Swimmers are the latest in a long line of tribes to use full moons as a touchstone for seasonal change. Full moon swims can be a touchstone: making certain that once a month, you feel the shift of the seasons. Here’s your calendar for 2019.
Monday 21st January 2019: 12.48am EST, 21,10 UTC, 5.16am BST
Tuesday 19th February 2019: 10.53am EST, 15:53 UTC
February being the coldest month in the US, Native American cultures also referred to it as the Full Snow Moon. Ancient tribes had to sit ‘shoulder to shoulder’ around the fire for warmth.
Thursday 21st March 2019: 01:42 UTC
The arrival of spring with the March full moon has generated different names across the world: among them the Sap Moon, Worm Moon, Chaste Moon (symbolising the purity of early spring), Crow Moon, Warming Moon and Moon When the Leaves Break Forth.
Friday 19th April, 2019. 11:12 UTC, 7.12 EDT
Also called the Budding Moon, Full Melting Moon, Moon Where Ice Breaks In The River (Arapaho tribe) and Fish Moon (as fish begin to swim upstream).
Saturday 18th May, 2019. 21:11 UTC,
Also called the Blossom Moon, and Full Flower Moon.
Monday 17th June, 2019. 08:30 UTC, 4.30am EDT
Also known as the Hot Moon, Honey Moon, Mead Moon and Full Strawberry Moon.
Tuesday 16th July, 2019. 21:38 UTC, 5.38 EDT
Thursday 15th August, 2019. 12:29 UTC, 8.29 EDT
Under the full moon, people light lotus-shaped water lanterns and float them on lakes, rivers, and pools, in order to provide light for lost souls to find their way safely back into the afterlife.
Saturday 14th September, 2019. 04:33 UTC, 12.33 EDT
September’s full moon has a tendency to look brighter and bigger than others in the year, its luminosity and brilliance earning it the name Big Moon by Native American tribes, more commonly called Harvest Moon in the UK.
Sunday 13th October, 2019. 12.45 EDT, 16.45 UTC
The Blood Moon or Hunter Moon rises early in the evening, which means that you are more likely to see it near the horizon – like September’s moon, this creates the illusion of it being bigger. It also scatters more blue light, letting more red light reach your eyes.
Saturday 23rd November, 7.05am EST, 12.05 UTC
Though not the origin of the name, silhouetted reeds are likely to accompany November river swims. Also called the Mourning Moon by pagans: “For the Pagans, on the other hand, the final stage of their winter preparations involve the very important process of “mourning” – which is why they call the last moon before the winter solstice the Mourning Moon. After a full year of accumulating possessions, both physically and otherwise, the Mourning Moon is the perfect time to let go of old, unnecessary things, while giving yourself permission to mourn their passing. Practicing Pagans may perform a moonlit ritual where they write down the things they want to rid themselves of, and ask their Goddess for help in removing unwanted burdens.” Moongiant.
Thursday 12th December 2019, o5:12 UTC, 12.48am EST
Also called the Full Long Nights Moon.
For information on the practical elements of night swimming, see Lynne Roper’s classic piece on Moon Gazey Madness.