Halloween-By Angelique Duncan
There’s something that makes Halloween night that much more magical when a glowing full moon is hanging over the horizon looking down upon the revelry in the streets. The full moon of September is known as the Harvest moon. Which is one of the most noted full moons surrounded in mystery and intrigue. Every now and again the moon phase occur such that the Harvest moon will make a second showing in October. The full moon of October , known as the Hunters moon usually makes it’s appearance in mid to late October. .
The names associated with the full moons were given by Native American tribes and adopted by European settlers. The full moon of September gained its name for the light it provided by rising on the horizon nearly an hour earlier than other full moons of the year. The Harvest moon makes it’s appearance consistently each night there after as it begins its wane granting the illusion of being in a full state earlier in the evening and for a longer stint than other moons. The brightness of the early low hanging moon provided light to gather final crops of the season, hence the title Harvest Moon.
Through out history full moons have been attributed with mystique, legend and folklore. In ancient times it was believed the moon was the deity, Luna who worked in concordance and sometimes opposition to the sun. In early civilization people were dependent on the moon phases for passage of time and understanding the rotation of seasons.
Many believed the full moon opened a veil of opportunity for healing, magic and mischief. It was thought that the full moon was a time when the uses of healing herbs, tinctures as well as the effects of magic spells were heightened. This legend has carried through time in folklore and storytelling. The curse of werewolves is believed to take form with the light of a full moon. The full moon was a time of witches Sabbats and meetings, a practice still carried out by modern witches and pagans. Full moons have been associated with the prevalence of faeries and enchanted creatures that take advantage of the moons power to make mischief and steal humans. The full moon is often used in fairytales and legends as the marking point for when a spell or curse would end or begin.
A full moon has been associated with affects of changing mental states. The term lunatic derives from the Latin root “luna” or moon and the French term “lunatique”. The term to be “moon struck” derives from the Latin word “lunaticus”. It was widely believed that some people were prone to bouts of insanity dependant on the phase of the moon. Common belief was that if one was acting oddly, or more flamboyant it could be blamed on the moon. Studies conducted in the early 1900’s correlated a rise in violent and sexual crimes during full moons, although more recent studies contradict this evidence.
It was thought that animal behaviors were affected as well, making them more unpredictable and in tune with their wild instincts. Today it is still held that cats have an association with full moons, heightening their ability to bestow fortune. Behaviors of migratory animals such as turtles and other sea creatures, as well as land animals like wildebeests, show a direct correlation to their movements and the full moon. The annual showing of the Harvest moon has been well documented by hunters and nature observers to affect the behaviors of woodland animals. Some believe it is the extended period of bright light that alters their patterns. Others believe it is the presence of the moon it’s self that changes their behavior.
Whether explained by folklore or understood by science the fascination of humans and the moon is deep seeded in our culture, immortalized in song, mythology and art. It is seen as romantic, the stuff of magic, something to be feared and something to celebrate. Although the imagery of a full moon on Halloween night is so often depicted in art it is actually a fairly rare occurrence. The next time a true full moon will rise on October 31st will not happen again until the year 2020. However it will be interesting to note what a mischievous and magical Halloween night that will be.
The full moon for September 2013 will rise on the 19th and will appear again on October 18th 2013.
Angelique Duncan is proprietor of Twilight Faerie Nostalgic and Capricious Objects. Check out her artist page to find links to her shops and vintage inspired traditional holiday art. Visit again next month for more traditions and folklore.