Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blue Moon


A blue moon will shine on New Year’s Eve 2009 for the first time in 20 years. A full moon appears once a month, and there are 12 full moons a year. A blue moon is when the 13th full moon appears in a year, or if there is two full moons in a month.

So, what is a blue moon? According to folk lore, it is said that when there is a blue moon, the moon has a face and talks to the items in its moonlight. New Years Eve 2009 is a blue moon day. So, like many of you, I am looking forward to talking to, and dancing in the light of the beautiful,full and blue moon as I celebrate the bringing and ringing in of a brand new year.

As far as the color blue goes, apparently the moon can, indeed, actually look blue. After forest fires or volcanic eruptions, the moon can appear to take on a blue or lavender hue. Soot and ash particles, deposited high in the earth's atmosphere can also make the moon appear bluish. And there have been many recorded episodes of forest fires spewing debris into the air and creating the appearance of ...you guessed it...a blue moon!

The term apparently dates back to medieval England where in a work by William Barlow, the Bishop of Chichester, called "Treatyse of the Buryall of the Masse, 1528"...which has come to be known by its first line....."Rede me and be nott wrothe" there is the first documented reference to a blue moon."Yf they saye the mone is belew, We must beleue that its is true."

Back then a blue moon was a synonym for absurdity...considered to be as likely as the moon being made out of green cheese. This imagery was called on in Jon Frith's exhausitvily entitled essay "A pistle to the christen reader; the reuelation of anitchrist:anitheseis wherein are compared togeder Christes actes and urre holye father the Popes, 1529." where after that long title it read: "They wold make men beleue...that ye mone is made of grene chese."

I am eternally grateful for one thing...that our English language has had some obvious changes in spelling and translations ...this is hard enough to read with all of the spelling and font reversals of v's and w's, u's and so forth!

And not only has our spellings and translations changed over time, but one of the most common definitions of a blue moon occurred through a simple error of Sky and Telescope magazine...whereby they changed the earlier Farmer's Almanac definition of a blue moon...an extra full moon that occurs in a quarter of the year, which would normally have three full moons but sometimes, has four.. to its much easier 'second of two full moons in a month.'

It proves that history can be rewritten if the source seems reputable and the content possible...especially if its about, well...you know.... blue moons.

I love all full moons, unlike a lot of people who associate them with 'luna-tic' behavior or erratic mood swings. I find them lovely to look at, great fun to bask in the moonlight of, and somehow, surprisingly......and well, comforting.

How lovely to think, that every once in a while, amidst all of the challenges and hardships of life, we might get an unexpected gift of something as simple as an extra full moon and on top of that.... it has a face, talks to us, and just might be made of bleu, instead of green cheese.

Dec. 31, 2:13 p.m. EST -- Called the "Full Long Night Moon." The midwinter full moon takes a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite to the low Sun. There will be a partial lunar eclipse that will be visible from Europe, Africa and Asia with this full moon. At its maximum 7.6-percent of the moon's diameter will become immersed in the Earth's dark umbral shadow.

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for this info - I had always wondered where that phrase came from!!! I put a link to your post on my blog post today!!! happy New Year!!

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  2. I had heard this before, but enjoyed reading your post nonetheless (followed your link from Ooglebloops). What I didn't know was that tomorrow was a blue moon day! It's DH's and my wedding anniversary-- 15 years! I hope the moon is a good sign. :)

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  3. Thank you for posting about this event. I had only recently heard about a blue moon and although I have read some articles on it, your post was more informative. I'll be wearing my dancing shoes tomorrow night!

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  4. Oh, I wonder if we will have one tonight in Perth - I'm baby-sitting my two littlies so will check it out - what great fun for 5-year olds!
    Hugs - Lurline♥

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  5. My son was telling me earlier that tomorrow would be a blue moon after I was admiring it's beauty tonight. I, too, LOVE the full moon and how beautiful it is!! Thanks for all your additional info..VERRRY interesting!!

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  6. I asked DH about this - rubbish he said! What does he know eh!!!!!!!!! One learns something new every day.

    Apparently we've got a partial eclipse of the moon tonight. Fat chance of seeing it as it's raining chats et chiens again.

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  7. Michele, thank you for the great info on the Blue Moon. I have been looking forward to this event for "ever". I love full moons and always look forward for the blue ones. Everyone I've mentioned it too looks at me like I'm loco. Please take an extra glance for me as we're in a white-out snow storm this new years eve day. (great stitching weather) Wishing you a prosperous 2010.

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Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon.