Yule is in 5 days, Christmas is in 8 days, are you as far behind as
I am? The tree just went up Sunday and I put lights on it last night.
The house is half decorated, the plan is to finish today or tomorrow
at the latest. No cards are sent and some are not purchased yet. There
are still gifts to buy and a ritual to plan. I need another week, can
we move the holidays this year?
To all of you who are done shopping and decorating, who have sent all
the cards and are sitting there reading this while sipping some hot
chocolate or eggnog while basking in your finished-y-ness...congrats
and maybe next year I'll be able to join your ranks. But for this year,
sigh, the song remains the same.
I'll take pride in the fact that it is the day of the dark moon and
I have this newsletter written and ready to go. I'm getting better at
sending these on time. Or maybe I'm just procrastinating the holiday
stuff. Either way, yeah me : )
Weve added a new page to our website for all of us who love to
torture our beloved cats by dressing them up for our amusement. We have
posted pictures of our witchy
cats and invite you to send a pic of your witchy cat too. Kitties
like wearing hats, don't they?
True Blue Moon
I wanted to write a simple newsletter about the Blue Moon on
New Year's Eve and instead found out that we have been celebrating the
wrong celestial occurrence! The idea that a blue moon is the second
full moon in a calendar month is due to a mistake that was printed in
Sky & Telescope magazine and later quoted on a popular radio
program. Let me explain.
When I realized the blue moon was on New Year's Eve, I decided to look
up some cool magickal stuff to do and pass it along to you. I was disappointed
when two of my moon magick references, Moon Magick by D.J. Conway
and Everyday Moon Magic by Dorothy Morrison, had no special section
for blue moon magic. (well, Moon Magick did but she used that
chapter for rituals aimed at Samhain specifically, no matter when the
blue moon actually occurred). Everyday Moon Magic gave me the
first hint that something was amiss. It said "This phase is
known as the Blue Moon, and it is the third Full Moon to rise when four
Full Moons appear within the same season". She included a footnote
that mentions the erroneous article by James Hugh Pruett from the March
1946 issue of Sky & Telescope that led to the current second
moon in a month definition. No way!!
Way. Finding no other info on blue moons in my other books, I turned
to the internet. A Google search of "blue moon" turned up
this site, http://www.infoplease.com/spot/bluemoon1.html
, where I read that yes, there are two definitions and the one most
of us know is not the original meaning. The older definition of a blue
moon being the fourth full moon in a season is quoted from old issues
of the Maine Farmers' Almanac, issues from the 1930's specifically.
The authors explain how the ecclesiastical calendar, based on the full
moons, was skewed when there occurred 13 full moons in their year. Normally
there occurs three moons in each season, 3 moons x 4 seasons = 12 moons
in a year. When there was an extra moon in one of the seasons, it threw
off the order of the named moons. They decided to call this 13th moon
a blue moon to keep their calendar on track. (I encourage you to go
to the link above and read the whole article as it included dates of
upcoming blue moons, both kinds.)
A link from that site lead me to Sky
& Telescopes' site , which finally made sense of what happened.
Please go to that site and read the whole article on three pages. Very
interesting and more than I could include in my newsletter. It did answer
a couple of questions now popping into my head.
Question one: Why is the third moon and not the fourth, which is
the odd one, called the blue moon?
Because only then will the names of the other full moons, such as the
Moon Before Yule and the Moon After Yule, fall at the proper times relative
to the solstices and equinoxes.
Questions two: So how did the misunderstanding come about?
Well, Sky & Telescope takes the fall for that one! It all
started with an article by Laurence J. Lafleur (1907-66) of Antioch
College, Ohio, who discussed blue moons in a question-and-answer column
in Sky & Telescope, July 1943, citing the 1937 Maine Farmers'
Almanac as his source, which he quoted word for word. He mentions
that the moon "comes full thirteen times a year" but
does not mention tropical or calendar year, nor does he state any dates
or says anything about two moons in a one calendar month.
Three years later, in March 1946, an article entitled "Once in
a Blue Moon" appeared in Sky & Telescope. Its author,
James Hugh Pruett (1886-1955), was an amateur astronomer living in Eugene,
Oregon. In this article, he mentioned the 1937 Maine Almanac
and repeated some of Lafleur's earlier comments. He states "Seven
times in 19 years there were and still are 13 full moons
in a year. This gives 11 months with one full moon each and one with
two. This second in a month, so I interpret it, was called Blue Moon."
He must not have had the 1937 almanac handy, or he would have noticed
that the blue moon fell on August 21st (not the second full Moon that
month) and that 1937 had only 12 full Moons.
The second full moon in a calendar month definition spread when the
popular radio program, StarDate, used it on January 31, 1980.
The script included a footnote not read on the air that cites the 1946
article as the source of information.
Question three: So which one is the right definition and which should
I agree with the Sky & Telescope article, celebrate both!
Just because the second in a month is not the original definition does
not mean it is not just as powerful. If you live by the calendar year
instead of the tropical year, then doesn't it make sense to celebrate
the celestial occurrences that correspond to that system? And the fact
that so many believe this to be true, doesn't that belief make it so,
as happens to any myth that had to start somewhere by someone stating
So go ahead an celebrate the blue moon, do some special ritual or spell.
Whether it is true blue or not, you still have the power of the full
moon behind it.
I did find reference to the energies of the blue moon (second in a
month). It seems this moon is a time for spontaneity and imagination,
doing something new & unexpected, letting go of old fears &
limitations so you can explore a new way of being. It is also a
good time to release negative memories, emotions and habits,
something most of us do at New Year's anyway. Remember that a full blue
moon is very powerful so plan your spell or ritual with care and reverence.
As far as a blue moon (seasonal) goes, I would assume the energies
would correspond to the season it occurs in, and would add those energies
to the ones I mentioned above.
A look through my books and online finds that there are few blue moon
oil blends and no incense. Hmmmm....do I sense a need to be fulfilled?
With my head full of Yule and Christmas, I could not begin to put something
together for this newsletter. I might look for inspiration between Christmas
and New Year and concoct something during the blue moon. Anything is
possible : )
Have a blessed Yule, merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, peaceful Kawanzaa,
joyous Saturnalia, festive Festivus! (did I miss any??)