Wolf Moon

The full moon we experienced on Friday is called the Wolf Moon because traditionally wolves howl at the moon at this time of year. As romantic as that sounds, the supposed reason for the howling is rather sad — they howl at the moon because they are hungry. Actually, they howl at other full moons, too, though perhaps they are not actually howling at any moon. They are crepuscular creatures, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk, and the Wolf Moon in January (at least it did this January) rises in the dusk. The howl is a social cry to rally other wolves to hunt; it’s also a territorial call. Because raising their heads makes the sound travel further, it makes it seem as if they are howling at the moon.

Whatever the truth of wolves and the moon, this full moon was supposed to be a powerful one. According to astrologists and spiritualists, the wolf moon is an emotionally charged one, signaling a time of change and introspection, a time to face our fears and trust our instincts, a time to use our inner strength and wisdom. It’s also a time to connect with the earth.

Whether the Wolf Moon means anything beyond its astronomic meaning — that it’s a micromoon, appearing smaller than a normal full moon because it takes place at the moon’s furthest point from the earth (252,146 miles away) — I decided to take action as a sign of female empowerment. So, as I walked home under the bright light of the moon, I howled.

Why howling at the full moon is supposed to be an empowering thing for women to do, I have no idea. I certainly didn’t feel any different yesterday or today. What was different is that as I walked home Friday evening, I was accompanied all the way by the howling of dogs. Apparently, I did make some sort of connection, with those dogs if not the earth.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.