|“||Don't worry, he's not gonna have it easy tonight-- none of us are. There's a price you pay for this kind of power. You get the ability to heal, but tonight, you're gonna want to kill anything you can find.||”|
The Moon is the second-brightest celestial body that is regularly visible in the sky after the Sun, and it is the source of power for supernatural shapeshifters such as Werewolves, Werecoyotes, and Werejaguars in Teen Wolf. In Werewolf culture, it is believed that they are given their powers by the Moon, and the price of these powers comes in the form of heightened aggression and bloodlust that causes them to attack any living thing they come upon if they do not learn to control themselves. Because of this, these shapeshifters make it a point to train their young born and/or newly-bitten werecreatures in staying calm and disciplined with regards to their powers, both to ensure the safety of those around them as well as to maintain the secrecy of the supernatural world from humans, the majority of whom have no idea that they even exist.
The Moon is the sole natural satellite of the Earth, which was created as a result of an impact between Theia (a planetary body the size of Mars) colliding with the newly-formed Earth, causing an immense amount of planetary material to be released into the the Earth's orbit, ultimately accumulating together to form the Moon. The lunar cycle is a term used to describe the Moon's continuous orbit around the Earth, making only certain parts of the celestial body visible based on what phase it is in, which also tells us the "age" of the moon in terms of the lunar cycle. There are nine phases in this lunar cycle: new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter, waning crescent, and new moon. Additionally, there are also several rarer events involving the full moon, such as a lunar eclipse or a supermoon. The lunar phases relevant to the supernatural world of Teen Wolf are detailed below.
The New Moon, also known as the "Dark Moon," is known as a time to reflect on grief and loss, as described by Araya Calavera and Lydia Martin in The Dark Moon, which is the only episode so far to deal with a new moon. During the new moon in this episode, Lydia and Stiles Stilinski were forced to reflect on the death of their good friend and packmate, Allison Argent, at the hands of an Oni demon.
The Full Moon is the most important lunar phase in the Teen Wolf universe, both because it is when the moon-bound shapeshifters are at the height of their power (in addition to being at risk of losing control), and because it is associated with two important celestial events-- the lunar eclipse and the supermoon.
The Full Moon occurs when the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun, which allows the entire face of the moon to be visible from the surface of the planet. Traditionally, the Full Moon is associated with insanity (as evidenced by the words "lunacy" and "lunatic," both of which were derived from the word "luna," the Latin word for "Moon") and temporal insomnia, leading to the old wive's tale that Full Moons cause an increase in erratic behavior, particularly in settings such as hospitals and police stations. ("Lunatic")
How the Full Moon gives certain species of shapeshifters their power remains a mystery, but what is known is that this phase increases their powers, particularly their superhuman strength and accelerated healing abilities. This increase in power can be very impressive in some cases; for example, the power of the Full Moon shown in Shape Shifted was strong enough to resurrect Kate Argent from the dead, as it empowered her accelerated healing ability enough to bring her back to life. An impending Full Moon was also strong enough to cause Liam's sprained ankle to heal itself just hours after being given the Bite, despite the fact that the Full Moon was still only twenty-four hours away.
However, these powers come at a price, namely a significant increase in aggression and bloodlust that frequently leads to overwhelming violence toward other people, sometimes to the point of death. While all werecreatures experience these side effects, it is especially prominent in these two groups: born shapeshifters who have just begun to manifest their powers, and humans who have just been transformed by the Bite or an especially deep scratch, as both of whom have yet to be trained to control these impulses. Newly-turned werecreatures also will have a harder time learning to control their full-moon-enhanced powers if they already possess impulsive or chronically angry personalities; for example, Liam Dunbar, a Beta Werewolf, still struggles to stay in control on full moons despite being turned nearly a year ago as a result of his intermittent explosive disorder, and Kate Argent, an impulsive and violent person as a human, also exhibits difficulty controlling her transformations as a Werejaguar.
There are several methods used by these shapeshifters to resist the violent influence of the Full Moon. The main method involves finding an "anchor"-- a memory, person, concept, or emotion that the werecreature can use to bind themselves to their humanity and keep that part of them in control. This anchor will vary based on the individual. Scott McCall's anchor used to be his former girlfriend, Allison Argent, and then became his faith in himself; Derek Hale's anchor is anger, rage, and hatred; Isaac Lahey's anchor is the memory of his father before he was abusive; Liam Dunbar's anchor is music and his friendship with Mason Hewitt; and Malia Tate's anchor is her friendship and relationship with Stiles Stilinski.
Another way a werecreature can maintain control during a Full Moon is by using mantras to calm themselves until the transformation subsides; the Hale Family used a medallion stamped with their symbol, the Triskelion, and the mantra "Alpha, Beta, Omega" to remind themselves that they can always rise to one rank or fall to another, whereas Satomi Ito's Werewolf pack uses the Buddhist mantra "Three things cannot long be hidden: the sun, the moon, the truth" as a reminder that werecreatures are inherently violent creatures who will eventually lose control over their impulses for one reason or another.
The Full Moon's astronomical function, along with being the source of power for werecreatures, is that it controls the tidal cycles of the ocean and acts as a symbol of peace and life. It is also used by Hunters as an important night to hunt Werewolves, as the Full Moon's influence makes them more susceptible to being caught due to being distracted with trying to stay in control. Additionally, it has been revealed that the Full Moon can also be used to create weapons that can kill Werewolves, as evidenced by Marie-Jeanne Valet's pike, which she created from steel mixed with Wolfsbane and Mountain Ash and then forged with her blood under the light of the Full Moon in order to have a weapon that could be used against her brother, Sebastien Valet, the famous Beast of Gevaudan.
A Lunar Eclipse occurs during a Full Moon, when the Moon passes through the Earth's umbral shadow, causing it to be obscured and appear in vibrant colors. This celestial event is a negative one for the shapeshifters whose powers are tied to the moon; while it was once speculated that a lunar eclipse could make them stronger, in reality, the Lunar Eclipse causes these shapeshifters to lose their powers for the duration of time that the Moon is obscured by the Earth's shadow, which can be anywhere between ten and twenty minutes. As a result, Werewolves, Werecoyotes, and Werejaguars can be targeted by Hunters and others who mean to do them harm during this time, as they will essentially be human for the duration, eliminating their superhuman strength, speed, agility, accelerated healing, and shapeshifting abilities that often protect them from harm.
The first and only Lunar Eclipse shown in the series was in the aptly-named episode Lunar Ellipse, in which the Darach, Jennifer Blake, attempted to kill Deucalion during the peak of the celestial event when he would be powerless against her. However, when she failed to kill him during the fifteen minute window of the eclipse, his powers came back at full force as a result of the full moon heightening his powers, allowing him to defeat her instead.
A Supermoon, also known by the term perigee syzygy, are Full Moons that are even closer to the Earth than they normally are (hence the term perigee, which is defined as the closest point of the Moon to the Earth), making the Moon's influence even stronger to shapeshifters. Like normal Full Moons, they enhance a shapeshifter's superhuman strength, speed, healing, etc, in addition to their aggression, bloodlust, and violent urges, but to an even more potent degree; it is also strong enough to be felt by a werecreature during the day, making it more difficult to control their aggression and transformations even before the Moon rises.
The first and only Supermoon shown in the series thus far was in Status Asthmaticus, when Liam Dunbar was so badly affected by the Supermoon's influence that he was easily manipulated by Theo Raeken to kill his close friend, Alpha, and sire, Scott McCall, in order to steal his powers, since, as Scott's only progeny at the time, he was the only one who could take the powers of a True Alpha. After Scott was killed by Theo, the power of this Supermoon, in conjunction with the cardiopulmonary resuscitation performed by Melissa McCall, was strong enough to resurrect Scott, even despite the fact that he had been functionally dead for nearly a half-hour, demonstrating just how much a Full Moon, and especially a Supermoon, can empower a werecreature's supernatural abilities such as accelerated healing.
The Supermoon also seems to play an unknown role in the success or failure of the Dread Doctors' Chimeras, as the Doctors gave Theo until the Supermoon to complete his plan, as they believed they would know who the successful Chimera was by this time. It may also have something to do with the Dread Doctors' resurrection of Sebastien Valet, the famed Beast of Gevaudan, into Mason Hewitt's body.
Throughout Teen Wolf
Numerous cultures throughout history have given names to the monthly full moons, particularly the indigenous tribes of North America, who used moon phases and cycles to keep track of the seasons, giving names to them to help them anticipate events through the entire month. Some of these names have been referenced in the series, so the names used by the Algonquin and associated tribes are detailed below:
- January: Wolf Moon (or, less commonly, the Snow Moon)
- February: Snow Moon (or, less commonly, the Hunger Moon)
- March: Worm Moon (less commonly the Crow Moon, the Crust Moon, the Sap Moon, or the Lenten Moon)
- April: Pink Moon (less commonly the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and the Fish Moon)
- May: Flower Moon (less commonly the Corn Planting Moon or the Milk Moon)
- June: Strawberry Moon
- July: Buck Moon (less commonly the Thunder Moon or Hay Moon)
- August: Sturgeon Moon (less commonly the Red Moon, Green Corn Moon, or Grain Moon)
- September: Harvest Moon (less commonly the Corn Moon)
- October: Hunter's Moon
- November: Beaver Moon (less commonly the Frosty Moon)
- December: Cold Moon (less commonly the Long Night Moon or Moon Before Yule)
In the series, the Wolf Moon and the Worm Moon are the most notable, as Scott McCall was bitten by Peter Hale and turned into a Werewolf just before the Wolf Moon in the episode of the same name, while Lydia Martin was able to resurrect Peter using a ritual on the Worm Moon in Party Guessed, the Full Moon in March that is associated with rebirth and renewal and which happened to fall on Lydia's seventeenth birthday. Most seasons have three full moons each, but on occasion, due to the 29-day lunar cycle, a season may have four. When this occurs, the fourth moon is frequently referred to as a "blue moon."
The moon has an important role in the mythology of nearly every culture. For example, in Inuit mythology, Alignak was the god of the moon and the weather. Selene, a Greek Titaness, was a lunar goddess associated with the moon as a whole as a result of her brother, Helios, being a Titan sun god. In a similar twist, Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt, was also a lunar goddess (particularly the crescent moon) due to her twin brother Apollo being a solar god, just like her Roman counterpart, Diana. Another Greek goddess, Hecate, the goddess of magic and the crossroads, is associated with the dark moon, or the new moon, as a result of her connection to the spirit world.
In Celtic mythology, Cerridwen, the keeper of the cauldron of knowledge and the goddess of wisdom and inspiration, is associated with the full moon. Meanwhile, in Chinese mythology, Chang'e, who knew her tyrannical husband intended to take an immortality potion, drank the elixir before he could do so, causing her to fly up into the sky and become the new moon. Coyolxauhqui, the goddess sister of Huitzilopochtli, was killed by her brother, who threw her head up into the sky and caused it to become the moon. Sina, a Polynesian (specifically Tahitian) goddess, is known for residing within the moon itself after being curious about what it would be like there. Finally, Thoth, the Egyptian god of magic and wisdom, is associated with the crescent moon, which he wore on his head.
Episodes Featuring a Full Moon
- Wolf Moon
- Shape Shifted
- Party Guessed
- Chaos Rising
- Lunar Ellipse (+ lunar eclipse)
- 117 (flashback only)
- The Benefactor
- Smoke and Mirrors
- Creatures of the Night
- Status Asthmaticus (+ supermoon)
- After Images
- There has been at least one full moon in every season of Teen Wolf.
- While there have been hints that magic and/or mysticism exists in the Teen Wolf universe, it is unknown if the full moon can be drawn upon for additional power by Druids or other supernatural beings aside from shapeshifters.
- Jeff Davis has hinted that the Hale House Fire occurred during a lunar eclipse on the night of a full moon, which, since the eclipse causes werewolves to temporarily lose their power, would explain how easy it was for Kate Argent and her cohorts to kill the majority of the Hale Family.
- A werecreature can be deprived of the effects of a full moon by being locked in a room lined with hecatolite, such as the vault of the First National Bank, due to the moonlight-scattering effects of the mineral. However, doing so will make the werecreature even more rabid and feral during the next full moon to which they are exposed as a result of being starved of moonlight for so long; this was proven when Cora Hale and Vernon Boyd were held captive in the bank vault for nearly four months and became bloodthirsty and out of control once they were freed from the vault and released upon the town.