January’s full moon is commonly known as the Wolf Moon. This name has been attributed to Native American tribes, but it would appear that this attribution is somewhat of an urban legend. According to Wikipedia, the Algonquin name for the January moon translates to:
“sun has not strength to thaw”
While there is only speculation as to where the term Wolf Moon came from, it is believed in some circles that the wolf represents the ‘night’ of the year.¹ Other names for the January full moon include Old Moon, Snow Moon, Alder Moon and Cold Moon.
In many places January is a cold and dark time of the year. After our midwinter holidays, many of us turn our focus to the coming spring. There is an old saying that the ‘night is darkest just before the dawn’; so it seems to be with the winter as well. It gets coldest just before the spring thaw.
As the Wheel turn towards Imbolc, we feel the energy of the earth churning and bubbling nearer to the frozen, snow dusted surface. This is the energy we tap into at the January full moon.
I mentioned in my article on Lunar Magic that the new and dark moon phases are generally time when we turn our attention inward, and work magic that can include banishing, protection, and shadow work or journeying. As the Wolf Moon represents the dark/new phase of the year, these sorts of magics (with an eye toward new growth) can also be worked under the power of this full moon.
On the night of January 26th, 2013, the full moon will be in the sign of Leo. Leo is ruled by the sun, and is a dramatic, out-spoken sign. Perhaps take a moment in your full moon work to take a look at how you embody these qualities. Are you an open book? Or do you keep yourself hidden? Are you drawn into arguments and drama despite your best efforts to avoid it?
Use the Wolf Moon in Leo to delve beneath the surface and try to find out the whys of how you react to loud and dramatic situations. Do the underlying emotions serve you well? What would it take to change them to a more healthy and balanced attitude?
Make some lists. Make some plans. Begin to recognize your reactions as you have them. Name them out loud. Once something is named, it loses its power to sneak up on you.
 See The Witches Almanac Spring 2003 to Spring 2004 for more.