October: Blood Moon


Just as the Romans felt the need to name the months of their calendar and we today feel the need to continue with those names as an easier way of marking the passage of time, so the Native American peoples also named the divisions of their calendars.  Based on the moon’s cycles, each full moon had a name, and the association for the month would last until the next full moon.

October is the month when the last of the harvest is taken in and stored for winter.  Late-cropping berries are still ripening and are gathered in this month.  Work is done in many tribes on fine beading or repairing of clothes and tents, since this is a month when there is still plenty of daylight but there is more time to devote to such activities now that the harvest is taken care of.  October is the month that even the more temperate altitudes feel the chill of autumn and the coming of winter.  Most animals have already grown out their winter coats and are finishing their winter stockpiles of food.  Stocking up for the cold season is the main activity of this month.  Rituals featuring the close of the harvest season take place this month, and this is a good time to prepare sacred or magical decorations to be used in the winter season.  The October 2010 full moon is October 22.

The names of the moons give evidence for what each tribal culture considered to be important during that time period, either the influence of the weather, or which animals were prominent, or when their staple crops would grow, or when they could gather ripened food.

Abenaki- Leaf Falling Moon

Algonquin– White Frost on Grass

Anishnaabe- Falling Leaves Moon

Apache– Time When the Corn is Taken In

Arapaho- Falling Leaves

Cherokee– Harvest Moon

Cheyenne–Water Begins to Freeze on Edge of Streams

Choctaw– Blackberry Moon; Big Chestnut Moon

Comanche– Fall Moon

Cree– Moon the Birds Fly South

Dakota Sioux–Moon When Quilling and Beading is Done

Haida– Bears Hibernate

Hopi– Moon of Long Hair

Kalapuya– After Harvest

Lakota– Moon When the Wind Shakes Off Leaves

Mohawk– Time of Poverty

Ponca– Moon When They Store Food in Caches

Potawatomi– Moon of the First Frost

Shawnee- Wilted Moon

Shoshone– Rutting

Sioux- Changing Season

Tlingit–Young Animals Moon

Wishram–Travel in Canoes Moon

Zuni–Big Wind Moon

Farmer’s Almanac says this month’s moon is also known as Harvest Moon.

*I’m not an expert on Native American culture or practices, though I have been interested and studying some of their practices/traditions for many years.  The subject of the Moon Names is a recent area of interest.  Any errors contained in this post are entirely my own, and I apologize for my inadequate intelligence.*

Sources: Farmer’s Almanac, Llewellyn 2010 Witches Datebook, Western Washington University Planetarium

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One response to “October: Blood Moon

  1. Pingback: October’s Hunter’s Wine Blood Full Moon | earthmoonandstars

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