How the January 2021 "Wolf Moon" Can Help You Own Your Desires

The fiery first full moon of 2021 — happening in Leo — presents an op to express your anger and passion in a healthy way.

As we approach the end of the first month of 2021, it's clear that change is on the horizon. But if you're feeling overwhelmed or saddled with a lot of the same old challenges of living through a pandemic and economic downturn, you're far from alone. That said, you could find this week that you feel most empowered when you face your most difficult emotions head-on.

On Thursday, January 28 at 2:16 p.m. ET/11:16 a.m. PT exactly, a full moon will occur in the fixed fire sign Leo — aka a "Wolf Moon." Here's what it means and how you can make the most of this dramatic astrological event.

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Getty Images - Design: Alex Sandoval

What Full Moons Mean

First, a primer on what full moons mean in astrology: Because the moon acts as your emotional compass, ruling over your intuition and sense of security, the point at which it is at its most full and luminous tends to turn up the volume on all of those inner workings.

From road rage to raucous neighbors, you've undoubtedly noticed an uptick in crazy and crazy-making behavior around a full moon. The real issue at hand is likely intense emotions that have been, for all too long, brushed under the rug. Those eyebrow-raising actions are often the result of people projecting their stress, pain, trauma, and other challenging feelings onto others rather than dealing with them head-on.

In addition, full moons are culmination points. We all have ongoing "plots" occurring in our lives at any given time, and whatever story began around the corresponding new moon (the opposite of a full moon, when the celestial body isn't illuminated by the sun from our vantage point and it appears totally dark) in the same sign might reach its natural conclusion or climax. For example, this January 28, 2021, full moon in Leo is linked to the August 18, 2020, new moon that was also in Leo.

Full moons tend to be intense — especially so if they're hitting your natal chart in a significant way — but they're moments in which the universe is nudging you to check your emotions and close a chapter in order to begin another.

Themes of This Leo Full Moon

Fire sign Leo, symbolized by the Lion, is ruled by the brilliant, optimism-bringing, confidence-bolstering sun and rules the fifth house of romance, self-expression, creativity, and pleasure. Self-assured, driven, proud, dignified, life- and luxury-loving, Leos innately and unflinchingly believe in themselves and tend to bring an endlessly positive outlook to the table. As shameless fans of love, romance, flirtation, sex, and sharing what's in their hearts, they tend to generously shower their nearest and dearest in warm, sunny light and, quite often, gifts galore. And this full moon, occurring under the influence of the fixed fire sign, will nudge you to own your feelings in an unapologetically loud, proud Leo way. (

The January 28 full moon has also been referred to as the 🐺 Wolf Moon, because wolves were more often heard howling at this time, according to The Old Farmer's Almanac. It's also fitting astrologically, as it could drive you to howl — or roar, however, you want to see it — about our innermost desires, needs, and frustrations.

As noted previously, this full moon offers an opportunity to reflect on whatever was happening back on August 18. Over the last six months, you've been working on and putting your energy and time into a project, relationship, or particular commitment to yourself. It's possible that your focus has its roots in your self-image, confidence, pride, and creativity — all of which are characteristic of Leos. Now, six months on, that cycle is culminating with this big, bold full moon, and you might be harvesting the fruits of your labor in some way — be it external or internal.

But because the full moon forms a tough square to go-getter Mars, the planet of action, aggression, and sex, currently moving through fellow fixed sign Taurus, you might feel a surge of passion to push even harder to fulfill any outstanding desires. There could also be a layer of resentment and annoyance if you feel like you're not being offered the respect or credit you feel your hard work and personal star power should be met with. Sure, there could be temptation to lash out impulsively, but you'll best manage these challenges by taking a cue from confident Leo: Take that knowledge that you deserve more and courageously channel it into stepping up and sharing your disappointment and frustrations, which are undoubtedly what's underpinning any anger.

Thankfully, lucky Jupiter's opposition to the full moon could make it easier to cope with any tough moments, amplifying positive emotions. But it also raises the risk of taking your coping strategy too far. For that reason, it might be best to focus on a healthy self-love practice (like doing an upbeat ride with your favorite Peloton instructor or getting into bed early to experiment with that fancy new vibe).

Who the Leo Full Moon Will Affect the Most

If you were born under the sign of the Lion — approximately July 23 to August 22 — or with your personal planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, or Mars) in Leo (something you can learn from your natal chart), you'll feel this full moon more than most. More specifically, if you have a personal planet that falls within five degrees of the full moon (9 degrees Leo), you're more likely to be in your feelings and feel prepared to communicate your most burning desires.

Similarly, if you were born in a fellow fixed sign — Taurus (fixed earth), Scorpio (fixed water), Aquarius (fixed air) — you could feel like you're doing a delicate balancing act between standing up for what you want and accepting what is — especially in terms of your personal and professional relationships, as it'll light up your fourth house of home life (Scorpio), seventh house of partnership (Aquarius), or tenth house of career (Taurus).

The Fiery Takeaway

Full moons often set the stage for drama and intense emotion, but when the transit occurs in theatrical, assertive Leo, it presents an opportunity to harness that energy in an effort to own and express your most fiery feelings. With a couple of challenging, magnifying aspects in the mix, it could be easy to get carried away. But as a fixed sign, Leos have the ability to exhibit quite a bit of self-control when necessary. That said, this moment could be about getting razor-focused on what you want, then channeling your inner fire toward pursuing your passions. At the same time, opting to manage anger in a strategic, measured way can leave you feeling truly empowered.

Maressa Brown is a writer and astrologer with more than 15 years of experience. In addition to being Shape's resident astrologer, she contributes to InStyle, Parents, Astrology.com, and more. Follow her Instagram and Twitter at @MaressaSylvie.

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