Monday, January 21, 2019

Myths of the Blood Moon

Astronomy, Moon, Cosmos, Lunar, Space Last night, there was a blood moon.  It was actually a lunar eclipse that happened around 7:45 PM local time.  I stepped out of the house into a blowing wind that pushed snow all over the place while the sky was mostly clear.

I walked to the end of the building where I could see things.  The moon was almost covered with just a slit of white showing out of the reddish cover.  The moon almost faded into the deep sky color.

A blood moon can only occur during the full moon.  The red color is caused by the moon passing through the earth's shadow rather than totally blotting it out.  Historically, a blood moon signaled impending doom.  Each society had their own interpretation for this event.

The Incan people believed the deep red color was caused by a Jaguar eating the moon.  They were afraid the Jaguar would attack the earth once it finished eating the moon, so they made lots of noise in the hopes of keeping it away. 

On the other hand, Mesopotamia's people believed the blood moon or any eclipse was an assault on their king so a body double was hired from the general population to take the place of the king during eclipses so if the pretend king was killed, the real  one remained alive. 

Some people took advantage of the blood moon to line their pockets.  It is said that on Columbus's fourth journey to the new world, his boats were attacked by worms so they had to put in at Jamaica.  After about six months, their welcome was wearing thin and people did not want to continue feeding them.  Columbus had an almanac, so he used the information of the upcoming blood moon to tell the leader that the Christian god was upset with the natives for refusing to feed them.  When the moon turned red, the natives rushed to provide food for Columbus and his men out of fear.  He pardoned them just as the eclipse ended.

Several Hindi folktales connected the blood moon with the demon Raku imbibing an elixir to obtain immortality.  It is said that the sun and the moon decapitated him but his head reamed immortal and it chases the sun and moon across the sky.  When the head catches the moon, we have a blood moon.

At least two Native Americans thought the moon was ill during an eclipse so they would sing or chant healing songs at the moon in the hopes of healing it. A tribe in Africa sees this event as the sun and moon having an argument which the people encourage them them to resolve.

Of course, as science has developed and we've learned more, we know none of the beliefs mentioned above are true but its still fun to learn about them.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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