Friday, October 06, 2017

The Hunter's Moon of October

In October, Lady Moon is often veiled by drifting clouds, and sometimes we don't see her for several nights in a row. If Luna seems spooky at this time of year, it is not surprising, given the inky darkness into which she rises, and the fact that Samhain (or Halloween) is only three weeks away. Although this month's full moon is no brighter than the other moons in a calendar year, she seems so because of the position of the ecliptic in the sky in late autumn.

This is a splendid month for moonhearts, stargazers and backyard astronomers, for we are entering the fabulous region of the winter stars.  There is more darkness in which to engage in sky watching, and if one doesn't mind staying up all night or rising early, there are wonders to be seen from one horizon to the other. I can't begin to catalogue them all, but I just have to mention the annual Orionid meteor showers.  Throwaway children of Halley's comet, the Orionids are visible all through October, and this year they will peak on October 20-21 when the earth moves directly into the densest region of the comet's ancient particle field. There is time this month to observe the grandest cosmic light show of them all, a shower of falling stars in the dark hours before dawn.

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 cool, and the wind has chilly fingers after dark. Where trees have already lost their leaves, their bare branches form an austere architectural backdrop for the moon in her rising and setting.

Lady Moon is a prominent motif in Halloween folklore, and I'm always 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 moons and deep darkness. The queen of night will be waxing when Halloween arrives this year and journeying toward radiant completeness 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.


Dee said...

It was a beautiful moon indeed. I love all the names, but in Eastern Oregon right now, it is the Moon of The Gooey Cobwebs.
I so enjoy your journal of days, thank you for your insight and observations and lovely photos.

Barbara Rogers said...

Yes! What a gorgeous feminine friend, the moon is. Somehow I always doubted that was a man in the moon! After all the women on earth have monthly reminders of her force on their lives (at least until a certain age).

sarah said...

The moon here has been beautiful lately, although we are in Spring.

Mystic Meandering said...

We saw a lovely Moon rise on the 4th, at 98% of full, but she was veiled last night... Still at 98% it was more than spectacular to see this huge brilliant yellow disc of light on the horizon. :)

SQ. said...

Thank you for the photograph and the moon names.