During the cold Midwinter days of January, we celebrate the spiritual meaning of the Full Wolf Moon. A brand new year full of optimism and hope has begun, but the days are still dark and short. Anticipation for the coming year fills our hearts as we snuggle in our homes, trying to keep warm and cozy.
Every full moon has its own name based on the month or the season in which it appears. Creating a name for each full Moon allowed people to reflect on each season and how it affects them AND the natural world. There can be some variation on the Full Moon names due to the origins from whence they came.
Most Full Moon names are English translations of Native American names, others are rooted in Celtic, European (Anglo-Saxon and Germanic), and more recent Neo-Pagan origins. I created a guide to each Full Moon, complete with their meanings and how you can celebrate
Please note that I make every effort to ensure this information is correct and accurate through my own experiences and referencing sources throughout AND at the bottom of this article.
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Table of Contents
When is the Full moon in January 2023?
In 2023, January’s Full Moon is called the Wolf Moon, occurs on Friday the 6th, and reaches its peak at 6:08 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
What is the Spiritual Meaning of a Full Wolf Moon? Why is it called the Wolf Moon?
In the dark depths of a cold January night, you may hear the haunting howls of wolves. Although it’s commonly believed that wolves howl at the moon, there’s no scientific evidence indicating the moon phases have any effect on wolves.
It was previously thought that the wolves were howling due to hunger or starvation in the depths of the harsh and cold winter months. However, now we know that wolves howl for all kinds of reasons, including communication to their own pack or warnings to other rival packs.
They tend to become even more vocal during mating season, which typically occurs between January and March. This would perfectly align with the beginning of the year and is believed to be why January’s moon is called the Wolf Moon.
The name Wolf Moon is believed to originate from Celtic and Old English traditions. It influenced European settlers who brought it to North America.
January Wolf Moon Alternative Names
- Ice Moon (Muhe Nuti) Catawba Indian Nation, South Carolina
- Moon After Yule (Anglo-Saxon)
- Windy Month (Dunolvtanv) Cherokee, North Carolina
- Quiet Moon (Celtic) May also be referred to as the Stay Home Moon
- Center Moon (wicogandu) Assiniboine Northern Plains
- Mörsugur (Norse) Fat (most likely animal fat) is connected with this season. It may also be referred to as Bone Marrow Sucking month. (source)
- Holiday Moon (Chinese)
For a list of even more Native American Moon names, check out American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association’s article here or Western Washington University’s article here.
In the Hindu calendar this full Moon is Shakambhari Purnima, the last day in the 8-day Shakambari Navratri holiday that celebrates the goddess Shakambhari.
In the Purnimanta tradition that ends months on the full Moon day, this full Moon is Paush Purnima, the last day of the Hindu month of Paush. The day after Paush Purnima is the start of the month of Magha, a period of austerity.
Bathing in the holy waters of India is an important activity for both Shakambari Navratri and Magha. This full Moon corresponds with the Thiruvathira festival celebrated by Hindus in the Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.NASA – The Next Full Moon is the Wolf or Ice Moon
Wolf Moon Spiritual Meaning Correspondences
The spiritual meaning of January’s Wolf Full Moon is a powerful time for self-reflection, gratitude, and magic! To help get you started, here are some spiritual correspondences and intentions!
Wolf Moon Spiritual Meaning and Intentions
- Fresh beginnings
- Dark Green (evergreen)
- Blue (ice)
Full moon January 2023 Ritual Ideas
It’s easy to lose connection with the moon and nature during these brisk and chilly days. Here are a few ways to help you reconnect and realign with January’s Full Wolf Moon spiritual meaning during these cold Midwinter days.
Go for a Walk
This time of year, we can all feel a bit lethargic and cooped up during the chilly days and long nights. It can be so easy to binge on unhealthy food and The Office episodes.
Instead, bundle up in your winter coat, boots, and beanie, and get outside. Even for a short period of time. Really slow down and enjoy the charm of a beautiful winter day.
Embrace These Days of Quiet Solitude
Why not fully take advantage of these chilly Winter days inside? Play cards or board games, work on your journal, start or finish some craft projects, snuggle up for a movie marathon, clean or organize that space you’ve been meaning to get to.
My husband and I are huge cinephiles and recently did a Hammer Horror movie marathon. It gave me such a new appreciation for those older movies and all the small details on the sets and with costume design.
Since many of them take place in the 1800’s it inspired me to purchase an antique oil lamp (that still works) as a gift to my husband for Yule. We love eating dinner with just the glow of our oil lamp. I also very much enjoyed watching Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, they are truly wonderful actors.
Find a series, movie, genre, or actor you love and create a binge-worthy marathon. Complete with loved ones, cozy socks, delicious snacks, a good blanket, and maybe even a furry friend to snuggle with!
Howl at the Moon
In a place where you feel comfortable, stand with your two feet apart and your hands on your hips in your best superhero pose (Grey’s Anatomy fans will know what I’m talking about). Studies (like this one from Harvard) have shown that if you maintain this position for five minutes you will perform better at a difficult or challenging task. It also helps provide you with confidence.
However, why stop there? Think of a negative feeling or stressful situation that’s been a burden on you. Now, while maintaining your superhero pose, give a few big howls. Imagine that worry and negativity leaving your body. In its place is nothing but tranquil energy and peace.
This can be a wonderful way to release tension, anxiety, or heavy emotions, or at a minimum, it’s a big mood booster.
Embrace the Wolf Metaphor
Wolves are very social animals and rely on the pack for survival. This is a meaningful time to remember family and loved ones that are important to you.
How can you honor your elders (or mentors you admire), and traditions? Can you help a loved one with a task or a special gift? Maybe you need help with something, reach out to a friend or a member of your pack who can help!
There’s a reason why so many people have embraced the minimalism mindset (ahem…including me). I cannot tell you the freedom it brings to purge things from your life that bring you negative feelings of guilt, shame, fear, worry, and maybe even anger. When you come back from donating those items or throwing them away, this amazing thing happens…you don’t know what to do.
There are no distractions, and you can begin to sort through the things that really matter. The things that bring you the most joy.
I mean there’s no need to go full Minimalist, but this is a perfect time to let go of things that are holding you back or weighing you down. Not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. Take some time to journal and reflect on last year, and what you’d like to leave in your past.
Get motivated by watching some inspirational shows or reading stimulating books. Here are my suggestions:
- YouTube channel – Muchelleb. She is one of my favorite YouTubers! I love watching her Life Admin days or any of her reset challenges.
- Tidying Up with Marie Kondo (Netflix) or reading her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Honestly, I would start with the book and then watch the documentary. I read the book in 2015 and I was hauling bags and bags to the local thrift store. It felt amazing and I normally re-evaluate my possessions each January.
- Minimalism – A Documentary About the Important Things (2016) (there are two documentaries, but this first one is the better of the two). (Netflix)
“Minimalism is a tool we use to live a meaningful life. There are no rules. Rather, minimalism is simply about stripping away the unnecessary things in your life so you can focus on what’s important”
You can check out more of the Full Moon series here:
- Dark Moon Spiritual Meaning and Ritual Intentions
- New Moon Rituals, Intentions, Spiritual Meaning, and Correspondences
- Blue Moon Spiritual Meaning, Definition, and How To Celebrate
- February Full Snow Moon | Spiritual Meaning, Definition, and How To Celebrate
- March Full Worm Moon | Spiritual Meaning, Definition, and How To Celebrate
- April Full Pink Moon | Spiritual Meaning, Symbolism, and How To Celebrate
- May Full Flower Moon | Spiritual Meaning, Symbolism, and Rituals
- June Full Strawberry Moon | Spiritual Meaning, Symbolism, and How To Celebrate
- July Full Buck Moon | Spiritual Meaning, Symbolism, and How To Celebrate
- August Full Sturgeon Moon Spiritual Meaning, Symbolism, and Rituals
- September’s Harvest or Corn Full Moon Meaning
- October’s Blood or Harvest Full Moon Meaning and How To Celebrate
- November Full Hunter or Beaver Moon Spiritual Meaning, Correspondences, and Rituals
- December Full Cold Moon Spiritual Meaning, Correspondences, and Rituals
Enjoy the January Wolf Moon spiritual meaning, lots of love to you, and remember as always…