religion, and timekeeping were once closely linked.
Priests or astrologers recorded the moon's changes of
phase. Some religions tried to reconcile the lunar
calendar with the solar calendar so the months would
always fall in the same seasons.
Names for the Full Moon
Wolf or Hunger moon
During this month the
wolves once roamed the countryside, thus suggesting the
name wolf moon. In cold and temperate climates of the
Northern Hemisphere, it was difficult to find food during
January, thus the name hunger moon.
In certain parts of the world, snow
is usually the deepest in this month, thus the name snow
Sap or Worm Moon
Because sap rises in March, this
full moon is called the sap moon. The ground softens
during this month, and worms begin to burrow out of the
ground, thus the name worm moon.
Many flowers turn pink and bloom in
April, thus the name pink moon.
Because many flowers bloom in May,
after the April downpours, May's moon is called the flower
Strawberry or Rose Moon
Because strawberries bloom
in June, this month's moon is the strawberry moon. Also,
the French call this moon la lune rose, which
translates into English as "the rose moon."
Male deer, or bucks, grow their first
antlers during this month, thus the name buck moon.
Because it is sturgeon season in
certain parts of the world in August, its moon is called
the sturgeon moon
Harvest or Corn Moon
Native Americans began
to harvest their crops during this month every year. (If
this full moon occurs late in August it is called the
harvest moon.). If the full moon occurs earlier in
September, it is called the corn moon because the corn
crop is ready for picking at that time.
The hunting season begins in
October, thus the name hunter's moon.
Beaver traps were once set in this
month to catch enough beaver to make warm clothing for the
The approach of cold weather in the
Northern Hemisphere gives this month's full moon its name.
moves about Earth at an average distance of 384,403 km
(238,857 mi), and at an average speed of 3,700 km/h (2,300
mph). It completes one revolution in an elliptical orbit
about Earth in 27 days 7 hours 43 minutes 11.5 seconds
with reference to the stars (see Time). For the
Moon to go from one phase to the next similar phase, or
one lunar month, requires 29 days 12 hours 44 minutes 2.8
seconds. The Moon rotates once on its axis in about the
same period of time that elapses for its sidereal period
of revolution, accounting for the fact that virtually the
same portion of the Moon is always turned toward the
Earth. Although the Moon appears bright to the eye, it
reflects into space only 7 percent of the light that falls
on it. The reflectivity, or albedo, of 0.07 is similar to
that of coal dust.
the moon as
seen from earth
one time, an observer can see only 50 percent of the Moon’s
entire surface. However, an additional 9 percent can be
seen from time to time around the apparent edge because of
the relative motion called libration. This is because of
the slightly different angles of view from Earth, due to
different relative positions of the Moon along its
inclined elliptical orbit.
The Moon shows progressively different phases as it moves
along its orbit around Earth. Half the Moon is always in
sunlight, just as half Earth has day while the other half
has night. The phases of the Moon depend on how much of
the sunlit half can be seen at any one time. In the phase
called the new moon, the face is completely in shadow.
About a week later, the Moon is in first quarter,
resembling a luminous half-circle; another week later, the
full moon shows its fully lighted surface; a week
afterward, in its last quarter, the Moon appears as a
half-circle again. The entire cycle is repeated each lunar
month. The Moon is full when it is farther away from the
Sun than Earth; it is new when it is closer. When it is
more than half illuminated, it is said to be in gibbous
phase. The Moon is said to be waning when it progresses
from full to new, and to be waxing as it proceeds again to
full. Temperatures on its surface are extreme, ranging
from a maximum of 127°C (261°F) at lunar noon to a
minimum of -173°C (-279°F) just before lunar dawn.
astronomy, the obscuring of one celestial body by another,
particularly that of the sun or a planetary satellite. Two
kinds of eclipses involve the earth: those of the moon, or
lunar eclipses; and those of the sun, or solar eclipses .
A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth is between the sun
and the moon and its shadow darkens the moon. A solar
eclipse occurs when the moon is between the sun and the
earth and its shadow moves across the face of the earth.
Transits and occultations are similar astronomical
phenomena but are not as spectacular as eclipses because
of the small size of these bodies as seen from earth (see
earth, lit by the sun, casts a long, conical shadow in
space. At any point within that cone the light of the sun
is wholly obscured. Surrounding the shadow cone, also
called the umbra, is an area of partial shadow called the
penumbra. The approximate mean length of the umbra is
1,379,200 km (857,000 mi); at a distance of 384,600 km
(239,000 mi), the mean distance of the moon from the
earth, it has a diameter of about 9170 km (about 5700 mi).
lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes completely into
the umbra. If it moves directly through the center, it is
obscured for about 2 hours. If it does not pass through
the center, the period of totality is less and may last
for only an instant if the moon travels through the very
edge of the umbra.
partial lunar eclipse occurs when only a part of the moon
enters the umbra and is obscured. The extent of a partial
eclipse can range from near totality, when most of the
moon is obscured, to a slight or minor eclipse, when only
a small portion of the earth’s shadow is seen on the
passing moon. Historically, the view of the earth’s
circular shadow advancing across the face of the moon was
the first indication of the shape of the earth.
the moon enters the umbra in either total or partial
eclipse, it is within the penumbra and the surface becomes
visibly darker. The portion that enters the umbra seems
almost black, but during a total eclipse, the lunar disk
is not completely dark; it is faintly illuminated with a
red light refracted by the earth’s atmosphere, which
filters out the blue rays. Occasionally a lunar eclipse
occurs when the earth is covered with a heavy layer of
clouds that prevent light refraction; the surface of the
moon is invisible during totality.
The new moon lies between the earth and the sun. Because
the sunlit side is away from the earth, the new moon is
invisible to us. The first whole day the moon is visible
in it's waxing mode towards fullness. A time of renewal
and new beginnings. Spells cast during the new moon are
often intended to grow to fruition by the full moon.
As moon moves along its orbit, it appears as a crescent on
the right side. As the visible part of the moon grows, it
is said to be “waxing".This occurs during the 14
day period from New Moon to Full Moon when the moon is
more visible in the sky each night. During the Waxing
Moon, cast spells for growth, initiation, and to draw
positive things into your life.
When more than half of the sunlit side is visible, the
moon is “gibbous.”
The moon reaches the second quarter of its orbit. The
entire daylight side is visible and appears to us as a
circle. The Full Moon is the time when waxing lunar energy
is at it's zenith. Spells appropriate for the Waxing Moon
are cast, so long as this is done before the exact time of
the Full Moon. Any working that needs extra power, such as
help in finding love or healings for serious conditions.
Also, love, knowledge, legal undertakings, money and
As the sunlit side of the moon turns away from us, the
moon begins to “wane". Waning Moon energy is used
to neutralize or banish negativity, lessen or remove
obstacles or illness, and in binding.
The visible portion of the moon dwindles to a crescent and
we get ready to start all over again.
The Dark, or Black, Moon refers to the brief time when the
Moon is totally invisible in the night sky. Some say the
Dark Moon is the best time for banishing spells; others
avoid magick altogether.
Waxing Phase - New Moon to Full
Moon - individual initiative
development, expansion, moving to a goal. A sense of
optimism, extravagance. Willingness to take risks,
explore, begin enterprises.
Initiation of seed idea. Death
and rebirth. Beginning of movement.
The establishment of the idea
in the world. Strong growth.
Crisis. Testing and
strengthening in order to overcome obstacles.
The idea flowers and is
accepted, and begins to motivate others.
Reaping the fruit, but where do
we go now?
Waning Phase - Full Moon to New
of society - loss of the self.
Motivating in society
The need to justify the idea
within the world and reassert itself.
The idea consolidates itself
into daily life of the world.
Death of the old cycle and
rebirth of the idea in a new guise.
Other Lunar Phases
The beginning of
the cycle, the seed is sown.
Moon to First Quarter is a time of new beginnings,
new thoughts and ideas that take a tentative hold in
the mind. The Crescent Moon shows how the Seed of
the New Moon is likely to take hold so that no other
ideas can take root at the same time. The sprouts
start to show through the ground, so that there is
public awareness of the action.
Physical manifestation, a time
of action, building up the Ego, pushing ideas. Rapid
Understanding and working with
the energy. Being able to believe and have faith
with the process that is going on. The results of
the actions are in sight, but they are not yet
Time to reap the rewards, for
good or evil. Not a time for new ideas, but a time
to recollect, to receive. The peak has been reached:
there is nowhere else to go.
The harvest is over, there is
no more, no challenge, so there is a desire for
change in work. The Waning Phase is more reflective,
life has moved on.
A reorientation or
re-arrangement of skills. Life is reviewed, so there
is just as much pre-occupation of the past as to
what the future holds. Actions work best by
restructuring old skills rather than new ones.
The last phase. Security is important as
circumstances change. Friends change. This is the
time to clear out the old and bring in the new. Gaps
begin to appear into one's life, which brings a
sense of unease - there is a natural tendency to
withdraw from life. Nature conspires to increase
this feeling. The preparation for the New Moon
you’re a hunter, fisherman, trapper, farmer, gardener,
or just a nature lover, you can be affected by the moon.
And the affect can be a bit different depending on if the
moon is new, crescent, harvest, hunter’s, waning,
waxing, or a sparkling bright full moon.
sometimes cast their lines according to the phases of the
moon; hunters find certain moon times good, others bad;
and it’s always more fun to camp out under a clear, full
the moon plays a big part of outdoor life, few know just
how much it affects our earth and our outdoor activities.
Throughout history the moon has inspired man’s wonder
and challenged his curiosity. Why else would we have sent
a man to walk on its surface.
more than anything else, the moon has come into play with
farmers and gardeners when it is time to plant, cultivate,
and harvest plants and crops. Even today many people
believe growth patterns are better when planting tasks are
performed in the moon’s proper position -- while others
follow planting times according to The Farmer’s Almanac,
which also details phases of the moon.
Native Americans believed the position of the moon during
the first half of February indicated whether the growing
season would be wet or dry. If the horns of the quarter
moon pointed downward, the moon was “emptying its
water,” and it would be a wet spring and summer. If the
horns pointed upward, it indicated just the opposite, and
there would be little rain.
today many farmers believe the moon controls crop growth.
If you want a good above-ground harvest, plant during a
full moon. On the other hand, root crops are to be planted
during the dark of the moon.
farmers maintain that early July is the best time to plant
the last crop of corn, because corn planted then will
produce ears that reach upward from the stalk in an
attempt to reach the full moon. Whereas, if planted during
the last half of the month (when the moon is larger), the
ears will snug closer to the stalk because they fear late
July’s larger moon.
old-time gardeners contend that root vegetables taste
better if they are harvested in the afternoon. Silly?
Well, modern research has shown that the vital life forces
of all plants return to the roots during the course of the
late afternoon and evening. At daybreak they rise up again
to the portion of the plant that is above ground. So, it
would seem that picking is best in the afternoon when the
life forces are back in the root system.
moon is also a predictor for cutting wood. During a full
moon for example, it has been considered a bad time to cut
wood. Instead, to get the more durable wood from deciduous
trees (leaf shedding), they should be cut in the winter --
preferably in December -- under the third quarter of the
history the moon figured prominently in folktales,
mythology, and religious rituals. Many early cultures
chose to deify the bright light in the night sky. The
early Greeks and Romans worshiped Diana or Artemis as the
swift and beautiful Goddess of the Moon and the Hunt.
the Chinese a woman’s moon face predicated her
desirability, while her feet were bound to shape them into
the word lunatic came to describe someone who was moon mad
as a result of sleeping under the moonlight, or being
overexposed to it. Nefarious deeds took place during the
dark moon, yet it seems that was the best time to capture
a lucky rabbit’s foot -- even better if you were
cross-eyed, caught the critter in a graveyard, and whacked
off the left hind foot.
you chose to look at the moon over your shoulder, or peer
up at its halo, you were in for a spat of ill fortune, as
you would be if you pointed up at a new moon.
moon followers have believed that taking medicines and
tonics during this phase was most effective, while others
have urged wishing upon seeing a new moon to bring good
have been written about the moon’s affects on man. Even
today psychiatrists and law enforcement officials say that
crime increases and the mentally ill become more agitated
on nights of the full moon.
whatever you do, there is probably some myth, lore, or
legend that brings into play the causes and effects of the
man in the moon.
moon is the earth’s only satellite companion in their
annual circuit around the sun. The moon revolves around
the earth in an elliptical orbit, making the circuit in 27
days, seven hours, 43 minutes, 11.5 seconds (for those who
want to be precise). This is the sidereal month -- the
period of revolution around the earth in relation to the
to be really confused, if you consider the synodic month
-- the period of revolution around the earth in relation
to the sun -- then it takes 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes.
this regular cycle there are four basic phases of the moon
(the apparent changes), with any number of variations. The
phases are caused by the angles at which the moon’s
lighted surface is seen from the earth, and it gives us a
new moon, full moon, and different crescent moons.
new moon is when it is on line between the sun and the
earth, presenting us its dark side and therefore hardly
visible. It then passes through its waxing (getting
bigger) crescent phase into the first quarter, when it is
a right-hand moon. It continues on through its waxing
gibbous phase, reaching full moon when it is on the
opposite side of the earth from the sun, and fully
illuminated. The moon marches on through its waning
(getting smaller) gibbous into its last quarter -- when it
is a left-handed moon -- and then continues through the
waning crescent phase until it is again a new moon.
a dark globe, the varying amounts of light that illuminate
the moon’s surface as its revolutions bring it into
different positions with relation to the sun and earth
give us changing perceptions.
phases between the new moon and the first and last
quarters are crescent, and the phases between the full
moon and the first and last quarters are gibbous. The
whole cycle takes place every 28 and a fraction days (the
average each month) with all kinds of things happening
along the way.
full moon is looked upon as a climactic period of the
month, and is believed to have power over the human body
and mind, over the fertility of animals and crops, and,
above all, over weather conditions and the tides.
is the alternate rise and fall of the ocean’s surface.
Twice a day it rises (flows) and falls (ebbs), caused by
the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun (but the
sun having only a third of the moon’s effect).
the line of pull of the two is the same (at the time of
the new moon and the full moon), the tide rises highest
(strongest) and is called a spring tide. The greatest tide
in the world is at the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia -- 53
feet. When the two pull in different directions (as in the
first and third quarters), the crest of the tide is lowest
(weakest), and is known as a neap tide.
a given time there are two high tides on the earth, on on
the side facing the moon, and the other on the opposite
side, the latter being caused by the greater pull of the
moon upon the earth itself than upon the oceans which are
still farther away from the moon.
the lunar day being about 24 hours and 50 minutes, the
interval between high tides is about 12 hours and 25
minutes. High tide does not always occur on a given shore
when the moon is directly overhead because there is a lag
caused by a variety of irregularities and other factors.
Tides rise higher where the water enters a narrow estuary,
or when the water volume is added to by other natural
occurrences (winds, etc.) The ebb and flow of the tide
causes an almost continual motion near shores, termed the
tidal current or tidal stream.
moon also is credited (or blamed) for storms, with the
heaviest storms in the calendar month in the northern
hemisphere being related to lunar phases. Such storms are
more likely to occur from one to three days after a new
moon, and from three to five days after a full moon. The
beginning of hurricanes in the Caribbean have been
similarly related to lunar positions.
mean (average) distance between the center of the earth
and that of the moon is calculated at 238,857 miles --
once a staggering number, but no longer now that man has
walked on the moon’s surface. The moon’s diameter is
2,160 miles, somewhat more than one-fourth that of the
earth. The moon’s gravity is one-sixth that of the
earth, thus making a 180 pound man weigh only 30 pounds
when on the surface of the moon.
a month’s time about 59 percent of the moon’s surface
comes into view, with temperatures ranging from +243
degrees F in full sunlight at noon, to -279 degrees F with
no sunlight at midnight (although calculations vary). The
moon shines only by reflected light from the sun, or from
earthshine -- when the unlit portion of the moon facing
the earth appears to glow.
eclipse of the moon occurs when the earth obscures the
sun’s rays from it, passing into such a position that
the earth’s shadow lies upon it, shutting off all light
from the sun. A solar eclipse occurs when the new moon
takes a position between the sun and the earth, and the
moon’s shadow lies on some part of the earth’s
surface, obscuring the sun’s light in that region.
it is any wonder man has been fascinated with the moon. It
is mysterious; seemingly with many different powers; and
controls not only tides, crop growth, and behavioral
cycles, but is that thing in outer space we have
romanticized in both poetry and song.
Man In The Moon -Facts and Myths
By Tom & JoAnne O’Toole
Stress Free Living Magazine