Each month’s full moon has a special name that represents something about the natural world and the energy of that time. The Sturgeon Moon is the Algonquian name for the full moon in August, when the sturgeon were easiest to catch in the Great Lakes. Other traditions named this month’s moon the Full Red Moon, for the late summery haze that can tinge the moon red, and the Corn or Grain Moon, as this is a time to start gathering the late summer harvest in preparation for the fall.
The Energy of the Sturgeon
Sturgeon can live to 150 years, and the largest sturgeon on record was a massive 23 feet long. The word sturgeon means “stirrer” because they tend to spend their time at the bottom of the lake, stirring up the mud, looking for food. In August, they rise from the deep dark towards the surface.
As the full moon rises, we can often feel energy intensifying. For many of us this comes with rising emotions. August is often hot and dry, and the celebratory mood of the early summer can shift towards exhaustion, overheating, and a yearning for the quieter, cooler air of September and October. As the ancient sturgeon rises, so can older parts of ourselves. These parts may have been hidden for a long time. Now is the time to catch those fish and to face the deeply held feelings, bound-up emotions, and old memories that we might not even realize are having an impact on our day-to-day lives.
Sturgeon have often been mistaken for sea monsters—in fact, the Loch Ness Monster may represent huge wayward sturgeon that have entered the lake from time to time. So often we hold parts of ourselves at bay, thinking them to be terrifying beasts, too big for us to hold, unmanageable. Rather, they are often tender, vulnerable parts of us that have been frozen in the past until it’s time to rise to the surface and be held with gentleness.
How to Honor the August Sturgeon Moon
During the August full moon, we are working with a double light: the intensity of the summer sun and the peak of the moon’s illumination. If our inner sea monsters are coming to the surface now, let’s greet them with kindness and listen for what they may have to teach us, rather than trying to force them back down into the dark. This doesn’t have to be a struggle. We can allow this time of stirring up to be medicinal.
One way to do this is to sit in quiet meditation and focus on the bottom of the exhale, allowing any emotions to arise and be held with gentleness. This may be an excellent time to start counseling or another self-discovery process that is supported by someone who can help you hold yourself compassionately. This can also be a good time to inquire into our past, study our ancestors, and to look at what may have been lurking in our familial or cultural lines that is affecting us today.
This can be an intense period, especially around the days of the full moon. August can be fun, and we should balance our deep inner work with rest and play. Enjoy the sun and the long hours, but nap in the dark during the day if you can. Take time out to be alone and cool down if you feel overwhelmed. Listen to your body’s signals around what you want to eat and when you need to rest. Above all, be as kind to yourself and your inner sea monsters as you can. Happy Full Sturgeon Moon!
To embody more magic on this full moon, enjoy a full moon ritual bath.