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Moon Phase - Ladue News: Tangential Thinker

Moon Phase

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Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2012 10:30 am

Were you feeling a little strange last week? Did you suddenly have the urge to run naked through a field or go on a shopping spree? Did we experience an unusually high number of car accidents or dog bites? If so, the reason could be the notorious Worm Moon—the March full moon named by Native Americans for the time of the year when the ground begins to thaw and earthworm casts appear. I think I speak for all of us when I say, eew.

A full moon occurs approximately every 29.5 days. We all know that a blue moon is the name for the rare second full moon in a month, hence the phrase, once in a blue moon. But did you know that every full moon has a name? Most full moons are named by Native Americans for their significance to farming or hunting. The June full moon, for example, is called the Strawberry Moon, referring to the short season to harvest the fruit. Today, we would have named it the New Bride Moon or the Swimsuit Diet Moon. The November moon is called—and I kid you not—the Full Beaver Moon, which conjures up all sorts of images. It refers, of course, to the time of year to trap the little dam builders in order to provide warm fur for the winter. Nowadays, we might have named it the Bowl Game Moon or the Stand in Line All Night at Best Buy Moon.

May is the simple and beautiful Flower Moon (that would be our Mother’s Day Brunch Moon). July is the Buck Moon, named for when bucks get their new antlers. Our July moon would no doubt reference Independence Day—that movie had a huge July opening weekend. I kid. I obviously meant the holiday. So the E.R. Visit Moon? The Nine Fingers Moon? I need to think about that one.

In any event, the folklore that surrounds a full moon—madness, strange behavior, lycanthropy—is widely considered to be just that, folklore. Nevertheless, some people swear the full moon is responsible for everything from initiating labor to erratic driving. Yes, the moon makes the tides ebb and flow and that may be most of it, but I sure as heck will be blaming it for my next car accident—that, I know.

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