December full moon is commonly known in the Northern Hemisphere as the Full Long Nights Moon. It takes its name from the winter solstice, which has the longest night in the year. The Full Long Nights Moon cuts a soaring trajectory through the wintery skies, in direct opposition to the low-hanging sun. This year, it is the very last full moon before the 2019 winter solstice, which makes it the Mourning Moon according to Pagan tradition. For our early Pagan ancestors this was a time of cleansing by stopping bad habits to make one stronger to service the cold winter ahead. The Algonquins called this full moon the Cold Moon, in reference to the cold light it casts upon long winter nights. Strangely enough, in certain other cultures, December’s full moon can actually be associated with warmth.
To the Deborean Clan, the Cold Moon is associated with staying in your cosy home beside a crackling fireplace, surrounded not just by physical warmth, but also the warmth of family and friends. Similarly, the Wishram tribe named December’s full moon the Winter Houses Moon. Given that it coincides with holidays like Yule, Pagans consider this the perfect time to open up your home and provide warmth to those you love, as well as to those who are most vulnerable to the cold of winter.
For those who are more inclined towards solitude, the Full Long Nights Moon provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy your cosy home in peace and quiet. Consider taking lots of restful naps under warm, fluffy comforters, or allowing yourself to lounge in bed in the mornings instead of rising immediately to work. Appropriately, the Native American Zuni tribe called December’s full moon the “Moon Where the Sun Comes Home to Rest”. This full moon is a great time for you to take a long overdue break and recharge, so that you may shine all the brighter when it comes time for you to rise again.
This period of slow restfulness is also very conducive to introspection. When you look inwards and take stock of your life during this time, try to focus on loose ends and the little things that you’ve left hanging throughout the year. As the last full moon that rises before the year draws to a close, the Full Long Nights Moon is a time of endings. Take advantage of this full moon’s energy and bring an end to tasks you’ve been meaning to do, clearing your mind so you can move forward with a clean slate.
As much as the Full Long Nights Moon may be about endings, it is also about beginnings and rebirth. The Sioux Indians’ name for December’s full moon is the “Moon When Deer Shed Their Horns”, thus beginning the process of growing new ones. The Celts, on the other hand, call it the Elder Moon. Elder is fragile and easily damaged, but it’s also full of vitality and recovers very quickly. As the Elder Moon shines upon you, allow yourself to rest and heal from everything that has hurt you over the year, and focus instead on new beginnings and promising areas of growth. This is an excellent time to start planning your New Year’s resolutions and set exciting new goals for the upcoming year.