Tonight is the full moon and also a total lunar eclipse. The full moon is involved in folklore and myths.
This year, a total lunar eclipse will occur with the full Moon on July 27. However, this eclipse won’t be visible from the U.S. or Canada. The next total lunar eclipse visible in North America will occur in January 2019. For sky watch buffs, it may be interesting to know that this is the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century. From start to finish, the event will last four hours, with the totality lasting 1 hour and 43 minutes.
Some media outlets call this event the “Blood Moon” Eclipse. This is an increasingly popular name used for a total lunar eclipse but is not an official, scientific term. Put simply, the fully-eclipsed Moon turns a red-orange, similar to a sunset color; with less direct sunlight hitting the Moon during the eclipse, you only see the reddish wavelengths.
July is also known as the month of the Full Buck Moon. At this time, a buck’s antlers are in full growth mode. The moon was also known as the Thunder Moon because thunderstorms are so frequent during this month.
For thousands of years, people have looked up at the moon and wondered about its divine significance. No surprise many cultures had lunar deities - that is, gods or goddesses associated with the power and energy of the moon. If you're doing a moon-related ritual, in some traditions of Wicca and Paganism you may choose to call upon one of these deities for assistance.
Alignak is the god of both the moon and weather. He controls the tides, besides also earthquakes and eclipses. In some stories, it is told that he is also responsible for returning the souls of the dead to earth so that they may be reborn. Alignak may appear in harbors to protect fishermen from Sedna, the wrathful sea goddess.
Artemis is the Greek goddess of the hunt. As her twin brother, Apollo, was associated with the Sun, Artemis became connected to the moon in the post-Classical world. During the ancient Greek period, although Artemis was represented as a lunar goddess, she never gotten portrayed as the moon itself. In post-Classical artwork, she is depicted beside a crescent moon and is often associated with the Roman Diana as well. Like Artemis, Diana began as a goddess of the hunt who later evolved into a lunar goddess.
Cerridwen is the keeper of the cauldron of knowledge in Celtic mythology. Besides the giver of wisdom and inspiration, she is often associated with the moon and the intuitive process. As a goddess of the Underworld, Cerridwen is often symbolized by a white sow, which represents both her fecundity and fertility and her strength as a mother. She is both Mother and Crone; many modern Pagans honor Cerridwen for her close association to the full moon.
The moon seems to have an effect on animals as well as people. A Florida expert on animal behavior reports that hamsters spin in their wheels far more aggressively during the moon's full phase. Deer and other herbivores in the wild tend to ovulate at the full moon, and in Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the full moon is mating time for coral. Werecoral?
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson, was inspired by the strange -- and yet very true -- the case of Charles Hyde, a London man who committed a series of crimes at the time of the full moon.
There are those who say weather & atmospheric conditions influence paranormal investigating by the amount of lighting, giving the investigator an advantage during full moons. Magnetic fields are said to be strangest around full and new moons. It is popular belief that a good time to ghost hunt is 2-3 days prior; the day of; or 2-3 days after a full moon & new moon. The best times for ghost hunting would also be during peak geomagnetic fields & solar storms. There is also a common theory that "psychic tendencies" increase during new & full moons.
In folklore, there are many myths concerning full moons and Friday the 13 that have led to superstitions surrounding the full moon. An ancient Babylonian manuscript prescribes that women are more fertile during a full moon. Many women today believe that their menstrual cycles correspond to the moon. There are stories that more women go into labor during the full moon. This belief has not been confirmed by scientific studies. In ancient Greece, Diana the Goddess of the Hunt was associated with both the moon and childbirth, demonstrating that this is an ancient association held by humans for centuries.
The most common myth surrounding the full moon is that it evokes madness. The word “lunacy” stems from the root “lunar.” From werewolves to myths about a higher rate of insanity homicide, and suicide, lunacy affected by the full moon appears frequently in old folklore. There is no significant relationship between the full moon and insane or anti-social behavior though. Because the moon is such a powerful astronomical force that affects the earth’s tides and allows humans to track their lives according to a lunar monthly cycle, these kinds of superstitions about the full moon is still popular.
Like there is the one that some people believe that there is a link between the full moon and seizures. Another tells about the full moon and the appearance of black cats. Some people believe that there must be a strong link between the moon and human behavior because of how much the moon affects the earth from a physical standpoint.
It is believed that the fifth day after a full moon is the perfect time to try to conceive a child.
Offerings are made to the ancestors on the night of a full moon in some Chinese tales.
Those careless enough to sleep under a full moon risked insanity, blindness, or even being turned into a werewolf (but only if it happened to be a Friday night).
Pointing at the moon has been considered unlucky. Some say that the “man in the moon” residing there, considers it rude. A superstition from the British Isles says that anyone who points at the moon nine times cannot enter heaven, no matter how pious he or she has been.
It was believed in ancient times, that moon’s silvery glow was made of silver. That is the reason the metal became one of its symbols.
The next time you check out a full moon, or even the lunar eclipse if you are in the area it will show, think of all the myths and legends concerning the full moon. And if you hear a howl, it might nit be the neighbor's dog.....
The night of the full moon is believed to be a good time for divination and scrying, so if you want to find some things out, a good time to do so.