The Blood/Hunter’s Moon: Tonight’s lunar eclipse & full moon

moon

04-FriedrichTonight the moon will wax full again. The sun and moon will be in perfect balance across their ecliptic longitude, meaning that they will be exactly 180 degrees apart and on the same line, causing full view of our Earth’s constant companion.  Being the first moon after the Harvest Moon or Autumnal Equinox, this moon is called the Hunter’s Moon by the Native people of the Algonquin Tribe.

According to http://www.earthsky.org, it was called the Hunter’s Moon by the Algonquin because, “ In the days before tractor lights, the lamp of the Harvest Moon helped farmers to gather their crops, despite the diminishing daylight hours. As the sun’s light faded in the west, the moon would soon rise in the east to illuminate the fields throughout the night. A month later, after the harvest was done, the full Hunter’s Moon was said to illuminate the prey of hunters, scooting along in the stubble left behind in the fields.” 

The effect of such a moon has held its sway over mankind longer than time can reveal. One modern song by Gregory Alan Isakov called, “That Moon Song,” is a new take on a feeling that I am sure the ancients could easily relate to.

According to many British and Celtic sources the full moon occurring at this time of year is referred to as the Blood Moon. This was common because of the killing of excess livestock that took place at this time per annum. To conserve winter resources, it was necessary to slaughter all but ones breeding stock in the fall leading into winter. This way you would maximize the food supplies one would have for the best part of the herd, and ensure that you and your neighbors had a supply of meat for the winter months.

This poem reflects well upon our time during this moon:

AT A LUNAR ECLIPSE

Thy shadow, Earth, from Pole to Central Sea,
Now steals along upon the Moon’s meek shine
In even monochrome and curving line
Of imperturbable serenity.

How shall I link such sun-cast symmetry
With the torn troubled form I know as thine,
That profile, placid as a brow divine,
With continents of moil and misery?

And can immense Mortality but throw
So small a shade, and Heaven’s high human scheme
Be hemmed within the coasts yon arc implies?

Is such the stellar gauge of earthly show,
Nation at war with nation, brains that teem,
Heroes, and women fairer than the skies?

By Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

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