January’s Full Winter Holiday Ice Wolf Moon

Честита Пълнолуние и Честита Нова Година!

(“Happy Full Moon” and “Happy New Year” in Bulgarian)

Welcome to Issue 1 of Volume IV of the Earth, Moon and Stars blog!

In this issue:

  • Moon Names (and some photos to go with them)
  • Seasonal Calendar (dates and times)
  • Celestial Mechanics (sunrise/sunset)
  • Celebrations (Chinese New Year)
  • ‘2012’ (a new section)
  • Moon Art (Cyndi Lavin)
  • Astrology and Folklore (Fruition of goals. Coming home. Harmonious Tides.) 


   Many cultures kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring Full Moon, appropriate for month in which it occurred. This January moon was called the Wolf Moon by both Native American Algonquin-speaking tribes and by Medieval English. (It’s not clear if each derived their name independently, or which one used it first.) The folklore says this name was given because this was the time of year when the wolves were hungry.

Full Wolf Moon

Full Wolf Moon

   The Colonial Americans called this the Winter Moon, to the Neo-Pagans it’s the Ice Moon, and for the Chinese it’s the Holiday Moon. [refs: Keith’s Moon Page; Everything Under the Moon; Broward Drum Circle


January’s full moon:       Jan 9 07:30 UT (2:30 AM EST, Jan 8 11:30 PM PST)
January’s new moon:     Jan 23 07:39 UT (2:39 AM EST, Jan 22 11:39 PM PST)
February’s full moon:    Feb 7 21:54 UT (4:54 PM EST, 1:54 PM PST)
February’s new moon:   Feb 21 22:36 UT (5:36 PM EST, 2:36 PM PST)


Shouldn’t the Sun Be Rising Earlier By Now?

   For those of us who think (I almost wrote “obsess”) on these things, it would appear obvious that once we got past the December solstice, those of us in the Northern Hemisphere would begin experiencing gradually longer days. After all, isn’t that what the solstice is all about? Well, the daylight has indeed been gradually increasing.

   And you could be excused if you innocently assumed that on the solstice the sunrise stopped becoming later and started becoming earlier, while the sunset started becoming later. But if you were to track and chart the times of sunrise and sunset beginning in early December, you would see that (for Los Angeles’ latitude) the time of sunset began creeping later on Dec 5, while the time of sunrise didn’t start becoming earlier until — whoa! — today (Jan 8)!


   What’s going on? Well, the short (and thus never fully satisfying) answer is: our clocks. Just as we have made calendars to try to bring a little order to planning our lives, so too we decided that we wanted our clocks to tick evenly throughout the year.

   The trouble with this is (if you want to think of it as trouble), is that the Earth isn’t a perfect sphere traveling in a perfect circle, and thus our speed around the Sun varies throughout the year. This combined with the planet’s axial tilt cause true solar noon (which, of course, divides sunrise and sunset just about down the middle) to be off from our clock noon by up to ten minutes.

   In future issues we will delve deeper into the effects of the Earth’s tilt at various latitudes. 


Chinese New Year

   Year 4710 according to the Chinese calendar begins on Jan. 23, 2012. (This date shifts each year on the Western calendar, because the Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar, where the months and important dates are determined by the phase of the Moon.) The celebration of the New Year, known in China as “Spring Festival”, is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. The coming year will be The Year of the Dragon. (Read more at Infoplease and Wikipedia.)

Chinese Year of the Dragon

Chinese Year of the Dragon (Benjamin Kanarek)


   Each issue this year I will include this section where we’ll take a look at interesting aspects of the significance of 2012, especially as it relates to astronomical events.

   For this first foray into the subject, I excerpt here the introduction to the Wikipedia article “2012 Phenomenon“. December 21, 2012, is regarded as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. Various astronomical alignments and numerological formulae have been proposed as pertaining to this date, though none have been accepted by mainstream scholarship. Some say that 2012 may mark the beginning of a new era, while others suggest that the 2012 date marks the end of the world as we know it.

   In subsequent issues we’ll pull apart astronomical aspects of the underpinnings of these proposals and predictions.

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January Wolf Moon [Cyndi Lavin]

January Wolf 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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Full moon reveals fruition of our goals

Carola Eastwood

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

   This full moon in Cancer, opposite the Sun in Capricorn, provides an interplay of favorable, empowering energies with the challenge to make striking, wholesale changes that have the ability to move us to take action where needed to implement our new vision or goals and the power to ignite lasting transformation.

   See Carola’s Planetary Cycles article for the full read on this Full Moon and for her Blueprint for the New Year. 

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. www.HumanDesignForUsAll.com.

Full moon in Cancer – Coming Home

Molly Hall

Here’s a brief excerpt from Molly’s Full Moon article this month at About.com:

   The first full Moon of 2012 is in the oceanic, feeling sign of Cancer. If there are gaps between your true feelings and the pressure to repress or hide them, the dam breaks at the Full Moon. This can be a shocking experience, but can also lead to more emotional authenticity. This is a time for great growth in relationships, with raw truths exposed and integrated, and relief as a new ground settles that feels truer, without needing to pretend to feel something you don’t.

Full Moon in Cancer, the sign of Mama, belonging, family intimacy and emotional nourishment.

(See Molly’s full article “Full Moon in Cancer – Coming Home” for more insights.)

Robert Wilkinson — “Harmonious Tides of Efficiency”

Here is a summary of Robert’s Full Moon page for this month:

   This Full Moon has extremely favorable aspect activity, showing harmony of understanding across many life areas, as well as steady growth. Tend to your sense of humor as you are educated about new life realms. From here the pulses accelerate the pace, so be precise and clear as you live a new set of life standards!

   This is just a brief intro to a rather extensive article. If you like detailed astrology, take a peek at Robert’s full article “Harmonious Tides of Efficiency and Unique Blessings Helping Us Make Progress” for much more detail.

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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 February, here’s wishing you and yours a month of blessings.

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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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