Monday, October 14, 2019

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, it is not surprising, given the inky darkness into which she rises at this time of the year, and the fact that Samhain (or Halloween) is only a few days away. This month's full moon is no brighter than the other moons in a calendar year, but she always seems brighter because of the position of the ecliptic in the sky in late autumn.

This is a wonderful (in the original sense of the word) time for moonhearts, stargazey people and backyard astronomers, for we are entering the fabulous region of the winter stars. Hallelujah, there is more darkness for sky watching, and one doesn't mind staying up all night or rising in the wee hours of the morning because there are wonders to be seen from one horizon to the other.

October is the month of the annual Orionid meteor showers, one of my favorite astronomical happenings in the whole turning year. Throwaway children of Halley's comet, the Orionids are visible all month long, and this year they will peak on October 21-22 (next Tuesday and Wednesday) when the earth moves directly into the most densely populated region of the comet's ancient particle field. Hallelujah, we are about to have a ringside seat to the greatest cosmic light show of them all, torrents of shooting stars (meteroids) streaming across the eastern sky in the hours before dawn. Who knows, some of the particles rocketing around up there may be kin to my own star stuff. Awesome doings for sure.

For the ancient Celts, the last day of October signified summer's end and the onset of long nights and deep cold.  As Beau and I shivered in the garden last evening there were no two ways about it - summer has crept away, autumn has settled in, and winter is not far off. Oh, there are splendid sunny days now and then, but nights are cold for the most part, and the wind has icy fingers after dark. Many trees have already lost their leaves, and their bare branches form an austere architectural backdrop for the moon in her journey.

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, goblins, spectral owls and crooked trees - all make their appearances silhouetted against ghostly moons and deep, velvety darkness. I adore pumpkins, and orange is one of my favorite colors. Getting out the little blue house's Halloween "clobber" is always a happy exercise.

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

This is Thanksgiving Day in Canada, and I wish a very happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends!  Perhaps we can call this the "Thanksgiving Moon".

1 comment:

Barbara R. said...

I woke at midnight to look up at her face...tiny but smiling through my window!