You have undoubtedly heard of “moon-lighting,” but have you heard of “moon watching”? I just received the “Astronomy and Astrology Almanac” (The Old Farmer’s Almanac) and there is information that help you if you want to moon watch

Every month of the year has a moon name associated with it—for example, August is the “Full Sturgeon Moon” and November is the “Full Beaver Moon.” However, I’ll write about the “Full Harvest Moon,” which takes place in September, the very month our Bible study begins.

This is technical, but should be known: the Harvest Moon “floats to the right of Jupiter on the 5th, left of Jupiter on the 6th, right of Saturn on the 7th and left of Saturn on the 8th.” However, the really “challenging” part of moon watching occurs on the 28th when you can see (if you are looking) a very thin crescent Moon low in the west after sunset. It forms a triangle with Mercury and Venus and helps Autumn to begin with an astronomical event on the 23rd.

I grew up on a farm and heard about the Harvest Moon because it reportedly provided the best light to complete the harvest. Some of the farmers called it the Full Corn Moon or the Barley Moon, but not where I lived because we never harvested barley and the corn was all shucked (only a farmer will know that word) by August.

Here are some trivial points about the September moon: the 17th and the 22nd are the best days to quit smoking; the 16th and 17th are favored for canning, pickling or making sauerkraut; the best days to color your hair or cut it to discourage growth are the 21st and 22nd—after you quit smoking. If you want to start a project, do it on the 2nd and try to finish it by the 29th. However, if things go poorly, the 6th through the 8th are the best dates for demolishing it.

If you want to purchase an animal in September—which includes dogs, but not cats—any day between the 26th and 30th will line you up correctly with the moon. There is no good day to purchase a cat. (As my neighbor’s bumper sticker said: “So many cats, so few recipes.”)

There are many more important September days listed in the Almanac: the best days to get married, travel for pleasure, ask for a loan, buy a home, move, destroy pests and weed, pick fruit, begin logging, and so on. It seems like there is a time for everything under the sun in September.

There is more—of course—in the Almanac. One that interested me was to examine the animal signs of the Chinese zodiac. These follow a 12-year cycle and are always used in the same sequence—something like the church calendar. Here I examine only those animals that concern us for September and the results were surprising (to me)—the animal that can help us most in September is the pig or boar. They are “gallant and noble” and will remain at our side as friends. They are compatible with the rabbit and sheep, but their opposite is the snake. In case you wondered, next year is the year of the rat and 2021 is the year of the ox or buffalo (last year was the year of the dog).

There is much more to learn about moons: for example, the idea of a “blue moon” originated in Native American folklore and only got into the media because of a mistake in an astronomy magazine. The wonderful thing about the blue moon is that it provides a second full moon as well. Each year has a season and typically there are three full moons in each, but if a season has four full moons the third one can be called a “blue Moon,” so it may also be a reasonable time to “feel blue.”

There is also a “Black Moon” and, as you may have guessed, it refers to a month when there is no full moon. Fortunately, for us, that is not in September.

What about the “Supermoon”? It is a moon that “is at the point in its orbit closest to the Earth.” A full-fledged astronomer will use the terms (I am not making this up) “perigee syzygy” or “perigee full Moon.” Supermoms may perform their work best on Supermoons.

One of the televangelists, best left unnamed, referred to a “Blood Moon” and wrote a book about the phenomenon, later made into a movie called “Four Blood Moons.” The Blood Moon is supposed to be a warning from God and occurs as a lunar eclipse in sync with Jewish Holidays that were significant warnings to the Jewish people. His book “will take you on a simple historical and prophetic journey that will enlighten you as to why we may be living in one of the most important years in history, 2014-2015.” There is now a second, updated, edition.

Moon events may comprise “lunar events,” the time when lunatics most characteristically make their appearance. The word lunatic is derived from the Latin word for moon, so it “makes sense” that the two should be related. However, it turns out that there is no correlation between strange behavior and full moons, although people in emergency rooms and maternity wards see it differently and characterize the full moon as “a harbinger of chaos.”

Remember the wild things that happened in your lives under a full moon, such as getting engaged? The moon is indeed an inspiration to lovers and poets. But, in closing, remember the quotation of Emmanuel G. Mesthene, who wrote “Technological change: its impact on man and society”:

“Ten years ago the Moon was an inspiration to poets and an opportunity for lovers. Ten years from now it will be just another airport.”

[September 2019]