An Eclipsing Full Moon for May 16, 2022

Photo by George Desipris – Pexels

A lunar eclipse is set to occur on May 15 and 16 and it will be a Supermoon and it will likely have a bit of a reddish color (“Blood Moon”. Supermoons are Full Moon that seems to be bigger than usual. The red comes from particles in the Earth’s atmosphere changing the color of the reflected light.

According to NASA, the eastern half of the United States and all of South America will have the opportunity to see every stage of the lunar eclipse. Totality will be visible in much of Africa, western Europe, Central and South America, and most of North America. A second lunar eclipse will take place on November 8.

Some info on all that is at space.com

All that makes calling this month’s Full Moon the “Flower Moon” or any of its other names seem rather anti-climatic. Common names for the May Full Moon are the Flower Moon and Planting Moon. Some less common but more interesting names and stories from past years on this site include: the Buddha Full Moon, Corn Planting Moon, Hare Moon, Moon When Frogs Return, Blue Moon and Day for Night, Milk Moon, Grass Moon, and another eclipsing Moon in the Shadow.

A Black Moon and Earthshine

Tomorrow night, April 30, 2022, there will be a Black Moon. It won’t look different, in fact, it won’t look like anything at all since a Black Moon is a name for a second New Moon in a single calendar month.

Full and New Moons can occur at different times because of time zone differences. It can even be in a different month. 

Black Moons may hold special significance to people who practice certain forms of Pagan religions and who believe certain actions become more potent when performed on the night of a Black Moon.

There was no New Moon in February this year which only happens about once every 19 years. There will be no Blue Moon in New York in 2022. That is a third Full Moon in a season with four Full Moons.

A sliver of a Waning Crescent Moon

The Waning Crescent Moon is the final stage of the lunar cycle and it begins when the sun illuminates less than half of the moon. This phase continues until the New Moon phase. This phase “ends” when the Moon and the Sun both rise at the same time, which starts the lunar cycle over again with the New Moon.

During this time, you can see the effect of “Earthshine.” It’s a matter of perspective. The Moon is always half-illuminated by sunlight just like Earth. A crescent Moon seen in the west after sunset or in the east before dawn is a sliver of the Moon’s lighted half.

When we see a crescent moon, that means that a nearly “Full Earth” appears in the Moon’s night sky. The full Earth illuminates the lunar landscape and that ic “Earthshine” – light from the nearly full Earth shining on the Moon.

Looking at Earth from the perspective of the far side of the Moon || Photo: Chinese Chang’e 5 T1 spacecraft

No New Moon in February

first crescent
First crescent New Moon

There was no New Moon in February. This happens (or is it that it doesn’t happen?) about once every 19 years. It only happens in February, as this is the only month that is shorter than a lunar month. When that happens, January and March have two New Moons, instead of just one. The New Moons on January 31 and March 31 are both considered Black Moons.

That term is used in several ways. It commonly is used to refer to a second New Moon in the same month. Those occur about once every 29 months. Time zones mess around with Moon phases. This year, Los Angeles has a Black Moon in March, while New York has a Black Moon in April.

The Black Moon is not the same as the Dark Moon. That is the last visible crescent of a waning Moon and in the Chinese calendar, it marks the beginning of the month.

When there is a third New Moon in a season of four New Moons, that is also called a Black Moon. Usually, each season has three months and three New Moons. When a season has four New Moons, the third New Moon is called a Black Moon and when there are four Full Moons it is called a Blue Moon.

The original meaning of the term New Moon is the first visible crescent of the Moon after conjunction with the Sun. (shown above) This is a thin waxing crescent and it is briefly and faintly visible as the Moon gets lower in the western sky after sunset.

The first crescent marks the beginning of the month in the Islamic calendar and some lunisolar calendars, such as the Hebrew calendar.

There is a longtime belief in many cultures that rituals performed at the time of the Full Moon and New Moon were more powerful. Neopagan and witchcraft systems such as Wicca follow this belief. Farmers once believed  (and might still believe) that planting during certain Moon phases will increase harvests.

 

The Moon Is Wobbling

Moon wobble

Besides extreme heat this summer and wildfires, American coastlines have been facing increasing high tide floods. On that last item, NASA says this is due to a “wobble” in the moon’s orbit working in tandem with climate change-fueled rising sea levels.

Get ready because flooding in American coastal cities could be a lot worse in the 2030s, which is when the next moon “wobble” is expected to begin. This flooding can cause significant damage to infrastructure and even displace communities.

A Waxing Crescent Moon to Start a Lunar Month

Full Moons get the most attention when it comes to lunar phases. But the New Moon (or Dark Moon) is also important in some cultures, and the waxing and waning phases and the two Crescent Moons also have beliefs attached to them.

In Cornwall, if a boy was born during a waning Moon, they said that the next birth would be a girl and both would be blessed.

In the lore of the Moon, it was said that to see the crescent Moon over the right shoulder was considered lucky, but seeing it over the left shoulder was unlucky. Since tonight’s Moon phase is a Waxing Crescent, be sure to look over your right shoulder tonight.

A Waxing Crescent is the first phase after the New Moon. This is actually an optimal time to see the features of the moon’s surface. During this phase, the Moon can be seen in the western sky after the Sun goes below the horizon. Right now, the Moon is close to the sun in the sky and mostly dark except for the right edge which becomes brighter as the days pass. The next phase is the First Quarter when it is  50% illuminated.

moon phases

Muslims around the globe are observing the holy month of Ramadan, which begins for most on either around  April 12 or 13 in 2021 when it was a Waxing Crescent Moon phase. That is the phase that looks like a  )  while the Waning Crescent looks like a  .

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of their holy book, the Quran, to Muhammad according to Islamic belief.

Since the Islamic calendar adheres to the lunar calendar of 12 months rather than the Gregorian calendar, a solar calendar used in the Western part of the globe, every month starts as the new crescent moon emerges. It continues for 29 or 30 days. Each year, this makes Ramadan start 10 to 12 days earlier. Their 12-month lunar year has a total of 354 or 355 days or is 11 days shorter than the seasonal year on which the Gregorian calendar is based.

A New Lunar Year Begins

2021 ox
2021 Ox year brush painting

Today starts a new lunar year, popularly known as Chinese New Year. 2021 is a year of the Ox which will run until  January 31st, 2022. Each of the twelve Chinese zodiac sign animals has variations and this is a Metal Ox year. The most recent zodiac years of the Ox sign were in 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, and 2009. Each animal reappears every 12 years in this order: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

A lunar calendar is a calendar based upon the monthly cycles of the Moon’s phases (synodic months), rather than solar calendars. The most commonly used calendar is the Gregorian calendar which is a solar calendar system but it originally evolved out of a lunar calendar system.

I have written about the lunar new year here before, so this year I will focus on how your personal horoscope is affected by your birth year.

I was born in the year of the Snake, specifically a water snake. Our animal prejudices show up when people find out they are a snake or pig and would rather be a tiger or dragon. Did Harry Potter want to be put in the house of Slytherin (snake) or Griffindor (griffins are lions with eagle wings and claws)? Snakes are not good in those books, continuing a longheld prejudice against them that goes back even before the Garden of Eden serpent.

Here are some things about people born in a snake year.

snake year via chinahighlights.com

People born in a year of the Snake are called “Snakes” in China. If you were born in 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, or 2013, then you’re a Snake.

Despite the snake’s bad reputation, in Chinese culture the Snake is the most enigmatic animal among the 12 zodiac animals. People born in a year of the Snake are supposed to be the most intuitive.

What often makes astrology and horoscopes popular is that we like to hear good things about ourselves. Intuitive? Yeah, that’s me.

And there’s more – snakes tend to act according to their own judgments while remaining private and reticent. They are determined to accomplish their goals and hate to fail. They represent the symbol of wisdom. They are intelligent and wise. They are good at communication but say little. Snakes are usually regarded as great thinkers.

Wow, this Chinese astrology has me down exactly!

Even the less than perfect aspects of snakes fits me pretty well. We are materialistic and love keeping up with our peers. We love to possess the best of everything but have no patience for shopping. We also prefer to work alone. We are easily stressed and when we seem unusually stressed, it is best to allow us our own space and time to return to normal.

Tonight at dinner, some longevity noodles are appropriate, stir-fried and not cut or broken in the cooking. And if we can eat them without biting through the strands, it’s considered even more auspicious for the new year.