We are starting off the New Year with a mega bright, shiny, and a very full Supermoon which is also known as the Wolf Moon according to some Native American tribes. It’s the first full moon of 2018, and it’s one of two full moons—one on the first day of January and one on the last day which is also a Supermoon and a total lunar eclipse. But we’ll get into that in another article. For now, let’s concentrate on 2018’s first Full Moon, the Wolf Moon, and a Supermoon.
Full Moon in Cancer
January 1 starts our New Year with a lovely Full Moon in the sign of home-loving Cancer, a water sign whose ruling planet is the Moon. This Moon will form a dreamy triangle connecting to planets in the other two water signs—an impulsive Mars conjunct expansive Jupiter in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces. It’s a joyous and emotional astrological connection that brings friends and family closer in spirit and allows creativity to flourish. You may even have a moment or two of clairvoyance! It wouldn’t be unusual with this triangle of planets in water signs.
The Wolf Moon
For thousands of years, people tracked the path of a year by the cycles of the Moon and naming them was a way to tell what month it was. According to dateandtime.com, “People across Europe, as well as Native American tribes, named the months after features they associated with the Northern Hemisphere seasons, and many of these names are very similar or identical.” Therefore, in some cultures, the first Full Moon of the year was also known as the Old Moon, the Ice Moon or even the Snow Moon to name a few. However, the term Snow Moon is most typically a February Full Moon.
Wolves howl to communicate. A howl can say many things, such as “I’m over here,” or they can tell other wolves to stay out of a specific territory. One wolf’s howl can average between three and seven seconds. When a pack howls together, it forms a chorus that can last up to two minutes or longer. This is especially common during the breeding season which can occur between January and February. That’s why wolves are extra-vocal in the first months of the year because they’re looking for a mate. This would be the reason to call the first Full Moon of the New Year, the Wolf Moon. Some used to think wolves howled in January because they were hungry, but finding a mate is more likely the reason.
Another interesting fact about wolves is that they really do howl in the direction of the Moon, probably because the open sky carries their sound further than obstructions like trees and hills.
What is a Supermoon?
By definition, a Supermoon is either a New Moon or a Full Moon that comes within 90 degrees of its closest approach to Earth. Typically, this happens on the average of four to six times a year.
In the year 2018, there are two Full Super Moons—both in January. There are also three New Moon Super Moons occurring in June, July, and August. No one gets to sees a New Moon, which is why there’s so much more hype around Supermoons that are full and visible from Earth. They appear so close to the Earth it’s as though you could reach up and touch them.
According to earthsky.org, astrologer Richard Nolle is credited with coining the term “Supermoon” more than 30 years ago. Before that, astronomers gave these moons the name “perigee moons.” Perigee means “closest to Earth.” Moons that are farthest from the Earth are called “apogee moons.” The closest of the perigee moons to occur each year is called a “proxigee moon.” In 2018, this Super Full Moon in Cancer, the Wolf Moon, will be the closest to Earth. And for information’s sake, the July Supermoon will be the closest New Moon to Earth.
Some Interesting Moon Facts
While we typically experience 12 Full Moons in a year, in 2018 there will be thirteen Full Moons. Both in January and in March of this year we will have two Full Moons.
Enjoy your view of the Super Moons because the Moon is slowly moving itself away from Earth’s orbit. This means that subsequent Full Supermoons will be a little further away and smaller by consequence. The moon is moving approximately 3.8 centimeters farther from Earth each year.