Howling-wolf

The full Wolf Moon is on the rise at the end of January, and Slooh will be broadcasting LIVE to bring you some fascinating insights into this ever present evening sight.

We’ve all heard the phrase “howling at the moon” and this month we’re talking all about the ‘Wolf Moon’. The January moon gets its name, like many of the other moons, from Native American tribes. During the winter months food was scarce and wolf packs traveling through the area would scrounge for it every way they could. During this time, it was usual to hear the wolves howling to their packs as they sought scarce prey (and often times they would come upon other wolves doing much the same).

wolf_packThis was a warning to Native American villages who often found themselves competing with the wolves for the sparse resources. Wolves would howl outside of the villages and perhaps hope for a chance to scavenge off of a hunters game. Hence why January’s moon became known as the Full Wolf Moon.

But myths and legends surrounding wolves and their interaction with the moon run deep through a number of cultures. From werewolves to lupe-garu, the idea that the moon had an effect on men pops up in one form or another across the globe, dating back all the way to antiquity. In Ovid’s Metamorphosis, Lycaeon was turned into a wolf by the god Zeus, giving lycanthropy its name. Ovid, along with his contemporary, Virgil, also wrote about men who roamed the forests in the form of wolves.

Werewolf_HDThe modern idea of werewolves, though, began to appear in Europe as part of the witch trials, when many people believed that among their powers, witches could transform into animals, especially wolves. Meanwhile, people in France were terrified of the Lupe-garou, where a number of treatises were written about the beasts. Historians (and even some naturalists), believe that the prevalence of wolves as a major predator – of people as well as livestock – in Europe is what led to them becoming known as a shape shifting monster. Were-myths also appear in countries where wolves do not. In these cases, the animal becomes whatever is most feared in that region.

If you have questions about the Full Wolf Moon you’d like to ask, head on over to Twitter, and send them to us! We’ll do our best to answer as many as we can.