May 31, 2007

It's a Once in a Blue Moon Day!

Posted by Picasa'Once in a Blue Moon', there is a second full moon in the same month. Of if you believe in the Old Farmer's Almanac, there is an extra full moon that occurs in a quarter of the year, which would normally have three full moons but sometimes, has four! But whether you believe in the old or the newer definitions, or even in blue moons, it is actually the third full moon in a season that has four which is counted as the extra full moon and named 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. Today, as you might have guessed by now, is a blue moon day! So, like many of you, I am talking to the moon today!

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 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 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, 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......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!


Hedgehog said...

Very cool! Thanks for sharing and enjoy the moon!

Shelina said...

There is always something to learn on your blog. Thanks for this lesson. I've alwas been fascinated by the moon, and do enjoy a full moon. The erratic behavior I can do without!

Paula, the quilter said...

Once, decades ago, I took a photo of the sun setting behind the foothills. There just happened to be a forest fire in Aspen. When I got my photos back from the developer, I thought there had been a mistake: the sun was red and the sky was yellow. Ash and smoke were the culprits and the camera caught what the human eye didn't.

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

That's a valuable lesson, seems like I learn one, every once in a blue moon! I have a good friend whose baby is due on the 6th... I wonder if this moon phase will help to hasten things along? Both of my children were born on full moons, three and three and a half weeks away from their "due" dates!! I don't think that they were blue moon babies, though.

atet said...

I have to say I am a big fan of blue moons. I got engaged on the night of a blue moon -- at the stroke of midnight, beneath a blue moon, on Halloween. I still smile thinking about it :0).

As for English -- I say let's go back even farther than the documents you are referencing. If you go back far enough, spelling was very much "if you hear the letter -- that's how it's spelled, oh and by the way -- there are no unpronounced letters". Everything was spelled the same way because there was no other way to spell it. Unfortunately, latin and French changed that for English spelling and pronunciation so we get the lovely strange rules we now have. Sigh -- the trivia I happen to have crammed into my head.

Thanks for the lovely post!

Cher said...

Nancy Griffth has a lovely song she does about once in a blue moon-what a delightful post