Astrology

What Is A Wolf Moon?

An astrologer explains the meaning behind the animalistic name.

Updated: 
Originally Published: 

After surviving so much hectic astrology over the course of the past few years and living to tell the tale, you probably assume you've seen most, if not all, of what the moon has to offer us. Think again, because on Jan. 17 at 6:48 p.m. ET, you’ll experience the first full moon of 2022, which also happens to be called a “Wolf Moon”. Before you follow your instinct to start howling at the night sky, you might want an answer to one burning question: What is a Wolf Moon, exactly?

Every 28 days, the moon completes its spiritual cycle. It begins with a new moon, launching you into the beginning of something new as the moon rests behind the shadow of night. As the moon waxes and grows in size, you begin to embrace your own version of growth too. By the time it reaches its peak, revealing its full spherical glow, a change takes place as epiphanies and revelations unfold. Once that’s over, the moon wanes, gradually slipping beneath a blanket of darkness once again, encouraging you to release, forgive, and prepare for renewal.

Every lunar cycle is unique, bringing you its own lessons and experiences. A full moon is also when the sun — ruler of your external self — forms an opposition with the moon — ruler of your internal self — launching a moment of discord that forces you to take action one way or another. The change a full moon brings into motion is often evoked by you, propelled by a mystical nudge from la luna.

The first full moon of 2022 will be special for a multitude of reasons, but one of the most interesting ones is the reason behind its folkloric name:

The Meaning Of The Wolf Moon Is Rooted In The Natural World

Product of RDPhotography381/Moment/Getty Images

According to Time and Date, the first full moon of the year gets its name from howling wolves, as this is the time of year the ominous melody of their constant keening is often heard. In ancient times, people tracked the seasons by following the lunar months. Many times, the names of the moons were associated with what sort of features the seasons entailed. This particular moon is also referred to as Snow Moon, Ice Moon, the Moon after Yule, and Old Moon. Time and Date states that wolves tend to be predominantly louder in the first few months of each passing year, which is likely what inspired earlier humans to associate it with this particular full moon.

The name “Wolf Moon” immediately conjures the right atmosphere for the first full moon of the year, setting the tone for its magic. After all, who doesn’t associate wolves howling with the full moon? It instantly captures the imagination, accurately emphasizing its celestial power.

As it should, because this full moon takes place in Cancer, which happens to be the zodiac sign the moon rules over and calls home. When a full moon takes place in Cancer, it becomes that much more special and potent, because the moon can do its best work while moving through this nurturing, intuitive, and heartfelt water sign.

When this full moon is taking place, pay attention to how you feel when you’re with your “pack”. Whether your pack involves your friends, lovers, or family, this full moon wants you to take care of your circle and reinforce it with the love and trust that keeps you all together. It’s also encouraging you to infuse your wolf den with warmth and protection, highlighting the necessity of having a place where you can retract your fangs and rest; a place that’s safe from the elements. The Wolf Moon will help you tap into what truly keeps you wild and strong, so take a deep breath and howl.