The moon has always provoked the imagination of men and held a fascination born out in mythology, folklore and fables.
Cultures around the world have lived and died by the seasons of the moon believing a mysterious power comes with the lighted orb as it crawls across the night sky. They have planted crops, romanced, predicted weather, and castrated cattle and colts by the sign of the moon. Birthing babies also required the scheduling of the moon in predicting arrivals.
The Aztecs believed the moon was a headless evil goddess who enjoyed inflicting pain and instilling fear in her worshippers. The Mayans thought the moon to be a goddess who brought floods and storms with a little help from her serpentine assistants.
No full-moon anthology would be complete without mention of the five centuries of mystery surrounding the werewolf. Even in this modern world, hospital emergency rooms and law enforcement will attest to the “inner werewolf” of man cycling to a peak during periods of a full moon.
A little closer to home in Texas, a full moon is called a Comanche moon because of the night raids made by the Comanches. They used the light of the moon to cross the river into Mexico to steal horses, women, weapons and collect scalps while they were there.
Still today, proud Texans will watch the legendary Comanche moon come over the horizon and believe they can see horses and riders silhouetted single file against the light. Feathers adorning men, lances, and manes flutter in the movement as the procession moves silently across the light. A bountiful victory will be celebrated in the morning when the moon has gone dark.
Larry McMurtry brought the image to life in his 1997 western novel, “Comanche Moon.”
“The thing that Buffalo Hump was most grateful for, as he rode into the emptiness, was the knowledge that in the years of his youth and manhood he had drawn the lifeblood of so many enemies. He had been a great killer; it was his way and the way of his people; no one in his tribe had killed so often and so well. The killings were good to remember, as he rode his old horse deeper into the llano, away from all the places where people came.”
The modern-day definition of a blue moon is when there are two full moons in one calendar month, which actually happens about every 32 months.
In today’s digital photo world, a “blue moon” brings out the cameras worldwide to capture the occasion and yes, even with hope that the moon will actually be blue. The last “blue moon” was in July 2015 and we won’t see another until Jan. 31, 2018.
Chatter about a blue moon always brings me a childhood memory that makes me laugh all over again at my goofy brother who was always looking for fishing partner. We must have been maybe 10 and 12 years old at the time. He begged and begged me to go fishing with him and with my usual lack of enthusiasm, I told him sure, the next time there is a blue moon.
That night he took a crayon and drew a blue moon on the pane of my bedroom window. He seemed to have missed the point that “once in a blue moon” meant never, or at least extremely unlikely.
Julie can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.