The Ancestral Moon Cycles or Lunar Calendar of my Northern Ancestors now has a great presence under the Southern Skies. A following nurtured by Tangata Whenua o Te Tai Tokerau, looking at alternative Maramataka systems, finding familiarity in other indigenous teachings. As well as a spiritual aspect acknowledged by those, who feel a deep infinity with the rising of every magical Full Moon. For myself paying homage to my Ancestors of the North and the seasonal Moon cycles they follow, makes me feel the worldly connection we all feel when looking up into the vast heavens, admiring the Moon and the illuminated night skies. I have interpreted the Moon cycles of the Northern Hemisphere for all in the Southern Hemisphere.
The four seasons determine the names given to the Full Moons, also explaining the energy surrounding these Moon Cycles. As we have begun our 2020 Moon Cycle in the Summer months for the Southern Skies…We begin the Gregorian Solar year in the cycle of the Buck Moon, also known as the Thunder and Hay Moon which are some of the well-known names, associated with this Moon Cycle. For all this full Moon cycle begins on the 10th of January and flows forward until the 12th of January. We shall welcome this Full Moon to our Southern skies. In the Northern skies, during this cycle, the Moon is fully behind the Earth allowing the Sun to illuminate it.
The Moon and the Sun are timekeepers for us all, Lunar calendars have their limitations, Earth seasons are linked to the solar year, which is longer than the 12 Lunar Cycles. To compensate a 13th Moon month has been added to the Lunar year at regular periods. Most First Nations collectives have their own full set of Moon Names. For my Algonquian ancestors, these are the most common. The names reflect customs, regional climates, and ecology. The beautiful cultural aspect is the Moons are accompanied by legends and oral traditions that assist the Elders to instil the knowledge passed down and cultural customs.
Raumati Summer Moons 🌛🌝🌜
December Aotearoa – June NH – The Strawberry Moon
The strawberry-picking season reaches its peak during this time. This is one of the few names that was universal to all Algonquin tribes.
January Aotearoa – July NH – The Buck Moon
Buck deer start growing velvety hair-covered antlers in July in the Northern Hemisphere. Frequent thunderstorms in the New England area also resulted in the name Thunder Moon. Some tribes also used the name Hay Moon.
February Aotearoa – August NH – The Sturgeon Moon
The sturgeon, a large fish common to the Great Lakes and other nearby bodies of water, is most easily caught during this month. The reddish appearance of the moon through the frequent sultry hazes of August also prompted a few tribes to dub it the Red Moon. Other names included the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon.
Ngahuru Spring Moons 🌛🌝🌜
March Aotearoa – September NH – The Harvest Moon
Many of the Native American tribes’ staple foods, such as corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and rice, are ready for gathering at this time. The strong light of the Harvest Moon allowed European farmers to work late into the night to harvest their crops. The Harvest Moon does not always occur in September. Traditionally, the name goes to the full moon closest to the autumn equinox, which falls during October once or twice a decade. Sometimes the September full moon was called the Corn Moon.
April Aotearoa – October NH – The Hunter’s Moon
After the fields have been reaped, the leaves begin to fall and the deer are fat and ready for eating. Hunters can ride easily over the fields’ stubble, and the fox and other animals are more easily spotted. Some years the Harvest Moon falls in October instead of September.
May Aotearoa – November NH – The Beaver Moon
At this time of year, the beavers are busy preparing for winter, and it’s time to set beaver traps and secure a store of warm fur before the swamps freeze over. Some tribes called this the Frosty Moon.
Hootoke Winter Moons 🌛🌝🌜
🌕June Aotearoa – December NH – The Cold Moon
Winter takes a firm hold and temperatures plummet at this time. Sometimes this moon is also called the Long Night Moon as the winter nights lengthen and the moon spends more time above the horizon opposite a low sun. The full moon name often used by Christian settlers is the “Moon before Yule”.
July Aotearoa – January NH – The Wolf Moon
In July snow gathers deep in the woods and the howling of wolves can be heard echoing in the cold still air. Some tribes called this moon the Snow Moon, but most often it was used for the next month.
August Aotearoa. – February NH – The Snow Moon
Snow piles even higher in February, giving this moon its most common name. Among tribes that used this name for the January moon, the August moon was called the Hunger Moon due to the challenging hunting conditions.
Kooanga Spring Moons 🌛🌝🌜
September Aotearoa – March NH – The Worm Moon
Snow slowly begins to melt, the ground softens, and earthworms show their heads again and their castings or fecal matter can be found. Other signs of spring gave rise to other variations: the cawing of crows (the Crow Moon); the formation of crusts on the snow from repeated thawing and freezing (the Crust Moon); and the time for tapping maple trees (the Sap Moon). Christian settlers also called this the Lenten Moon and considered it the last moon of winter.
October Aotearoa – April NH – The Pink Moon
Flowers begin to appear, including the widespread grass pink or wild ground phlox. Other variations indicate more signs of full spring, such as Sprouting Grass Moon, Egg Moon, and Fish Moon (common among coastal tribes).
November Aotearoa – May NH – The Flower Moon
Flowers come into full bloom and corn is ready to plant. Also called the Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon.