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Buck Moon: July’s Full Moon

3 min read

A moon-flooded prairie; a straying
Of leal-hearted lovers; a baying
Of far away watching dogs; a dreaming
Of brown-fisted farmers; a gleaming
Of fireflies eddying nigh, —
And that is July!

James N. Matthews (1852–1910)

As we already know, full Moon traditional names come from a number of places, including Native American, Colonial American, and European sources. Traditionally, each full Moon name was applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred and not only to the full Moon.

July’s long and hot summer days are filled with the scents of freshly mowed grass, sunscreen, and holidays.
You watch the clouds lazily float in the sky, while a bee buzzes by in search of sweet nectar, sunlight sparkles through lush green leaves and life is flourishing everywhere you look.
The full Moon of July is called the Buck Moon because of the antlers of male deer, that are in full-growth mode at this time of the year.
Male deer, or bucks, shed their antlers and grow new ones every year, producing a larger and more impressive set as the years go by.
As summer peaks, the velvety antlers of male deer which first begin to sprout in early spring finish growing, forming pointed tips and hardening into their final glory.
Deer belong to the Cervidae family along with elk, moose, reindeer, and other species, and there are several different species of deer in the US and Europe, where this traditional Full Moon name originated.
Did you know?
The smallest living deer is the South American Southern pudu, that weighs only around 9 kg (20 lbs) and only grows to around 36 cm (14 in) while, the largest living deer is the moose (or elk) which can grow up to 2 m (6.5 ft) from hoof to shoulder and weigh around 820 kg (1800 lbs).

In any case, several other names for this month’s Moon also reference animals, including Feather Moulting Moon (Cree) and Salmon Moon, a Tlingit term indicating when fish returned to the area and were ready to be harvested.
Plants are also featured prominently in this month’s moon namesm including Berry Moon (Anishinaabe), Moon When the Chokecherries are Ripe (Dakota), Month of the Ripe Corn Moon (Cherokee), and Raspberry Moon (Algonquin, Ojibwe).
Thunder Moon (Western Abenaki) and Halfway Summer Moon (Anishinaabe) are some variants that refer to the stormy weather and summer season. However, a storm can quickly turn into a gentle rain that replenishes the plants and flowers from the scorching hot summer days.
The Anglo-Saxon name is either Hay Moon, after the hay harvest that takes place in July, or Wort Moon, indicating that July is the time to gather herbs (worts) to dry and use as spices and remedies and for medicinal purposes.

Images from web – Google Research