- 1: Hag's Day, honoring the Goddess as She Who Transforms
- 6: Triple Goddess Day, honoring the Triple Goddess; also the Day of the Lord of the Dance
- 9: New Moon
- 18: Day of Danu, celebrating the Great Goddess who Shows the Way
- 23: Full Moon - Wolf Moon, Cold Moon
- 30: Jan30-Feb 2: Roman celebration of Februalia
- 2: Imbolc Sabbat, Cleansing, Purification, Quickening
- 8: New Moon
- 14: Family Day, celebrated as Valentine's Day
- 15: Pan's Day, honoring Lord of the Wilderness, Animals, Fertility
- 22 Full Moon - Quickening Moon, Starvation Moon
- 1: Matronalia, the Festival of Women
- 8: New Moon
- 9: Mother Goddess Day
- 17: Festival honoring Dionysus, God of Vine and Rebirth
- 20: Ostara Sabbat - Spring Equinox, Goddess of Spring
- 23: Full Moon - Storm Moon
- 25: Lady Day, honoring the Crone as Grandmother
- 1: Dark Mother Day, honoring Black Annis, Kali; Fool's Day, God of Chaos energy
- 7: New Moon
- 8: Day of Moon-cakes, honoring the Moon Goddess
- 22: Full Moon - Hare Moon; Earth Day
- 23: Festival of the Greenman, honoring the God of forest and vegetation
- 30: May Eve, annual gathering of Witches and covens
- 1: Beltane Sabbat, Festival of Spring and Fertility
- 6: New Moon
- 21: Full Moon - Chaste Moon; Dark/Bright Mother Goddess Day, honoring Hecate/Demeter, Kali/Uma
- 28: Feast Day honoring the Goddess of the Moon, Dark Moon, Underworld, Secret Wisdom, Witches
- 4: New Moon
- 5: Earth Mother Day, honoring Gaia/Mother Earth
- 13: Feast Day honoring Goddess of the Horse (Otherworld Guide)
- 20: Full Moon - Dyad Moon
- 20: Litha Sabbat, Summer Solstice , Midsummer's Eve, offerings to the Other People
- 23: Day of the Lady and Lord of the Sidhe, Otherworld Aspects of the Divine
- 1: Crone Day, honoring Father Time and Old Mother Nature
- 4: New Moon
- 19: Full Moon- Mead Moon
- 21: Witch's Day, celebrating the Craft
- 1: Lammas or Lugnassadh Sabbat, First Harvest. Bread Harvest, grains
- 2: New Moon
- 18: Full Moon - Herb Moon
- 20: God and Goddess Marry, Sun God enters Earth Goddess and rules the Underworld as Lord of Shadows
- 21: Festival of Hecate, invoking her protection over the harvests
- 1: New Moon
- 13: Fire Lighting Ceremony, honoring the spirits of the dead with candle light
- 16: Full Moon - Harvest Moon
- 21: International Day of Peace
- 22: Mabon Sabbat, Autumn Equinox, Second Harvest or Vine Harvest
- 30: New Moon
- 2: Feast of Guardian Spirits
- 16: Full Moon - Wine or Blood Moon
- 18: Great Horn Festival, Horned God and Lady of the Wood invoked for the fertility of game during the Hunting Season
- 30: New Moon
- 31: Samhain Sabbat, Third Harvest (Root Harvest), All Hallows Eve, Dark God and Dark Goddess united in Underworld allow spirit communication
- 1: Cailleach's Reign, honoring Riders of the Wild Hunt who search for souls to transport to Land of Shadows; Mexico's Day of the Dead
- 14: Full Moon - Hunter's Moon, Moon of Madness
- 16: Night of Hecate, honoring Goddess of Moon, Magic, and Witches as the Teacher of the Craft
- 29: New Moon
- 30: Festival of Hecate
- 13: Full Moon - Oak Moon, Moon of Long Nights; Oak Day, celebrating birth of the Oak King, birth of the Sun
- 17: Beginning of Saturnalia
- 22: Yule Sabbat, Winter Solstice and Return of the Sun God
- 24: Holly Eve, departure of Holly King who leaves gifts for children
- 29: New Moon
- 31: Hogmanay - New Year's Eve, Crone prepares to depart; as the old, withered year changes at midnight to a fresh, young New Year
Esbats and The Moon
The Esbats mark the 13 Full Moons in a Solar Year of 12 Months. The Esbat Lunar cycle begins with the Full Moon closest to Yule. Use the Full Moon, governed by the Mother, for Completion, Empowerment, and Healing.
When there are two Full Moons in one calendar month, they often occur in July or August. When the second Full Moon occurs in a month, it is called a Blue Moon, and adds Spiritual Energy to the Full Moon of that month. Sometimes the second Full Moon appears as a russet to dark wine color, usually occurring in October, and is referred to as the Blood Moon.
The Dark (or New Moon) is governed by the Crone and is not often used, however, it can be utilized for Dark Power Magic, Divination, Rest, Regeneration, and Psychic Work.
When a second Dark or New Moon occurs in the same calendar month, it is referred to as the Sidhe Moon, adding Intuitive Power, Psychic Energy, or Occult Wisdom to the Dark Moon of that month.
The Waxing Moon (on its' way from Dark to Full) is governed by the Light Maiden, and is used for Growth and New Projects. The Waning Moon (on its' way from Full to Dark) is governed by the Dark Maiden, and is used for Releasing, Banishing, and Cleansing.
Use the Moon Phases Calendar for Quick Reference
There are variations and inconsistencies regarding what each Full Moon is called for each calendar month. After carefully studying Ancient Deities, Old Saxon Ways, and a little Latin, I've come to the following conclusions for my purposes. These seem to fit more closely with the the natural events, that I know from experience, to be typically occurring within the months in the Northern Hemisphere.
* Wolf Moon (January): From the Latin Januarius, honoring Janus, a Roman God. The Anglo-Saxons called it Aefter-Yule, and prior to that, Wolf-monat. In January, our ancestors gathered close to the hearth fire, and the silence of falling snow was often broken by the sound of howling wolves. Driven by hunger, wolves ventured closer to villages in search of food. In general, many Native American tribes referred to the month of January as the Cold Moon, with good reason.
* Quickening Moon (February): From Februus, another name for for the God of Purification - Faunus - thus "fertility". Many call this the month of the Storm Moon, however, it is at this time when the very first seeds begin new life under the remaining snow as is celebrated at Imbolc when the Goddess awakens and the days become warmer and longer. Many Native Americans called this the Moon of Starvation.
* Storm Moon (March): March is named after Mars, God of War. Anglo-Saxons called it Hraed-monat (rugged month), or Hlyd-monat (stormy month). A stormy March was an omen of poor crops, while a dry March indicated a rich harvest. If February were actually the "storm month", then what would that leave March to be? Where I live, March often IS stormy, and as the old wives tale goes, "in like a lion, out like a lamb". Many call March the month of the Hare Moon.
* Hare Moon (April): April is from the Latin aperio ("to open", like buds). Anglo-Saxons called it something close to Easter-monat, in honor of the Teutonic Goddess of the same name. She ruled spring and light. The Romans dedicated April to Venus, often referring to it as Mensis Veneris instead of Aprilis. April is associated with fertility (rabbits, Easter), and the coming mating of the God and Goddess at Beltane on May 1st. Many call April's Moon the Seed Moon.
* Chaste Moon (May): May is named after Maia Majesta, ancient Roman Goddess of spring. Dancing around the May Pole was an old custom, while fertility and mating were encouraged. Called the Dyad Moon by others, I refer to May as the Chaste Moon - when "chastity" is historically cast aside, and the Goddess has many forms - as the Maiden Pure and Lovely, the Seductress and Enchantress of the night, and the Crone Ancient and Wise.
* Dyad Moon (June): Named after the Roman Goddess Juno, June was called Sear-monat by Anglo-Saxons. Juno was the Queen of Heaven and the Guardian of Marriage, and also ruled childbirth. June is still the most favored month for marriage today. Many call June the Mead Moon, however, the time to gather honey for the drink called Mead is in July. During Litha (in June) the God and Goddess marry. This is the time when all things meet their opposites in perfect harmony and balance.
* Mead Moon (July): Originally called Quintilis, or the fifth month. Old Saxons called July Maed-monat ("mead month"). Many call July's Moon the Herb Moon, however, where I live, many herbs are not ready for harvest until August.
* Herb Moon (August): Named after the Roman Emperor Augustus, August was once called Sixtilis, or the sixth month. There is no apparent disagreement that this is the month of the Herb Moon, some also call the Barley Moon, and is the time for the first harvest of grains.
* Harvest Moon (September): September is named after the Latin number for seven, that being the seventh month in the old calendar. Saxons called it Gerst-monat, barley month, as this crop was usually gathered then. There is no disagreement between other sources and my own deductions regarding September as the Harvest Moon.
* Wine Moon (October): From "octo", the eighth month in the old calendar. Saxons named October Wyn-monat or "wine month". Others refer to the Moon of October as the Blood Moon or Hunter's Moon, however, I call it the Wine Moon so as not to confuse it with the blood associated in hunting and slaughtering livestock in November, for the coming winter. During this month especially, the moon may show russet or wine-colored. Departed spirits are bid farewell at Samhain, perhaps with a "toast" of wine, and the veil between the worlds is thinnest.
* Hunter's Moon (November): Previously considered the ninth month in the old Roman calendar. Saxons called November Blot-monat or "blood month". This was the time when cattle and sheep were slaughtered for food. Due to the colder weather, there was less danger of meat rotting before it could be used in the coming winter months, and less chance of starvation when the herds (wild or tame) were thinned. November is the time when hunting wild game is still most commonly done. Known also as the Moon of Madness to many Native Americans.
* Oak Moon (December): December is named after the tenth month in the old calendar. It was consecrated to Saturn, and on December 17th, the great feast of Saturnalia began, lasting several days. It coincided with the Winter Solstice and Yule season. The Anglo-Saxons called December Yule-monat ("midwinter month"). Yule is when we celebrate the birth of the Oak King, beginning the cycle and Wheel of a New Year once again, therefore it is referred to as the Oak Moon. This is the Moon of Long Nights in many Native American traditions.
When finding discrepancies in books and materials regarding the differing names for the Esbats, it should be noted that our earliest ancestors relied on astrological changes, rather than fixed calendars as we do today, which change and are not always in synchronization with what is seasonally occurring.
Our Moon, today, is about three times further from the Earth than it was in the beginning of Earth's history. Although it is moving away from us at about one centimeter per year, there is still a gravitational pull on the Earth from the Moon, especially during Full and New Moon phases. The combination of the Earth's rotation, synchronized with the 27-day rotation of the Moon, shows us the same side of the Moon all the time.
Interestingly enough, during a Full or New Moon, and especially when the Moon, Earth, and Sun are aligned, there are recognizable changes in human behavior. These are yet to be scientifically proven, however, nearly anyone working in a hospital, rescue, or police force position will attest to higher than usual, and even bizarre, activity occurring during these times, especially among mentally-challenged patients.
Humans seem especially "attuned" to the moon. We are the only animal species, that I am aware of, with a fertility cycle nearly matching the 27.3 day rotation of the moon. While there is obviously no menstruation, science has proven that even male humans undergo similar hormonal changes (a bit like PMS in a female) about every 28 days as well.
Visit my Album for More Images of the Moon
People of all faiths and cultures have revered and celebrated the cycles of life, death, and rebirth since the beginning of existence. Astrological shifts and other signs were closely monitored to determine the time for seasonal planting, harvesting, hunting, and preparing for survival during the resting period of winter.
It's quite intriguing to consider how cultures from around the world, without the ability to "chat online", "fly PanAm" for a visit, or converse with one another by any other means at all, came to such similar conclusions regarding their explanations for the cycles of life on earth.
Reverence for the Wheel of the Year dates back, at least, to the Neolithic Age, with many of our modern observances and festivities occurring at essentially the same intervals. Today, however, many deny that our current traditions are about as natural and Pagan as they come. Many of the rituals we partake in today are based upon the most ancient influences and reverences for Goddesses, Gods, and the Natural Wheel of the Year. Looking only at the Winter Solstice, we can easily find how many cultural beliefs from around the globe have contributed to present-day celebrations.
The Natural Wheel of the Year consists of eight Sabbats. The Sabbats mark the Quarters and Cross-Quarters, with the Quarters being the Green (or Lesser) Sabbats, and the Cross-Quarters being the White (or Greater) Sabbats.
* Yule or Midwinter - Winter Solstice (12/21): God is born of the Goddess. Goddess is both Mother, and Crone of Winter. Associated with the Earth and Northern direction.
* Ostara or Vernal Equinox - Spring Equinox (3/21): Goddess is Maiden bringing Spring to Earth. God and Goddess encourage fertility of Earth. Associated with the Air and Eastern direction.
* Midsummer or Litha - Summer Solstice (6/21): God turns from Youth to Sage, or Oak to Holly King. Marriage of God and Goddess. Holly King impregnates Goddess with the coming Oak King. Associated with Fire and the Southern direction.
* Mabon or Autumn Equinox (9/21): God gives his blood into the vines. Goddess is alone and pregnant with the God (Oak King). Associated with Water and the Western direction.
* Samhain - Death and Rebirth (10/31): God is within the Goddess/tomb becomes the womb. The veil between the worlds is thinnest.
* Imbolc or Candlemas - Purification and Fire (2/1): Milk flows for the baby God as Oak King. Quickening of the Earth occurring.
* Beltane - Fertility and Fire (5/1): God and Goddess unite in love. May Day romps and bonfires encourage fertility.
* Lughnasadh or Lammas- Bread Harvest (8/1): God enters the Earth in marriage, giving His body to the grain. First harvest - grains.
Inspired by her Native American roots and Bradbury lineage, Polly Taskey is a writer and grandmother in the northern USA. She shares her wisdom and pagan interests through Pagan by Design and The Moonlit Grove.