2018 Begins like no other…
Fireworks won’t be the only thing lighting up the sky this New Year’s Day. January has always been the month of new beginnings. As we make resolutions, declarations of change to start the year anew, the planets have aligned themselves to start the year anew in a big way with a supermoon on the very first day of the new year, 1/1/18.
The other unique thing about this year’s new beginning is that there won’t be just one, but TWO supermoons this January. The second will be on January 31st. This spectacular solar-lunar event is actually part of a series known as a Trilogy; three supermoons all happening within a 30 day period. The first of the Trilogy occurred on Sunday, December 3rd, 2017 connecting our transition into the new year. According to BusinesInsider.com, ‘supermoon’, a NASA post on the “supermoon trilogy” explains, the one on January 31 will definitely be worth seeing. That’s because the Jan. 31 supermoon will coincide with a total lunar eclipse, which will give the moon a reddish glow due to the sunlight reflected by the Earth’s atmosphere. Totally eclipsed Moons are sometimes called “blood moons’. Although the 2nd supermoon of the month is usually referred to as a Blue Moon. This means the Jan 31 supermoon will be a “super blue blood” moon, according to NASA.
A full moon is a Sun-Earth-Moon geometric alignment, giving the moon full illumination. Technically, this primary Moon phase only lasts a moment, the instant when the Sun and the Moon are aligned on opposite sides of the Earth. What is a supermoon? A new or full moon that reaches its closest distance to the earth during the full moon cycle. Because the moon’s orbit around the Earth is elliptical and not perfectly round, the moon comes closer and further away from the earth throughout the year. According to NASA, the moon can appear up to 30% brighter and 14% larger during a supermoon than on any other night.
Celebrating the Full Moon
The Moon is connected to, among many things, our wisdom and intuition. Many cultures and religions throughout history have been inspired to celebrate the Full Moon.The Moon has also inspired the invention of countless deities, like the Roman goddess Luna or her Norse male counterpart Máni, who gave his name to Monday: the Moon’s day. In the Christian religion the date for Easter Sunday, for example, is determined based on the Full Moon and the vernal equinox. One of the most famous lunar celebrations is the monthly Full Moon party on Haad Rin beach on the island of Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand, where thousands of tourists gather every month.
To read more about celebrations surrounding the magic and mystery of the Full Moon, go to Thoughtco.com
Folklore of the Moon
There are all kinds of fascinating legends and myths associated with the moon and its cycles. Here are just a few noted by Patti Wigington, in a May 2017 article titled, “Myths and Legends of the Moon”
- The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson, was inspired by the strange — and yet very true — case of Charles Hyde, a London man who committed a series of crimes at the time of 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.
- In some countries, a halo around the moon means bad weather is coming. From a folkloric standpoint, however, many traditions of weather magic indicate that a lunar halo means rain, snow, or other foul atmospheric conditions are on the way. Related to the lunar halo is the phenomenon called a moonbow. Interestingly, because of the way light refracts, a moonbow – which is just like a rainbow, but appearing at night – will only be seen in the part of the sky opposite of where the moon is visible.
There has been a long-standing agricultural tradition regarding planting by the moon phases. Martha White over at The Old Farmer’s Almanac writes, “The new and first-quarter phases, known as the light of the Moon, are considered good for planting above-ground crops, putting down sod, grafting trees, and transplanting. From full Moon through the last quarter, or the dark of the Moon, is the best time for killing weeds, thinning, pruning, mowing, cutting timber, and planting below-ground crops.”
In addition, the indigenous Algonquin (Algonquian) people had a myth of the medicine woman in the moon.; a lovely parable swathed in life lessons. In fact, these Native American people have many different names for the ‘full moon’ throughout the year, which reflects on their strong connection with nature, hunting, fishing, and farming and the seasons they depended on. The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full Moon. Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred. There was some variation in the Moon names, but in general, the same ones were current throughout the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior. According to the Farmers’ Almanac, January is known as the Full Wolf Moon. (See the link above for the 12 Moon names).
When to see it
With the gift of a clear sky, those of us in the Western hemisphere will get to see it on January 1st. Due to the time difference, people living in the Eastern hemisphere will have to wait until January 2nd. The best time to look for it will be 9:24 pm.
This supermoon of the new year will be the biggest and brightest and closest supermoon of all 2018. To me, it’s an auspicious sign. A sign of change towards a better world. Whether you live in Asbury Park or across the globe in the Eastern hemisphere, the force will be with you.
The asburyinsider blog and website are undergoing some changes as well. Look for them in the coming months, and be sure to make…
Your biggest and brightest year!
YOUR PICTURES: if you catch a great shot of either of the two supermoons happening this month you can send them to asburyinsider.com and they will be posted on the site with your name under “image credits” or you can email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources for this article can be found at the following websites: Express.co.uk/news/Supermoon2018; Ancient Pages; Time and date Thoughtco – Celebrating the Full Moon; BusinesInsider.com, ‘supermoon’, Thoughtco – Myths and Legends of the Moon; medicine woman in the moon