That embarrassing moment when you think to yourself, “When do I have to write the Full Moon Post this month?” – only to find out that it was today (well, as you’re reading this, yesterday), The full moon occurred on November 6th, two hours before I sat down to write this.
I know, no big deal, but when you keep half an eye on this stuff (or more than half) you kind of expect to at least know when the full moon is. To find out that it’s snuck up on you unsuspectingly is kind of sad, made worse by that fact that this isn’t just any full moon, it’s November’s full moon.
In my last Full Moon Post I wrote about how October’s moon herald’s the coming of the winter season, well November’s moon power slides into the room like Tom Cruise in whities declaring, “I AM HERE!”. Although it’s not all due to the moon itself, we humans have a bit part to play in this as well.
See, we screwed with time last week. Well, not in a “Doctor Who locking the Daleks in a time loop” type way, but screwed with it we did and to some extent we always are. We all know about leap years, those special years when we add an extra day to keep our calendar in line with the actual time it takes for the Earth to revolve around the sun, and plus try to make amends for how we slighted February when it comes the whole “30 days” thing. There’s also the lesser known leap second that’s added to Universal Time (UTC) to keep it in sync with Mean Solar Time. Unlike leap years, leap seconds don’t happen in set cycles, we just add them whenever we think we need one, either on June 30th and/or December 31st. The last one was added on June 30th 2012.
But of course in this case I’m talking about ‘falling back’ to Standard Time. In just one day, we’ve seemed to have plunged the world that we know into eternal darkness, or at least that’s how it feels. I remember last week waiting for darkness to fall on Halloween night, knowing that it wouldn’t happen to sometime around 7, and this week I’ve had the joy of driving home from work in the dark – at 5 o’clock.
Yeah, the clock shift back to the proper solar time is like a cold slap in the face, announcing the true (and final) marker of the coming winter season and plunging us all into a state of “oh God, it’s truly coming” type dread. But if we want to look for a silver lining (or at least a glowing moon) in all this, the time change (and the fact that the moon’s path across the sky is climbing higher as we approach December) makes the November full moon the first in a line of fall/winter moons that can truly be enjoyed almost all evening. Here in Delaware, the moon rose at 5:01pm and by 7pm it was high enough to be easily seen over the tree tops as it flooded my kitchen with light.
November’s moon is commonly referred to as the Beaver Moon, as it was a time to trap active beavers to have furs for the coming winter months. Another name is the Frosty Moon, which really should need no explanation. But modern paganism labels it the Mourning Moon.
The November moon is the first moon of the Celtic New year which began on Samhain and thus is considered the time to look at what you’ve accomplished over the last year and what you can afford to do without next year. It’s a time of contemplation and reflection; to rid oneself of all that may be hurtful (relationship, job, bad habits, etc), mourn all that has been lost, and begin looking forward as the new year approaches.
It is a time to mourn the “loss” of our sun as it continues its every lowering path across the sky, our days getting shorter, and colder. But it’s also a time to take comfort in the fact that Yule is just around the corner and with it a time of celebration as our sun starts its journey back to a place of predominance in our sky.
Craft beer fans – hopefully there’s little for you to truly mourn, unless its a summer seasonal from your favorite brewery. But you can still take some time to look back at what you did this past year, and decide what was worth it, and what doesn’t bear repeating next year.