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Remember all the hoopla about the total solar eclipse we witnessed in August of last year? There is another partial one today. This Friday the 13th solar eclipse will quite small and be visible mainly over the Southern Ocean area between Australia and Antarctica, so no media coverage here in the U.S.

My thoughts go back to ancient times and what we would now see as strange responses to solar eclipses. How terrifying must this have been to them?

In American Eclipse, there is the story of a Roman emperor who witnessed a total solar eclipse in A.D. 840 and was so upset by this “omen” that he stopped eating and eventually starved to death. Rome went into a civil war.

The Inca feared that a lunar eclipse was caused by a jaguar attacking the moon. They’d try to drive it away by making noise, including beating their dogs to make them howl and bark.

One more positive reaction occurred in the sixth century B.C., during a battle in Asia Minor between the Medes and the Lydians. The eclipse stopped the battle and it was believed that the eclipse was a sign for them to stop the fighting,

Certainly, ancient people looked at the eclipse and had their eyes damaged or were blinded. That certainly added to the fear. Don’t look into the face of God or the gods.

If you were a believer in 13 as an unlucky number and Friday being an unlucky day (more about that aspect here), then adding a solar eclipse made a trifecta of bad luck.

Also take note that solar and lunar eclipses always come in pairs, with one following the other in a period of one fortnight (approximately two weeks).

This is a New Moon supermoon today and is the first Friday the 13th solar eclipse since December 13, 1974. I won’t be blogging about the next one on Friday September 13, 2080..

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​Long ago, a girlfriend who was deeply into astrology while I was into astronomy, told me that the planets move through the sky and the 12 astrological signs, at varying speeds.

I pay a lot of attention to the Moon and learned that it changes signs once or twice a day. On the other extreme, Saturn spends about 3 years in each sign. Helen told me that the planets take on traits of the sign they are in at that time. Any astronomer will tell you that the signs (constellations) have no effect on the planets, but my girlfriend would have said that it causes a planet to act differently from its normal impact.

Helen did my natal chart (the placement of each planet at time of my birth) because she didn’t believe at all in the general horoscopes for signs that we frequently see online, in newspapers and magazines. You need to look at your very specific chart.

Ganesha

There is a New Moon tonight, January 16. An astrologer might remind me that can be transformative.  Vedic astrology puts this New Moon in the Uttara Ashadha which is symbolized by an elephant’s tusk, and connected to the Hindu elephant god, Ganesha. Ganesha is the “Remover of Obstacles.”

This New Moon is conjoined with Venus which we associate with romantic relationships and friendships and even non-romantic alliances. Combine this with a transit of Mars into Scorpio and we get the ability to transform in positive ways.

What does this mean for my life for the next few days, weeks, and months?  I don’t know.

I read that in India, the new moon is celebrated as Mauni Amavasya. It is a good time to take a vow of silence and do some silent reflection. I’ll stop here.

Tonight’s Full Moon is often called the Hunter’s Moon or Blood Moon or Sanguine Moon. There are lots of other names out there for the November Full Moon, including  the Travel Moon, Dying Grass Moon, Moon of Falling Leaves, Beaver Moon, Moon of the Changing Seasons, Leaf Fall Moon, Trading Moon,  Basket Moon, Big Wind Moon, Blood Moon, Shedding Moon, Winterfelleth (Winter Coming), Windermanoth (Vintage Month), Ten Colds Moon,  and the Moon of the Changing Season.

Hunter’s moon is a very common name, but it only applies to November in some years. This is the name for the first full moon after the harvest moon, which is the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox. This year the Harvest Moon was in October, so this month is a Hunter’s Moon.  The Hunter’s Moon was once a feast day in parts of western Europe, and some Native American tribes also celebrated the hunt at this Full Moon.

Many American Indian tribes named this moon for the time the rivers started to freeze and the first snows and frosts came. As a child, my father told me that a frost in the fall or spring is more likely to occur on clear nights. That has some science behind it because thick cloud cover will retain some of the Earth’s heat. He also said that the night of a Full Moon is a likely frost night, but that would only be true if you clearly saw the Moon because it was a clear, cloudless night. Data on first and last frosts compared to the phases of the moon don’t show any correlation. Science ruins a lot of folklore.

Around Paradelle, November is the month when we will likely see a killing frost and some puddles will freeze overnight.  But not on this early November night – even with a Full Moon and no clouds.

 

 

 

halloween grinchI have once again successfully avoided Halloween by being away from home.

It 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.

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