You might have missed it on November 3. But even if you got a glimpse of November’s full moon, you might not have known it was named after a ‘beaver.’ Yes, one of the so-called ’Supermoons,’ the “Full Beaver Moon” is usually bigger and brighter than most. Also known as the ‘Frost Moon,’ this lunar event gets its beaver name from a Native Americans Indian tribe.
Algonquin Native American Indians referred to the November full moon as the 'Beaver Moon' because "this was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs," according to the Old Farmer's Almanac.
Most of the tribes kept track of time by observing the seasons and lunar months, factoring in natural variabilities. For some tribes, the year contained four seasons while others counted 5 seasons to a year.
Another interpretation of the Beaver Moon highlighted the fact that beavers were the first animals to prepare for winter. Even in advance of squirrels, beavers secured food resources and maintained shelter fortifications in advance of most other wildlife.
Old Farmer’s Almanac
This instructive Old Farmer’s Almanac video reminds us that we only see ‘one’ side of the moon, and that a full moon gives off almost no light of its own. Its brightness comes from the sun's reflection on its surface.
Important to note, that folklore tells us it’s unlucky to sleep in the moonlight, but if you happen to dream about a full moon, it’s a sure sign of success.
Sick Beaver Moon
According to meteorologist Cindy Day, this year’s Beaver Moon was “sick.” However, this is not the type of illness we normally associate with sickness. Astrologically, a ‘sick moon’ is a lunar event that is not clear. It has a milky appearance as if we were looking at it through a piece of wax paper. This is due to the cirrus clouds that covered it this year, dimming its normal brightness. The resulting thin veil gave the man in the moon the appearance of looking sick.
Don’t know if this sickness was telling us that the beavers were feeling a wee bit under the weather, but it did tell meteorologists clouds and rain were to be added to the day's forecast.
Happy sky watching, my readers . . . and perhaps, on terra firma you were lucky enough this year to catch a glimpse of a beaver or two in the wild. Now that we no longer hunt for their fur, it's comforting to know their populations have been increasing.
Primary Source: Beaver Moon