Originally written on July 2021, updated 2023
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.
July was originally called Quintilus but was later renamed in honor of Julius Caesar. Falling in the heat of the middle of summer, this moon phase takes place when we’re all feeling a bit lazy and sluggish.
After all, going outside can seem like a chore as the heat index climbs. Physically, we’re often a bit slower than usual in July, which is why this is a good time of the year to focus on meditation and dream work.
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.
July’s full moon is also known as the Blessing Moon, or the Meadow Moon.
This is indeed a season of blessings – if you’ve got a garden growing, July is when you’re starting to see fat tomatoes form on the vine, plump peppers, watermelons, and the beginnings of squash for later harvesting. Your flowers are blooming, and corn stalks are on their way to being tall and bountiful. If you have herbs growing, now is the perfect season to start thinking about harvesting and drying them for later, magical or not, use….
👉🏼 In 2023 July’s full Moon, the full Buck Moon, occurs after sunset on Monday, July 3—the eve of Independence Day, reaching peak illumination at 7:39 A.M. Eastern Time.
It will be below the horizon at that time, so plan to look towards the southeast after sunset to watch it rise into the sky, and this is also a supermoon that will appear bigger and brighter than average.
👉🏼 In 2022, Full Buck Supermoon will rise after sunset on Wednesday, July 13, reaching peak illumination at 2:38 P.M. Eastern Time. It will be below the horizon at that time, so plan to look towards the southeast after sunset to watch it rise into the sky.
This will be the biggest and brightest supermoon of the year!
In fact, July’s full Buck Moon orbits closer to Earth than any other full Moon this year.
At its nearest point, it will be 222,089.3 miles (357,418 km) from Earth so it just edges out June’s Strawberry Moon by 200km.
Despite a supermoon is technically bigger and brighter than a regular full Moon, it only appears about 7% larger, which can be an imperceptible difference to the human eye, depending on other conditions.
Nonetheless, it’s fun to know that the full Moon you’re looking at is the closest, biggest, and brightest of the year!
Moreover, the July 2022 supermoon appears slightly farther south, so lower in the sky than a month before. When a Moon is lower in the sky or nearer the horizon, it can also appear bigger.
Images from web – Google Research