The word January comes from the Roman name for this month; it was named after the god Janus who had two faces. This deity ruled over beginnings and endings, the past and future. Since January is reckoned as the first month of a new year, this connection with the god Janus is appropriate. It is an excellent time to work on putting aside the old and outdated in one’s personal life and making plans for new and better conditions.
Correspondences for January:
- Nature Spirits: gnomes, brownies
- Herbs: marjoram, holy thistle, nuts and cones
- Colors: brilliant white, blue-violet, black
- Flowers: snowdrop, crocus
- Scents: musk, mimosa
- Stones: garnet, onyx, jet, chrysoprase
- Trees: birch
- Animals: fox, coyote
- Birds: pheasant, blue jay
- Deities: Freyja, Inanna, Sarasvati, Hera, Ch’ang-O, Sinn
Power flow: sluggish; below the surface; A good time for spell work having to do with beginning and conceiving; protection; reversing spells; conserving energy by working on personal problems that involve no one else; getting your various bodies to work smoothly together for the same goals.
January Celebrations and Rituals:
The Chinese use the concept of putting aside the old and outdated in one’s personal life and making plans for new and better conditions in celebrating their New Year, which occurs on the first day of the New Moon when the Sun is in Aquarius. They considered this celebration a time for settling debts, honoring ancestors, and having family reunions. They carry paper images of dragons through the streets and set off fireworks to chase away evil entities and misfortune.
Tsao-Wang was the Chinese kitchen god or deity of the hearth and domestic comfort; his picture hung above the stove. He was the protector of the family and recorder of their actions and words. His report at the end of each year to the Heavenly Jade Emperor was said to determine the family’s coming fortune. Because of this, the Chinese burned the old picture-image and put up a new one a few days before New Year. His wife had the task of reporting on female family members.
Even the people of Tibet, whose year began about the end of January, had a celebration for expelling the Old Year. They made a dough image for the demons to inhabit, then worshiped them for seven days. At the end of that period, they took the image outside the village to a crossroad and abandoned it. The idea behind this seems to have been that the negative beings who had accumulated during the Old Year, received recognition for their existence, but also received a firm statement, by the action of leaving their image outside the village, that they were not welcome to hang around.
Most cultures had some ceremony for ending an old cycle of the calendar and celebrating the beginning of a new cycle. Physical activity acknowledging the end and beginning of cycles sets off similar changes in the subconscious mind. This change in the subconscious is necessary in order for actual physical changes to come about. Such rituals are helpful when one faces the end of cycles in relationships, career, residence, or other life situations.During the Feast of Kore, which was held at night with much feasting and dramatics, a group of initiates bearing torches went down into the goddess’s underground chamber. With much ceremony and reverence, they brought out the wooden statue of Kore, naked except for her golden jewelry. The statue was placed on a decorated litter and carried seven times around the temple. The Greeks considered that the number seven brought luck and success.
The Incan festival of Camay Quilla was held at the New Moon.
The Seven Deities of Luck in Japan were honored during a three-day festival called San-ga-nichi. To avoid good luck being swept away, there was no sweeping during this festival. These Seven Deities are also called Shichi Fukujin or Shichi-Kukujin, which means “Seven Gods of Happiness.” There are six gods and one goddess that make up this little group. They sail about in a treasure ship called a takarabune.
A branch of the plum-tree placed over the door at New Year’s is very luck bringing, as the tree is so beautiful and fruitful.
The orange is placed over the door in Japan on New Year’s day so that the family shall continue perpetually, and generation after generation shall follow each other like the buds, flowers, and fruit.
Cook cabbage on New Year’s day and you will have good luck all the year.
Decorated apples stuck on three skewers are exchanged for luck on New Year’s day in Great Britain.
It is lucky to have the last glass from the last bottle of wine on New Year’s.
At Bromyard, England, at midnight, December 31st, a rush is made to the nearest well or spring of water, and he who gets the first drink of it, “the cream of the well,” will have fine luck all the coming year.
The last glass of wine or spirits drained on New Year’s eve is called the “Lucky Glass,” and whoever is fortunate enough to get it, will be successful during the coming year.
In Japan oranges are hung up on New Year’s day as a charm to insure the long life of the family.
Just before midnight on New Year’s eve, the Chinese put on new or clean garments so as to enter the new year purely, and thus gain good fortune to themselves.
On New Year’s eve at Biggar, Lanarkshire, a large bonfire of thornbush is lit and kept burning all night, and the boys jump over it for luck during the year.
A present of money given in China at the end of the old year is an auspicious omen for the new year.
Money presents from members of a household to each other are strung on a red string as a symbol of joy.
New Year’s night quiet and clear indicates a prosperous year.
The Chinese think New Year’s day is the luckiest of the year.
If you leave a glass of wine standing between eleven and twelve on New Year’s night, and it runs over, the vintage will be good that year.
The Chinese say that if a man sits up for ten years in succession and sees the New Year come in, that he will have a very long life.
It is lucky to rise early on New Year’s morning.
If a person receives money on New Year’s day, it is a good omen, for they say that he or she will continue to do so all the year.
If the first carol singer who comes to the door on New Year’s morning, is brought in at the front door, taken all through the house, and let out at the back door, it will bring luck to the house for a year.
The Europeans as well as the Japanese hang the “lucky bag,” a square of white paper tied with a red and white string, over their gates on New Year’s day for luck.
If you put a coin into the spout of a pump on New Year’s eve, and bring it into the house the instant the clock has struck twelve, you will have a prosperous year.
The Germans have a superstition that if you serve “Hopping John” (peas and rice boiled together) at dinner on New Year’s day, you will be lucky all the year.
In China a small white cock is killed on New Year’s day, to bring good luck for the coming year.
It brings good luck to place a piece of money on the window on New Year’s eve.
A triangular cake, filled with mince meat, was formerly baked, and bits of it fed on New Year’s day to the cattle in Coventry, England, for good luck.
It is said to bring good luck through the year if you place a diamond, or a gold or silver coin, in a glass of water and drink of the water the first drink you take on New Year’s morning.
Feed the birds well on New Year’s morning by placing a sheaf of wheat or barley or some bread outside your house, then good luck will attend you, and good crops and prosperity come to you during the whole year.
To have peas for dinner on New Year’s day is said to bring money all the year.
The inhabitants of Heligoland have a custom on New Year’s eve to perambulate the streets with broken pots and pans which they place before their friends’ doors, and the man who has the largest heap is the luckiest and most popular.
For fishermen to draw blood with hook or gun on New Year’s morning is to insure a plentiful year.
It is considered good luck in England to sand the steps on New Year’s day.
On New Year’s eve the Chinese tie small gourds around the children’s necks as a safe-guard against the small pox. Some Chinese put paper masks on their children on New Year’s eve, believing that the small-pox god will pass them by, and not recognize them.
In Germany it is said that the person who eats millet and herring on New Year’s day, will never be wanting of money during the year. Others eat seven or eight kinds of cake, one of them made of powdered poppy seed mixed with flour and water, in order to insure prosperity during the new year.
In the neighborhood of Gorlitz and in the Ukermark, on New Year’s eve, straw bands are placed under the table and the guests rest their feet upon them; and afterwards they are taken out into the orchard and bound around the trees, so that they will bear well the next year. (German.)
In Turkey, on New Year’s Day, every stranger entering the house must throw salt on the fire for luck.
At midnight on New Year’s eve the Japanese father dressed in his richest attire sword in hand or sabre in his girdle, and with a box of roasted beans in his left hand, goes alone all through the house with his right hand scattering the wonderful beans around, saying: “Avaunt demons! Begone devils! Enter Fortune! Come in Prosperity!” This causes the evil spirits to leave.
The teacher in China who must send poems on New Year’s day to the parents of his pupils, sits on New Year’s eve writing them with a dish of rice and a vase of flowers before him on the table, these offerings to the sun causing him to write better rhymes.
To receive a letter containing good news on New Year’s day, is a sign of good news coming all the year.
“He who is born on New-Year’s morn
Will have his own way as sure as you’re born.”
In one locality in England, bands of straw were put under the feet on New Year’s day while at table. When the meal was finished, one person got under the table and another one sat on his back and drew out the bands of straw. These were taken to the orchard and bound around trees, which were thereby insured to bear a full crop of fruit the next year.
Place a gold coin on the threshold when you lock your door on New Year’s eve and take it off in the morning when the Church bell rings; you will then have money to spend all the year.
On New Year’s day cakes called “Poplady” were eaten for luck. They rudely resembled the human figure with two dried currants or raisins for eyes, and another to represent the mouth; the lower part being formed somewhat like the case of an Egyptian mummy. This cake is no doubt a relic of Egyptian or Roman superstition.
New Year’s night is celebrated in Hungary, the same as in most other countries, by much shouting and boisterousness generally. This is kept up all night, until daylight; to scare bad luck and evil spirits away, they say.
In Madagascar New Year’s is celebrated with much feasting and sacrificial killing of oxen takes place.
Chinese custom requires that every boy who calls on his neighbors or relatives on New Year’s day, should receive a couple of loose-skinned oranges, or he is considered shamefully treated. The name of orange means luck, fortune, and auspiciousness.
On New Year’s eve while the clock is striking twelve, repeat three times: “Good Saint Anne, good Saint Anne, send me a man as fast as you can,” and you will become engaged within a year.
At the beginning of the New Year in Natal, a ceremony is performed by the chief by spurting from his mouth a mixture of the New Year’s fruits in different directions as if upon his enemies. After this ceremony it is lawful for the people to eat the New Year’s fruits. They are only eaten by stealth before.
It was a custom of the Jews to serve up sheep’s head on New Year’s at their chief entertainment, as a mystical representation of the ram offered in sacrifice for Isaac. When a family or company sat down to this repast, each person took a piece of bread and dipping it in honey, said, “May this year be sweet and fruitful.”
In several parts of Belgium it is customary for the people to make waffles on New Year’s day. Around Liege the first waffle is crossformed or cut cross-wise, and placed on the chimney-piece as a New Year’s gift to the crucifix. It is believed that this waffle or cake is blessed; it does not rot and a small piece given to a sick man or beast makes them recover.
An old New Year’s custom which is still observed in some of the northern counties of England, is called “Going about with a vessel cup.” Poor women and girls desirous of obtaining charity take two dolls, representing the Virgin Mother and Infant Jesus, and go about from house to house during the week before New Year’s singing a quaint old carol and at its conclusion presenting for the receipt of alms a small cup, which is known as a “vessel cup.” To turn one of these vessel cup singers unrequited from your door is to forfeit all good health and good fortune for the approaching new year.
In Westmoreland and Cumberland early in the morning of New Year’s the “Taex Populi” assemble carrying stangs (long poles) and baskets. Every inhabitant or stranger who falls into the hands of this ruffian band will be sacrificed to their favorite Saint; a man is mounted on a stang, a woman is basketed, and carried shoulder high to the nearest balance and weighed. None are allowed to follow their accustomed occupations on this day.
In Guria in Asiatic Russia, the New Year is prepared for a month before the time comes; the people pen up poultry, turkeys, ducks and geese; but the chief animal for food is the pig which is fatted up a month before and killed two or three days before New Year’s. Continue reading
“Twelfth-day” is the twelfth day after Christmas, or Epiphany, occurring on the 6th of January. It is a festival of the Christian church in commemoration of the manifestation of Christ by the star which guided the magi to Bethlehem. “Twelfth-night” is the eve of Epiphany, when many social festivities and superstitious rites were observed. “Twelfth-tide” is the time or festival of twelfth-day. “The Twelfths” are the twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany. Epiphany is also called “Little Christmas,” being the social festival which brings the merry-makings of the Christmas cycle to an end.
A special cake, called “Twelfthcake,” is prepared for the festivities on twelfth-night. A bean or a coin is baked into it, and, the cake being divided by lot, whoever draws the slice containing it is entitled to preside as king or queen over the festivities. This custom is a relic of the old Roman festival of the Saturnalia, at the close of which the Roman children drew lots with beans to see who would be king.
A series of cards, called “Twelfth-night cards,” representing different characters such as king, queen, minister, maids of honor, or ludicrous or grotesque personages, were distributed among the guests, who had to assume the respective characters during the festivities.
A curious custom is the annual cutting of the Baddeley cake at Drury Lane Theater, London, on Twelfth-night. William Baddeley, the last actor to wear the uniform of “His Majesty’s Servants,” left £100 in bank stock, the income from which was to buy a Twelfthcake, with wine and punch, which the ladies and gentlemen were requested “to partake on every Twelfth-night in the great greenroom.”
The Devonshire farmers have an old custom of wassailing the fruit trees on the eve of Twelfth-day. They proceed with their servants, who carry large pitchers or milk pails filled with cider, to their orchards. Here one tree is selected as representative of the rest, and saluted with certain incantations; cakes are dipped in the cider and hung up on the branches, and the tree is sprinkled with the cider. They all dance merrily around it and afterward return home to feast. This is done in order that the trees should bear more fruit.
“Wassail the trees that they may bear
You many a plum and many a pear;
For more or less fruits they will bring
As you do give them wassailing.”
On twelfth-day in Ireland, they set up a sieve of oats as high as they can and in it a dozen candles. In the center is a larger one, all lighted, so as to have luck all the year.
In Styria, Austria, Epiphany is commonly called St. Bertha’s day, and it is believed that the devil is abroad in great force on that St. Bertha’s night. If one makes on that night a magic circle, and stands therein holding elder-berries gathered on St. John’s night, one would obtain the magic fern-seed which will come wrapped in a chalice cloth, and confer on one the strength of thirty or forty men.
On Epiphany, or as it is called in Bohemia, “Three Kings’ Day,” the festival of the three wise men who visited the Infant Saviour, three crosses should be made on every door, not only of the house but on the stables, pens and coops, to keep witches away. Bonfires are made at night and brooms are thrown as high as possible, all on fire, to represent the burning and the scattering of the witches. But beware that you do not point at one of the flying brooms! One of the fiery darts will pierce your finger.
When Queen Elizabeth visited Sudely Castle, Gloucestershire, about 300 years ago, on twelfthnight, “drawing the bean and pea” took place in her presence. No reason is given for the introduction of the bean and pea into the twelfth-cake, but Brand takes us to the ancient Greeks for the bean, and it may have been used on account of its mystic meaning. It was not allowed to be used for food by any of the disciples of Pythagoras lest it should be a receptacle of a departed soul, to eat which would be as impious as eating human flesh.
In Macedonia, on the 6th of January, which commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ, a cross is thrown into the river by the priests and dived for by the men. Sick children are dipped into the water for healing. Some of this holy water, which is considered to have medicinal value, is carried home by the people, and health is insured to all who wash in it. In Kavadartsy, some of this water is used to make new leaven for the bread, and some is also thrown into the well. In Monastir straw dipped into this holy water, is wrapped around the trunks of trees to make them fruitful.
On the eve of Epiphany, the Albanians also roll a round cake to the middle of the vineyard, and then distribute it in bits for the ravens, crows, and other birds, saying: “Assemble, oh ravens, oh crows, and eat, so that we may eat and drink and you do us no harm.” This will so appeal to the honor of the birds that they will not touch the vines.
In Bohemia, the inscription “three kings” is made upon the door of the chief room of the house from the inside, every year on the 6th of January, “Three Kings’ Day” by the priest, teacher, or sexton of the town, with a blessed crayon or chalk, in the form of C x M x B x 1899 (or whatever year it may be), which means the names of Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, the three wise men who paid court to the Infant Jesus. This inscription protects the house from evil spirits and prevents them entering the rooms. It also brings blessings to the inhabitants. This we find of course only in Catholic families, and none of their domiciles are without it. The priest blesses the chalk for the believers, that they make inscriptions also upon the doors of their stables and barns to repel all witchcraft and magic that might do harm to the cattle or crops.
More Epiphany and Twelfth Night Lore:
- Brooms bound during the twelfths protect against witchcraft.
- Do no threshing in the twelfths, or all the corn within hearing will be spoiled.
- If cattle are fed with stolen kale (a kind of cabbage) during the twelfths, they will come to no harm.
- Whatever is dreamed during the twelfths will come to pass in the twelve months of the year.
- If a broken arm is bound five or six times round with thread spun in the twelfths, it will speedily become sound.
- In the twelfths magpies should be shot and burnt to a powder, which is good for the ague.
- Those who wear linen made from yarn spun during the twelfths will be devoured by wolves.
- No moth will come into yarn spun during the twelfths.
- If hens are fattened with peas during the twelfths, they will lay many eggs.
- At twelfth day the days are lengthened a cock’s stride.
- In the country between Hamelin and Mindcn and in other places, it is believed that no dung should be taken out of the cow house during the twelfths, else the cattle will be sick the following year.
- He who steals on twelfth-night, can steal safely for a year.
- If you eat peas or beans on twelfth-night, you will fall sick.
- On the twelfth-night the dead walk, and on every tile of the house a soul is sitting waiting for your prayers to take it out of Purgatory.
- If in the twelve-nights neither master nor man bring fresh-blackened shoes into the stables, the cattle will be bewitched.
- On twelfth-night in Scotland a board is covered with cow’s dung, candles set in it, and sprinkled with ash to make them light easily. They are then lighted, each being named for someone present, and as each dies, so will the life of the owner.
- In the “Book of Precedents,” published in London in 1616, we read that the 6th of January was five times lucky for Charles, Duke of Anjou, and equally lucky for the Earl of Sunderland.
- If a Danish girl wishes to see her future husband, she must repeat the following verse before going to bed on the eve of Epiphany: “Ye three holy kings to you I pray, That ye to-night will let me see, Whose cloth I shall spread, Whose bed I shall make, Whose name I shall bear, Whose bride I shall be.”
- Be sure for luck’s sake to spin off all the distaffs on the morrow after twelfth-day.
- The twelve days after Christmas make the almanac for the year.
- Tis thus believed in Trinity Bay, New Bedford, Mass., and Nova Scotia. In Nova Scotia it is said that the first seven days of January foretell the first seven months of the year.
- Those who do not spin in the twelfths may not wind on the 13th. (North Germany)
- In Transylvania whoever dies on the feast of Epiphany, is considered lucky.
- On the eve of Epiphany, the Albanians sprinkle the grapevines with holy water, believing that this will induce them to bear well.
There is a lot of lore and superstition surrounding the New Year. What follows is an extensive listing of what NOT to do, and what to avoid at all costs on this most powerful day of the year:
- New Year’s day was one of ill omen to the ancient Egyptians.
- It is unlucky to have clothes hanging on the line when the New Year is born.
- If a person in deep mourning pays you a call on New Year’s day, a member of your family will die before the year is out.
- In Northern Yorkshire, people will not allow anyone to light a candle from the fire on New Year’s day, so afraid are they to “carry fire to fire.”
- The Chinese believe a Buddhist priest to be the first to enter a house on New Year’s morning is even worse than to have a woman first enter it.
- Burn all the visiting cards that have been received throughout the year on the first of January. If you keep them from year to year you will have bad luck.
- If you have not provided yourself with a calendar before the New Year comes in, you will be behindhand in all your undertakings during the year. (Massachusetts.)
- If you eat apples on New Year’s day it will produce abcesses.
- Some people believe that if you put on clean linen on New Year’s day, you will have sores come on your skin.
- On New Year’s day no one must utter the words that indicate death in any form, especially the word “shi” itself, lest the invitation be accepted. (Chinese.)
- The Chinese believe it very bad luck not to pay all of his outstanding accounts on the last day of the year, and begin fresh and straight on New Year’s day.
- If a creditor makes a disturbance in the house of a debtor on New Year’s Day it is considered a most unlucky omen for the future prosperity of the debtor. (China.)
- It is bad luck in China to spend money the first three days of the year, except for candies and refreshments.
- If one sneezes on New Year’s eve while preparing for bed, it is a sign of misfortune during the coming year. (China.)
- It is a sure sign of strife and debates among the learned, and of many robberies to happen during the year, if the new year is ushered in with very red clouds.
- A corpse in the house on New Year’s day is the sign of another death to follow soon.
- The throwing of coal-dust or soot instead of lime before a door on New Year’s day, betokens gloom and bad luck. (Malta.)
- When the wind blows on New Year’s night, it is a sign of pestilence.
- “If you wash clothes on New-Year’s day, you’ll be sure to wash a friend away.”
- It is unlucky to sow on New Year’s day.
- Spend on New Year, spend all the year.
- It is very unlucky to refuse a beggar anything on New Year’s day, or to refuse a request of any kind.
- A sudden noise on New Year’s night foretells the death of an inmate.
- To meet a priest before any other male on New Year’s day, is a sign of death during the year; if a policeman, litigation is sure to follow.
- It is unlucky to have a flat-footed person enter the house first of any one on New Year’s day. (Folk Lore of Northern Countries.)
- It is an omen of ill luck if a redhaired woman enters a house on New Year’s morning.
- If the first man you speak to on New Year’s morning has his hands in his pockets, you will have a hard time getting what money you want during the year.
- Among the Highlanders, if a black and threatening cloud appears on New Year’s eve, it is looked upon as a forerunner of some dire calamity to the country or to the family estate over which it appears to hang.
- French flax is put on the spindle New Year’s eve in many parts of Germany. None must be spun then, as it would be bad for the year’s spinning.
- It is unlucky to have the fire go out on New Year’s day.
- It is unlucky to eat anything green on New Year’s day.
- In Hesna, it is unlucky to eat an apple on New Year’s day.
- In the rural districts of Cornwall, it is unlucky, if a female is the first to enter a house on New Year’s morning.
- In some of the northern countries of Scotland, it is considered unlucky to enter a person’s house on New Year’s day empty.
- In Scotland, nothing that could be washed on the last night of the year was left unclean. Even the walls were whitewashed inside, lest misfortune should fall upon the family.
- To break a white lamp-globe on New Year’s day is a sure sign that you will experience great financial losses during the year.
- To break a colored lamp-globe on New Year’s day is a sign of the death of a near relative during the year.
- The Chinese think it unlucky to allude to any possible misfortune on New Year’s day.
- It is unlucky to take ashes out of the house on New Year’s day.
And last but not least:
In Malta, a superstitious dread still attaches to some one of the family keeping absent at dinner time on New Year’s day. He who doesn’t dine with his family on New Year’s day is expected to die at the end of that same year. It is also said in Malta that he who eats hotch-potch soup on New Year’s day is to gnaw the ham bones all the rest of the year; and that those who eat cabbage on New Year’s day will groan for a whole year.
January starts the year with a plethora of fun, frolicsome festivity. The new year in particular is celebrated by at least 170 nations. In terms of energy, January focuses on beginnings. It’s a time for personal renewal, starting any beloved project, and sustaining those things already in progress.Magic for health, protection, and prosperity is particularly augmented by working during this month. It’s also good time for spell work having to do with beginning and conceiving; protection; reversing spells; conserving energy by working on personal problems that involve no one else; getting your various bodies to work smoothly together for the same goals.
It is said that whatever the weather is like the first twelve days of January indicates what the weather will be like for the next twelve months. Each day equals one month in succession.
January Birth Signs
(Celtic, Nordic, Astrological, etc)
- Dec 22 to Jan19 – Sun in Capricorn
- Dec 22 to Jan 21 – Sign of the Carnation Flower
- Dec 23 to Jan 1 – Sign of the Apple Tree
- Dec 24 – Jan 21 – Sign of the Birch Tree
- Jan 1 to Jan 11 – Sign of the Fir Tree
- Jan 12 to Jan 24 – Sign of the Elm Tree
- Jan 21 and Feb 19 – Sign of the Orchid Flower
- Jan 21 to Feb 19 – Sun in Aquarius
- Jan 21 – Feb 17 – Sign of the Rowan Tree
- Jan 25 to Feb 3 – Sign of the Cypress Tree
January – the month of new beginnings. January was introduced into the Roman calendar by a legendary king of Rome, Numa Pompilius (c. 715 – 673 BCE), who named it in honor of Janus, the god of doors and openings, beginnings and endings.
Since January is reckoned as the first month of a new year, this connection with the god Janus is appropriate. It is an excellent time to work on putting aside the old and outdated in one’s personal life and making plans for new and better conditions.
Now is the time to go within and plan the changes you will make in the spring. Consider now what you will plant. Start a moon journal to record your lunar tides and write down your spring dreams.
- Colors: Black and white, silver
- Gemstones: Hematite
- Trees: Birch, Hazel
- Gods: Inanna, Freyja
- Herbs: Thistle, nuts and seeds, marjoram
- Element: Air
Full Moon names started with Native Americans as tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full Moon. The names actually applied to the entire month in which each occurred. There was some variation in the names based on tribes. European settlers followed that custom and created some of their own names.
Sometimes it is also referred to as the Cold Moon, Old Moon, or the Moon After Yule. Some called it the Full Snow Moon, but Wolf Moon seems most appropriate, in native cultures, because amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside their small villages, huts, and teepees. Since the lunar month is only 29 days long on the average, the full Moon dates shift from year to year.
This is a good time to work on magic related to protection, both physical and spiritual. Use this time to develop your inner self, and advance spiritually, becoming closer to the higher aspects of your deities.
More about the Full Wolf Moon
It’s been a tough month for some of us. I thought it fitting to toss out some symbolic observations about the January Wolf Moon with a goal to offer inspiration to folks facing some challenges right now.
- Lunar Symbolism:
Before blasting off into Wolf Moon symbolism, let’s take a look at lunar implications. Subtle, cunning and soft in silky shadows, the moons meanings can be slippery. But, to those who grasp moon symbolism, great insights follow. Typically feminine in archetypal understanding, the moon carries themes of cycles and fertility.
Moreover, the moon conveys a kind of creativity that is born from veiled magic. Consider the moon’s growth cycles (waxing, full, waning, new). These phases are wrought from the moon’s movement. And, the manifestation of her development is made known to us through light and shadow.
What’s the symbolic lesson here? Progress is sometimes subtle. Manifestations of evolution often occur behind the scenes, in shadow – before we “see the light” or the end-product of our vision.
When contemplating this month’s full moon and its partnership with the Wolf, we must not cram our intellect into the void. Rather, the Wolf Moon asks us to use intuitive instinct in soft ways.
The gifts of this full moon come to our senses like steam rising over sacred waters marbled with frosty stillness.
Wolf Symbolism and Wolf Moon Solutions:
Strategic, resourceful and incredibly communicative, the Wolf is a noble mentor for humankind. Wolves have specific protocol and rank within their packs. This observation is a cue to look to community for creative solutions during this full moon. Communicate with those in your pack to help you with your challenges. But don’t break taboo. If you follow specific traditions in social communication, hold to them. In fact, use this full moon to honor traditions of your heritage. Take time to honor your elders too. Tribal rituals should be heeded this time of year.
Wolves are vastly expressive. Sure, their vocalizations (baling, howling and barking) are legendary, but Wolves also have an complex system of body language and even eye contact to convey intent and current state of being. Discipline in the pack is rarely corporeal. Rather, behavior is admonished or reinforced by intricate expressions. One look from the Alpha can convey as much power as a physical blow.
There’s big medicine in this. Use this full moon to get in touch with your own modes of expression. Explore your own eye contact and body language. Examine yourself in the mirror (yes, I’m serious) as you’re talking on the phone. View yourself objectively. What are your expressions conveying? How can you modify or enhance your body language to portray more authority or power? Or, perhaps more softness and sensuality is needed. Too often we are unconscious about our eye and body movements in the scheme of social interaction. This is a great time to ponder these nuances of communication.
Wolves are also phenomenally resourceful. In fact, their resourcefulness is partly why this moon carries the Wolf moniker. January is a brutal month in the northern regions. The frigidity of winter crunches life to a stand-still in the wild. To be sure, it’s a time of “sink or swim” to all wildlife exposed to the elements this time of year.
Wolves, however, often thrive during this lean month. They are designed to handle the brutality of cold quite well. Furthermore, as Wolves are inclined to pick off weaker animals, January offers up a host of feasting options. Perhaps we can use the resourcefulness of the Wolf to reconsider our options in life. Maybe what seems bleak or lame in our life is actually an invitation for opportunity. Food for thought.
I hope these symbolic ideas about the cold Wolf Moon inspire you to take advantage of January’s lunar fullness. Take a pause on the evening of this month’s full moon to contemplate your own inner wisdom too. I bet your findings will be illuminating.
~collected from various sources, including Symbolic Meanings
What follows is a list (in alphabetical order) of the names given to the January moon. Also listed is the tradition and/or origin of that moon name:
- Avunniviayuk ~Inuit
- Big Cold Moon ~Mohawk
- Chaste Moon ~other
- Cold Meal Moon ~Natchez
- Cold Moon ~Cheokee
- Cooking Moon ~Choctaw
- Dark Moon ~Janic
- Disting Moon ~other
- Flying Ant Moon ~Apache
- Great Spirit Moon ~Anishnaabe
- Her Cold Moon ~Wishram
- Ice Moon ~San Juan, Neo-Pagan
- Icicle Moon ~Medicine Wheel
- Joyful Moon ~Hopi
- Little Winter Moon ~Creek
- Man Moon ~Taos
- Moon After Yule ~Cherokee
- Old Moon –Algonquin
- Quiet Moon ~Celtic, Janic
- Snow Moon ~other
- Storm Moon ~other
- Strong Cold Moon ~Sioux, Cheyenne
- Whirling Wind Moon ~Passamaquoddy
- Winter Moon ~Algonquin
- Wolf Moon ~Medieval English, Janic