A TOTAL lunar eclipse will see the January Full Moon transform into the eerie Blood Moon during totality, leading many to associate the event with superstitions and bizarre beliefs.
On Monday, January 21, the Full Moon will pass through the Earth’s darkest shadow and radiate a brilliant glow of refracted red sunlight. The astronomical spectacle, which happens once or twice a year, is often associated with spiritual and mystic powers.
One popular Blood Moon superstition is the eclipse is an ominous sign of evil, dark magic and malevolence. Some Christian conspiracy theorists believe the Blood Moon is a prophetic sign of the Apocalypse, foretold in the Book of Revelation.
Revelation 6:12-14 reads: “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
“And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
“And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”
Other ancient cultures, such as the Inca Empire in modern-day Columbia, held fearful superstitions tied to the Blood Moon.
According to David Dearborn, a researcher at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Inca “didn’t see eclipses as being anything at all good”.
The Inca would howl at the red Moon and shake their weapons in its direction, believing a monstrous jaguar was attempting to devour the lunar orb.
In Ancient Babylonia, the Mesopotamians considered the Blood Moon a dire prophetic sign of tragedy.
In the Babylonian book The Gods Anua and Enlil, Blood Moons were declared a sign of the ruling king’s impending death.
Measures would be taken to protect the king – typically by temporarily assigning another member of the royal family to stand in for the king should tragedy strike.
Professor Gonzalo Rubio, of Pennsylvania State University, said: “In order to preempt the monarch’s fate, a mechanism was devised: the ‘substitute king ritual’, or ‘šar pūhi’.
“There are over 30 mentions of this ritual in various letters from Assyria – northern Mesopotamia – dating to the first millennium BC.
“Earlier references to a similar ritual have also been found in texts in Hittite, the Indo-European language for which we have the earliest written records, dating to second-millennium Anatolia – modern-day Turkey.”
Today, followers of Wicca tradition observe the Blood Moon eclipse for a heightened sense of spiritual and esoteric energy in the air.
Some witches prepare for a lunar eclipse by preparing jars or glasses to collect Moon Water – blessed water used in rituals and spells.
Astrologers also look toward the Blood Moon to try an understand how the astronomical event will affect the horoscopes.
Jamie Partridge of AstrologyKing.com wrote: “Like a regular full moon only stronger, a lunar eclipse focuses attention on your emotions, intimate relationships, and your home and family.
“A total lunar eclipse has an even strong influence on your private life.”