Seasonal Observations: The Hunter’s Moon

Moon rising over Pemberton. Photo by Gary Martin via

Moon rising over Pemberton. Photo by Gary Martin via

Tonight’s full moon, (the full moon that follows the autumn equinox) is called, according to the Farmers Almanac,  the “Hunter’s Moon”, or Blood Moon or Sanguine Moon.

Chinese lore also describes this moon as the Kindly Moon, reports the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, and the Lakota Sioux called it the Moon When Quilling and Beading Were Done. Another medicine wheel identifies it as the “Ducks Fly Moon.”


Whether the name originated from early settlers, “country people” or Algonquin native americans is up for debate, but NASA’s Tony Phillips argues the logic at Science@NASA :  “Hunters … tracked and killed their prey by autumn moonlight, stockpiling food for the winter ahead. You can picture them: Silent figures padding through the forest, the moon overhead, pale as a corpse, its cold light betraying the creatures of the wood.”

According to the Farmers Almanac, this is a special feast moon.

Probably because of the threat of winter looming close, the Hunter’s Moon is generally accorded with special honor, historically serving as an important feast day in both Western Europe and among many Native American tribes.

As good a reason as any to gather around the table, enjoy a plate of food in good company, appreciate all that we have, and watch the moon rise.


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