Every full moon has a special name. It’s often given by Indigenous groups, and the name can tell you something about the natural world around the time of this moon. A full moon’s name can also tell you something about the energy of a certain time of the year. In July, we ponder the spiritual meaning of the Thunder Moon.
The Western Abenaki have named July’s full moon the Thunder Moon due to the likelihood of thunderstorms around this time. The Anishinaabe call it the Halfway Summer Moon, which places it right in the middle of the summer as it tends to be felt, rather than according to the seasons or the solstice. Several traditions also call it the Full Buck Moon, referring to the time when the male deer are showing off their impressive antlers.
This time of year is about fullness, growth, and an intensity of energy that can hum in the afternoon heat and then crackle into thunderstorms. Summer is at its peak in terms of sunshine, warmth, and ripe berries before the ebb of August and September.
The Spiritual Meaning of Ripeness—and Stormy Emotions
July can feel like the peak of the year, the moment when things come most fully into their culmination. Just a few weeks after the summer solstice, it’s a time to consider what we have been growing and cultivating internally over the course of the year. Many have also recently left behind the end of the school year and the beginning of summer break. This can be a moment of ripeness, rest, enjoyment, and celebration.
Remember, however, that this is also the Thunder Moon. The heat energy can get to be a little too much, and we can get overwhelmed with the energy of the season. Our sleep tends to be lighter and shorter in the summer season, and that can lead to overtiredness and crankiness.
July can also be a month of intense, stormy emotions—big feelings can surface, and arguments might be more common. We may feel that we have to have an easy breezy summer attitude when that’s not truly how we feel. We can get overheated, frustrated, and explode into emotional electricity, just like a summer thunderstorm.
How to Align With the Full Thunder Moon
It can be helpful to set aside some time to do things that help us get into alignment with the celebration and rest associated with this season while also tempering the emotional storm clouds that might be on the horizon. Here are some ways to align with the Thunder Moon in a balanced way.
Take some time to consider your wins over the last year.
Find a specific way to celebrate those wins with people you love—throw a party, go for dinner, make a special cake. Whatever works for you.
If there are thunderstorms in your region, sit by the window and watch them. Breathe with the beauty and intensity of the thunderstorms.
Get some rose water spray to help cool you (and your kids) off when there’s a threat of crankiness or overtiredness.
Consume cooling foods like coconut milk, peppermint, watermelon, and strawberries to help keep your internal systems even.
Take siesta—rest quietly or nap for a while in the afternoon during the peak of the day’s heat, if at all possible.
Take a break from work, if you can, to spend time outdoors (but don’t forget to seek shade).
If you feel like it, head inside and read a book under the cool of a fan.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try my cooling sleep meditation for hot summer nights.
If things are feeling joyful and celebratory for you right now, that’s wonderful. Lean into that experience. But if they are feeling a little intense, unbalanced, uncertain, or hot, literally or emotionally, know that you’re not alone. Part of tapping into the spiritual meaning of the Thunder Moon is recognizing that it’s okay to step out of the expectations of the summer season, to cool down and rest however you need to.
**By Julie Peters