An unmistakable energy fills the air. It is ancient, yet fresh, chilly while being warm with the glow of anticipation.
And speaking of glowing things, tonight, as we gaze skyward – wondering if maybe, just maybe, we really did see something flash across the sky on a broom – we will be doing so under the light of a blue moon.
Not any blue moon – rare as they are unto themselves – but an extra uncommon October 31st blue moon at that.
The combination of an event that transpires once every two or more decades on a day that is, for many of us, already an extremely spiritually and/or meaningfully charged time is nothing short of incredible.
What is a blue moon?
The expression “blue moon” has been in use since at least 1528, when it appeared in a religiously focused pamphlet that was penned by two friars.
These days we generally use the term “blue moon” to refer to when two full moons take place in the same calendar month. However, earlier on, this expression was applied to times when an extra full moon appeared in a given season.
We’ve been using the term “once in a blue moon” and referring to two full months in a single month as blue moons since at least 1946, when the expression was discussed in the March 1946 edition of Sky and Telescope magazine.
While blue moons themselves are fairly uncommon – with one happening, on average, every 2.5 – 3 years or so – the occurrence of blue moons on Halloween is much, much less frequent.
This rare and exciting event, which takes place today, is not slated to return again until 2039 (followed by three more Halloween Blue Hunter Moons this century, in 2058, 2077, and 2096, respectively).
Talk about living up to its name! 😃
Is the blue moon actually blue?
Despite its name, blue moons – which, again, refer to times when two full moons occur in the same calendar month – are not actually blue in colour.
That said, depending on the atmospheric conditions, degree of visible light, weather, and cloud cover, the sky around the Halloween full moon – be it an actual blue moon or otherwise – can sometimes have a marvelously spooky blue, black, purple, orange, yellow, or white colour to it.
Again though, the moon itself will not be a glowing blue orb of light in the sky this Halloween – as cool as that would surely be!
Interestingly, it is possible – though exceedingly uncommon – for the moon itself (be it full or otherwise) to take on the appearance of having a blue cast to it.
This is most likely to occur when there is a sizable amount of dust particles or smoke in the atmosphere, such as during some major wildfires and following the 1883 eruption of the Krakatoa volcano and various other large volcanic events (including Mount St. Helen’s in 1980).
Cold weather, especially that of the winter months in both far north and far south climates can also sometimes cause the moon to take on the appearance a subtle blue tinge.
This is aided all the more so if the sky around it is inky blue and/or if the moon is partially full or obscured to a degree by cloud cover (as seen in the gorgeous photo above, which was taken in the winter of 2017 by my husband, Tony, who is a talented and passionate photographer.)
When is the next blue moon?
We will all be waiting a good long while until the next Halloween blue moon. However, as far as non-spooky season blue moons go, we will experience a second full moon in the same month come August 2023.
To be precise, the next blue moon will take place on August 31, 2023 – and not only with it be a blue moon, but it will be a blue super moon.
An event that is, much like a Halloween blue moon, a rare and wonderful happening unto itself.
(A super moon is the full moon that is the closest and, accordingly, largest of a given lunar year.)
Can a year have two blue moons?
While we’re on the subject of rare moon occurrences, you may be wondering if it is possible to have more than one blue moon in a single lunar year.
Delightfully, the answer is yes.
Though an uncommon happening, some years do house two different blue moons. This can occur if a given February (the shortest month of the year) has no full moon of its own in a particular year.
For those who like to mark their calendars really far in advance, we’ll get to enjoy the next double blue moon year in 2037, when a blue moon will appear in both January and March of that year.
Two blue moons is the largest number of blue moons that can occur in a given year, and indeed, more years lack a blue moon than includes one (or two).
What is the name of the October full moon?
Each of the full moons of the year is known by various names across different cultures and time periods.
The moon following the Harvest Moon, which took place this year on October 2nd, is commonly called the Hunter Moon.
Its name refers to times when – and to this day still for some people, too, of course – following the harvest season or in conjunction with its final days, hunting and forging were carried out to help load up one’s caches of food for the coming long, cold winter months ahead when easily obtained food sources were/are often scarce.
What do you call it when there are two new moons in one month?
Much as how a single month can, occasionally, house two blue moons, so too do some months include two new moons (the time when the moon is positioned between the earth and sun leading to a dark moon or “no moon”, though the later is factually inaccurate, as the moon is always in the sky, whether we can see it at or not).
When this happens, it is called a black moon. 🌑
Black moons, much like blue moons, are rare events.
Those whose spirituality and/or connection to nature is aided by the actions of the heavenly bodies above will be keen to watch out for and connect with the highly charged energy of black moons.
On average, black moons occur every 32 months or so. They are the opposite of full moons and the next one will grace the sky come April 30, 2022.
What else is going on in the sky tonight?
Depending on where you live, the weather today might be anywhere from roasty-toasty to snowflake filled, rainy to calm and mild.
We’ll be lucky if we stay above freezing on this end. But, given that we’ve already had multiple snow days this year, I really cannot complain so long as the flurries stay at bay! 🥶
No matter where you reside, the moon will have some lovely company today, as the red planet of Mars comes the closest to earth it has been in two years.
Talk about one heck of a celestial power couple!
What does the blue moon represent spiritually?
The answers for this are vast and varied. The moon has been a meaningful, often highly referred part of many peoples’ lives since time immemorial.
Many a book has been penned on the subject of the moon’s history, moon magick, moon folklore, and the astrological science surrounding the moon – and for good reason!
This mythical and magnificent glowing orb is a universal nightlight that shone down upon the earth since before the dawn of life on this planet.
The moon itself is a highly symbolic and important cosmic body.
Countless religions and faiths, belief systems, magickal workings, and good ol’ legends alike have involved the moon over the course of human history.
Likewise, scores of meanings and connections have been linked to the moon.
Some of the most common and widespread include feminine energy and the divine feminine, mystery, spirituality, psychic connections, traditions, cyclical nature, birth, death, the afterlife, reincarnation, balance, strength, patience, energy, fertility, power, beauty, reverence, nighttime, shadows, darkness, water, oceans, the key stages of life, witchcraft, magick, serenity, healing, the natural ebb and flow of life, and personal growth – to name but a few.
A blue moon can house, convey or personally symbolize any or all of these things for a given individual.
It also has the added element of rarity, which lends it an extra special energy and sense of wonder.
And while not technically blue in colour, a blue moon is a great time to honour the name of this second full moon and work magickally/spiritually with the colour blue in whatever ways feel right to you.
As well, if you work with crystals or any other items you wish to charge by the light of the moon, the Halloween 2020 blue moon is a truly apt and awesome time to do just that.
Living the blue moon life
The expression “once in a blue moon” is used quite frequently. Chances are many of us say it more than we even realize.
Once in a blue moon can be applied to situations or events both positive and negative, as well as those that are simply especially uncommon.
For me, the fact that I wasn’t able (for health reasons) to post quite as many Halloween and Samhain related entries here and over on Instagram alike as I would have ideally liked was a bit of a blue moon event unto itself. 😱
Many who have known me for long – be it via IG, back in the days of my vintage blog, or elsewhere online – likely know that I live for October (Halloween/Samhain is my favourite and most sacred day of the entire year). And that, whenever possible, I post up a storm in celebration of this deeply meaningful chapter of the year.
Some years though, no matter what we plan or hope for, there are forces bigger than us at play.
A lifetime of experience has taught me that, while it’s wonderful to try and better situations or elements that aren’t ideal, fighting tooth and nail against those we have little to no ability to alter is often a recipe for heartache, stress, and a host other undesirable states.
And that, dearest friends, is the furthest thing in the universe I want when October 31 returns to our world – which it has done today. 🥳
This Samhain/Halloween is different in a lot of other ways, too.
How could it not be given the unique, challenging, often difficult, continually uncertain year that has been 2020?
Yet, no matter what, no matter where in the world we reside, at some point on the final day of October, a rare second full moon will shine down upon us. 🌝
Its solid, yet ethereal nature and haunting beauty, a powerful reminder that even in the darkest of times, a little extra light is out there, waiting to help guide our paths onto better, more stable times ahead.
This October 31st, whether you observe Halloween, the final Pagan harvest season sabbat of Samhain, both, something else entirely, or nothing at all, I encourage you to connect in your own poignant ways with the energy and radiance of the 2020 Halloween blue moon.
Events like this truly do not come along every day. Indeed, it will be another 19 years before the time a blue moon falls on All Hallows’ Eve again.
Go forth or stay put, party or keep the celebrations mellow, work magick, connect with the departed, rewatch your favourite Halloween flicks, feast on festive eats, or head outside and bath in the beauty and intense energy of this poignant celestial event.
However you spend this day, I hope that it is a positive, safe, meaningful, and memorable one for you.
And remember that, like rare blue moons themselves, tough and uncertain times such as the year we’re collectively experiencing, do not last forever.
Happiest Halloween, joyful Samhain, and blessed blue moon wishes from my heart to yours! 🌕💙🎃