The Full Moon Feeding Hurricane Sandy (10/29/2012)

Harvest Moon – Courtesy of NASA

As Hurricane Sandy barrels into the mid-Atlantic region today and onward, the so called “superstorm” or “Frankenstorm” has three major components feeding into that may enable it to become what some experts are calling ‘bad,’ or absolute ‘devastation’:

  1. An unusual pattern pushing the storm northwest instead of northeast and out to sea;
  2. a cold front pushing back at it from the north;
  3. a tide-rising full moon that will occur for about three days starting today and lasting through Wednesday.

This moon is called a “Hunter’s Moon,” (also sometimes called the “Harvest Moon.”)

“The Harvest Moon; Drawing for ‘A Pastoral Scene;” by Samuel Palmer, circa 1831-2

According to the The Farmer’s Almanac, this is the time of year when harvesters have cleared away the debris of the fallen leaves – offering adequate moonlight for hunters to spot migrating birds, predators and prey. Native American legend suggests that native tribes tracked and killed their prey by moonlight during the annual Harvest Moon, stockpiling their kills throughout the night for winter reserves.  

All full moons have their own unique visual characteristics, based mainly on the time of year they occur and their ecliptic whereabouts in the sky – i.e., full moons of autumn as seen from the northern hemisphere look different than spring moons seen from the southern hemisphere. The appearance of the Hunter’s Moon is not larger, smaller, yellower, or brighter than other full moons. 

Until the 1700s, the “Feast of the Hunter’s Moon” was regularly celebrated throughout Europe (and is still honored on some level today by devotees of mythical folklore.) 

Other names for the Hunter’s Moon is the “mid-Fall Moon” (the second full Moon of the season); “Beaver Moon,” the “Frost Moon,” and the “Snow Moon.”  

In Hinduism, this is a joyous occasion as mid-fall is when the rainy season is over and the brightness of the full moon brings new beginnings.

On the east coast today, however, this is when we turn our attention outward instead of upward, from moon-gazing to storm watching.  

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Categories: History + Legends

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