All The Superstitions Surrounding Tonight's Blood-Moon Eclipse

Photo: Carlos Tischler/REX USA
When the first supermoon lunar eclipse in 32 years happens tonight, many of us in North and South America, Africa, and Western Europe will be gazing at the sky in wonder, hoping to catch a glimpse of the spectacularly large blood moon (so-called because during a lunar eclipse, when the moon makes its way directly behind the earth and the sun and ends up in our shadow, it will take on a little bit of an extra orange-y red color, essentially reflecting a world's worth of sunsets). Others, however, may be looking up at the sky in fear (or excitement) thanks to a cavalcade of superstitions surrounding supermoon lunar eclipses.

The rarity of these celestial events has led many Mormons to cite the coming blood moon as a sign of the end of days, Yahoo News reports. In fact, fear among devotees to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was so widespread, the Mormon Church felt compelled to issue a statement cautioning its 15 million members worldwide not to get carried away in their preparations for the apocalypse. Urging followers to remain "spiritually and physically prepared for life's ups and downs," the Church's statement reminded Mormons not to confuse speculation with doctrine and "avoid being caught up in extreme efforts to anticipate catastrophic events."

The Mormon Church is not alone in its speculations. San Antonio Christian evangelical minister John Hagee has been stirring the pot with sermons, books, and television broadcasts about the alleged religious significance of tonight's eclipse, reports Live Science. Hagee is a proponent of the "blood moon prophecy," which also claims that this weekend's reddish moon could bring about the end of the world. In a promotional video for his book, Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change, Hagee claims that the supermoon lunar eclipse with bring about "a world-shaking event" that is somehow connected to end times. What this event will be exactly, we're not sure. But apparently, Hagee believes it could happen between April 2014 and October 2015, so the clock is ticking.

But all who anticipate the blood moon do not do so in an apocalyptic fashion. In Wiccan philosophy, the moon is given a unique name each month of the year. In January, you have the Wolf Moon, for example; in September, the Harvest Moon. And in October, every year, regardless of lunar eclipses — supermoon or otherwise — you have the Blood Moon, which Wiccan site Witches Lore says signals "a compelling time to build, to begin, to create, to start something and flow into a new way of being," as well as "a time to shed old, useless habits." Which, whether it's true or not, doesn't sound like a bad thing to us.

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