Friday, February 18, 2011

The Snow Moon: February's Chilly Full Moon Arrives

Contributed by R.D. Stephens

While doing some stargazing reading for kicks, I found out that each of the month's full moons have a name and a meaning which I found interesting and it led me to a slew of short stories and fables from several North American tribes. So I've decided to write a little once a month about the different moon 'names' and stories tied to them.  Hope you enjoy!

February, not surprisingly, is often known as the Snow, Wolf or Bone Moon because this is usually the snowiest, coldest and for native peoples of the past the hungriest time of year.  Of course in Southern California it was near 90 degrees this past week so we can't really relate, or complain- go ahead, be jealous-  The harsh fact of the mid-winter lack of food naturally led to moral stories about why to avoid being out on nights of the full moon. Turns out it's not just because the viewing isn't the greatest.  This month's full moon, by the way, wont' be rising until 2:30 or so in the morning so you have plenty of dark time between sunset and then.

The Cherokee call this moon the Bone Moon and marked the night with a feast set with places for their deceased ancestors to dine with them. It was a time to take notice of the previous deaths, honor those people and hope that the rest of the family would carry through.   This moon was also tied to the wolves by several tribes marking when their hunger seemed at it's worst and they became so desperate for food  they would risk attacking people.  Though all rather dismal, this moon also marked the end of the worst of winter for many tribes as well.  The days will start to grow warmer and longer, Spring is just around the corner.

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