Due to the rare way the dates have fallen this year, we had two Full Moons in January, none on February and two again in March. Tonight's Full Moon is nicknamed the Worm Moon! The 2nd Full Moon this month, on the 31st March, will be another Blue Moon according to the more recent definition, as it will be the 2nd Full Moon in this calendar month. This month, the 2nd moon fixes the date for Easter, as Easter Sunday is always immediately after the first full moon following the Equinox (Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere). So Easter Sunday will be 1st April.
The Worm Moon, was so named by the Native American tribes who named each moon to keep track of the months and seasons. there isn't a standardised system however, as some tribes took a year to be 12 moon cycles, whilst others went with 13 moon cycles. Similarly some tribes worked with five seasons per year whereas others went with four. Some Native Americans identified the Worm Moon with earthworm casts appearing as the spring warmth develops and hence the birds finding their food. Other tribes knew it as the Crow Moon, Lenten Moon and Sap Moon. American Farmers have adopted these titles so that they are still used today. (See article in the Telegraph for more on this)
Similarly, the Celts also had names for each Full Moon of the year. This is the Ash Moon. As mentioned in my earlier Blog about the naming of Ash Wednesday, one of Odin's names in Norse is Ygg, which also means Ash, with the World tree, Yggdrasil, being an Ash. Odin's spear was made from this tree. The Druids, venerated all nature but the three most sacred trees to them was the Ash, Oak and Thorn. The Ash tree features a great deal in Irish and Scottish folklore (the latter also including the Rowan, a form of Mountain Ash). In the 12th Century, Marie de France wrote one of her famous lais about the Ash. The Ash is associated with rituals, magic and prophesy, making it a perfect choice for divining. Indeed, traditionally, more tools were made from Ash than any other wood, because it's not only very strong but it also resists shock (better than other hard woods such as oak or beech) making it an ideal choice for tool handles. Ash berries were placed inside a baby's cradle to prevent the child being replaced with a 'changeling'. More about this at the Celtic Weirdness website I happily stumbled upon.
Whilst writing this Blog article I wondered if our word 'ash' for something burnt was derived from the possible act of burning the magical tools (made predominantly of Ash) in an attempt to destroy the power of the Celtic Priests.