The wolf moon is the first full moon after the New Year or the full moon of January. It is called the Wolf Moon because it occurs at a time when wild predators are having a hard time finding food in their natural habitat and are ranging further afield in search of prey, which may bring them closer to human habitations. Wolves in particular hunt in groups, spreading out to cover the most terrain. Scouts call out to keep track of each other as they search, so in areas where wolves roam, you're likely to hear them howling at this time of year.
Here, wolves aren't something we see at all. But coyotes are a possibility and raccoons are a probability. Even smaller mammals that normally don't cause a problem in warmer months, like opossums and skunks can present a serious threat to my livestock this time of year. The Wolf Moon reminds me that I need to double check all my pens to make sure they are truly predator proof.
The Wolf Moon also makes me think of dogs. Anthropologists believe that the domestication of dogs rose from wolves raiding human camps in search of food. Wolves that were friendly might get thrown some scraps on purpose while wolves who menaced children and livestock would be mercilessly hunted. Gradually, those friendlier wolves bred and bore friendly wolves who would be even more well-tolerated around the camp, especially if they protected it from other scavengers and as generation of human and wolf went on, eventually the leap would have been taken and the wolves invited in, bred according to human preference rather than chance and, eventually, the dog was born. Many anthropologists believe that the dog was the first domesticated animal and I do too.
I believe that dogs are sacred. They are a gift. A companion gifted to us from nature to act as an intermediary. And so, on the wolf moon, I like to take a moment to acknowledge the awesomeness of the dog, and give thanks to Artemis for this wonderful gift.
This first full moon of the year can be looked upon to foretell the weather for the year. If it rises clear and bright, we can expect a good year; plenty of rain and a fruitful harvest. If it is tinted red, we may be in for a drought.