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  • Writer's pictureLolly Spence

2020.10.31 Hunters Moon, October 2020

Hello friends. I hope you are out gazing at this amazing full moon. What a beautiful night for it, now that the storm has blown out. I am typing this by moonlight (and the phone's own glow lol).... This is the Hunters' Moon - and it is a BLUE MOON - and it is Halloween. We won't get to see a Halloween full moon again until 2039. By then I will be 67, eeeek - I wonder will I remember 2020 or is this the year nobody ever will forget?.....

In the whole of this 21st century, there will actually only be six full moons on Halloween:

2001 (only in Central and Pacific time zones so we missed it) / 2020 (tomorrow!) / 2039 / 2058 (I will be 86!) / 2077 and 2096.... (sorry to miss those lol).

A Halloween full moon hasn’t appeared for everyone in ALL time zones since 1944 - so Mum would have been 6 months old, Daddy wasn't yet born, and most people were probably too distracted by the Second World War to even think about the moon.

The first recorded mention of a “Hunter’s Moon” was in 1710 and was attributed to “the country people”.

The Hunter's Moon, which is the full moon following the Harvest Moon and the closest full moon to the fall equinox, is reportedly the best time for hunting because leaves have fallen, deer have fattened and harvesters have cleared the fields, making it easier to see the animals.

Elsewhere it is known as the Travel Moon, the Dying Grass Moon and the Sanguine or Blood Moon (maybe after the changing colors of the leaves).

The Hunter’s Moon typically appears in October, except once every four years when it doesn’t appear until November.

This month's Hunters' Moon is also a BLUE MOON because it's the second full moon of the same month - following the harvest moon at the start of October. So look up please and make a wish on this rare blue moon - for better times, a viable vaccine for Covid-19, and a glass raised with me before long.

Tonight is also Samhain (pronounced Sowin to rhyme with cowan) - arguably the most important date in the ancient pagan Celtic calendar. It is year end as the seasonal calendar rolls from the light half of the year to the dark half - and tonight the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest.....

Tonight the dead can take revenge on the living for any wrong done to them during life. People used to avoid going near graveyards and would never look round if they heard footsteps behind them for “it is the dead who are behind you and if you meet their glance assuredly you must die!”

In Ireland, Samhain customs involved lighting bonfires and visiting neighbours. Lockdown has kind of scuppered that this year - but I have my stove lit inside if that counts.

It was also a night for playing practical jokes. There are many instances of youths tying the doors of houses so that the inhabitants could not get out, stealing corn, pouring water down chimneys, dumping carts in bog holes and removing gates. One joke was to round up all the local donkeys, attach false faces to them with string and paint their bodies with red and black stripes.

The old custom of placing a hollowed out turnip with a candle inside, has been made simpler with the more easily carved pumpkins - but their original aim was to keep away evil spirits because on this night the supernatural world achieved its greatest power to influence the life of men. I suspect it was the smell of the burning turnip that drove them off lol.

Halloween was genuinely regarded as a night of ill omen. As a protection any traveller carried a steel needle. If he should chance upon a fairy host, he would take some dust from under his feet and throw it at them - and then they would be obliged to surrender any mortal they had captured. To protect children, salt and oatmeal were rubbed in their hair.

Games and customs – such as ducking for apples, or catching apples from a stick suspended with a candle at the other end - were customary in the past.

And single girlfriends, tonight is the night to try and discover what any future husbands may look like. PM me for details with a cabbage handy.... lolol.

Burning nuts was another custom – and children used to call Halloween ‘Nut Crack Night’.

In Ireland in the past, adults would disguise themselves (often wearing straw hats) and would roam about armed with sticks and clubs to collect presents of butter, eggs and meal. The most elaborate Halloween procession in Ireland was in Co. Cork. Here in the mid 19th century, a group of young men set out headed by a figure enveloped in a white sheet having the head of a horse – he was called the Lair Bhan – the white mare. The procession was accompanied by sundry youths sounding lustily on cow horns. They visited houses and demanded a contribution.

Anyway. My fingers are getting cold. There is a ring around the moon (a broch) which foretells bad weather so I might go and check my fire.

The New Celtic Year starts tomorrow. I wish you all blessings, health, peace and happiness xx

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