December’s Full Cold Bitter Oak Moon

Gelukkig Volle Maan!
(“Happy Full Moon” in Dutch)

Welcome to Issue 12 of Volume III of  Earth, Moon and Stars blog!

In this issue:

  • Moon Names (some nice artwork and photos to go with them)
  • Seasonal Calendar (dates and times)
  • Skywatch (the Geminids should put on quite a show)
  • Celestial Mechanics (the last  total lunar eclipse for 2 1/2 more years)
  • Astrology and Folklore (opportunities for escape and change)


Native American Indians of the northern and eastern United States kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon, appropriate for month in which it occurred. This month’s was traditionally dubbed the Full Cold Moon by both the Algonquins and Celts, for obvious reasons. Other names include Running Wolves Moon (Cheyenne), Christmas Moon (Colonial American), Long Nights Moon (Neo Pagan), Margashirsha Poornima (Hindi), and Unduvap Poya (Sinhala (Buddhist)).  [refs: National Geographic;]

The medieval English called this month’s full moon the Full Oak Moon, while to the Chinese it was the Bitter Moon.  [You can find lots more variations on these names at Everything Under the Moon and Keith’s Moon Page.]

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December Cold Moon [Cyndi Lavin]


 The beautiful beaded embroidery you see here was created by Cyndi Lavin for her Bead Journal Project (a part of her Beading Arts Facebook page) where you can see all twelve of her Moon creations. Cyndi also has her own websites Mixed Media Artist, and Beading Arts, rich with examples of and information on beads, jewelry, and other art mediums.





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December’s full moon: Saturday Dec 10, 14:36 UT (9:36 am EST, 6:36 am PST)
December Solstice: Dec 22 05:30 UT (Dec 22 12:30 AM EST; Dec 21 9:30 PM PST)
December’s new moon: Dec 24 18:06 UT (1:06 PM EST, 10:06 AM PST)
January’s full moon: Jan 9 07:30 UT (2:30 AM EST, Jan 8 11:30 PM PST)

Christmas Moon over Vancouver [Mark van Manen, 2015]

Christmas Moon over Vancouver [Mark van Manen, Vancouver Sun, 2015]


Geminid Meteors (Dec 13 – 14)

The 2011 Geminid Meteor Shower will peak on December 13th and 14th. This is the most intense meteor shower of the year, lasts for days, and can be seen from almost any point on Earth. The 2011 Geminid meteor shower will rise from the east around 8 PM every evening  local time where you are. The meteor shower will be the most intense and directly overhead during the hours of 1 to 3 AM. Even though a full moon coincides with the Geminid meteor shower peak, it shouldn’t have much affect on the spectacular display. More details on the 2011 Geminid Meteor Shower here.


Total Lunar Eclipse (Saturday morning before sunrise)

As we have discussed previously, an eclipse of the moon can occur only when it is full, because it’s on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun, and is only then susceptible to being caught in the shadow that the Earth casts.

This one will be total – meaning that the Moon will pass completely into the umbra of the Earth’s shadow. The next total lunar eclipse won’t be until April 2014. Viewers across the western United States and Western Canada can catch the total phase before the moon sets. Alaska and Hawaii can see the entire event from start to finish. Central and Eastern Asia and Australia are also well placed for viewing this eclipse (where the calendar date will read Dec. 11). Totality will last 51 minutes.

The last total lunar eclipse of 2011 will appear in the western sky Saturday morning just before dawn in the west coast of the U.S. Most easily seen by viewers in the western half of the U.S., Saturday’s show will be the last chance to catch a total lunar eclipse anywhere on Earth until 2014.

The eclipse will begin at 4:45 a.m. PST when a red shadow will start to cover the Moon. Those in western North America will have the best views well before dawn, but can still catch the eclipse until as late as 6:45 a.m. PST, when the moon will set and the sun will rise.

This lunar eclipse is rare in that a selenelion will occur, where viewers (with a clear view of both horizons) will be able to observe the setting moon in eclipse while also watching the sun rise from the east. This rare optical illusion is caused by the refraction of light in the Earth’s atmosphere, which will also make both the sun and the  eclipsed moon appear larger than usual.

For people in the western United States with a clear view of both horizons, the eclipse will be deepest just before local dawn. Face west to see the red Moon sinking into the horizon as the Sun rises behind your back. It’s a rare way to begin your day. Observers in Alaska, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and central and eastern Asia should also be well placed for this celestial show.

(Above was excerpted from Huffington Post, Brevard Times, and Even more technical details can be found in this Wikipedia article.)

December Solstice

The December Solstice will occur on Thursday, Dec. 22, at 05:30 UT, 12:30 a.m. EST. It will be the Winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, and the Summer solstice in the southern hemisphere. On this day, the Sun is at its farthest southern declination, and is 6.5 degrees away from the center of the Milky Way. This is exactly the same alignment as will occur on Dec. 21, 2012, yet no catastrophes have been predicted for this year, just as none will occur next year.

(See this article for the source of the above excerpt, and for a computer simulation of the mentioned alignment.)


Full moon, Lunar Eclipse ignites substantial changes
Carola Eastwood

Here is a summary of what Carola Eastwood writes about this Gemini Full Moon in her Planetary Cycles column this month in the Life Connection magazine:

The December 10 lunar eclipse in Gemini brings awareness about necessary changes that must be integrated into the fabric of our life. The energetic support is present for transformation of our lives, particularly in work and business. But, the lunar eclipse calls for such substantial changes, that we may find ourselves struggling with the implementation of such fundamental structural modifications. If you entertain it, resistance will simply bring frustration, and will jam up the energy that is currently available for upcoming new creation. Instead, use the dynamic energy of resistance, to gather momentum for your new creations.

See Carola’s full Planetary Cycles article for lots more good stuff. 

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 — “ Astrology”
Here are two brief excerpts from Molly’s Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse articles this month:

Full Moon
This Gemini-Sagittarius Full Moon seems part of a series, to shake us loose from old ways of thinking. To gain confidence in life as an adventure, and one in which we each find our own meaning. To heal and purify the mind from the mind-frazzling TMI of our culture. To be discriminating and grounded in purpose, so we recognize what has a spark, and carries us forward into the brightest future possible!

(See Molly’s full article “Freeing the Seeker” for more juicy insights.)

The Gemini-Sagittarius eclipse is sure to be wildly stimulating, and staying grounded will keep you from spinning out, getting fried or wired, or acting recklessly. If overwhelmed, the way to ground is to come back to the body — eating or drinking something that calms you, getting energy/body work, taking a soak, working out.

(See Molly’s full article “Revising Reality” for seven pages of in-depth astrology on this full Moon and total lunar eclipse.)

Robert Wilkinson — ” Aquarius Papers”
Here is a summary of Robert’s Full Moon and Eclipse page for this month:

This Total Lunar Eclipse Full Moon at 19 Sagittarius-Gemini will bring opportunities to escape from polluted physical, emotional, or mental environments, and put the focus on tapping into universal or seed knowledge. This period begins 3 1/2 months of some radical reorientations!

As a result of the FOUR Solar Eclipses in 2011, coupled with this Lunar Eclipse and July’s, we are in a period where we have been and continue to be shutting down old Gemini, Cancer, Sagittarius, and Capricorn energies. We are growing toward new Sagittarius energies, thanks to the North Node being the line of greatest development during 2011. The lesson of the year, which continues for several years to come, involves letting go of old ideas and interpretations, being pulled into broader views, broader truths, broader understanding, and broader futures. When in doubt remember that a sense of humor often solves many psychological problems and greases the wheels of communication.

See Robert’s full article “Seed Ideas Showing Us the Need to Reorient And Move” for more amazing insights.

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If you especially like (or dislike) something you see here, or would like to see something in particular covered in a future issue, or you have something interesting about the Earth, Moon, or Stars you would like to share, please leave a comment. I’m always interested in how folks who stop by here are moved/influenced/affected.

Until the full moon in January, here’s wishing you and yours a most blessed holiday season, and a bright New Year.

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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.
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