Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Hunter's Moon of October

In October, Lady Moon is often veiled by drifting clouds, and for most of the past month, we did not see her at all.  That Luna seems spooky at this time of year is not surprising, given the inky darkness into which she rises, and the fact that Samhain (or Halloween) is only a few days away.  This month's full moon always appears brighter, but in reality she is no brighter than the other moons in a calendar year. She only seems so because of the position of the ecliptic in the sky in late autumn.

This is a splendid month for moonhearts and stargazers.  We have much longer nights in which to engage in sky watching, and we make the most of them. If one stays up all night or rises early, there are cosmic wonders to be seen from one horizon to the other. The annual Orionid meteor shower reached its peak a few days ago, but it will be visible until the end of the month. The Pleiades (Seven Sisters) shimmer in October as they do at no other time of the year. In the darkness before dawn, Orion brandishes his club high in the south, and Venus, Jupiter and Mars form an incandescent trio (the Supremes?) in the southeastern sky.  Together, the three planets are too bright to miss, and they were clearly visible a few hours ago, even through the clouds rolling in. 

For the ancient Celts, the last day of October signified summer's end and the onset of long nights and deep cold.  As Himself, Spencer and I shivered in the garden last evening there were no two ways about it - summer has crept away, late autumn has settled in, and winter is not far off. Oh, there are splendid sunny days now and then, but nights are chilly, and the wind has icy fingers after dark. Falling leaves and bare branches form an architectural backdrop for the moon in her rising and setting.

Lady Moon is a prominent motif in Halloween stories and decorations, and I'm ever on the lookout for new appearances.  Witches on broomsticks, bats, dancing skeletons, jack-o'-lanterns, ghosts, spectral owls and crooked trees - all make their appearances silhouetted against ghostly full moons and deep darkness.  Lady Moon will be waning when Halloween arrives this year, a few days past full and heading for the fruitful darkness in which she rests briefly before journeying back to fullness in the great cauldron of night.

We also know this moon as the: Acorns Cached Moon, Banksia Moon, Bare Branches Moon, Big Chestnut Moon, Big Wind Moon, Blackberry Moon, Blood Moon, Chrysanthemum Moon, Corn Ripening Moon, Drying Grass Moon, Falling Leaves Moon, Frosty Moon, Hallows Moon, Joins Both Sides Moon, Kantlos Moon, Kindly Moon, Leaf Falling Moon, Leaf Dance Moon, Leaves Change Color Moon, Maple Moon, Michaelmas Daisy Moon, Middle-finger Moon, Migration Moon, Moon When Birds Fly South, Moon of Poverty, Moon When Geese Leave, Moon of Changing Seasons, Moon of Harvesting, Moon When Deer Rut, Moon of Acorn Gathering, Moon When Corn Is Taken In, Moon of Falling Leaves, Moon That Turns the Leaves White, Moon of First Frost, Moon When They Store Food in Caches, Moon of Long Hair, Moon When Quilling and Beading Are Done, Moon When the Water Begins to Freeze on the Edge of Streams, Nut Moon, Pekelanew Moon, Raking Moon, Samhain Moon, Shedding Moon, Small Trees Freeze Moon , Song Moon, Striped Gopher Looks Back Moon, Strong Moon, Ten Colds Moon, Travel in Canoes Moon, Trees Felled by Fire at Butt Moon, Trout Moon, Turkey Moon, Vintage Moon, White Frost on Grass Ground Moon, Wild Turkeys Moon, Wilted Moon, Wine Moon, Winter Coming Moon.


Shell said...

Lady Luna hid in the clouds for me too. I still felt her presence last night.

sarah said...

And here it's the beginning of summer and our moon is soft, golden, fat. I call it the tender moon and love to watch it rise slow and dreaming over the ocean.

Laura~Pretty Pix said...

Gorgeous capture!