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I have once again successfully avoided Halloween by being away from home. halloweengrinchIt is my least favorite calendar event. I didn’t like it as a kid and I don’t like it as an old Grinchy man.

I know plenty of Americans do love it. And people celebrate versions of Halloween or Hallowtide or Samhain.

I can get behind the Samhain Gaelic festival that marks the end of the harvest season. Its dark side is that it signals the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. Harvests are good. Bounty is nice. I love autumn and I love the changing seasons.

Tonight is called “Mischief Night” and the “Devil’s Night” which are less about the occult and more about practical jokes and all out vandalism.

I’m on a nice warm island beach tonight and though the moon will be dark – in its New Moon phase – the tiki torches will be bright enough for me.

No Wicca rituals or spells for me. I won’t need to listen to when those Martians landed in New Jersey) back in the day, or reread or watch Something Wicked This Way Comes to get in the mood. Maybe they have pumpkin beer at the bar.

full-at-harvest

People were driving crazily Friday night when I was on the highway headed home, and that big moon was right there. It looked full, but it didn’t reach Full Moon status around my neighborhood until today. But people have believed for a couple of thousand years that the Moon has all kinds of effects on us, including craziness.

In Moon Lore, our beloved satellite – especially the full version – affects fertility, crime rates, dog attacks, road kills, increases blood loss during surgery, powers werewolves, births, heart attacks, deaths, suicides, violence, psychiatric hospital admissions, epileptic seizures and crazy drivers.

There are lunar tidal forces but even though we are mostly water, the Moon doesn’t pull at us. Many studies have shown that lunar phases have little or no connection to what we and the animal do here on Earth.

We might be able to explain some of our beliefs as confirmation bias. That is the idea that people favor information that supports their preconceived notions. I kind of expect people to act crazy near the Full Moon, so I pay extra attention to every strange behavior I see during a Full Moon and that reinforces that belief.

As long as we are talking lore, pay attention today because a Full Moon in October without any frost is supposed to mean a warmer month ahead.

The most common name for this month’s Full Moon is the Hunters Moon but I suspect there are more non-hunters reading this blog than hunters. Hunters Moon was also one of the American Indian names (at least as interpreted by the colonists) for this time when bare trees offer a clearer view of fattening deer. It also was the time for them to begin storing meat for the winter ahead. The Cherokee people called this a harvest moon (Dunin[i]di) because it was the time of the harvest festival called Nowatequa.

This year I’m using the Dakotah Sioux name (Anglicized) of “Moon When Quilling and Beading is Done,” a name that reminds us that we all shift our activities and energies with the seasons. The harvest is over, we are “winterizing” and many of us up north are moving our activities more are shifting inside for more solitary and sedentary work.

Maybe it is time for you to do some beading and quilling.

If that doesn’t work for your situation, try Blood Moon or Sanguine Moon or, if you’re feeling more Druid, Wiccan or other American Indian, have a nice full Travel Moon, Moon When the Water Freezes, Moon of the Changing Seasons, Leaf Fall Moon, Basket Moon, Big Wind Moon, Shedding Moon, Winterfelleth (Winter Coming), Windermanoth (Vintage Month), Ten Colds Moon, Moon of the Changing Season, Blackberry Moon or Moon of Falling Leaves.

new-moon-nasa

It was dark tonight on my walk in the woods. The days are getting shorter, but tonight is a New Moon which is sometimes called a Black Moon. That’s a popular term, not a scientific one, but the lack of a visible Moon tonight does make it a dark night.

A New Moon is the first phase of the Moon, occurring when the Moon and the Sun have the same elliptical longitude.

Halloween is a month away and the New Moon will occur in October 2016 the night before Halloween. That makes us think of the Black Moon being associated with Wicca and black magic.

Wikipedia says that a Black Moon can be a reference to any one of four astronomical events:
1. the second occurrence of a new moon in a calendar month
2. the third new moon in a season that has four of them
3. the absence of a full moon in a calendar month (which happens sometimes in February when January and March each have a second full moon)
4. the absence of a new moon in a calendar month which can only occur in February.

For some, any New Moon is a “black moon” because of the darker night.

Tonight’s Black Moon officially occurred at 8:11 p.m. ET, but for people in the Eastern Hemisphere, it will already be after midnight on Oct. 1 when it occurs. That means that on the other side of the globe it won’t technically be a “black moon” there.

Holidays guided by the lunar calendar are often made to coincide with things like the appearance of a crescent moon (which happens a few days from now). This will usher in the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, beginning Sunday evening Oct. 2, and the Islamic New Year, Muharram, on Monday, Oct. 3.

I did no spring planting until today. Today is the New Moon and the melted snow, spring rain and warmer days probably has many of us outside planting or preparing for planting this weekend.

If planting and Moon lore mix together for you, then you may have been observing the unscientific but ancient tradition of planting root crops the past two weeks during the waning moon that happens after the full moon and until the new moon.

With today’s New Moon, you would plant your above-ground crops as the waxing moon thickens, like the wax drippings of a candle from today until the May Full Moon on the 4th.

Science will not support this practice, but the belief was that the moon’s magnetic force pulls everything that contains water, and so the water in plants and even in seeds will make leafy plants seek the Moon during its waxing phase. Conversely, root crops growing below the ground will be pushed down, away from the moon, during the waning phase. If you missed getting those root crops in earlier this month, you can try again during the May phases.

 

Our Moon has been much studied and has also inspired a large body of lore about it.

Her are some things from the study:

moon-spaceTwo full Moons in a month increase the chances of floods.

In China, the dark shadows forming a face is seen as “the toad in the moon,” not the “man in the moon.”

The footprints left by the Apollo astronauts will not erode as they would on Earth since there is no wind or water on the Moon and should last at least 10 million years.

There’s some evidence that shows people gain and lose weight in accordance with the cycles of the moon.

The temperature on the Moon ranges from daytime highs of about 265F to nighttime lows of about -170F.

When the Apollo 12 astronauts landed on the moon, the impact caused the Moon’s surface to vibrate for 55 minutes.

The diameter of the moon’s largest crater is 144 miles across.

If you weigh 140 pounds on earth, you would weigh 23.240 lbs on the moon.

The moon is 225,745 miles from earth.

 

And here are some of the nuggets of lore that we associate with our Moon:

moon lore 1It is lucky to hold a moonstone in your mouth at the Full Moon and it is said that doing so will reveal the future to you.

It is unlucky to sleep in the moonlight.

It is unlucky to be born in the moonlight.

To see the crescent moon over your right shoulder is considered lucky, but to see it over your left shoulder is unlucky.

If you move to a new home during a waning moon, you will never go hungry.

Some say that a the eyes of a cat will be open wider during a full moon than at any other time.

The term “moon struck” originally meant a person was chosen by the Goddess and the person was said to be blessed.

seed-catalogs
I wrote about tonight’s Full Moon as sometimes being referred to as the Lenten Moon. Egg Moon and as the Moon of the Winds.

Lent began on Ash Wednesday and is a time for sacrificing as it’s the season of penance and prayer, which is why many fast, give up something (food or otherwise) that they normally enjoy, and I think it can be connected in  secular ways to lots of other ways of welcoming the season with a “spring-cleaning” for your life.

I have been writing about this time of year and about spring planting and planting by the Egg Full Moon for a few years. The March Full Moon is also called the Planter’s Moon sometimes, but this year it comes too early for me to be in the garden. There are still patches of snow and lots of mud.

But I am hopeful in this season of seed and garden catalogs that the melting snow, spring rains and warmer days are coming and I can prepare for planting, even if it’s not warm enough to actually plant where you live.

moon plantingMoon folklore about planting says that you should plant root crops during the waning moon (after the full moon and until the new moon) and plant your above-ground crops during the waxing moon (as the moon thickens, like the wax drippings of a candle) from the new moon until the next full moon.

Why? This unscientific practice was based on the belief that the moon’s magnetic force pulls everything that contains water – from oceans to our blood and including water in plants and seeds. Following that line of thought, green leafy plants will seek the moon during its waxing phase and root crops growing below the ground will push their energy down, away from the moon, during its waning phase.

If it’s too cold for garden work where you are, as it is in Paradelle, then you can consider the possibilities this Egg Moon season. Long symbolic of spring, regeneration and rebirth, eggs are associated with both religious holidays and cultural celebrations. Domesticated hens do begin laying more eggs with longer days and many wild bird species also lay their eggs now.

Humans are imitators with their decorated eggs. That goes back to the ancient Persians who painted eggs for Nowrooz, their New Year celebration, which falls on the Spring equinox. In Persepolis, there are paintings of  show people carrying eggs to the king.

At the Jewish Passover Seder, a hard-boiled egg dipped in salt water symbolizes the Passover sacrifice offered at the Temple in Jerusalem.

The pre-Christian Saxons had a spring goddess called Eostre, whose feast was held on the Vernal Equinox, around March 21. Eostre’s special animal was the spring hare (rabbit) and that association of eggs, rabbits and spring is all mixed into the cultural aspects of  Easter.

 

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