The Hungry Ghost Full Moon of July

The moon was but a chin of gold
A night or two ago,
And now she turns her perfect face
Upon the world below

– Emily Dickinson

July 2022’s Full Moon will rise on Wednesday, July 13, reaching peak illumination at 2:38 P.M. Eastern Time. Of course, it will be below the horizon then, so look to the southeast after sunset to watch it rise. It probably looks quite full already tonight.

In Chinese traditions, this is the time of the Hungry Ghost Moon. It was a time when spirits could move freely from this world into the Otherworld or the Eternal world. This is the time when the veil separating the worlds was “thin.” Though we often think of ghosts are frightening things, the Chinese believed that some spirits would return to where they were happiest. That makes this a time when you might see or feel the presence of ancestors, loved ones, and friends who have passed on.

It is also a time when mischievous spirits can make trouble and people can be more susceptible to bad energy from the spirit world. That aspect makes it similar to the ancient Irish observation of Samhain which was a feast marking the beginning of the Irish Winter. It is also celebrated on October 31st as Halloween in North America.

This month’s Moon is usually called the Buck Moon because the antlers of male deer (bucks) are in full-growth mode at this time. Bucks shed and regrow their antlers each year, producing a larger and more impressive set as the years go by.

Deer aren’t the only animals that figure into the Full Moon at this time of year. Feather Moulting Moon was used by the Cree in our July or sometimes in August, and Salmon Moon was used by the Tlingit people since this was when those fish returned to the area and were caught in large numbers.

Yes, this Full Moon orbits closer to Earth than any other full Moon this year, so it is the biggest and brightest supermoon of the year. I just don’t get very excited about the “supermoon” label since the Moon doesn’t really look bigger to us. Technically it is bigger and brighter than a regular Full Moon, but at 7% larger it is pretty much imperceptible to the human eye.

The Southern Hemisphere is marking a Wolf Moon, Old Moon, or Ice Moon. How strange that still seems to me.

Published by

Ken

A lifelong educator on and off the Internet. Random by design and predictably irrational. It's turtles all the way down. Dolce far niente.

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