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Posts Tagged ‘Snow Moon’

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October was so rainy and overcast during the full moon period that I wasn’t able to get a glimpse of the moon, never mind a photo. I settled for a post celebrating the fall harvest, Dining With the Three Sisters. November has begun by blessing us with some sunny weather and the moon has been beaming down in the evening. The November full moon is variously called the Hunter’s Moon, the Beaver Moon, the Frost Moon and the Snow Moon.

Of these choices, the Frost Moon seems the most appropriate. We have been having our first taste of waking up to a landscape of white frost and windshields that need scraping in the morning. As the season progresses, each morning the frost seems a little heavier, a little more persistent. Thank goodness Snow Mooon is not yet the order of the day. No doubt by the time the December full moon is shining, Snow Moon will be more timely.

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Hunter’s Moon is said to be a reflection of European traditions, when the November full moon provided light for shooting migrating birds. Native Americans also benefited from the light of the November full moon as they stockpiled resources for the upcoming winter. This perhaps led to the name Beaver Moon, as November was a time to set traps for beavers, before swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm furs for the winter. Another interpretation is that Beaver Moon refers to the beavers’ own industrious preparations for the oncoming cold season.

Whichever name you prefer, viewing the full moon always seems to have some primeval appeal. The last mild evenings of the year make watching the November full moon a melancholic pleasure as we anticipate the arrival of cold weather.

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Full moon, February 9, 2009

Full moon, February 9, 2009

Last night’s full moon was striking as it rose through patchy cloud cover early in the evening. Many cultures assign a name to each full moon of the year. The Old Farmer’s Almanac refers to the February full moon as the Snow Moon. Many native American names reflect the difficulty of life at this time of year and include the Bony Moon, the Hunger Moon and the Famine Moon.

The full moon has a magical presence. Indeed, it has long been associated with lunacy and even lycanthropy, the cult of the half man, half wolf, or werewolf. An interesting take on this, less frightening than traditional tales, is Elizabeth Coatsworth’s slim book The Werefox, originally published as Pure Magic, sadly currently out of print. The touching story, intended for young readers, tells how Johnny, a lonely New England farmboy who befriends the strange new boy next door, learns that Giles is a werefox and one wild night, saves his life.

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