Did you know there’s at least one full moon every single month? Each moon has a name thanks to early Native American tribes, who christened the moons based on the seasons. Some moons reflect the active fauna or blooming flora, while others reference tribal activities such as the hunting or harvesting.
December’s full moon is commonly called the Cold Moon. Other names include the Long Night’s Moon or the Winter’s Maker Moon.
When Is the Cold Moon?
The Cold Moon falls in December. It comes after the Beaver Moon, when the settlers would set their traps before the ponds and rivers froze, and before the Wolf Moon, when haunting howls of the wolf packs carried across the frozen midwinter landscape.
This year, the Cold Moon will reach its peak brightness on December 7, 2022 at 11:08 p.m. EST. This is the last full moon of the year, and it will illuminate one of the longest nights as we approach the winter solstice before we shift back toward the light half of the year.
Cold Moon Meaning: Why Is It Called a Cold Moon?
Depending on the region, the first blanket of snow has usually settled over the landscape by the time this full moon makes its appearance. The leaves have fallen, and even if the first snowfall has yet to come, the first frost has passed.
The celebration of Yule and the winter solstice occurs in December, marking the shortest day of the year. With winter’s official arrival on the solstice and the longest night of the year, the Cold Moon was aptly named for the season in the Northern Hemisphere.
Cold Moon Spiritual Meaning
What does the Cold Moon mean to us on a spiritual level? Depending on the year, this moon arrives either right before or right after the winter solstice. We find beauty in the seemingly dead landscape, be it the everlasting green of the holly and pine, or the unique shape of seed pods left in the garden, or the glitter of frost and snow beneath the Cold Moon.
Take time to slow down and appreciate every step forward you’ve made this year. Now is a time for reflection and rest. Just as the Earth and its creatures are hibernating, this is your time to recharge.
Be calm. Be grateful. Find the light in the depths of the long nights, and if you can’t find it, light a candle and bring your own light to the darkness. Soon enough, it will be a new year and a time to set new intentions.
Remember that a tree can’t keep growing indefinitely; it needs time to rest before its next big push come spring, and so do you. Meditate. Quiet your mind. Reflect.
How to Honor the Cold Moon: Altar Tips, Colors, Crystals, & Ritual Ideas
The Cold Moon reminds us to look beneath the surface. Beyond the death and decay, the cold and frozen crust, the deepening shadows… there is life within. Sit with the stillness. Introspection is a powerful tool.
This is especially important if you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed with the holiday season. Let the Cold Moon serve as a reminder to stop, breathe, and set aside some time for self-care. A ritualistic bath is a good way to relax. (I highly recommend candles and bath sets from Hemlock Park, a certified carbon-neutral company that uses organic ingredients and plants a tree for every purchase.)
If the weather isn’t too bad, step outside into the moonlight. Let the cold, crisp air revitalize you. Hopefully the sky is clear so you can take some time to admire the moon and stars.
Exploring your shadows can be an uncomfortable experience; let the light of the moon guide you through it. Be patient and compassionate with yourself if you’re examining your trauma, fear, anxiety, grief, or other unpleasant feelings. If you need extra support, reach out to a friend, family member, or therapist.
For your altar, the best colors for the Cold Moon are white, silver, red, and green (also great candle colors to use). Fire is always a powerful symbol when it comes to rituals, although string lights can be a good substitute if you don’t want open flames in your home.
Crystals that resonate well with the Cold Moon’s spiritual energy and symbolism are citrine, garnet, labradorite, and tourmaline.
Scavenged items from nature make great altar decorations. You might spend some time outdoors collecting pinecones, holly or pine sprigs, dried seed pods, stones, etc. Another good altar addition would be food items such as dried fruits, cinnamon, nuts, wassail, currants, and candy canes.
The Cold Moon is a wonderful time to seek wisdom and guidance from runes and tarot/oracle cards. You might consider adding heirlooms and talismans to your altar decor. Take plenty of time to meditate on what the runes or cards are telling you.
In the end, remember that whether you practice your craft in solidarity or as part of a coven, do whatever rituals feel right for you. Listen to your mind, body, and soul. What are they telling you? Let the energy of the Cold Moon guide you through the lessons you need to learn.
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For more information on full moons, see the 2022 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.