What Is The Name Of The Moon
As with all things in the world, where you are located will dictate how you associate this to that. Meaning and names of objects like the Moon vary around the world. Cultures assign names to each full moon based on their traditions, climate, animals, crops and how they view the world around them. There isn’t one complete list of this to that anywhere or for anything. There are many.
When it comes to Full Moon names, you can’t simply take a set of names from the North, reverse them and apply them to the South. This assumes we all look at things the same way through the same eyes. Imagine a Native American from the Cherokee Nation applying their moon names to the Aboriginal moon phases in Australia. It probably wouldn’t make sense to the folks who live down under.
But because Europeans settled in both the North and South, many of the moon names traveled with them to new lands and continents. In many ways this does a dis-service to the original peoples of the land in question and the names they came to know and associate with the Moon phases. Like the Tribal Nations in America, each group has its own language. The most common reference for the moon is Alkina and it’s associated with female energy. But try to find which Aboriginal Nation uses that word. I didn’t have any luck at all. Many words for the moon in other nations associate the moon with masculine energy. And that’s just Australia.
The Maori are the first people of New Zealand. They brought their Polynesian Mythology and the name of Moon with them to the land of the Kiwis. Here the Moon gets her name from the Goddess Marama, who governs the Moon and Death.
Some of these early cultural Moon/Name tables can get confusing to the layman. Take the Maori for instance. They didn’t assign a name to only the Full Moon phase of each month. Every night of the Moon had a name. And these told the early Polynesian people when they could or could not eat certain food, when was the right time to plant or harvest certain crops and when to conduct certain rituals. Their Moon Calendar played an integral part in their economy, commerce and observances.
Because of these elaborate naming conditions, many in the Southern Hemisphere rely on the European inspired Full Moon Names. But even those have varying cultural influences from the north, such as the Native Americans who view the lands around their regions differently than Native Nations in Central America or northern South America.
Often Full Moons are associated with crop planting or harvesting, or animal appearances. Such as when the Deer come out to feed for winter, or when the Geese begin their long migrations out of winter weather. One of the best sources for finding Full Moon names is to discover when crops are planted or harvested in the area you’re most interested in. Along with Animal migrations, mating or hibernation movements (going to sleep or waking up from a long slumber). Think of early settlers and how they might relate to the month and their living conditions at that time of year.
And look for special events in the regions you feel connected with. For instance, in the North West region of Australia, between March and October, visitors are treated to a spectacular illusion known as “The Staircase To The Moon“. When the full moon rises over the mudflats at extremely low tide it creates a beautiful optical illusion of stairs reaching up to the moon. In these months, the Full Moon might be called the Full Staircase Moon for this particular area.
Of course the following is not a complete list of Southern Hemisphere full moon names by month. But it will give you an idea of what Southerners below the equator are up against. And these are mostly the European influenced names.
- January: Hay Moon, Buck Moon, Thunder Moon, Mead Moon
- February (mid-summer): Grain Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Red Moon, Wyrt Moon, Corn Moon, Dog Moon, Barley Moon
- March: Harvest Moon, Corn Moon
- April: Harvest Moon, Hunter’s Moon, Blood Moon
- May: Hunter’s Moon, Beaver Moon, Frost Moon
- June: Oak Moon, Cold Moon, Long Night’s Moon
- July: Wolf Moon, Old Moon, Ice Moon
- August: Snow Moon, Storm Moon, Hunger Moon, Wolf Moon
- September: Worm Moon, Lenten Moon, Crow Moon, Sugar Moon, Chaste Moon, Sap Moon
- October: Egg Moon, Fish Moon, Seed Moon, Pink Moon, Waking Moon
- November: Corn Moon, Milk Moon, Flower Moon, Hare Moon
- December: Strawberry Moon, Honey Moon, Rose Moon
Now when you look at the list you can probably guess these don’t even cover all the countries we find below the equator. What might the names associated with the Full Moon be like from Southern South America; which would include the cultures of Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile Argentina and the Falkland Islands and the Andes. Then there’s the Southern African Native Tribal regions to consider. Creating a complete list of Full Moon Names for the Southern Hemisphere isn’t easy and I doubt you’ll find a good list that would apply to all these southern regions across the board.
When I receive questions about the Moon or Pagan rituals from those on the Southern side of the planet, it’s usually from folks in Australia and New Zealand. It’s important to remember that there are still varying name lists for these two countries. Here in the U.S. we must consider the Native People who were here LONG before the Europeans arrived. And then you can’t assume every Native Nation held the same view of the moon, they didn’t.
The same is true for the Southern Hemisphere. There’s the native peoples, and each region of people could have different name tables to consider. Then there’s the settlers who migrated from the Northern Hemisphere to these lands and applied their own view to changing seasons and each regions influence over their early struggles to survive.
I did my best to research names and why they were associated with the assigned month. Some of these applied specifically to Australia, while others were specific to New Zealand. And then there are some that apply to both, but perhaps only certain regions of both countries. For instance, if you’re in the mountains of Victoria some of these might be perfect for you, but if you’re in the dry climate of the Out Back, you might want to modify the list to better fit your regions climate, available crops and plants or animal patterns.
This isn’t a complete list, but it might give those of you looking for some kind of Moon table an idea of how these came about and how you might do some local research for your specific region. Don’t be afraid to modify the list to apply specifically to you. The key to any correspondence table is to make it yours, how you connect with the associations is THE most important factor.
So here’s a list I put together from research found in varying government and historical sources. This is from a few days of research, so it’s not terribly hard to discover information. You can do the same thing and delve deeper into your specific area. But for now, let’s call this a starting list.
- January: The Thunder Moon
Thunderstorms are most frequent during this month in these regions. The first Full Moon in the year could also be called the Rumble Moon or the Lightning Moon.
- February: The Full Red Moon
As the Moon rises in February, it often appears reddish through a scorching haze of summer heat.
- March: The Full Fruit Moon
There is a wide variety of fruits harvested throughout Australia and New Zealand during March. Different climates dictate the type of fruit most associated with the regions of these two countries. So this could be easily called the Full Grape Moon, Full Apple Moon, Full Melon Moon and so on. Some folks tried to make this simple and lumped everything into one basket and simply call it the Fruit Moon.
- April: The Full Harvest Moon
The harvest of all crops usually gets into full swing in April. Along with hunting to stock up the meat cellars. This could easily be called The Full Hunters Moon, or it might be named for a specific fruit that’s prominent in the region, or an animal that’s plentiful and commonly sought for meat.
- May: The Full Frost Moon
By this time of the year, the Southern Hemisphere begins it’s turn to winter. Fall has arrived and the air is chilled during the day and cold during the night. A ripe time for dew to settle on the land and turn to frost. This time could also be called The Full Fall Moon.
- June: The Long Night’s Moon
Also called the Moon before Yule. The midwinter full Moon has a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite a low Sun. These are the longest nights of the year and the name seems appropriate. It might also be called The Full Dark Moon. In Australia this might be called The Full Dingo Moon as this month marks the end of their breeding cycle and the first litters are appearing.
- July: The Full Winter Moon
The build up to winter has passed and the cold has settled in. This month’s Full Moon is also known as the Full Ice Moon or The Full Snow Moon.
- August: The Full Kangaroo Moon
Kangaroos and wallabies have their joeys emerging from their safe and warm pouches as they start exploring their environment. They become a little more independent and this full moon could also be called The Full Growing Moon.
- September: The Full Fish Moon
This is the pre-monsoon season and the humidity is on the rise. That makes for good fishing weather, so the anglers say. It’s also the pre-breeding season for most southern hemisphere fish and many are on the run to their ancestral breeding grounds. Also known as The Full Worm Moon, when fishermen gather their bait for the fishing season. Some regions might name this moon after their local fish, such as The Full Barramundi Moon.
- October: The Full Pink Moon
This name came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names for this month’s celestial body include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn.
- November: The Full Flower Moon
Spring is beginning to wake Mother Nature from her cold sleep. Plants in general are usually in full bloom by November and many regions might call this Full Moon by its most popular wild flower or blooming tree name. One such region calls this The Full Orchid Moon.
- December: The Full Black Swan Moon
In December, black swans move in large numbers to the sheltered waters as the freshwater wetlands dry up. It might also be The Full Swan Moon to apply to a variety of similar birds. In some regions this is also known as the Full Seal Moon making note of the Seals that use the expanded beaches to lay in the sun and warm themselves from the cold ocean waters.
It’s important to note that because there isn’t one official list of names for anything, you have the ability to create your own. If you don’t feel connected to any list you find or research, don’t be afraid to expand your own perspective over the topic at hand. It’s your path, your way of observing the Full Moon, the seasons, nature or whatever the subject might be. Simply because a list is old, doesn’t make it accurate or right.
- Correspondence Of This and That
- High Holy Days: Southern Hemisphere
- The Full Moon By Name – Northern Hemisphere
- Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand – Lunar Phases
- New Zealand – Wikipedia
- Maramataka: the Maori Moon Calendar – PDF
- Australian Harvest And Crop Calendar
© 2016 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.