Start the Year Honoring Grandmother Moon
January 17, 2022
Spirit Snow Moon. Freezing Moon. Great Shedding Needles Moon.
Full moons happen when the moon is exactly on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun, so the entire Earth-facing side is illuminated.
It’s thought that January’s full Moon came to be known as the Wolf Moon because wolves were more likely to be heard howling at this time. It was traditionally believed that wolves howled due to hunger during winter, but we know today that wolves howl for different reasons. Howling and other wolf vocalizations are generally used to define territory, locate pack members, reinforce social bonds, and coordinate hunting.
Another fitting name for this full Moon is the Center Moon. Used by the Assiniboine people of the Northern Great Plains, it refers to the idea that this Moon roughly marks the middle of the cold season.
Other traditional names for the January Moon emphasizes the harsh coldness of the season: Cold Moon (Cree), Frost Exploding Moon (Cree), Freeze Up Moon (Algonquin), and Severe Moon (Dakota). Hard Moon (Dakota) highlights the phenomenon of the fallen snow developing a hard crust. Canada Goose Moon (Tlingit), Great Moon (Cree), Greetings Moon (Western Abenaki), and Spirit Moon (Ojibwe) have also been
recorded as Moon names for this month.