Thunder Moon

Srečno polne Lune!
(“Happy Full Moon!” in Slovenian)

Welcome to Issue 7 of Volume III of the Earth, Moon and Stars blog!
(Formerly the Full Moon Lore newsletter.)


   The July full moon was often called the Full Thunder Moon, since thunderstorms can be frequent at this time of year.

Moon Stars Thunderstorm Shangri La Cebu

Moon Stars Thunderstorm Shangri La Cebu (


   It is also known as the Full Buck Moon, when the new antlers of buck deer push out from their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur.

Full Buck Moon (attribution unknown)

Full Buck Moon (attribution unknown)


   Sometimes it’s also called the Full Hay Moon. In China it is known as the Hungry Ghost Moon, while the Celts called it the Moon of Claiming.

[Refs: Obscure Full Moon Names of 2011, Moon Names]


July’s full moon: Friday July 15,  06:40 UT  (2:40 am EDT)
Next new moon: Saturday July 30, 18:40 UT  (2:40 pm EDT)
Next full moon: Saturday August 13 18:58 UT ( 2:58 pm EDT)
[Ref: Moon Phases]


   Way before GPS, many kinds of animal developed navigation abilities using eyes that can discern the polarization (scattering angle) of sunlight that has been scattered by air particles. Even on cloudy days! These animals include certain types of fish, amphibians, arthropods, octopuses, and many kinds of insect, including the familiar honey bee, which tells her fellow worker bee – through a complex dance – the distance and direction to the nectar-bearing flowers she just discovered.

   But what astonished scientists (and perhaps will astonish you, too) was the discovery just eight years ago that (at least) one animal uses polarized moonlight for navigation! This is particularly amazing, considering that moonlight is just one-millionth the strength of sunlight.

   As night falls, the nocturnal African dung beetle, Scarabaeus zambesianus, finds a dung pile, rolls a bit of it up into a ball, and quickly takes off with its prize to keep it away from rivals.

African dung beetle

African dung beetle

   Behavioral zoologist Marie Dacke at the University of Lund in Sweden suspected the beetles were using the moon for navigational cues when she noticed they walk in crooked paths on overcast nights, but move straight ahead when the moon is out. She then conducted an experiment that proved these beetles were detecting the polarization of the moonlight and using it to navigate. Traveling straight ahead, reckoning by the moon’s polarized rays, is “the best way for them to escape the fierce competition of the dung pile,” she said.

[Refs: Beetles by Moonlight; Insect orientation to polarized moonlight; How Animal Migration Works; Insect P-Ray Vision] [For a more formal and in-depth discussion, see Polarization of Cloudy Skies and Animal Navigation.]


Here is a poem (thank you, Jena) about beetles and the moon, by Hāfez (Hafiz), a 14th century Persian lyric poet whose  poems Iranians learn by heart and use as proverbs and sayings to this day.

What Should We Do about that Moon?

A wine bottle fell from a wagon
And broke open in a field.

That night a hundred beetles and all their cousins
Gathered, and did some serious binge drinking.

They even found some seed husks nearby
And began to play them like drums and whirl.
This made God very happy.

Then the ‘night candle’ rose into the sky
And one drunk creature, laying down his instrument
Said to his friend – for no apparent reason,

“What should we do about that moon?”

Seems to Hafiz
Most everyone has laid aside the music

Tackling such profoundly useless

From: ‘The Gift – Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master’
translations by Daniel Ladinsky
[Ref: Allspirit Poetry


  Here are some excerpts from a selection of astrologers’ postings on the Web for this full Moon. Links in each excerpt will take you to the full article.

Carola Eastwood

In her Planetary Cycles column in the Life Connection magazine, Carola Eastwood has this to say about this month’s full moon: 

Grounding the Changes is Hard, but Necessary.

At mid-month, just as the pressure from the July 1 solar eclipse begins to ease, we have the planet of love, beauty and harmony, Venus, moving into the same challenging set of energies we experienced at the eclipse. While much of the positive energy that helped us to get clear and ground necessary changes is still available mid-month, this pressured Venus can make life feel like all work and no play.

The full moon on July 14 illuminates issues that need to be addressed in our personal relationships, our families, or our businesses, and we may feel that we have little choice except to roll up our sleeves, take action and make significant changes either in our finances or love life, or both. Fortunately, our positive and progressive changes have much encouragement for success in the coming weeks.

See Carola’s full Planetary Cycles article for more along these lines. 

Carola Eastwood provides in-depth personal astrology readings that open the doorway to fulfilling your life-purpose. Her office is in San Marcos. 858/259-1590.

Molly Hall

Molly Hall’s two Full Moon pages this month are: “Full Moon in Capricorn ~ Great Teachingsand Full Moon in Capricorn ~~ Reaping Rewards.”  Here are excerpts:

This Full Moon illuminates personal drive, realistic dreams, responsibilities, structure and order, financial dealings, relationship to authority, the power of authority in our lives, social hierarchies, and the wisdom of nature.

This is serious moonlight for epiphanies about the most longed-for aspirations, which are often ones that take time and effort over many years.

It’s a good time to focus on self-sufficiency, perseverance, big dreams, financial matters, personal authority, and mastery of skills.

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Here’s wishing you and yours a month of action, inspiration, and relaxation.  See you for the full Moon in August!

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The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with (hopefully interesting) facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about our one and only natural satellite and how all of us — people, animals, plants, water, even rocks — are affected and connected by her.


About aquarianman

Aquarian interested in anything to do with the Earth, our Moon, and anything flying around out there in space.
This entry was posted in Astrology, astronomy, Folklore, moon and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Thunder Moon

  1. Anita says:

    Wow such a powerful moon this month! Changes and Epiphanies and aspirations! Lots to think about! “When the river of mind is truly calm, the moon is reflected perfectly upon the surface of the deep waters” (Thich Nhat Hanh) Blessings to all who contemplate and desire change, Anita

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