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What is a Blue Moon?

by Serenity Chappell


  moon  Serenity by Starlight  

full moon

One term, three definitions

As if to prove something can never just be easy, there are three definitions of a Blue Moon. All describe an unusual type of Full Moon. Once upon a time -- as in "traditionally" -- a Blue Moon was the third Full Moon in a season. Weird, right? I mean, who on earth has time to figure that out. Somebody, apparently. 'Cause that definition lasted a while.

So, because I have the internet now and can research this stuff, I've found that the second definition of a Blue Moon -- the one most people use, since it's easy and sensible -- and who can resist that? -- came about through a mistake. Amateur astronomer James Hugh Pruett misunderstood how to calculate the "real way" of determining a Blue Moon (and who could blame him?).

In a 1946 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine he wrote that a Blue Moon was the second Full Moon in a month. The idea caught on (surprise, surprise!!) and became part of contemporary folklore. That's how it all happens in the first place, you know. Somebody dreams up something, gives it a name ... and voila -- it's A Thing. So that way of defining a Blue Moon has now become a second definition rather than a mistake. It's an improvement on the whole deal, if you ask me.

Basic Stuff About the Full Moon in Astrology
(Related Open Article)


full moon


There were some reasons for all this however. Folklore again. All the Full Moons have names. The Strawberry Moon, the Harvest Moon, the Hunter's Moon, etc. And each of those has its assigned place in relation to the solstices and equinoxes.

When there are the usual twelve Full Moons in a calendar year, everything is hunky dory. It's when that extra 13th Full Moon scoots onto the schedule that there are problems. So the designation of a Blue Moon became kind of a placeholder for that odd one -- so the others could stay properly aligned.

But because this doesn't happen regularly, folklore stepped in again and began noting that something occuring "once in a Blue Moon" meant something rare. Some people think that means something that never happens at all, but actually a Blue Moon happens every two or three years. So, "once in a Blue Moon" just means "not very often."

Quick Notes on the Full Moon
(Related Open Article)


Double or Nothing

Very occasionally, when there is no Full Moon in February, which can happen, because it has only 28 days and the distance between one Full Moon and the next is about 29.5 days, there will be a pair of Double Blue Moons in a year -- one in January and the other the following March. This coincidence occurred in 2018. (But you didn't hear all the hype and silliness in the news that you get with that SuperMoon thing that happens every year -- more than once, did you?)

The Double Blue Moon set that happened before that was in 1999. The next will be in 2037. And that's as far as I'm going to go with all this fuss that means basically nothing -- except that it's "interesting" ... and it only exists because of the artificiality of human calendars ... and how they inaccurately deal with the reality of time.


full moon

And finally

That brings me to the last definition of a Blue Moon -- which, as you might imagine just from the name -- involves color. There are occasions when the Moon actually does look blue ... because of a rare type of dust in the atmosphere. It's the dust particles in the air that mess with the light and cause the Moon to look blue.

This is the rarest type of Blue Moon -- and it's not one bit predictable. If the atmosphere is filled with dust or smoke particles slightly wider than 900 nanometers (one billionth of a meter), the particles scatter the red light -- and make the Moon look blue.

So, there you go If you want to know more, you've got the internet, too. Go forth and learn.


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Special Moons

* Put Dark Moon Magic to Work -- For YOU!! ---> A time to restore and strengthen your spirit -- The Dark of the Moon is considered an especially mysterious, fruitful, and flexible time of "molding" the creative experiences that will come forth in the weeks immediately ahead.

The Void-of-Course Moon ---> Don't start anything important!! -- When the Moon is void-of-course in any sign, it marks a pause in Life's rhythm. Moon-void-of-course periods are a time to coast, get some extra rest, take life easy and be gentle with yourself.Don't start or schedule anything important. Just wait for life to regain its rhythm and start moving forward again.

* Full Moon / New Moon? Or New Moon / Full Moon? -- Variations on the rhythms of life ---> Different rhythms ---> It's a subtle difference, I admit, but it's there nevertheless. Life's psychological rhythm has a different sequence, depending on whether the New Moon in a particular sign forms first, followed about two weeks later by the Full Moon in the opposite sign ... or whether the Full Moon forms first, followed then by the New Moon lining up with the Sun in its sign.


More Special Moons

What is a Blood Moon? ---> It's a total Lunar eclipse. That's it. ---> Every once in a while, weathermen on television and other media types get all hyped about something they call a Blood Moon. They act like it's something really rare and mysterious. It's not. Mostly they're capitalizing on the description, because that sounds strange and worrisome. And it does, doesn't it?

* Black Moon, Dark Moon, New Moon -- Ok, let's get this sorted out ---> Three names, three things ---> You've certainly heard the term New Moon applied to that part of the Moon's cycle when a small sliver of light appears in the western sky at dusk ... and gradually begins filling in over the next two weeks to reach the glorious display of the Full Moon before diminishing down to nothing again. Moon-watchers of all ages -- and maybe you are one -- enjoy this free celestial show every month.

So what IS a Black Moon? ---> Sure most people have heard of a "blue moon" ... as in "once in a blue moon." Not so many can give you even one of the several definitions for that, though. They know it means a long time -- except for those who think it means something that never comes along at all.


The Moon in Astrology

* The Celestial Event of the New Moon ---> When The Moon joins The Sun in the sky -- In astrology, the celestial phenomenon known as the New Moon occurs at the exact moment the Sun and the Moon occupy precisely the same point in the sky-map of the Zodiac -- the same degree and minute of arc in a particular sign. This alignment is known as a conjunction.

* The Moon in General -- Your Inner Self of Feelings, Emotions and Intuition ---> Welcome to your inner world -- In Astrology, The Moon represents our inner feelings, our emotions ... and our deep security needs. It reflects our basic habits, instincts and automatic reactions. It speaks to some elements of our Karma and childhood home, our upbringing, family background and specifically our relationship with our mother (or major mother figure from the past.)


The Full Moon
Light Reading & Open Articles

Appreciating the Full Moon ---> It happens every month ---> Like The New Moon, The Full Moon every month has an exact time when it arrives -- the moment The Moon precisely opposes The Sun in the sky. Visually, The Full Moon hangs around for several days -- the day before the event, the day of and the day after, you'll hardly notice the difference. It's like re-runs and repeats. If you miss one showing, you get another chance ... or two ... or more.


The Full Moon

* Shadows in the Moonlight * -- The Full Moon and its Testy Temper ---> The Sun Opposing The Moon Who you are now vs. who you used to be ---> The aspect of the Sun opposing the Moon is the classic celestial show the rest of the world calls The Full Moon. In Astrology, The Full Moon highlights tension between two conflicting desires, ambitions, requirements, or sets of values -- each a necessary part of life, and each somehow a problem for the other. In this, as in all oppositions, you need a compromise to try and meet the needs of both elements. Here you're working with ego desires, personal ambitions, and your wish to feel important and valuable ....

* Fractiousness and Fracture Lines: The Full Moon -- The crisis is predictable. It happens every month. ---> One of life's great divides ---> All Full Moons involve some kind of conflict. Usually, as the Full Moon forms ... and for several nights following, you feel pulled in two directions at once, required to try and serve two masters ... no matter how impossible you know that is -- logically. Life's demands in two opposing / competing areas become equally insistent and intense. They are always familiar. You've played this game before. Maybe you live with them constantly. (Were you born under a Full Moon? Do you have oppositions in your Natal Chart? Do you have a partner, friend or ....

* Full Moon Conflicts -- Full Moon Tension through the Signs ---> Full Moon Conflicts ---> Aries Sun / Libra Moon = My ambitions, my drive for self-definition, my need to assert myself and my independence vs. my need to take other people into account, my desire for meaningful partnerships, my habitual efforts to compromise, keep the peace, and get along. When stressed, the attitude of the Aries Sun is aggressive, bossy, and self-centered, and that of the Libra Moon is manipulative and pouting. Taurus Sun / Scorpio Moon = My income interests, my property rights and possessions, my desire to use my resources for my own benefit ....

* Full Moon / New Moon? Or New Moon / Full Moon? -- Variations on the rhythms of life ---> Different rhythms ---> It's a subtle difference, I admit, but it's there nevertheless. Life's psychological rhythm has a different sequence, depending on whether the New Moon in a particular sign forms first, followed about two weeks later by the Full Moon in the opposite sign ... or whether the Full Moon forms first, followed then by the New Moon lining up with the Sun in its sign.



* Understanding The Full Moon -- For Everyone -- A Conflict in Values ---> Understanding The Full Moon ---> Let's talk about the meaning, energy and dynamics of the Full Moon -- any full moon. We get one every month and while the themes and interests change each time, some things stay constant. Full Moons are about choices -- achieving balance between opposing needs, priorities, interests and life strategies. Each pair contains two extreme sets of ideas that balance somewhere in the middle. Your job is to balance them in your life in ways that work for you. That place won't be right smack in the middle, but somewhere ....


The Full Moon
From the Blogs, Ezines
and Elsewhere

From EDA: Full Moon Energy -- From Everyday Astrology ---> Everyday Astrology December 1, 2020 Full Moon Energy ---> It's easy to get caught up in the press & swirl of activity, life's pressures, your public responsibilities & professional demands. Outside expectations have power. So do other people, and during every Full Moon crisis, they & their interests occupy one side of the issue, one end of the spectrum -- & somehow you're stuck on the other end, besieged & cornered. Alone maybe. Trapped. It's not a good feeling, & yes it can make people nuts. If they realize it. If they have time & are wise enough to ....

From EDA: The Full Moon -- From Everyday Astrology ---> Everyday Astrology July 24, 2021 The Full Moon ---> So, does the Full Moon really affect human behavior & psychology? Does anything in the real world change when the Sun & Moon face off against each other? Are the attitudes & actions common during the full moon every month really the foundation for the word & concept of "lunacy?" Is the time-honored connection between lunar & lunatic just an ancient misunderstanding? To be charitable, let's say the jury is out on that question. There are supposedly "scientific" papers that say no, it's a myth.


Musings on the Full Moon Series

Musings on the Full Moon 1 -- Working with our closest celestial neighbor ---> It happens every month ---> The Full Moon is an unmistakable sight, one of the heaven's most awesome shows. There is at least one full moon every month. Every 2 - 3 years we get a second one in a calendar month. In all, we get 12 - 13 a year. The Full Moon is the visual climax of the Moon's monthly tango with the Sun -- the point at which the Moon and The Sun oppose one another in the sky. As one rises in the East, the other sets in the West -- and for a couple of days before and after the exact peak, as I said, the display is spectacular. The Full Moon is the point ....

Musings on the Full Moon 2 -- Conflict and confrontation ---> A conflict of opposites ---> For obvious reasons, Astrologers see the Full Moon as an opposition -- an aspect of confrontation and projection, and it is one of the highlights that graces every sign. Every month as the Full Moon forms, the Sun in one sign -- and the interests and qualities it represents, confronts the Moon in the opposite sign -- with a conflicting agenda of needs and desires.

Musings on the Full Moon 3 -- A different, special energy ---> Full Moon energy is real & different ---> Over the years, I've written lots of stuff about full moons, the visual spectacle they provide, the special energy they carry ... & why they have such a notorious reputation. "Logical types" insist the whole idea is silly, that Full Moon energy is no different than any other. They say, "It's all in your head," like that solves the problem. It's one hazard of life on the ....


The Moon in Astrology -- Articles Index
The New Moon in Astrology -- Articles Index
The Full Moon in Astrology -- Articles Index
The Dark Moon in Astrology -- Articles Index
The Void-of-Course Moon in Astrology -- Articles Index


  moon  Serenity by Starlight  



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Photo courtesy of www.flickr.com/photos/cpyles/5544434325/
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Photo courtesy of www.flickr.com/photos/duncanh1/20932346476/
Original images used under this Creative Commons license or this Creative Commons license and modified by added text.

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Last updated August 25th, 2021

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