Posts Tagged ‘original meaning of Blue Moon’

Fire & Ice

Fire & Ice, Winter Solstice Celebration, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2010, photos © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Sitting, staring out the window. The Hairy Woodpecker has found our suet feeder. This year we moved the deck feeders two feet South to protect them from the squirrels. The rodents can jump about 4 feet from the deck rail to the feeders if they put their minds to it. I love the woodpeckers and am happy they have found a safe place to feed for the Winter.

Last night we celebrated Winter Solstice. Holding On, Letting Go Letting go of what we want to leave in the Dark, making conscious choices about what to bring into the Light. I was quiet, more withdrawn than usual. Liz wore the Bear this year. I loved watching her dance down the path, calmly and playfully.

Ice Candle The night was cloudy, with a frigid West Wind blowing right into our faces. My fingers grew numb; I pulled them into my coat to keep warm. Homemade ice candles lit the path down to the fire ring. We didn’t hear the coyotes. Or the Great Horned Owl from last year. There were times when we stood by the fire in complete Silence. Other moments when drums and rattles were going full force. The drummer in me is happy at these rituals.

Morning finds me tired, sore, smelling like smoke from last year’s Yule tree. Solar Tree It’s 4 degrees as I type. A powerful Solstice is a day away. What makes it so potent is something that has not happened in 450 years — the combination of a Winter Solstice Blue Moon (the original meaning of a Blue Moon was Four Full Moons in one season) which coincides with a Total Lunar Eclipse.

According to NASA, an eclipse of the Moon can only take place at Full Moon, and only if the Moon passes through some portion of Earth’s Winter Solstice Fireshadow. Unlike a Solar Eclipse, it is safe to view with the naked eye. From a Shamanic perspective, the Total Lunar Eclipse collapses time and accelerates what’s already in motion. The rare Winter Solstice Full Moon Total Lunar Eclipse is a time that creates maximum synchronization of Solar and Lunar cycles, strengthening the power and intensity of the Sun and Moon together. When this happens the New Year brings increased understanding of a larger cycle of events at work in the world, and of lineage, the knowledge passed down from the Ancients.

Here are the times for Solstice & Eclipse events in Minnesota (CST):

Total Eclipse of the Moon — Tuesday, December 21st, 1:41am to 2:53am CST
Full Blue Moon in Gemini — Tuesday, December 21st, 2:13am CST
Winter Solstice 2010 — Tuesday, December 21st, at 5:38pm CST

Hours to view the reddish hues of the eclipsed December Moon vary, depending on where you live. In Europe and the eastern United States and Canada (time zones AST, Tiny Solstice MoonEST and CST), the entire eclipse occurs during the early morning hours of December 21, 2010. For the western United States and Canada (time zones MST and PST), the eclipse begins before midnight on the night of December 20, and ends sometime after midnight on the morning of December 21. In Alaska and Hawaii (time zones AKST and HST), most of the eclipse occurs on the night of December 20, but ends early on December 21.

You can find official times in your area at Mr. Eclipse and a detailed breakdown of the phases of this year’s Winter Solstice Total Lunar Eclipse. If you don’t feel like braving the elements, NASA is providing a live webcam at their site.

Another year is coming to a close. The frost on our windows tells me Winter is here to stay. We have had a cold December. One that finds pleasure in mimicking the sub-zero temps we usually see in January. And the snow! Almost three feet of it. Last weekend we were digging out. This weekend, back to the mundane chores of living. Chop wood, carry water. You can’t get away from it. Blue sky peeks over the oaks and ash. The woodpecker has flown from the feeder; a Lunar Eclipse is on the way.

2004 Lunar Eclipse Sequence, (c) 2004 Fred Espenak, courtesy Fred Espenak, Mr. Eclipse at http://www.mreclipse.com

-posted on red Ravine, Monday, December 20th, 2010 , partially based on a Sunday Writing Practice about Frost

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Venus In Red, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December  2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Venus In Red, Minneapolis, Minnesota, shot December 1st, 2008 with a point-and-shoot Canon, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


On December 1st, the Moon aligned in a triad with the elusive beauty of Venus and the expansiveness of Jupiter. Born in the sign of Cancer, the Moon is my ruling planet. I was alerted that morning by my sister-in-law and brother in Pennsylvania. By the time night rolled around, the frigid winter sky offered a clear, firsthand view from my deck in Minnesota.

My sister-in-law also provided a link to an article in the comments on Frost Moon (Faux November) which gives an excellent synopsis of a night spectacle which will not be seen again until 2052. Here are a few more tidbits from Look to Sky for Spectacular Sight Monday by Joe Rao of Space.com:


  • the Moon was 15% illuminated in close proximity to the two brightest planets in our sky, Venus and Jupiter
  • Jupiter in this photograph is just above Venus and moving in the opposite direction. By the end of December, Jupiter will meet up with the planet Mercury, but will be descending deep into the glow of sunset.
  • Earth shines between 45 and 100 times more brightly than the Moon
  • the Moon is approximately 251,400 miles from Earth
  • Venus is nearly 371 times farther away than the Moon, 93.2 million miles from Earth
  • Jupiter is almost 2,150 times farther away than the Moon, 540.3 million miles from Earth
  • With the naked eye you could see the full globe of the Moon, with the darkened portion glowing bluish-gray between a sunlit crescent and not much darker sky. The vision is sometimes called “the Old Moon in the Young Moon’s arms.” Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was the first to recognize it as what we now call Earthshine.
  • Earthshine is sunlight which is reflected off Earth to the moon and then reflected back to Earth

Dancing On The Head Of A Pin, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December  2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Front & Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December  2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

The Moon Courts Venus & Jupiter, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December  2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Midrange, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Cradle, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

In addition to the December triangulation of the Moon, Venus, and Jupiter, last Friday, December 12th (12th month, 12th day, and the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe) was the Full December Cold Moon. It was the 13th Moon since Winter Solstice 2007 and a Blue Moon by the traditional definition. I had dinner with a friend and the night was again crystal clear for the Cold Moon with glowing rings illuminating nearby clouds.

There is a great article on the Blue Moon by Cayelin K Castell at Celestial Timings called Understanding the Blue Moon (with dates to 2040). In the article, she explains that although popular culture’s definition of Blue Moon is two full moons in a one-month period, Sky and Telescope Magazine states the original meaning of the Blue Moon is when there are four Full Moons in one season, creating 13 Full Moons from December Solstice to December Solstice.

It’s a rare event that only happens every two and half to three years. The New Moon Winter Solstice is this weekend. Bear awaits in the darkness.

-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

-related to posts: winter haiku trilogy, PRACTICE – Wolf Moon – 10min

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