Today’s superstar is the full moon, and this one is being hailed as the longest lunar eclipse of the century!
That’s a lot of hype. Sadly, the eclipse won’t be visible in the United States, because it takes place during daylight here. But it should be exciting for people in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and South America, who should see a reddish moon.
That’s where the name Blood Moon comes in. Any moon in eclipse typically looks reddish, so it’s always called a Blood Moon.
The July full moon is also called the Buck Moon, referring to the time that deer start to shed their antlers. Other names for the July moon are Thunder Moon and Hay Moon.
Whatever we call it, our moon is deeply tied to our rhythms and cultures on earth.
The June Full Moon is called the Strawberry Moon. The Algonquin tribes associated this moon with the gathering of strawberries.
The June Full Moon is also known as the Rose Moon, Honey Moon, and Mead Moon. Perhaps it is the time of collecting honey, picking roses and making mead.
I have not noticed a pink hue to the moon in the past couple days. The night before it was officially full, I gazed upon a lovely, if not ominous, moon surrounded by swirly clouds. I especially liked the way the moon was lighting up the clouds around it.
I quickly shot a bunch of hand-held photos. Not sharply in focus, they do not need to be. Think of them as atmospheric, dreamy.
On the following night of the real full moon, I looked out and saw a crystal clear white moon, with no clouds. Not as interesting, so I did not shoot it.
Strawberry moon? I have been waiting for my strawberries to ripen. They seem late and not many so far this June.
True, we have had cooler, cloudy weather, but I usually am harvesting many berries by now.
There is promise: strawberry blossoms and unripened fruit.
The October full moon is known as the Harvest Moon, but my Witch’s Datebook says it’s the Blood Moon. I wonder where that name came from.
Usually, the September full moon is called the Harvest Moon. But this year it’s in October, due to the closeness to the equinox. Every few years, the autumn equinox falls closer to the tenth month than the ninth.
The October full moon has also been called the Dying Moon and Hunter’s Moon, for the time of year for hunting and preserving meats for winter. Perhaps the name Blood Moon arises from hunting and slaughtering.
Under the bright light of the Harvest Moon, farmers can harvest such crops as corn, pumpkins, squash, wild rice and beans. Scientists explain that most months, the moon rises about an hour later each night.
But the Harvest Moon seems to rise at almost the same time for several nights around the full moon.
Harvest your crops, or just harvest that extra long moonlight to enjoy!
Mr. Moonlight, come again please Here I am on my knees Begging if you please And the night you don’t come my way I’ll pray and pray more each day Cos we love you, Mr. Moonlight
— “Mr. Moonlight” — the Beatles
Here I am waiting for Mr. Moon to rise, so I can photograph him for this blog piece! From the recesses of my brain this song surfaced. It’s a simple but beguiling song. Surely the Beatles were inspired by the very same magic of the full moon.
It seems that the August and September full moons vie for the name Corn Moon. August’s is also known as the Sturgeon Moon, so we’ll go with Corn Moon for September. But the ninth month moon is also called the Barley Moon.
South of the equator, it is also called the Worm Moon, Crow Moon, Sap Moon, Lenten Moon, and Chaste Moon.
There are nights when wolves are silent and only the moon howls. — George Carlin
Phil Konstantin has compiled an extensive list of Native American names for moons on his website, www.AmericanIndian.net. Among the names he lists for September’s moon are Corn Maker Moon (Abenaki), Rice Moon (Chippewa, Ojibwe), Yellow Leaf Moon (Assiniboine), Nut Moon (Cherokee), Drying Grass (Cheyenne and Northern Arapaho), Little Chestnut Moon (Creek), and Ice Moon (Haida).
Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night. — Hal Borland*
Scientists tell us that the moon is never 100 percent full when we think it is. Only during a lunar eclipse, when the earth, moon and sun are completely aligned, is the moon truly “full.”
The Corn Moon arrives September 6, 3:03 a.m. Eastern time.
*Hal Borland was one of my favorite journalists. He wrote a weekly editorial in the Sunday New York Times for 35 years, always observations of nature and the seasons. He died in 1978. I have a collection of his writings, published in a book, Borland Country, which are paired with photographs byrenowned photographer Walter Chandoha. Chandoha is particularly known for his photographs of cats, which are forever singed in my memory from a National Geographic magazine from the 1960s that I kept for a very long time. He is still alive and working, and still resides on a farm in New Jersey. You might check out the work of both of these craftsmen.
How fitting that our August full moon is a lovely golden yellow (from Canadian fire smoke), for it is known as the Corn Moon. A time of harvesting, this full moon is also called the Green Corn Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Grain Moon, and Barley Moon.
According to the Farmers Almanac, Native American tribes called it the Sturgeon Moon because sturgeon in the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were usually abundant during this time.
Some tribes, the Almanac adds, had yet other names for this late summer moon: “Wheat Cut Moon” (San Ildefonso, and San Juan), “Moon When All Things Ripen” (Dakotah Sioux), and “Blueberry Moon” (Ojibwe).
August is a time when the earth is providing an abundance of foods. Fish are running; corn, blueberries and other crops are ripening. No doubt it’s a welcome time for feasting and preparing foods for winter stores.
This moon tells us it’s the perfect time to reflect on what we have, what we can sacrifice, and what we can put away for leaner times.