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The Super Blood Wolf Moon Rises


Super Blood Moon

This full moon is “super” in more ways than one.

The full moon tonight, January 20, is called “super” because its size will be magnified by proximity to the earth. It is also special because it comes with a total lunar eclipse that will be visible in much of North and South America and parts of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. This is the first time a total eclipse has been visible in North America in 19 years.

It is called a “blood moon” because, if the skies are clear, we will see it turn a reddish color. The first moon of January has been called a “wolf moon” by Native Americans because, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, hungry wolves would howl at it. The moon will be completely red–if we can see it–at 9:41 p.m., and the eclipse will be maximum at 10:12 p.m.


Lena Stevens, co-founder of The Power Path School of Shamanism in Santa Fe, provides an analysis of this “intense” moment. She says that ever since the new moon on January 5, we have been in a space of “self reflection of what we need to do, where we need to go, what we need to change, what to keep, what to release, who we are, and who we are not.” Now we get to “reshuffle our lives based on emerging decisions, choices and intentions.”

I am not very into astrology, but I do pay attention to the moon, something I had never done until I moved to Santa Fe. Amazing how oblivious most of us are to the movement of our celestial companion, which probably inculcated early humans into the concept of time. In addition, it may have endowed them with the capacity for abstract thought because they would have imagined what was happening when it went “dark.”

In a book by Jules Cashford (The Moon, Myth and Image), I also learned that the first humans to learn how to count were probably feminine because of the way the moon’s phases aligned with the menstrual cycle and also provided a means of tracing the nine months of pregnancy. This gave me a little thrill, meaning the possibility that we briefly occupied a plane of superior mathematical intellect.

But what does this have to do with the moment?


The moon also introduced us to the concept of cycles, and archaeologist Alexander Marschack discovered the first chipped evidence of this in a bone that was probably worked in about 25,000 B.C. He made the discovery in the Dordogne in 1965.

The First Moon Calendar

According to Cashford, “the Moon tells one fundamental story:  birth, growth, fullness, decay, death, and rebirth. It is the story of a cycle, an eternal cycle, and of transformation. which tends to give humans hope. No matter how tragic the end–of a life, a dream, a kingdom, a culture, a species–there is always a new beginning beyond it.

The moon helped us make sense of the world, but it also embedded the idea of the eternal cycle, as in that there will always be war, civilizations will come and go, everything comes to an end. And in this moment in history, the full moon will shine down on a world troubled by human-created danger. I refer to the possibility of nuclear war, international economic collapse, climate disruptions, and an environment devastated by human pillaging. And how about threats emerging from the worldwide invasion of technology?


As an example, alarms are sounding more often about how the popularity of smartphones is challenging the development of social skills, which enabled early humans to survive and flourish. As alternative medicine proponent Dr. Joseph Mercola writes, “Post-millennials spend more time alone, engaged in online socialization rather than face-to-face; they drive less, date less, have less sex and have poorer social and work skills than previous generations, and their suicide rates are rising.”

Things are getting serious for the species when screens are more popular than sex. This reminds me of an article on “The dynamics of Machiavellian intelligence” by Sergey Gavrilets and Aaron Vose. They noted that in the early history of Homo sapiens, intelligent males developed strategies (and weaponry) that enabled them to enhance their status, win mates, and pass their intelligent genes on to offspring and their descendants. If the drive to mate abates universally, well. . . .

And since we innately believe in cycles, are we beginning to see in the smartphone alone the possibility that humans who evolved so rapidly could begin to devolve?

Paul Greenberg provided evidence of the problem in The New York Times. He noted that more than three-quarters of all Americans own a smartphone, and in 2018, they engaged with them more than 1,460 hours, or the equivalent of 91 waking days. What is the opportunity cost? What might owners have been otherwise doing that was creative or constructive? And isn’t the degree of engagement steadily escalating?


I’m not an anthropologist, but I expect that the cultivation of observational skills was a bedrock asset in the development of the human species. It first had to do with hunting and gathering to survive, but it is also essential to learning and to creativity itself. At this moment in time, we are in desperate need of activation of the power of observation in a new way.

I’m back to cycles again, and this one pertains to the history of America. Is this full moon shining down on evidence that our reign as the most powerful country in the world is coming to an end? I’m speaking not only of the danger embedded in a technological revolution but also of many signs that governments, institutions, foundations, corporations, and their leaders here are beginning to flounder in their ability to fulfill an imagined commitment to serve the common good.

Maybe the error lies in imagining that commitment, but if so, perhaps the time has come to clarify the need and verbalize its importance. I am sure that in every troubled setting there are many people who saw the trouble coming and who know how to address it constructively.


Full Moon and Harvest

But back to the moon. This evening we can all enjoy its celestial splendor and a moment of gratitude for its faithful companionship as our earliest teacher. But tomorrow it begins to wane, reminding us that change is eternal and even when it brings destruction and chaos, it also brings opportunity. The waning will climax with the dark of the moon known as “the void,” and this will appear on February 4 and last for three days.

The void is traditionally seeded with wishes and intentions. At this moment in time and as counseled by Lena Stevens, these can emerge not only from “self-reflection” but also acute observation of what is going on the world around us. Our individual, helpful intervention is clearly needed, no matter how small. There is no telling how much good will sprout from the idealistic cultivation of possibility.






3 Responses to “The Super Blood Wolf Moon Rises”

  1. Judi Hendricks

    Like most people these days, I have a cell phone which I use in what I consider to be moderation. I think the thing that bothers me most about them is that they discourage being present in the moment.
    You can’t go anywhere anymore–restaurants, grocery stores, theaters, shops…even walking the dog–without noticing that a large percentage of people have their phone either plastered to their ear (or they’re wearing earbuds) or their heads bent over the device. At scenes of great natural or human- created beauty and wonder, people are reading email, texting, posting on FaceBook or checking their Twitter feed.
    Are we that terrified of missing something crucial if we’re unplugged for an hour? Does every question require or deserve an instant answer? I’ve read several articles lately about people being addicted to their screens, and I’m beginning to think it could be true.

  2. Lynn Peyer

    Hollynn’s comment about mobile phones as learning tools is perfect; yesterday while I was in a car with two of my granddaughters I used Google on my phone to help explain the blood moon/lunar eclipse event. We also needed Google to tell us what a wolf moon is! What is important to me is learning something every day, not the method I use to learn it.

    BTW, I was in Brooklyn, NY, where it was so cold (10 degrees) that it was difficult to watch the entire eclipse. Finally, the moon began to turn red (so exciting) but then heavy clouds rolled in and refused to roll out.

  3. Hollynn D'Lil

    Again, a wonderful delving by Ellen into the moment we’re in now – the clutch of smart phones. However, the question needs to be asked, “In Paul Greenberg’s 91 waking days spent on the smart phone by most Americans, must we assume nothing creative or constructive was done on those days?” I suspect many hours are spent looking up stuff. In meetings of my boards and in discussions with friends, I love it when someone grabs their smart phone and looks up a word or a concept under discussion. It greatly helps our progress, even if it’s just looking up a word our senior minds have collectively forgotten.

    Maybe people are playing games on their smart phones. I spend a lot of time playing solitaire on my hard drive. Supposedly, it will help my mind stay active, but I wonder. It’s just a way to relax and have fun. And, I can’t find anything wrong with that.

    I have been known to ask my friends if I should just take out my book and read while they are on their smart phones, ignoring me. They usually guiltily put their phones away. What we need to develop are more manners regarding the use of cell phones in general. As, “Excuse me, but I find your company not nearly as engaging as playing with my smart phone,” is not a polite way to make it okay to ignore someone you’re out to lunch with, I don’t think we’ll ever find a mannerism to excuse their use on all occasions.

    However, for those males no longer pursuing sex because of smart phones, maybe that will lead to less testosterone in the population, as it’s the more testosterone-driven males that populate the most, leading to testosterone overload generally. Could we dare postulate that there might be fewer wars?

    So, I’ll go outside in a few hours and see if I can see the moon. Maybe take a photo with my cell phone. That’s one of those portions of the 91 waking days put to good use, too. I think there is hope for humans to continue to evolve toward something better. Less testosterone and more easily acquired information will help.

    Thank you, Ellen, for exploring this phenomenon with us.