Moon Phase Names in the Southern Hemisphere

Supermoon Rises Above Sydney, Australia
James D. Morgan / Getty Images

In most neo-Pagan and Wiccan traditions, the names given to the various moon cycles are based upon a couple of different sources. Some come to us from the Native American tribes of North America, and others are rooted in Celtic and western European mythology. In the Native American tribes, the moon cycles were used to keep track of seasons, and thus designated different agricultural markers. Thanks to the fact that seasons are different in the northern and southern hemispheres, people below the equator often use different naming conventions when it comes to moon phases.

Did You Know?

  • If you live in South America, Australia, or some other place, it may not make sense for you to use a naming system that was originally designed by cultures and groups on the other side of the planet.
  • Moon naming varies from one region to the next, so if you're below the equator, you may want to look at some of the naturally occurring biological cycles in your area.
  • Look at some of the local cultures in your area; perhaps the people indigenous to your region had their own names for moon phases.

Celebrate with the Seasons

Sugar Loaf Mountain at night with a full moon - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
diegograndi / Getty Images

If you live in the southern hemisphere, your seasons are directly the opposite of those in the northern hemisphere, and so it wouldn't make any sense for you to celebrate a September harvest moon if September is when you do your planting, rather than your harvesting. Because of this, people who live in the southern hemisphere would have to calculate their moon names based upon seasons. A lunar month is only 29 days long, so the full moon falls different days each year.

If you want to use the common neo-Pagan names for the moon phases, you can calculate what they'll be based upon the timing of the equinoxes and solstices. The autumn equinox is in March, in the southern hemisphere, so the moon nearest that would be the Harvest Moon. The next one, which would fall in April, would be the Blood Moon, followed by the Mourning Moon. The next month would be June, which is the time of the Winter Solstice in the southern hemisphere, and corresponds to the Long Nights Moon, and so forth.

Consider Pre-Colonial Naming Patterns

Maori women
Simon Bruty / Getty Images

It's important to recognize that the names we generally use—at least in the northern hemisphere—are based upon a blend of northern Native American culture and western European tradition. If you live in South America, Australia, or some other place below the equator, it may not make sense for you to use a naming system that was originally designed by cultures and groups on the other side of the planet.

Blogger Springwolf says that because people from Europe settled in both the northern and southern hemisphere, many of these moon phase names went with them to new places around the world. However, the original inhabitants of these lands already had names for these moon phases, in their own unique cultures and languages. Springwolf points out,

"The Maori are the first people of New Zealand... They didn’t assign a name to only the Full Moon phase of each month. Every night of the Moon had a name. And these told the early Polynesian people when they could or could not eat certain food, when was the right time to plant or harvest certain crops and when to conduct certain rituals. Their Moon Calendar played an integral part in their economy, commerce and observances."

Moon naming varies from one region to the next, however, so if you're one of those folks who lives below the equator, you may want to look at some of the naturally occurring biological cycles in your area.

Look at some of the local cultures—odds are good that the people indigenous to your region had their own names for moon phases long before colonizers arrived. Consider these instead; it would make far more sense than using the names of people who lived on the opposite side of the world, and who viewed their life experience through a different cultural and social lens.

Depending on what part of the southern hemisphere you live in, you may want to try some of these commonly used names for the appropriate month's full moon:

  • January: Thunder Moon, Mead Moon, Hay Moon, or Buck Moon
  • February: Grain Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Red Moon, Wyrt Moon, Corn Moon, Dog Moon, or Barley Moon
  • March: Harvest Moon or Corn Moon
  • April: Harvest Moon, Hunter’s Moon, or Blood Moon
  • May: Hunter’s Moon, Beaver Moon, or Frost Moon
  • June: Oak Moon, Cold Moon, or Long Nights Moon
  • July: Wolf Moon, Old Moon, or Ice Moon
  • August: Snow Moon, Storm Moon, Hunger Moon, or Wolf Moon
  • September: Worm Moon, Lenten Moon, Crow Moon, Sugar Moon, Chaste Moon, or Sap Moon
  • October: Egg Moon, Fish Moon, Seed Moon, Pink Moon, or Waking Moon
  • November: Corn Moon, Milk Moon, Flower Moon, or Hare Moon
  • December: Strawberry Moon, Honey Moon, or Rose Moon

There's also some great information about the moon and how it's seen in the Southern Hemisphere at Southern Sky Watch.