Every month has at least one full moon, and each moon has a name. Early Native American tribes christened each moon based on the seasons. Some moons reflect the active fauna or blooming flora, while others reference tribal activities such as the harvest season.
December’s full moon is commonly called the Cold Moon or the Long Night’s Moon.
When Is the Cold Moon?
The Cold Moon falls in mid or late 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 packs carried across the frozen midwinter landscape.
This year, the Cold Moon will reach its peak brightness on Saturday, December 18, 2021 at 11:37 p.m. EST. This is the last full moon of the year, and it will illuminate one of the longest nights before we shift back toward the light half of the year.
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.
How to Honor the Cold Moon
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.
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For more information on full moons, see the 2022 full moon calendar with names, dates, and meanings here.
Last updated: December 11, 2021