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Monday, November 22, 2010

Magical Monday - November's Moon: Blue or Not?

 “The wailing owl Screams solitary to the mournful moon.”   ~ David Mallet

Today’s Magical Monday features a discussion about last night’s full moon. It was a beauty here in Tampa. I hope you got a chance between the Indy-Pats and Giants-Philly games to take a peek.

I titled this post “Blue Moon” which might make you ask, “Isn’t a blue moon the second full moon that occurs in a calendar month? This was the only November moon.”

I assure no magic turned the moon a shade of blue. Instead, by old rules, this moon was indeed a blue moon. 

The formula for calculating the standard definition of a blue moon was derived from using a calendar with fixed seasons of equal length as opposed to seasons that began based on the position of the sun (from winter solstice to winter solstice). In any season with four full moons, it was the third that was labeled the “blue moon.”

According to the Maine Farmer's Almanac in 1937, a blue moon is the third full moon in a seasonal quarter that contained four full moons. Since it was the third full moon in a quarter that was 'blue', this blue moon never fell as the second blue moon in a month, but always on the 21, 22 or 23. 

Under the old Almanac rule, last night’s would technically be a blue moon. In the autumn season of 2010, there are four full moons:
  • Sept. 23
  • Oct. 22
  • Nov. 21
  • Dec. 21
But isn’t December 21st the first day of winter in the northern hemisphere? I always thought so.

In 2010, the solstice comes at 6:38 p.m. EST (2338 UT). But the moon turns full at 3:13 a.m. EST (0813 UT). That's 15 hours and 25 minutes before the time of the solstice. Then, the December full moon technically belongs to autumn, the fourth full moon of the season. So under the original Maine Almanac rule, the third full moon of the 2010 fall season on Nov. 21 would be a blue moon.   

Other interesting November lunar info:
This month’s moon is called the Beaver Moon, since this traditionally was the time to stock up on furs for winter – not politically correct now during any moonrise. So, today we can think of the name associated with the time when beavers are preparing themselves for winter.

If you’d prefer another name, it’s also called the: Frosty Moon; Trading Moon; Sassafras Moon; Snow Moon; Dark Moon; Fog Moon; Mourning Moon; Mad Moon; Moon of Storms; Moon When Deer Shed Antlers; Blotmonath (Sacrifice Month); Herbistmonoth (Harvest Month).

Nature Spirits: subterranean faeries
Herbs: grains of paradise, verbena, betony, borage, cinquefoil, blessed thistle
Colors: gray, sea-green
Flowers: blooming cacti, chrysanthemum
Scents: cedar, cherry blossoms, hyacinth, narcissus, peppermint, lemon
Stones: topaz, hyacinth, lapis lazuli
Trees: alder, cypress
Animals: unicorn, scorpion, crocodile, jackal
Birds: owl, goose, sparrow
Deities: Kali, Black Isis, Nicnevin, Hecate, Bast Osiris, Sarasvati, Lakshme, Skadi, Mawu
Power Flow: take root, prepare. Transformation. Strengthen communication with the god or goddess who seems closest to you. 
So, blue or not? It’s up to you. It was a lovely moon and I hope you enjoyed it.

Reference: The Months of the Moon;Yahoo News 
Art References: Canankk; Sparklingsary


Maeve said...

The moon was lovely in Kentucky too! Thanks for the intriguing post.

Marsha A. Moore said...

Glad you saw it and enjoyed my post. Have a wonderful turkey day, Maeve!

Nina Pierce said...

Yep, it was blue ... just to keep the seasonal moons in order. Not the more common second full in a month, but by the original definition as you described so well.

And no matter how it's defined. It was beautiful here in Maine shimmering off the snow ... yes, I said snow. Bleh!

Marsha A. Moore said...

That would have been lovely, reflecting off the snow. Thanks for visiting, Nina.

K.A. M'Lady said...

Lovely blog, Marsha and great article. I had no idea...

Blessings ~ K.

Marsha A. Moore said...

Thanks for stopping by, K.

Have a nice holiday!