Super blood moon, it is, as expressed in Afrikaans or Super Igazi Inyanga, as in Zulu, two widely used languages of the country where I have just been privileged to witness the rare celestial event, the last of which was played out in 1982, when I was into the fifth year of my working life, and at the beginning of a life with my other best, thirty three years ago. The rarity of the event becomes all the more amplified, considering that the next such occurrence is only in the year 2033, when I may or may not be around. Like the super moon, which occurs when the moon is closest to earth in its orbit, the super blood moon presents itself in a reddish tinge, coinciding with a lunar eclipse leaving the moon in earth’s shadow. As the earth casts its shadows and sun’s light hits all around its limb, the atmosphere glows red, and the glow illuminates the surface of the moon, imparting the appearance of a fair and beautiful maiden bejewelled in platinum and touched up in rouge. In other words, super moon and lunar eclipse come together in the presentation of super blood moon. It is virtually the same, as a NASA scientist puts it, as seeing several sunrises and sunsets combined in reflection off the lunar surface.
The pic at bottom left showing the super blood moon is sourced, while the remaining ones depict the phenomenon as seen on the nights of 27th / 28th Sept 2015 from my place of stay in Johannesburg.
I waited keenly, in readiness with my iPhone, for the evening skies to open up into nightfall of September 27th – 28th. Contrary to indication, the moon did not carry any tinge of red, but was out in her benign fullness, silvery splendour, and platinum magnificence, very much in the demeanour of a coy bride walking, in pristine glory, down the heavenly aisle. Akin to the pages of an open book fluttering backward in a sudden gusty wind, my mind flew back to my school days in 1967, to Walter de la Mare’s unforgettable planet of the evening’s silver flame, “Slowly, silently, now the moon / Walks the night in her silver shoon; / This way, and that, she peers, and sees / Silver fruit upon silver trees; / One by one the casements catch / Her beams beneath the silvery thatch; / Couched in his kennel, like a log, / With paws of silver sleeps the dog; / From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep / Of doves in silver feathered sleep / A harvest mouse goes scampering by, / With silver claws, and silver eye; / And moveless fish in the water gleam, / By silver reeds in a silver stream”.
The blood moon, as a description, has no standing in astronomy, as it is not a scientific term, even though it serves the purpose of offering a readily comprehensible definition of reddish hue seen on a super moon during lunar eclipse. It is heard mostly in the context of Biblical prophesies, as a phenomenon heralding the beginning of the apocalypse, stating that the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood in the end time, predicting the second coming of Jesus around the autumn of 2015, apparently marking as it does, the end of seven years of great tribulation that reportedly began in the autumn of 2008. Other Abrahamic religions also fall in line with similar doomsday prophecies. The super blood moon, specially when it closely precedes, as in the instant case, the Martian Tuesday, the day of blood, is believed to be a sign of God’s anger, proclaiming that the ways of the world are not in line with divine doctrines and, therefore, to be taken as warning to promptly institute overdue corrections.
In Vedic astrology, the present event is the final eclipse in a series of eclipses since Rahu and Ketu, part of ‘navagrahas’ or nine planets, otherwise known as the North and South nodes of the Moon, on which astrological calculations are based, have been in sidereal Virgo and Pisces over the last year. These eclipses have been unearthing the shadows of our subconscious drives towards the moods represented by these two signs. The Virgo mood compels us to organise the details of life and our material surroundings, to work hard and responsibly in order to avoid conflict, and to iron out imperfections in others and ourselves. Pisces, on the opposite side of the zodiac, urges us to let go of the material world and surrender to the unknown, embracing imagination and life’s mysteries, or, at times, slipping into escapism from life’s drudgery. The pull of these opposites and alignment of shadow planets with the sun, our inherent divine power, and the moon, our emotional fields, drives us to one or both of these extremes, causing distress around our desire to keep things materially organised, overly meticulous and responsible, or the Piscean extreme of giving in to the flow, to be more fluid in life’s waters, drifting into dreamy idealism. In the ensuing turbulence, chaos and confusion, the compelling direction is to integrate idealism with pragmatism, practical management of life’s concerns. The moonlight, as perceived, is actually the light of the sun being reflected off of the moon. The sun’s rays pass through earth’s atmosphere before reaching the moon and are refracted in many directions, which explains the visibility of the moon during lunar eclipse as sunlight is still reaching it through indirect scattered rays bouncing through the atmosphere and around the earth. This phenomenon corresponds to the astrological indication that eclipses often cause confusion, making us feel dissipated. It conjoins Ketu, described as the tail of a headless dragon, and represents the shadow of the earth as it eclipses the moon. Ketu dissolves the mind of all attachments and desires, offering a profound possibility of sudden awakenings and revelations of the highest order, igniting the fires of transformation, sparking a radical shift on both individual and collective level of our conscienceness. The super blood moon, thus, may not sound the last post pointing to end time, but affords an opportunity to sound the inner trumpet of awakening to claim one’s own redemption. The eclipse occurred in the area of the sky known as Uttara Bhadrapada, in the constellation of the ‘great square of Pegasus’. Known also as the warrior star, Uttara Bhadrapada is revered for its determined spiritual nature and fighting spirit. It probes deeply into the cycles of human suffering and negative aspects of nature, duly sublimating frustration and despair into wisdom and understanding, enhancing our capacity for compassion. In Sanskrit, Bhadra means blessed and pada stands for feet. The Bhadrapada are the four corners, or feet of the coffin that carries the soul through Pisces, the end of the zodiac. It is associated with fires of the funeral pyre, burning bodies to scorch away our impurities.
Setting aside these beliefs and myths, the alarming state of the world, disquieting events in various regions, frenetically paced environmental degradations, and climatic patterns constant only in its variableness and unpredictability, constitute definitive indications of life going awry. The world may, in its complacency borne out of profound ignorance and misplaced arrogance, be coasting along in the mistaken notion that many of these beliefs and myths, devoid of rationale, cannot be pointing to any doomsday. There may not be a second coming of the Saviour or Messiah, appearance of Maitreya, or promised return of Krishna to re-establish dharma. But the almighty power residing in and permeating the cosmos can reduce everything to zilch within no time, at anytime. Astronomy speaks about thousands of asteroids of varying sizes, some of them several times larger than planet earth, orbiting the region of the solar system, located between the planets Mars and Jupiter, at mind-boggling velocities, closely zipping past planet earth within gaps of less than 200,000 miles, considered pretty close by astronomical evaluations. If any one of these mega, metal-rich asteroids suddenly turns delinquent and collides head on with earth at speeds of 37500 mph, planet earth may not be anything more than another cloud of dust afloat in the cosmos.