Tonight is the second night of the full moon of November. Throughout history and folklore it has been known as the Snow Moon, the Fog Moon, The Moon of Storms and the Mourning Moon.
November was the ninth month of the Roman calendar, but in Celtic tradition it was the beginning of the new year, Samhain (31stOctober) marking the end of their yearly cycle. So November has long been associated with endings and beginnings. As November Eve is also known as Halloween/Samhain/Eve of All Souls it’s association with the dead and departed loved ones is firmly entrenched in our psyche and so the name of the Mourning Moon is perhaps the most appropriate.
Our seasons appear to be changing, but back in history, November was known for the cold north winds that would bring the snow, hence the Snow Moon ‘handle’. It seems that the other pseudonyms for the full moon of this month are weather-related too.
The Crone Goddess Hecate has many celebrations throughout the year, but November 16th is known as the Night of Hecate. She is also known as Hecate the Three-formed, being a Goddess of youth, motherhood, and old age, and her celebrations used to take place at a three-way crossroads at night. Food would be left at the crossroads as an offering to her and she was known to rule the passages of life, birth and death.
There are countless sayings and lore associated with the full moon. An old verse tells us:
When the moon is at the full, mushrooms you can safely pull
But when the moon is on the wane, wait ere you think to pluck again
Country folk maintain that the weather is more likely to change at the four quarters than at any other time, and rain is coming when there is a halo around the moon. Gardeners have long planted and harvested according to the phase of the moon and been more successful in their crops.
The pull of the lunar tides is also said to affect mental health, hence the word ‘lunatic’ for someone suffering with intense mental health issues as we now understand it, but way back when the word was first coined it simply meant that the person was ‘mad’.
And don’t get me started on werewolves ….