There’s usually one full moon per month, unless there’s a blue moon (a second full moon within a single calendar month).
Every full moon has its own name. In July, the full moon is called the Buck Moon.
This tradition of naming the full moons goes back to the early Native American tribes. For people who didn’t rely on the Julian or Gregorian calendars, the lunar cycles helped to keep track of time. Seasonal weather, harvests, tribe activities, flora, and fauna inspired the names of the full moons.
The Buck Moon is also sometimes referred to as the Stag Moon, Thunder Moon, Raspberry Moon, Salmon Moon, or Hay Moon.
When Is the Full Buck Moon?
This year, the Buck Moon will reach its peak on Monday, July 3, 2023 at 7:39 a.m. ET.
The 2023 Buck Moon also happens to be a supermoon! It will be the first supermoon in a series of four this year. (Learn more about supermoons and how they affect the spiritual energy of your lunar rituals.)
Buck Moon Meaning: Why Is It Called a Buck Moon?
The Buck Moon received its name for the time of year when a buck’s antlers are developing.
Young male deer being to grow pedicles when they reach four or five months old. Also known as “button bucks,” pedicles look like small, hairy bumps that serve as the base for the antler.
Once a buck reaches maturity around a year old, it will grow true antlers from the pedicle. All male deer follow a yearly cycle of shedding their antlers in the spring and regrowing them through the summer.
New antlers are coated in velvety fur as they start to push out of the forehead. Young males grow their antlers at a rate of about 3/4 inch per week, while mature adults can grow their antlers faster at about 1 1/2 inches per week. By the time July’s full moon rises, the bucks have partially grown their antlers.
By the end of summer, the antlers harden and the velvety coating dries up, then falls off. The hardened antlers are essential for the fall breeding season when males are competing for females.
The alternative names for the full Buck Moon can be attributed to the raspberry and hay harvests, the salmon migration, and a season of strong thunderstorms fueled by summer heat and humidity.
Buck Moon Spiritual Meaning
The Buck Moon represents a time of personal growth. It’s no surprise when you look at the symbolism of growth and maturity as bucks adorn their antlers.
The Buck Moon brings a buzz of energy. Even though the days are starting to get shorter now, summer is still in full swing with hot, sunny days, blooming flowers, and the upcoming harvest. The garden is yielding fruits and vegetables for our tables.
All of this climactic energy can feel overwhelming, but the full Buck Moon also reminds us to let go of things in order to make room for all of the new growth.
When setting your intentions, consider what might be hindering your growth or causing you pain. What is stopping you from flourishing? What’s stifling your creativity? What do you need to change or remove from your life in order to prosper?
Altar Tips, Colors, & Crystals for the Buck Moon
Common altar colors for the Buck Moon are based on summer’s finery — gold, green, blue, and yellow. You can also coordinate candle colors to match your Buck Moon altar and reflect the root goals of your intention-setting ritual.
Seasonal flowers are always an excellent addition to the altar as well, plus stones, shells, fossils, and other scavenged items. If you find naturally-shed antlers in the woods, they would be perfect for your display!
Ideal crystals to complement the spiritual energy of the Buck Moon:
- Moonstone – new beginnings, fertility, intuition, lunar/feminine energy
- Selenite – purification, cleansing, protection, a symbol of light, ties to the moon
- Moss Agate – restoration, healing, rebirth, a connection with earth and plants
- Obsidian – strength, stabilization, grounding, alleviating fear (black tourmaline and onyx are also good alternatives)
- Labradorite – connect with the psyche, dreams, creative muses, spiritual awakening
- Amethyst – spiritual protection, insight, self-reflection, shadow work
- Smoky quartz – grounding, emotional calmness, stress relief
- Clear quartz – healing, peace, cleansing the mind and aura, divination
- Fire quartz – represents your inner fire, clears fear and doubt, relieves anxiety, revitalizes
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Buck Moon Ritual Ideas for a Solitary Witch
If the weather is nice, try to spend time outside connecting with nature. Feel the grass between your toes as you watch the Buck Moon rise. Touch stones, dig your fingers into the earth, let the smell fill your nose. Pay attention to the life in motion around you. Breathe slowly and let your body realign itself with nature’s tune. There are genuine health benefits to earthing (also known as grounding) as your body transfers electrons with direct skin-to-earth contact. If you need to keep your hands busy, pick flowers and weave grasses into little wreaths. Listen to the sounds in your garden.
Speaking of the garden… check out SeedsNOW for organic, non-GMO seeds. Short on growing space? The Garden Tower Project is a vertical gardening solution that composts waste to feed your plants while taking up only a little room.
With everything blooming and growing and coming to fruition, this is an excellent time to write down your thoughts in a journal. How close are you to reaching your goals? Are you on track, or do you need to push yourself farther out of your comfort zone to make progress? Plan those steps. Let the Buck Moon remind you to focus on personal growth.
This moon can sometimes feel chaotic in the middle of summer, so if its energy is overwhelming, take some time to meditate, clear your mind, and focus inward. Consulting runes or tarot/oracle decks can help you gain your bearings.
A ritualistic bath would also be a good idea if you need extra help relaxing. (Hemlock Park has an amazing collection of natural bath soaks, bombs, organic soaps, spa sets, and crystal candles. Plus, they partnered with One Tree Planted, so for every order placed, a tree is planted to help with reforestation. It’s a wonderful company I highly recommend!)
Remember, however you celebrate the full moon is completely up to you and on your own schedule. There is no right or wrong way; just do what feels best for you.
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A monthly subscription box is a fantastic way to celebrate the full moon! See my top witchy/spiritual box recommendations.
For more information on full moons, see the 2023 full moon calendar with names, dates, and meanings here.
Award-winning fantasy author, freelance writer, spiritual explorer, and sole founder of Green Witch Lunar Witch. She created her first website in 2016 and published her first novel two years later. Sara spends most of her time writing, creating, and daydreaming.