimes quite literal, such as the Cheyenne’s Moon When the Water Begins to Freeze on the Edge of Streams or the Cree’s Moon When the Birds Fly South (although lately, some birds are not flying south from Paradelle anymore).

This month I selected the Leaf Falling Moon name used by the Abenaki. Leaves falling is certainly a sign of October in my part of the country.

For those in the Southern Hemisphere, you can call this Spring Full Moon the Egg Moon, Fish Moon, Seed Moon, Pink Moon, or Waking Moon.

A Sanguine Moon for October

Wednesday, 24 October 2018 is the day of the October Full Moon. It is commonly known as the Hunter Moon and also as the Blood Moon or Sanguine Moon. This is the first full moon after the Harvest Moon, which is the Full Moon nearest the autumnal equinox. In most years, including 2018, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October.

Sanguine is a curious word to attach to the Full Moon. Sanguine usually means “blood-red” and is associated with chalk of a reddish-brown color, so called because it resembles the color of dried blood. It has been popular for centuries for drawing and is preferred to common white chalk which only works on colored paper.

But “sanguine” (which comes via French from the Italian sanguigna and originally from the Latin sanguis) also means optimistic or positive, especially in an apparently bad or difficult situation, as in “She is sanguine about prospects for the upcoming elections.”

The Native Americans of the northern and eastern parts of the continent named this Full Moon that came at a time of leaves falling, deer fattened by summer growth and harvests, and concerns for getting meat to store for the winter ahead. The appearance of “blood” in the naming comes from hunting and also from the sometimes reddish appearance of the Moon when it first rises.

Some of the other names associated with this Full Moon are: Travel Moon, Dying Grass Moon, Moon of Falling Leaves (sometimes used in November), Moon When the Water Freezes, Blood Moon, Leaf Fall Moon, Basket Moon, Big Wind Moon, Shedding Moon, Winterfelleth (Winter Coming), Windermanoth (Vintage Month), Ten Colds Moon and the Moon of the Changing Seasons and Moon of the Changing Seasons