Tonight marks the appearance of the first of two total lunar eclipse for the year (April and October). Next year, we will have a mirroring of another two total lunar eclipses (April and September). Four successive total lunar eclipses with no partial lunar eclipses in between are termed a lunar tetrad. For most of us, tonight’s lovely lunar eclipse means witnessing the amazing beauty and symmetry in the skies; for some it’s causing all kinds of havoc.
The havoc is, of course, fueled by religious doomsayers. They are claiming that this tetrad marks the beginning of the “end times” as prophesied in the biblical chapter of Joel 2:31 which says the moon will appear to bleed. Before anyone hastens toward converting to any of the monotheistic religions, please realize that each time we have a total lunar eclipse, the moon looks red to us. In other words, the eclipsed moon is often seen as a “blood moon.”
To which we wise women say, “Of course.” A blood moon/total lunar eclipse is yet another reason why the moon is such a premier and potent symbol of women’s menstruation.
However, even normally sensible people, such as Mother Jones reporters, while debunking the “end times” falderal, perpetuate their own version of nonsense: Ben Dreyfuss writes: “In the olden days the sudden appearance of a big red bloody moon probably sent people into a panic. Terrified, they probably ran around screaming, “Help me! Help me! My God, the moon has turned red! The moon has turned red! We’re all going to die!”
No, actually in ancient times, people were quite saavy about the movements of the stars and planets. Many cultures were very observant and made precise and accurate notations about Venus, the progression of constellations, eclipses (both solar and lunar), and more. In general, humanity in ancient times was exceptionally knowledgeable about the night sky.
Hence, the observations that the Moon rules tides, the rising of tree sap, and the timing of women’s menstrual cycles. To observe that, from time to time, the Moon itself appears to bleed as women do, did not cause such dire consternation. Rather it was a marvelous confirmation that we women are exquisitely part of a large cosmological and even divine pattern.
Living in the Americas, we have the treat this year of seeing the great Moon turn from white to red against the inky sky. I hope you will celebrate the blood moons of this year with awe and wonder rather than with any hint of trepidation.