A Moon to Celebrate

Skywatcher’s Corner for October 2020 highlighting the Full Moon in Aries


from J Awen Labow

It’s fall here in the Northern hemisphere with a big, bright Full Moon making its light available to help extend the hours available for harvest. This may not be the way that we think of the Full Moon today, but most of our ancestors would have found this particular Full Moon to be most useful, indeed. I

n fact, this Full Moon marks a very important holiday all across Asia known as Mid-Autumn Festival or Full Moon Festival.

Traditionally celebrated as a harvest festival, Mid-Autumn Festival in the modern day is observed with family gatherings, honoring of the ancestors, feasting (especially on moon cakes made exclusively for this time of year), and most notably – admiring the Moon! It is rare that I would consider a Full Moon night to be an ideal sky watching opportunity, but with so much collective appreciation going towards this dazzling luminary, I encourage everyone to spend some time connecting with the Moon these next few nights!

Another nice thing I find about the Full Moon is that it marks the beginning of another period of early evening sky watching – perfect for those of us who like to get to bed early. Although the Full Moon being an exact Moon-Sun opposition indicates that the Moon will be rising as the Sun sets, it is moving westward through the sky so quickly that it rises nearly an hour later each night.

That means that on the nights following the Full Moon we are presented with more and more time to observe dark skies before getting to watch a dramatic Moon rise on the Eastern horizon. I am always amazed at how quickly this takes place, and how just a few days after the Full Moon I am able to get my fill of star gazing in, and begin getting weary well before the Moon’s arrival.

Even under the brightness of the the Mid-Autumn Moon, it will be hard to miss Mars, Jupiter and Saturn all glowing brightly in the evening sky. On October 2nd, the day after the exact Full Moon, the Moon will conjunct Mars and actually make its last of 3 occultations in 2020, fully covering over and blocking our view of the the Red Planet.

Depending on your latitude, you may not be able to observe the actual occultation, but it should still be quite a sight to see Mars and the Moon virtually on top of each other, especially since Mars is approaching its maximum brightness. In fact, on October 13th, when Mars reaches opposition with the Sun, it will be even brighter than Jupiter, so make sure you keep a close eye on Mars this month!

After the Moon departs from Mars leaving behind dark early evening skies, the beginning of October is an excellent opportunity to watch the rising of Pegasus, also known as the Great Square. This easy to spot constellation forms an almost perfect square in the sky with four stars all of relatively equal magnitude marking the four corners of the square.

Of interest to us as Shamanic Astrologers is the ability to use the Northeast and Southeast corners of the Great Square as pointer stars. Try drawing a line toward the ground about the same distance as the two stars are from each other.

Doing so, we arrive at a point in the sky marking with near exactness 0° Aries, or the place where the Sun is located at the March Equinox.

One last thing to take note of in the coming nights is that the Draconids Meteor shower will be taking place from October 6th-10th peaking on the evenings of the 7th and 8th.

Although typically not the most impressive of meteor displays, it is a uniquely early evening (as opposed to early morning) display that can be seen emanating from the head of the Dragon, Draco above the Little Dipper in the Northern sky.

Before the cooler nights of fall truly set in, it is still a great time of year to spend time out under the stars. If nothing else, I encourage you once again to at least go out as so many around the world will be doing and simply take in the beauty of this harvest time full moon and the night sky splendor it leaves in its wake!

Many blessings and starry skies!

Location of Draconids Meteor Shower

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