January – The Wolf Moon

Hey, everyone. Hope the first part of this new year have been good for you. It’s no secret that I have a fascination with full moons. I think it runs in the family. My brother once hiked through Grand Canyon by the light of a full August moon.

Also, the original concept for my upcoming Legends of Madeira series was inspired by, you guessed it, the moon. I thought it would be fun to feature a monthly post with some facts, myths, or maybe even a legend or two.

For years, I’d heard the term Harvest Moon, but did you know Native Americans had names for each of the full moons? These varied from tribe to tribe and were often relative to the area in which they lived. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, these names traditionally applied to the entire lunar month, beginning with either the new or full moon.

January is known as the Wolf Moon. This has nothing to do with mythical werewolves. It came about because on cold January nights, packs of wolves are often heard. It was once thought wolves howled because they were hungry. However, wolves use howls to define their territory, locate members of their pack, and gather for hunting.

January Wolf Moon
A January Full Moon. One of my own photos.

Interesting Facts

  • Like their canine ancestors, domestic dogs are known to bark and howl more during the full moon. They might also be more aggressive. A study carried out by a teaching hospital in the United Kingdom found dog bites are often twice as common during a full moon than on other nights.
  • Many people claim to see images on the lunar surfaces, such as animals or human faces. (Ever heard of “The man in the Moon?”) These images are composed of the dark areas of the lunar plains and the lighter highlands of the lunar surface.
  • The full moon occurs this month on Thursday, January 28.

Menominee Legend

According to the Menominee The Sun, and his sister The Moon, lived together in the East. One day Sun left to go hunting and was gone for a long time. As the days passed Moon became worried and went into the sky to search for him. After twenty days of searching, she died but returned to life after four days to resume her search for another twenty days.

The four days of death are thought to coincide with the dark phase of the new moon, while the twenty days before and after are a reference to the waxing and waning phases.

I hope you’ll enjoy this monthly series. Next month is the shortest of the year, but moon-wise February has a unique distinction from all other months.

Interested in learning more? Check back then.

50 comments

  1. I’m always interested in the moon cycle, Joan. For quite a few years, I followed the full moon events and was fortunate to have a clear sky on many nights to take the moon photos. I remember as a child, we celebrated many festivals based on the lunar calendar. Several of them are moon-related. As a child, I actually believed that the shadow in the moon was a goddess accented to the moon!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We have clear sky mostly in the summer. I take photo as a hobby and don’t have fancy cameras. For a simple point and shoot camera with a tripod, I got some great shots. California is not on the track to see the colors of the blood red moon or blue moon. I usually get those images from the internet just for fun.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Legends involving nature are particularly fascinating to me, Joan. We’ve been in a rainy pattern here in California lately, but I was grateful for clear skies last night to view the full moon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a fan of moon-magic too, Joan. Wouldn’t it be interesting if our calendar was based on the phases of the moon? I enjoyed the Menominee Legend. Thanks for sharing it. This should be a fun and interesting series.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What a wonderful post, Joan! I’ve followed the moon cycles for years. I make wishes and set intentions on the new moon, then release them, often in a burning ceremony on the full moon. I also charge my Crystals and Gemstones under the full moon. The Native Americans lived in such harmony with nature and all its rhythms. We can learn much from them. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Moon legends are fascinating. I really enjoyed the story about the sister looking for her brother. Your new moon posts are going to be fun. Can’t wait ’til you get to Diana and Hecate:)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What an interesting post, Joan. I’ve always liked to follow the different moons on my calendar. One thing I know is whenever there’s a full moon I don’t get any sleep. I’m looking forward to your series!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. What a great post, Joan. Other than being aware that full moons seem to evoke craziness, I know nothing. Your antidotes, about wolves and dogs and the mythology surrounding full moons, were fascinating to read. I’m eagerly looking forward to your new series. 😊

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Great series, Joan. And I am chuckling at the timing … the universe has a sense of humour, as I just wrote all about a full red moon over the weekend for my Friday Flash Fiction, tee he hee. Moons fascinate me. I used to work in psychiatry, and a full moon always meant a disturbed night shift for a few nights.

    I look forward to your Legends of Madeira series 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve heard stories about psych patients. Pretty sure I’ve mentioned that in one of my upcoming posts. I’m being on reading blog posts. I’ll pop over to your blog today. Look forward to reading the story.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love the moon like you, Joan. I think being a moonchild helps. I didn’t know it was a wolf moon. I adore wolves and werewolves. I will have to glance up that night if it isn’t cloudy. I enjoyed the legend of sun and moon too. I look forward to learning the moon months.

    Liked by 2 people

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