Looking into the names of the full moon is a reminder of how different our society is from one that follows the cycles and rhythms of the Earth!
With our Gregorian calendar, there is no debating that March follows February, April after March. This, of course, makes planning much easier- if you say March everyone knows when you’re talking about. But, this type of calendar does nothing to evoke a sense of place.
The names of moons tell a story about what is happening in the natural world around you. And, those names change from location to location. The full moon that we are experiencing at the beginning of March, on March 1st (2018), is one with many names.
Because the moon does not follow the Gregorian calendar and has a lunation in a range of 29-30 days, we did not have a full moon in February. Instead, we have two full moons appearing in March. Some of the sources I’ve read that mention “March Moon” could be talking about the moon that would appear at the beginning of the month, the moon often found in February, or, they could describe the moon at the end of the month.
Spring is a time of rapid growth and change, and for someone with keen observation and awareness can find great differences occurring over the span of just a few weeks. The names used for this full moon could apply to either moon this month, as they tell the story of different people and different climates and different observations of the natural world.
What name do you think best applies to the full moon rising over your home this early March?
March Full Moon Names
Sap moon name was used by settlers in snowy climates. Based on my friends in the north and the Instagram photos they are sharing, this name is accurate! This is a time when the sap in the trees starts to flow, which is then collected to make maple syrup. Sugar moon was another name for this moon.
This full moon would have also been a name also used by people in snowy climates. Days would be warmer, melting the snow on the ground, but then freezing again at night as the temperatures dropped. This would give the snow a crusted feel and appearance, lending to this seasonal name.
Lenten Full Moon
For settlers, this full moon was known as Lenten Moon. It signaled the last moon of the winter before the Spring Equinox, and the moon occurring during Lent. People following the Christian faith observe lent as a time of fasting and repentance before Easter, but interestingly, the word lent is derived from the word long, noting the lengthening daylight hours of spring.
Crow Full Moon
Crow Moon is the name used by northern tribes, denoting the time when the crows appear and caw their farewell to cold and snow. Crows are very talkative, and in witchy communities, seen as communicators with the world. I love the thought of naming this moon after the crows saying goodbye to winter! Flexible and easy to adapt, as anyone living in a city knows, crows can represent the transition between seasons.
This full moon name honors the earthworms. As the ground begins to warm, they start to appear and reproduce, attracting the return of robins and other birds.
Worm moon is the name that most resonates for me in my climate. The warming weather has caused an increase in insects, and therefore, more birds who eat them.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed more and more birds visiting my yard, both the seed eaters visiting my feeders and the tiny kinglets who flit around my vegetable beds, snacking insects off my plants. My daily nature walks along the river are louder with the chirps of songbirds, the thumps of woodpeckers, the rustles as birds dart in the brambles and brush.
This full moon, I encourage you to take a moment and study the natural world around you.
What things do you notice? What signs of spring can you find? If you were to name this full moon, what would you call it?