Much of North America is currently under the gaze of a Blood Moon. We know it today to be formed when light passes through the Earth’s atmosphere, bathing the moon in an eerie red glow.
Whilst today’s event is the first of several in the next few years might be either incredible or foreboding depending on your point of view, this relatively rare celestial event has for millennia been seen by our ancestors as being a harbinger of doom.
There are several references in The Bible relating to Blood Moons including this one in 2:30 Joel “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness. And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord”.
However, I myself saw at least one Blood Moon in the 1990’s and can attest that the world hasn’t yet ended though sometimes it does seem a close thing. This though is the beginning of an event that has only happened 3 times in the past 500 years. Known as a Tetrad, the first of four blood moons is meant to be particularly significant and to a small minority of Christians even the second coming of Jesus Christ though of course this didn’t happen in the previous Tetrad events.
It’s not just Blood Moons that are said to have meaning, stars have done too. The Three Wise Men followed “a star” all the way from Iran to find the baby Jesus. Comets are also seen to be a messenger from the heavens and are said to bring about change and misfortune. Never more has this been the case than in England when Halley’s Comet appeared in the skies for 15 days in April 1066. Scholars saw this as a bad sign.
“At that time a star appeared in the north-west, its three-forked tail stretched far into the southern sky remaining visible for fifteen days; and it was portended, as many said, a change in some kingdom.”
William of Jumièges, Gesta Normannorum Ducum
Of course just months later England was invaded almost simultaneously first from Scandinavia which saw the brave but unlucky Kind Harold march his army from London up to Yorkshire where he fought an intensely bloody but victorious battle that in effect ended forever Viking claims over England only to then have immediately march hundreds of miles down to the south coast where William of Normandy had landed. Despite a stupendous effort that was very nearly enough, an all-day battle at Hastings saw King Harold dead and the arrival of Norman supremacy in Britain.
The moon though has always been the biggest influence on us though. Our calendar was often based upon the phases of the moon and though the legends of werewolves are almost entirely fictional, modern day police and doctors have on occasion mentioned that certain people are prone to wilder acts on a full moon, perhaps due to our bodies being composed so greatly of water which the moon is known to have great effects on.
In Japan traditional cannon shots were fired to ward off eclipses which were seen to coincide with earthquakes. India too sees lunar eclipses as unlucky with women being urged to keep inside in case it harms unborn babies.
Many superstitious people see a new moon as a good time to embark on new projects, courtships or even for farmers to plant seeds. Muslim cultures see lunar eclipses as good luck and offer a link with Allah with the moon bowed to and prayed upon with Muslims seeing the day to be one of kindness and forgiveness.
Of course due to the nature of eclipses and Blood Moons, what can be seen in one part of the world isn’t often seen elsewhere so whatever effects these events have for good or bad go largely unnoticed elsewhere in the world so on this occasion those of us in Britain, India and Japan can rest easy!