View Full Version : full moon names/esbats in Australia

March 2nd, 2012, 09:27 AM
One of the most frustrating things about being a witch in Australia, for me, is the lack of history here (psuedo or otherwise) of other witches. There are the indigenous people and their spiritual paths, yes, but not really witchcraft, and it means that when looking for a grounding for my own path there is not as much to gather from as there is for those in the northern hemisphere.

Having said that, I gave up and finally decided that for the full moons I'd come up with my own names which I could focus on for esbats; there is much influence from the celtic and northern names, but I've also taken local climate into account, as you'll see. I hope if you live in Australia it might prove of use to you, too.

January - Storm Moon

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, January has the highest number of storms of any month of the year. The moon is named accordingly despite it oddly sitting in the middle of summer.

February - Fire Moon

This name comes as February is often the height of the bushfire season. For those of us who have seen the heavy smoke eclipse both sun and moon, turning them red, this name is all the more appropriate.

March - Harvest Moon

Traditionally, the harvest moon is the full moon nearest the autumn equinox. A little snippet from wikipedia:

All full moons rise around the time of sunset. Because the moon orbits the earth in the same direction the earth is rotating, the moon rises later each day – on average about 50 minutes later each day (24/29.5 hours, or the number of hours in a solar day divided by the number of solar days it takes for the moon to orbit the earth). The Harvest Moon and Hunter's Moon are special because, around the time of these full moons, the time difference between moonrise on successive evenings is much shorter than average. The moon rises approximately 30 minutes later from one night to the next, as seen from about 40 degrees N. or S. latitude. Thus, there is no long period of darkness between sunset and moonrise for several days following the actual date of the full moon. In times past this feature of these autumn moons was said to help farmers working to bring in their crops, or in the case of the Hunter's Moon, hunters tracking their prey. They could continue being productive by moonlight even after the sun had set. Hence the name Harvest Moon. The reason for the shorter-than-usual rising time between successive moonrises around the time of the Harvest- and Hunter's-Moon is that the plane of moon's orbit around the earth makes a narrow angle with respect to the horizon in the evening in autumn.

The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autumnal_equinox). It is the first full moon closest to that equinox. About once every four years, it occurs in October in the northern hemisphere. Currently, the latest possible Harvest Moon is on October 11.

When the night of the Harvest Moon coincides with the night of the equinox, it is called a "Super Harvest Moon".[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvest_moon#cite_note-0) In 2010, the harvest moon happened only 5 1/2 hours after the autumnal equinox, creating the first Super Harvest Moon since 1991.[2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvest_moon#cite_note-1) Often, the Harvest Moon seems to be bigger or brighter or more colorful than other full moons. The warm color of the Moon shortly after it rises is caused by light from the Moon passing through a greater amount of atmospheric particles than when the moon is overhead. The atmosphere scatters the bluish component of moonlight which is really reflected white light from the sun, but allows the reddish component of the light to travel a straighter path to one's eyes. Hence all celestial bodies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celestial_bodies) look reddish when they are low in the sky.

Of course, this is in northern hemisphere terms, but the basic ideas (if not the dates), still apply.

April - Blood Moon

This is the full moon that falls before Samhain Eve, the 30th of April. It is also known as the Hunter's Moon, and falls traditionally next after the harvest moon. I'll quote wikipedia again and say "there is no long period of darkness between sunset and moonrise, around the time of these full moons. In times past, this feature of these autumn moons was said to help hunters tracking their prey (or, in the case of the Harvest Moon, farmers working in the fields). They could continue tracking their prey (or bringing in their crops) by moonlight even when the sun had gone down. Hence the name Hunter's (or Harvest) Moon." I prefer the term Blood Moon because I do not eat or live a lifestyle that requires the killing of animals, and I also feel that the term blood is broader and applicable to more than just the slaying of living creatures; it can be about the life force within, the making of bonds between people, and anything else with which you hold the association to blood.

May - Dark Moon

For those of us who have daylight savings the afternoons have already lost an hour of light in April, and through May the world seems to darken and curl more tightly around you. Being born in May, I see this moon as beautiful and a time for self-exploration, not in any way a negative darkness. A traditional name.

June - Cold Moon

The first month of winter, often it doesn't start to get really cold until June despite the darkness of autumn. Also a traditional name.

July - Quiet Moon

As with the last two moons, the full moon of July bring with it a weight of silence, self-reflection, introspection and calm. Winter is a beautiful and refreshing time for me, and I feel that sometimes we spend so much time with noise and bustle about us that we forget to sit in the quiet, to be with only ourselves, and to not be afraid.

2012 - Blue Moon

This year, August has two full moons. There are two definitions of a full moon - the first (incorrectly) is the second full moon in a month, and that of the Farmer's Almanac is the third full moon in a season of four. In winter, the third full moon is (in AEST) on the 2nd of August, while the fourth (the traditional August moon) is on the 31st, two minutes before midnight.

August - Chaste Moon

From etymonline.com, the definition of chaste is: 'early 13c., "virtuous, pure from unlawful sexual intercourse," from O.Fr. chaste (12c.) "morally pure," from L. castus "clean, pure, morally pure" (see caste (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=caste&allowed_in_frame=0)). Transferred sense of "sexually pure" is first attested 1560s'. I see this moon as a time of cleansing, moral reflection and, just before spring breaks, the washing away of negativity.

September - Seed Moon

Little explanation is required; September is the month of the vernal equinox, the breaking of spring, and the seeding of new life.

October - Growing Moon

Although the name of this moon is similar to the last, the slight difference is bigger than it seems. While September is for sewing, planting and preparing, October is about watching the first growth, nourishing the (metaphorical and literal) plant, watching the newborns grow strong and seeing the first sparks of life from the work put into its creation.

November - Magpie Moon

This is perhaps the only moon referring to something specifically Australian - the Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen). In the west magpies are seen as a negative omen, but I believe this stems more from the European magpie; personally I find watching them grow, flit around and generally make a lot of noise quite interesting. I love that they're so bold, and not afraid of humans without being stupid. They hold their ground and their territory - something so few native Australian animals have the nature for (and sadly have suffered, although humans tend to hunt anything that's naturally territorial anyway, so perhaps it's for the better). They are exceptionally intelligent, and the magpie moon to me is a sign of social connections, activity, confidence and personal growth.

December - Awakening Moon

Again, this seems analogous to the September and October moons, but the month of the summer solstice to me is a month to focus on fully unfolding our mental and spiritual legs that we have grown so strong, of awakening our full strength, our full selves, and walking out into the next year full alert and ready for all that it may bring.

Interesting thing about the moon: do you know that you can tell the time from the moon? The full moon rises around 6pm, peaks at midnight, and sets around 6am. A new moon rises at 6am, peaks at midday, and sets at 6pm. The exact half waxing moon rises at midday, peaks at 6pm, and sets a midnight. The exact half waning moon rises at midnight, peaks at 6am and sets at midday. Based on the progression of the moon between these stages, you can then work out roughly what phase the moon is in, where it is in the sky, and thus what time it is. I know that's not quite clear, so if you'd like a visual I can show you more clearly - just ask!