A chill is in the air, and nighttime is arriving earlier. It's officially October, and at this time of year, the mind naturally drifts toward darker subjects. Of course, we have the moon to thank, in part, for this tendency toward the macabre. The full Blood Moon will rise this Thursday, October 5, at 2:41 p.m. EST.
Although last month's moon is known as the Harvest Moon in spiritual circles, this month's full moon is considered the Harvest Moon, too, though in a completely different sense. Agriculturally speaking, the "Harvest Moon" is the full moon that occurs nearest to the fall equinox. This year, that honor goes to October's moon.
As is often the case with full moons, October's goes by several names in different sects of nature-based faiths. In addition to the Blood Moon, this full moon is known as the Hunter Moon and the Dying Grass Moon. The unifying theme here is death, but that's not as morbid as it sounds: These three names come from a time when people had to hunt for their food, all the while noticing signs of nature's inevitable "death" in the winter to come.
And actually, this moon's dark and creepy reputation doesn't stem from its name but from the fact that Samhain (the Pagan sabbat that celebrates death and inspired Halloween) falls within its lunation. For some, it can be spiritually fulfilling to spend the Blood Moon reflecting on the afterlife and mortality, especially ahead of November's Mourning Moon, which encourages us to think about those we've lost. Of course, you might not be in a place where you're ready to delve into such a heavy topic. Luckily, this isn't the only way you can observe October's full moon.
Entering October's lunation means accepting — and celebrating — the fact that nature is winding down for the year. If you haven't already decked your house out with pinecones, gourds, and other autumnal accent items, now's the time to start decorating. Bringing objects from nature into your living space is a simple way to honor this full moon's energy. Another common way to acknowledge the Blood Moon is to cook a warm, hearty meal, with or without meat. Your slow-cooker is calling.
Whatever you choose to do, the Blood Moon is an opportunity to welcome this time of year into your life. Though it may usher in lower temperatures and longer nights, October's full moon brings us one step closer to the end of the year and the sense of closure that often comes with it.