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'Full moons come,
Full moons go,
softening nights
with their silver glow.
They pass in silence
all untamed,
but as they travel
they are named.'

Rhyme from 'When the Moon is Full' a book for young children by Penny Pollack (pub. Little Brown0
 

    Now, I hate to disappoint - but ......  .it's simply not possible to give a definitive, single list of folk-names that you might use for the Full Moons. Nope - not even a faery magic like Muddypond Green - not even The Lord of the Greenwood could do it - not for sure. 

Man in the Moon - Florence Harrison
Illustration by Florence Harrison
from 'Elfin Song' Blackie & Son c 1912

Since time immemorial - since it was possible to form a name, from all over the Northern Hemisphere tribal wise ones gazed at the Moon in awe. As their seasons circled by, labels gradually evolved. Some suited the weather in that place, some the activities - hunting, harvests - some the plants, birds and animals of the season. In most cases, they weren't full moon names at all, but lunar months (moonths).

   Here are some problems to consider - there are normally THIRTEEN full moons in any one year. But in your (human) calendar - there are TWELVE months. 

Pop-out flew the Moon - Kay Nielsen
Illustration by Kay Nielsen
'Pop .. out flew the Moon'
from 'East of the Sun, West of the Moon' 1914

     The Native American Indian tribes, who gave us so many of their wonderful names, named by the thirteen moons and the seasons.

They also began their year and their Moon names - as should we - with the first Full Moon after the December solstice - December 21st - the shortest day of the year.

  In many countries with documented ancient moon traditions, the calendars have since radically changed.
 Remember, in Britain for example, where the original Celtic and Ogham names were generated, the calendar changed from the Julian to Gregorian in 1752   - moving old dates by 10 days - so that old moon names, still used today - seem sometimes out of kilter with their seasons.

  The romance of the Moon names is a folk-romance - passed like faery-tales by word of mouth, and changed to suit the needs and dreams of the peoples, generation by generation.

 

     

   You might like to use some of the best known names from the Native American Tribes:

Jan
Old Moon,    Wolf Moon,    Ice Moon,     Moon after Yule,      Winter Moon
Feb
Hunger or Starvation Moon,      Storm Moon,     Trapper's Moon,    Moon of Ice,     Tree Moon
March
Crow Moon,     Sap Moon,   Worm Moon,    Moon of Winds,    Fish Moon,   Chaste Moon,    Death Moon
April
Egg Moon,    Seed Moon  ,   Frog Moon,   Pink Moon,     Awakening Moon
May
Flower Moon,     Milk Moon,      Hare Moon,       Grass Moon
June
Strawberry Moon,    Planting Moon,      Green Corn Moon,
July
Hay Moon,      Summer Moon,      Thunder Moon,     Buck Moon,   
Aug
Sturgeon Moon,      Corn Moon,      Green Corn Moon,    Dog Days Moon,     Lightening Moon
Sep
Singing Moon,     Barley Moon,
Oct
Travellers' Moon,      Blackberry Moon
Nov
Frosty Moon,    Beaver Moon,     Dark Moon,     Tree Moon,      Snow Moon
Dec
Cold Moon,    Long Night Moon,

  
  
    Or these - special ones from the Siouan (Assiniboines) Tribe, Montana ..
..  the March 'Sore Eye Moon' comes from long days watching the glare of the sun on the snow - and 'Gophur Looks Back' from the little Gophur looking behind him at lost summer days
.

Siouan Indian -photo US Library of Congress - E.Curtis
Jan
    Hard Time Moon
Feb
    Long day Moon
March
    Sore Eye Moon
April
    Frog's Moon
May
    Idle Moon
June
    Full Leaf Moon
July
    Red Berries Moon
Aug
    Black Cherries Moon
Sep
   Yellow leaf Moon
Oct
   Gophur Looks Back Moon
Nov
    Frost Moon
Photo: E. Curtis, US Library of Congress
Dec
   Younger Hard Time Moon

 

 
   
    How about these - from the Inuit peoples of Northern Canada? ............

Jan
   Dwarf Seal Moon
Inuit Protrait - Inuit Library of Congress
Feb
   Seal Pup Moon
March
   Snow Bird Moon
April
   Snow Melt Moon
May
   Goose Moon
June
   Hunting Moon
July
   Dry Moon
Aug
   Swan Flight moon
Sep
   Harpoon Moon
Oct
   Ice Moon
Nov
   Freezing Mist Moon
Dec
   Dark Night Moon
Photo: Inuit Library of Congress, Alaska


Reference for the Siouan and Inuit moon names above :
 'Native Heritage: personal accounts by American Indians, 1790 to the present' by Arlene B. Hirschfelder

      
   

    Here are the old Celtic and Medieval names attributed to Britain ...

Celtic design - Courtney Davis
Jan
Wolf Moon,  Stay Home Moon,  Moon after Yule
Feb
Storm Moon,  Ice Moon,  Snow Moon
March
Plough Moon,  Wind Moon,  Lenten (lengthening) Moon
April
Budding moon,  New Shoots Moon,  Seed Moon
May
Mothers' Moon,  Bright Moon, 
June
Mead Moon, Horse Moon, Dyan Moon,  Rose Moon
July
Claiming Moon,  Wyrt or Herb Moon,  Mead Moon
Aug
Dispute Moon, Lynx Moon, Grain Moon
Sep
Wine Moon, Song Moon, Harvest Moon
Oct
Hunter's Moon,  Blood Moon.  Seed Fall Moon
Nov
Mourning Moon,  Darkest Depths Moon,
Dec
Oak Moon,  Full Cold Moon

 

    
    Then, there are the beautiful and ancient names for their much celebrated Moons, given by the Chinese people ....

Dr Ho ©Q T Long
Jan
       Holiday Moon     
Feb
       Budding Moon     
March
       Sleeping Moon     
April
       Peony Moon
May
       Dragon Moon
June
       Lotus Moon
July
       Hungry Ghost Moon             
Aug
       Harvest Moon
Sep
       Crysanthemum Moon             
Oct
       Kindly Moon
Nov
       White Moon
Photo: Dr Ho -© Q T Long @ .terragalleria.com
Dec
       Bitter Moon

 

  

Lighted oil lamp floats on the Ganges

In the Indian calendar, the Full Moon (Purnima) shines at the exact middle of each month. The months of the Indian almanac don't fit into the Western month pattern, but straddle two - beginning and ending at New Moon. In the Hindu religion, each Purnima has its own festival name and seasonal traditions, in tune with planting, harvest, return of longer days - some being celebrated more prominently in different regions of the sub-continent.   

  You might enjoy looking at Muddypond's pictures and account of the November 'Kartik Purnima' Festival 2011, held in Varanasi    on the banks of the Ganges.  Entries for Nov 23rd (sunrise) and Nov 25th (sunset).

Western Month
              Celebration Name
Hindu Girl -© Margaret Bourke White
        Indian
   Lunar Month
     
Dec - Jan
        Shakambhari Purnima, Paush Purnima     Paush
Jan - Feb
        Magh Purnima     Magh
Feb - March
        Holi Purnima, Phalgun Purnima     Phalgun
March - April
        Hanuman Purnima,  Chaiatra Purnima     Chaitra
April - May
        Buddha Purnima, Vaishakh Purnima     Vaishakh
May - June
        Vata Purnima, Jyeshtha Purnima     Jyeshtha
June - July
        Guru Purnima,  Vyas Purnima     Ashadh
July - Aug
    Narali Purnima,  Rakhi Purnima , (Coconut Day)     Shravan
Aug - Sep
        Bhadrapad Purnima     Bhadrapad
Sep - Oct
        Sharad Purnima, Koiagiri Purnima     Ashvin
Oct - Nov
        Kartik Purnima, Tripurari Purnima     Kartika
Nov -Dec
        Margashirsha Purnima, 
Photo: © Margaret Bourke White @ oldindiaphotos
    Margashirsha

 

  

 What do we do then - us respectable hedgerow and wood faeries about our Full Moons? 

Mabel Lucy Attwell - last train to fairyland
'Hurry up for the last train to fairyland!' - Mabel Lucie Attwell - Postcard 1923

 

 

Do we celebrate them? Oh yes - believe me we do!  

Crystal spring water, Mead and Blackberry or Primrose Wine are drunk depending on the season. Flat mossy stones are decorated - scrying performed - thanks given - needs asked for - dances danced.


   We find two solutions - use the old Ogham Tree names from the ancient Ogham Lunar Month Calendar (see more in my Ogham pages here). 

 



Or?  Or - we simply make up our own!  Below the list of  Ogham Tree names you will find mine
..........

from 'Tree fairies' - illustration Franke Rogers
Ogham Lunar Month Dates
Ogham Tree for Lunar Month
Old Ogham Name
24th Dec - 20th Jan
         Moon in Birch     Beith
21st Jan - 17th Feb
         Moon in Rowan     Luis
18th Feb - 17th March
         Moon in Ash     Nion
18th March - 14th April
         Moon in Alder     Fearn
15th April - 12th May
         Moon in Willow     Saille
13th May - 9th June
         Moon in Hawthorn     Huath
10th June - 7th July
         Moon in Oak     Duir
8th July - 4th Aug
         Moon in Holly     Tinne
5th Aug - 1st Sep
         Moon in Hazel     Coll
2nd Sep - 29th Sep
         Moon in Bramble     Muin
30th Sep - 27th Oct
         Moon in Ivy     Gort
28th Oct - 24th Nov
         Moon in Reed or Wheatstraw     Ngetal
25th Nov - 22nd Dec
         Moon in Elder     Ruis
23rd Dec
         Moon of Mistletoe  

 

 

  Here are Muddypond's Faery Moon names -

    Wolf Moon
Dec 21st - Jan
     Icicle Moon
Jan - Feb
    Snowdrop Moon
Feb - March
    Waking Wood Moon
March - April
    Birthing Moon
April - May
    Moon of White Petals
May - June
    Wild Cherry Moon
June - July
    Dancing Delight Moon
July - Aug
    Blackberry Harvest Moon
Aug - Sep
    Chestnut Moon
Sep - Oct
    Moon of the Wild Hunt
Oct - Nov
    Mistletoe Moon
Nov -Dec

Illustrations - Tree heading and Faery above by Franke Rogers - from 'Tree Fairies' pub. Hutchinson 1945

 

 

  The Moon Calendar of Cat
    One of my black cats - let's see - it could have been Mister Bo Jangles, or was it Black Pepper?  Could've been Jim. Anyway, he slipped me a small note, considerably tattered round the edges, with HIS list would you believe? ! .......

    The captivating picture below is by Canadian artist Shelagh Duffet - you can visit her online shop
to browse, or to buy prints and originals.

Jan
Cats' Full Moon - © Shelagh Duffet
     Airing Cupboard Moon
Feb
     Frozen Paw Moon
March
     Preparing Claw Moon
April
     Early Mousing Moon
May
     Small-small Rabbit Moon
June
     Fence Sitting Moon
July
     Lazing In Sun Moon
August
     Fine Bright Fighting Moon
Sept
     Late Mousing Moon
Oct
     Resting Moon
Nov
     Howling Moon
Dec
Illustration © Shelagh Duffet
Used here with her kind permission.
     Cushion by Log Fire Moon