If you were thinking April was just another month in another year with your exact same face and Ides in it, then congratulations for not having to be online that much. Because LOOK OUT: Everyone is talking about how it is supposed to be a wild month for all people, relationships, transactions and experiences. Here's why.
+April has two eclipses.
+One of them is a total lunar eclipse.
+The lunar eclipse will be appear red, AKA a 'blood moon' (a nonscientific term which is way more fun to use).
+This blood moon will be one in a series of four total eclipses/blood moons over the next two years called a tetrad.
+Tetrads are rare — rarer than a blue moon.
+Ok but they are not that rare because there are eight sets of these things for the 21st century alone. (The last one — the first total eclipse of this century's tetrads — was in 2003-2004. Before that, the last tetrad was in the previous century in 1967-68. Tetrad tetrad tetrad. (Tetrad.))
+A blood moon is supernatural ominous spooky thing, say religious people.
+A blood moon is just red and is totally explained by science, says science.
+The two eclipses in one month mean crazy ends and beginnings and conflicts for ALL PEOPLE, say astrologers.
+Nah, crazy stuff happens all the time, says science.
+The four blood moons mean major conflict in the Middle East and/or the Second Coming because they occur on Jewish feast days, one of which is Passover, say religious people, and other past tetrads happened with major shit, too!
+Nah, crazy stuff happens all the time, says science.
Whew. Let's explore.
According to NASA, there are, on average, two lunar eclipses a year, but they aren't all total and/or you can't always see them. This one is a total lunar eclipse (of the heart?) that you'll want to look at (in North America) on the evening of April 14/April 15. Also known as the exact moment you will remember that your taxes are due the following day.
The April 15th eclipse begins at 2 AM Eastern time when the edge of the Moon first enters the amber core of Earth's shadow. Totality occurs during a 78 minute interval beginning around 3 o'clock in the morning on the east coast, midnight on the west coast.
The next ones are:
Oct. 8, 2014
April 4, 2015
Sept. 28, 2015
This IS a rare sequence of type of eclipses to happen back to back, because this is not how eclipses normally work:
Usually, eclipses happen in random orders — two consecutive partials followed by a full, followed by a partial, followed by a penumbral, and so on. That's why a tetrad of eclipses is considered a special occurrence.
But it's not that special according to eclipse expert Fred Espenak of NASA, because:
"During the 21st century, there are 9 sets of tetrads, so I would describe tetrads as a frequent occurrence in the current pattern of lunar eclipses," says Espenak. "But this has not always been the case. During the three hundred year interval from 1600 to 1900, for instance, there were no tetrads at all."
For what it's worth, NASA official lists eight sets for this century so not sure why that expert guy said nine, but here they are:
1. Tetrad: 2003 - 2004
2. Tetrad: 2014 - 2015
3. Tetrad: 2032 - 2033
4. Tetrad: 2043 - 2044
5. Tetrad: 2050 - 2051
6. Tetrad: 2061 - 2062
7. Tetrad: 2072 - 2073
8. Tetrad: 2090 - 2091
Last century, there were five tetrads.
What is a blood moon anyway? Basically, most total lunar eclipses will appear red or many can. NASA actually calls it a "red moon" and describes it thusly:
Why red? A quick trip to the Moon provides the answer: Imagine yourself standing on a dusty lunar plain looking up at the sky. Overhead hangs Earth, nightside down, completely hiding the sun behind it. The eclipse is underway. You might expect Earth seen in this way to be utterly dark, but it's not. The rim of the planet is on fire! As you scan your eye around Earth's circumference, you're seeing every sunrise and every sunset in the world, all of them, all at once. This incredible light beams into the heart of Earth's shadow, filling it with a coppery glow and transforming the Moon into a great red orb.
Every sunset and sunrise in the world all at once is SO SICK DUDE. That alone is a reason to stay up.
A piece at the Los Angeles Times asking "Is it really a 'blood moon'?" explores the terminology's origin:
As for the intriguing term "blood moon" — that appears to be new. [Alan] MacRobert [of Sky and Telescope Magazine] has been writing about astronomy since 1982, and had never encountered it before.
The astronomy website EarthSky.org suggests the phrase originated not with astronomers, but with a Christian pastor named John Hagee and his 2013 book, "Four Blood Moons: Something is about to change."
According to Hagee's ministry website, the book "explores the supernatural connection of certain celestial events to biblical prophecy."
That Hagee guy is important in the whole the blood moon prophecy game. He told CBN News that there are a lot of single blood moons and/or tetrads in the scripture when shit went down (my phrasing) like the birth of Israel, or also back in 1492 when Columbus discovered America and Spain expelled the Jews. Yes, blood moons have occurred alongside other "big" events — here are some famous ones. And religious folks tend to associate total eclipses with Big Stuff. Over at "Jesus on My Mind" the WEBSITE, we learn that:
The last time that four blood red moons occurred together was in 1967-1968, probably related to the recapture of Jerusalem by Israel. The time that the tetrad occurred before this was in 1949-1950, probably related to Israel becoming a nation. Before this time, the last occurrence was 1493-1494, probably related to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain.
In other words. Stuff! Big vague stuff! Coming our way! Whole lotta SOMETHING. Probably. All those probablys in that above paragraph are good because the dates don't exactly line up as tidily with the tetrads as they'd have you believe, but you know, end of times can get fudgy.
Hagee says he believes this next set will have "big significance for Israel":
"I believe that in these next two years, we're going to see something dramatic happen in the Middle East involving Israel that will change the course of history in the Middle East and impact the whole world," he predicted.
Says Boston News in a piece on the growing apocalypse fears associated with the forthcoming blood moons: "Some people have pointed out that each time these moons appear, something happens relating to a Biblical prophecy of sorts."
But science writers at EarthSky.org deflate that: "… it's no surprise that full moons would coincide with important Jewish holidays, as the Jewish calendar is, after all, a lunar calendar."
BURN! Actually, the Jewish calendar is a luni-solar calendar, but still. As EarthSky points out, three of the four eclipses in this coming tetrad won't even be visible by Israel anyway. Does that sort of thing matter to end of days-ers?
In an informative piece over at Universe Today explaining why lunar eclipses are no good reason to go batshit (worth all your time for the chart of two millennia worth of solo total eclipses vs tetrads alone), David Dickinson explains:
... Passover is always marked by a Full Moon, and a lunar eclipse always coincides with a Full Moon by definition, meaning it cannot occur at any other phase. ... Eclipses happen, and sometimes they occur on Passover. It's rare that they pop up on tetrad cycles, yes, but it's at best a mathematical curiosity that is a result of our attempt to keep our various calendrical systems in sync with the heavens.
OK this is just a cool thing also happening this month that no one is saying means anything. It may not be the best meteor shower (supposedly the ones in August and December are better), but it's the meteor shower with the best ass! (Everyone who recognizes this as a 13 Going on 30 Judy Greer joke can be my BFF but only during synchronized blood moons.) Anyway, it's when you can see the earth "plow through debris shed by Comet Thatcher" in something called the Lyrid Meteor Shower which happens every April. It will produce something like 20 meteors an hour just after midnight. I say just do this to try to forget about how your entire world is crashing down around you due to that blood moon launch sequence initiating.
Also known as the other eclipse this April. This one is a solar eclipse, the first solar eclipse of the year. It is noteworthy because it's going to produce a ring of fire (visible from Antarctica) that looks like this. But even if you can't see it, you're going to feel it, hoo-boy. Or rather, you're going to feel the combined effects of the two eclipses, say astrologers.
"Look, we have a perfect square on 15 April – 15 April! You've got Jupiter at 12, and Uranus at 13, and Pluto at 13, and Mars at 16 – but wait! It's going to get a little bit worse." She furrows her brow while she studies the chart. "Look at 29 April!" I look. "Some people feel the stock market is…" She pauses for such a long beat that I offer to complete her sentence: "…going to crash?" She shakes her head. "This is even worse – we've not had this since the American Revolution."
If you must, go here and read exactly how crazy your life is going to be this month, and already is right now whether you've accepted reality or not. In a more in-depth explanation at Refinery 29 last month, Miller explained that these "monster moons" are "full of difficult aspects." They come with "strong messages."
The first eclipse, on April 15, will be a full moon, ending or culminating a situation or relationship; and the second eclipse is a new moon, setting up a long-term trend.
But cruise around the lesser-known astrologers of the intergalactic 'net, and you'll hear the same message in one form or another: Shit is going down as we speak. Can you feel it?
From Shelley Von Strunkel at GulfNews on how the eclipses will affect us:
… unsettling events in the form of sudden changes, disappointments and revelations. Try to rein these in, and you'll struggle. ... During April's second week the hot-headed but courageous Mars joins the drama, with more clashes. You can either stand your ground firmly and calmly or get wound up. Lose your cool, however, and you'll lose your power to negotiate.
Over at Mystic Medusa, we get a guide to coping called "April Astro-Hacks to Fast Fuel Your Awesome," which is possibly my favorite headline of all time. In it, we learn that even people who don't believe in astrology have noticed something going on this month, and that something is this:
All this astro is doing is intensifying the process you and I have been on … So staying fierce and in evolutionary mode is not easy but basically it's what we have to do now. This astro is a punish for old-era business models, dead zombie necrophile relationships that people have not got the guts to get out of, unsustainable lifestyles that fuq the planet and/or involve the expectation of endless debt slavery. But if you have been trying your heart out to be more real, original and work on your own schizz - APRIL WILL BE AWESOME. If could even involve an affirmation of all the hard work you have put into evolving your schizz. Real attractions and relationships spring up or intensify. Dud ones disintegrate.
Going on the strength of awesome headlines alone, I say listen to that Mystic Medusa person:
* If in doubt, adopt total Saturn Girl Protocol - Ruthlessly plan your time and money. Hermit in in stylish, productive seclusion. Clean the fuq out of everything. Exfoliate. Sleep.
I wanted to save the best for last, and that "best" is this criminally underreported tidbit from Susan Miller regarding how to face this month with moxie and verve. If you're unsure how all this two-eclipse monster moon planetary adversity is going to strike your life, just think back to the last time it was happening: April of 1995, when there were also two eclipses, one on April 15 and another on April 29.
Also, if you can, think back to 1995 - the eclipses this year will be the same degrees and houses as those in 1995, but the planets surrounding those eclipses are naturally in different places. Still, if you can recall what happened 19 years ago, you may get a clue of the type of opportunities and questions that will come up.
Stay fierce! Blood Moons! BFF! 1995!
Image by Jim Cooke and Sam Woolley.