Beaver Moon (Full Moon November 2008)

The Farmer’s Almanac has this to say about our moon this month:

This was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter. It is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon.

Reading through the various Native American moon names for November, references to frost, freezing, cold, snow, and the onset of winter dominate the list.  References to beavers, however, don’t exists.

I also noticed a couple references to Thanksgiving — like the Potawatomi name “Month of the turkey and feast” and the Eastern Comanche name “Thanking moon”.  Not knowing anything about Potawatomi or Comanche culture, I can only make assumptions about the coincidence of an indigenous name for the November moon that sounds like it references the invasive culture’s holiday.  Despite what you may feel about the story/mythology of the so-called “First Thanksgiving” (1, 2, 3) the fact that the November moon comes on the heels of the Harvest Moon and the Hunting Moon makes this a likely time (coupled with the oncoming winter) for feasting and celebration.  Plus the dominance of the “holiday season” in our current culture makes me think that even after the collapses of civilization that feasting and giving thanks for harvest and hunt will probably continue during the time of the November moon.

Other non-frost/cold/freezing/snow/winter-related names for the November moon on the list of Native American moon names include:

  • Trading Moon (Cherokee)
  • Harvest or Hunting Moon (Eastern Cherokee)
  • Deer Rutting Moon (Cheyenne)
  • Moon When the Water Is Black with Leaves (Creek)
  • Month of the Fledgling Hawk (Hopi)
  • Geese-Going Moon (Kiowa)
  • Time of Much Poverty (Mohawk)
  • Long Moon (Shawnee)
  • Moon of the Falling Leaves (Sioux)
  • Moon When All Is Gathered In (Tewa Pueblo)
  • Scraping Moon (Tlingit)
  • Little Bear’s Moon (Winnebago)
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