Wednesday, 7 January 2015

The Wolf and the Moon

Clear, cold nights are perfect for looking at the night sky. The last couple of nights, the full moon has been shining down on us in a perfect emblem of winter.
Every full moon has its own name and characteristics, something I've mentioned in a previous post. The moon of January is known as the Wolf Moon.
Wolves are traditionally said to howl at the full moon, but there is no evidence that this is the case. Wolves simply howl at night because they are nocturnal, and there is no proven link to the phases of the moon. The reason for the link with January's moon is more complex.

Wolves are typically shy creatures and stay well away from human habitation, but during the cold spell around January they would often come near to settlements to scavenge and take livestock. And the cooperative nature of the wolf pack is an ideal lesson for those communities struggling to cope with the winter hardships. These two reasons are why the moon we see at the moment is the Wolf Moon.
For an overview of the other moons of the year, my article The Lady of the Night, published this month in Goddess Pages magazine discusses this and more.

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  1. I didn't know there were names for each full moon. Wolf moon seems very appropriate for cold, leafless nights.

  2. Most people have heard of the Blue Moon, but the other twelve come as a surprise. Early calendars were based on the moon, so it was important each had its own identity. Just as we name each month now. (Month derives from moon )