Saturday, 5 October 2013

October's full moon names: hunter's moon, blood moon

October’s Full moon

October’s full moon is often referred to as the hunter’s moon. October was traditionally a very good time for hunting meat to store during the cold days ahead. The last of the harvest had been gathered so our hunter-gatherer ancestors could turn their full attention to hunting. With all the crops cut down and the laves falling from the trees, hunting was much easier at this time of year as the prey had less places to hide.

Like the September full moon the hunter’s moon is a particularly bright one and lingers in the sky for longer. When a full moon occurs close to the autumnal equinox, the moon rises only about 30 minutes later daily for several days before and after the full Harvest moon. This is because the elliptic, or orbital path, makes a narrow angle with the evening horizon around the time of the autumn equinox. The narrow angle of the ecliptic results in a shorter than normal rising time between sunset and moonrise. This meant that there was a longer time for the hunter’s to make the most of the brightness and catch the food that would be needed.

The Blood Moon may take it’s name from hunting or harvest sacrifices. In fact, October or Octem, was the eighth month in the oldest Roman calendar. It marked the of the custom of killing and salting down livestock before the winter months made it impossible to feed all of them. Only the best stock was saved for next year and for breeding thus there would have been a lot of killing at this time on the full moon calendar.
This Moon has also been known as the Blood Moon, Sanguine Moon, Travel Moon, Dying Grass Moon, Moon of Falling Leaves, Moon When the Water Freezes, Blood Moon, Leaf Fall Moon, Basket Moon, Big Wind Moon, Blood Moon, Shedding Moon, Winterfelleth (Winter Coming), Windermanoth (Vintage Month), Ten Colds Moon and the Moon of the Changing Seasons.

The Cherokee name for the October full Moon was Dunin(i)di. This is the time of the “Harvest Festival” Nowatequa. The tribes give thanks to all the living things of the fields and earth that helped them live, and to the “Apportioner”  Unethlana. Cheno i-equa or “Great New Moon” Festival is customarily held at this time. Ritual fasting would be observed seven days prior to the festival and then a feast would take place with friends and family to celebrate this full moon.
Other names for the October full moon concentrate on events happening in the natural world at this time. Thus we see names such as leaf fall moon as the trees lose their leaves, and Moon when the water freezes as this is often the first moon in the year that sees temperatures drop below freezing.


  1. Wonderful and informative post, Alison! Being that part of my heritage is Cherokee, I loved learning what they called the October full moon...thank you~~~


  2. Wow lucky you to have such a wonderful heritage, love hearing about the tribe, we can learn a lot from their closeness to mother earth and understanding of her xxx