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Hunter’s Moon

October 26, 2015

The Hunter’s Moon strides boldly across the sky tonight. It’s the first full Moon after the Harvest Moon — a bit of skylore inherited from some older cultures of Europe and the Americas.

In today’s world, people are on the go and spend most of their time indoors, so they pay little attention to such things. In fact, much of the time the Moon goes unnoticed — unless, perhaps, someone wants to blame it for some unfortunate event.

In older times, though, the rhythms of the sky were quite important. They served as calendars, telling people when it was time to plant or harvest crops, when it was time to move to new hunting grounds, or when it was time to hold important religious ceremonies.

In many cultures, the Moon was the most important calendar marker of all. It follows a regular cycle of phases that repeats every 29 and a half days — and that’s where we get the calendar period known as the “month.”

Village elders or tribal skywatchers tracked this rhythm. They didn’t necessarily count the days, but they often tracked the seasons by assigning names to each of the full Moons. So they knew it was time to harvest crops when the Harvest Moon rolled around. And the time after the harvest, when the fields were bare and the weather was getting cold, was a time for hunting — hence the Hunter’s Moon.

Watch the Hunter’s Moon as it strides across the sky tonight — marking a new season in the sky, and a new cycle of life on Earth.


Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2015

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