For Halloween 2020, power couple Elizabeth A. M. Keel and Greg Cote hosted a few friends for a virtual night of festivities and art on video conference. Each guest was invited to contribute a creative work to the group in honor of the night. Perfectly in line with my modus operandi, I didn't put something together until two hours before the party began. Here is my gift to the party.
The full moon is halfway on its journey away from and back to the starting point of the new moon. In the instantaneous moment that follows its full illumination, we enter ‘waning gibbous’. The light shrinks away. The full moon is a marker of change, one that passes as suddenly as it arrives.
We gather today on the evening of a full moon, though by the time we meet, well after sunset, the moon has already begun to wane. Tonight it is a “blue hunter’s moon”, which symbolizes a time to begin stockpiling for the winter. This is an astronomical rarity for our continent – the last occurred in 1944. A long time ago, but there are those for whom this is the second in their lifetime. Another marker in time.
This full moon, the middlepoint of the cycle, comes to us in the middle of a transitional season, in the middle of two apexes of our obit around the sun. The moon grows darker, and so do our days. So might our spirits and our souls. So might our vision and our goals. We careen together through the darkness of space, toward the darkest time of the year.
An author of a book I’m reading has written of the night:
"Turned away from the sun, we see the dawning of far-flung galaxies. We are no longer sun-blind to the star-coated universe we inhabit. The endless black, which seems to stretch forever between the stars and even backwards in time to the Big Band, we call “infinity”.”
(Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses.)
This evening, many of us have come costumed or masked or decorated as we assume a visage, an image of something not quite ourselves. Though we have made the choice to appear this way, even briefly, so it may be said that this is a form of ourselves. The moon’s image changes each moment. We seek escape from our familiar image today to find a thrill or a meaning in another. It may illuminate something new in you, or something old. We are gibbous – we are something in between light and dark – today, we move closer to darkness.
The most pitch black night allows us to see what we cannot otherwise imagine. If you keep your eyes turned up toward the sky, what will you find as we walk toward the darkness?
An astrologer interviewed by the New York Times, Chani Nicholas, is quoted: “Full moons are a time when we get a little assistance seeing in the dark. It is a very significant full moon, and is sitting next to a planet with upheaval, change, surprise, excitement: Uranus.” It is a good time to get rid of things we don’t need.
Today, we chose a mask. It is one we bought or crafted especially for today, and we may put it away into a closet to return in one more orbital cycle. We choose a mask on normal days, too. On full moons and new moons and 76.4% illuminated moons as well.
I do not believe in astrology as a quantifiable power that exerts influence over our lives or our personalities. I believe in the in power of symbols, though. Think of all of the symbols in this moment we have today, in your home, and in your life. The fears and the joys, the worries and the aspirations. Think of the push and pull they have on your choices, on your vision of yourself and your life. Think of the ones you do not need today, or ever again. Light a candle and blow it out. Write it down and tear it apart. Take off your shoes and dance in the grass beneath the waning gibbous and sweat them away.
The temperature of the moon in the sunlight can reach up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. It stands to reason that full moon is the rock at its hottest. It now grows colder.
We are halfway through a season, in between two seasons. We are halfway through the moon cycle. What are you halfway on your path to? Do you return home? Do you return to yourself? Do you find yourself on a new, strange, exhilarating orbit toward a new star? If you choose any mask for this journey, I recommend an airtight helmet.