Full Wolf Moon in Cancer + Lunar Yoga Tips

On January 11-12, the full moon rises in the northeast just before sunset on Wednesday, but just after sunset on Thursday. The moon is round and pleasingly plump from Tuesday through Friday (yes, the 13th!). It’s also quite pretty before and after sunrise on the opposite horizon at moonset, if weather conditions cooperate. Look up: the January full moon travels higher in the sky than at other times of year and is visible through the long winter night. 

Known as the Wolf Moon, this is first full moon after the winter solstice or Yule. It was given that name by Native Americans and colonial settlers because of hungry wolves. Prey animals are hibernating, which makes food scarce for howling, prowling nighttime hunters.

We’re close to the time of winter’s greatest austerity when temperatures dip lowest – past the solstice and holidays, but still weeks from Groundhog Day, the midpoint between winter and spring. But the sun angle is starting to lift, days are slowly lengthening, and last week the Earth cleared the curve of its annual nearest approach to the sun in its orbit. Perhaps a January thaw soon will ease the chill.

Astrological Influences + Considerations

The January full moon is in Cancer, the sign that the moon rules. The Capricorn sun sign is practical, career-oriented, obstinate, and emotionally distant. The moon sign complements its tendencies. The full moon travels opposite the sun – rising while the sun sets – and, other than obstinacy, Cancer has different characteristics and values than Capricorn. Cancer is home-oriented, wayward, and sensitive.

For this moon phase, the sun and moon contribute to a cardinal grand cross with Jupiter and Uranus, which also are opposed. The sun, moon, Jupiter and Uranus make hard angles to each other. This can be tense, but in cardinal signs it’s also invigorating. The alignment asks us to accept change without blowing it out of proportion. Where do you welcome a shake-up in your life? You don’t want life to become boring, right?

While the moon is full, Venus conjuncts Neptune in its sign of Pisces, and Mercury, which ended its first retrograde cycle of 2017 a few days ago, re-enters Capricorn. They contribute to feeling slightly dazed, a bit off your game. There may be stresses and strains, but you can roll with it. The strong influence of Neptune on Venus makes for tremendous sensitivity, wanting to give unselfishly, feeling gratitude and bliss.

The full moon shapes the second half of the lunation that starts with the new moon, the new lunar month. It’s a time for finishing up what you started at the end of 2016, perhaps revisiting resolutions. It seems soon after the holidays, yet in ten days or less the sun enters Aquarius, the second sign of the zodiac by the calendar.

Feeling + Moving with the Moon

Luxuriate in the lunar flow. If you can’t get out for a moonlit run or meditative walk because of the weather, then maybe you can catch a glimpse of the silvery full moon. Or internalize the moon that causes tides and influences our minds (brains) and bodies that mostly are made of water.

While there is significant cardinal stress at present, the water element is emphasized with the moon in Cancer and strong Neptune in Pisces. Their influence encourages feeling empathetic, imaginative, attuned to loving unconditionally, but perhaps thin-skinned, moody, less mentally sharp. Can you channel your emotions and grogginess into movement?

A gentle vinyasa flow blends with the sensitive moon and Neptunian spirituality. Tune in to your breath and heart. Let the flow happen with spontaneous fluidity, nothing forced, not overly focused on burning calories or being perfect. Women’s cycles might intensify this month, a fertile inner flow that merits special attention and taking it easy.

The January full moon aligns with the July new moon, when we’re outside later at night, often by water, drinking more water, maybe working up a healthy sweat. Visualize yourself on a warm summer evening, perhaps at the beach, and recall how that feels. Close your eyes and maybe, for a few happy moments, it’s July in January. A warm, fragrant, unhurried bubble bath before tucking in at night might feel delicious.

On Wonderful Moon

For the next Wonderful Moon that posts in approximately two weeks, the new moon in Aquarius and Chinese New Year will be discussed. The first complete lunation of 2017 will begin.

Wonderful Moon is published bimonthly before the new and full moons. The focus is on viewing and experiencing the moon with lore, advice, and yoga-oriented body awareness that meshes with the phase, season, and astrological influences.

Photography:Wolf Moon” (Jan. 24, 2016) is by noted lunar and landscape photographer Greg Diesel Walck, from his Facebook album, Full Moon Compositions. Taken at coastal Moyock, NC, near the Outer Banks, the photograph shows the setting full January moon with fresh snow on dunes. The pastel sky appears to show the Belt of Venus effect, just before sunrise.

Greg Diesel Walck is a professional lunar and landscape photographer, author, and astronomer. He is the author of the “chasing a sunset” book series and was featured in Space.com‘s top 100 space images 4 years in a row. He has been fascinated with the moon since he was a child and has captured over 30,000 images. Follow Greg on Facebook at Greg Diesel Walck

Sphinx Yoga
Written by Sphinx Yoga
A longtime yogi and night sky gazer, Wendy Sphinx has published Moonday and Sphinx Yoga for two years. She lives in NC and finishes 200-hour yoga teacher training this spring. Although she’s been exposed to many flavors of yoga, her current practice is Dharma-focused, which is where she began her journey many years and moons ago. She earned a doctorate in journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill, master’s and graduate women’s studies certificate at Duke, and undergraduate degree in writing and literature from NYU, with a summer session in science at Oxford University in the UK. A communications professor for 20 years, she has worked professionally in journalism, marketing and public relations since the 1980s. Her grandmother was an astrologer, and she grew up reading horoscopes and looking at the moon, planets, and stars through a backyard telescope. The Sphinx’s bimonthly column, Wonderful Moon, draws on this background to share lore, advice, and timely yoga tips for the new and full moon phases. Information on observing the moon is combined with astrological insights, consideration of nature and seasonal change, and the cycles of our lives. Beautiful lunar photography is provided by award-winning photographer and author Greg Diesel Walck.