Wait, Why Is November’s Full Moon Is Called the Beaver Moon?

So you’ve heard of a New Moon, a Full Moon, and probably even eclipses. But did you know that each Full Moon has a special name? *mind blown*

It’s true—and it’s determined by the month of the year the Full Moon occurs in, *not* the zodiac sign the Moon is in. In November, the Full Moon is called a Beaver Moon.

Learning the lore behind the names of the Full Moons can add one more layer of insight. It can help you understand the cycles of the seasons and how we mirror them.

Why Is the Beaver Moon Called the Beaver Moon?

Let’s back this train up just one sec. Before colonization, Native Americans in parts of North America tracked the year by the Moon’s cycles and nature’s corresponding seasons. White colonizers adapted a version of this system to the Gregorian calendar—sometimes roughly translating lunar names or re-naming them entirely.

In 1818 (yeah, over 200 years ago) an annual publication called The Farmer’s Almanac began to popularize different names for the Full Moons each month. According to The Farmer’s Almanac, the lunar names it uses today are “tied to early Native American, Colonial American, and European folklore.”

What’s the Significance of the Beaver Moon?

The Full Moon in November is referred to as the “Beaver Moon” in the Farmer’s Almanac. And no, it’s not just because beavers are sooooo cute. (LBR: We’ve all seen cuddly beaver memes, and if not, well, dam.)

The Beaver Moon gets its name because in November, beavers begin to take shelter within their lodges near the banks of rivers and streams, bracing for the long winter to come. This signaled the time to set up beaver traps to get warm furs to brace for the cold nights to come.

What Are Other Names for the Beaver Moon?

The long, lonely winter is a cold one—and appropriately, November’s Full Moon also has a few other names. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the Cree and Assiniboine peoples call November’s Moon the Frost Moon, while the Anishinaabe peoples call it the Freezing Moon. The bitter weather is here to stay! The Tlingit name is the Digging Moon or Scratching Moon, indicating animals foraging for grub and nuts. And the Algonquin name is the Whitefish Moon, because this is the time of year when whitefish spawn.

Astrologically speaking, the Beaver Moon could end up being either a Full Moon in Taurus or a Full Moon in Gemini. The Sun is in Scorpio until around November 21 of each year (the exact date can vary slightly), and then it moves into Sagittarius. If the Full Moon occurs while the Sun is in Scorpio, it will be a Full Moon in Taurus (Scorpio’s opposite sign). However, a Full Moon that occurs when the Sun moves into Sagittarius will always be a Full Moon in Gemini (Sagittarius’s opposite sign).

What about November 2021’s Beaver Moon?

In 2021, November’s Beaver Moon will also be a lunar eclipse in Taurus. (Talk about being extra!). It takes place on November 19, and it will be visible over much of Asia, Australia, and the Americas, and partially visible in parts of Western Europe and West Africa. But even if you can’t see the eclipse itself, you’ll still be able to look up and see the Beaver Moon in the night. Smile up at it, take a selfie, and remember to pull out your favorite winter Snuggie.

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