What Is a Blue Moon? Definition, Spiritual Meaning, and More!

For an extended period, the Blue Moon has captivated the interest of numerous cultures, spiritual seekers, horticulturists, and farmers. Some see it as a period of intense, unique energy; others see it as an excellent time to pull weeds; and still others see it as nothing more than an occasional event in the sky.

However, precisely what is a Blue Moon? We’ll look at its definition in science, its cultural and spiritual connotations, and some other fascinating information here. Let’s get started!

What Is a Blue Moon? The Explanation

The expression “once in a blue moon” is certainly familiar to you. According to Merriam-Webster, it denotes an extremely unusual occurrence. Take the following line, for instance: “My Jack Russell is calm once in a blue moon.” (Just so you know, Jack Russells are a particularly active dog breed.)

Thus, the term “blue moon” refers to an exceptionally uncommon or nearly unfeasible event. What about its definition in science, though? We must differentiate between monthly and seasonal blue moons in order to provide a response.

A Blue Moon is mainly a reference to a seasonal Blue Moon, though certain Native American tribes also refer to them as the Sturgeon Moon.

The third Full Moon in a four-Moon astronomical season is known as a seasonal Blue Moon.

The monthly Blue Moon, on the other hand, deviates somewhat from the original description.

When there are two Full Moons in a calendar month, the second Full Moon is known as the monthly Blue Moon.

A monthly Blue Moon is defined in a much easier way because it doesn’t depend on your knowledge of the astronomical seasons. This could be the reason this term is more widely used, even though it was initially incorrect and will never be totally accurate. This expression was first misinterpreted by the magazine Sky & Telescope, and it gained more traction in the 1980s with the release of the trivial pursuit board game. For this reason, a lot of people continue to confuse the Blue Moon with the second Full Moon of the month. On the other hand, you should adhere to the seasonal definition if you want to be precise.

What Is an Astronomical Season?

Seasons in astronomy differ from seasons in meteorology. This is due to the fact that astronomical seasons are determined by Earth’s position with respect to the sun, whereas meteorological seasons are based on the annual temperature cycle.

Two solstices and two equinoxes define a season in the astronomical calendar.The longest and shortest days occur on a solstice, which is also the time or date when the sun achieves its maximum or minimum declination. Conversely, an equinox is the moment or day on which the sun is directly overhead the equator. The equinoxes herald the start of spring and fall, whereas the solstices herald the start of summer and winter.

The Northern Hemisphere’s solstices and equinoxes fall on the following dates:

The spring equinox — around March 21,
The summer solstice — around June 21,
The fall equinox — around September 22,
The winter solstice — around December 22.

On the other hand, four groups of three months make up the meteorological seasons, which are determined by our civil calendars and temperature cycles. The division of meteorological seasons is as follows, in brief:

Spring — March, April, May
Summer — June, July, August
Fall — September, October, November
Winter — December, January, February

We will see that while they are not the same, they are comparable to the astrological seasons. Astronomers, for instance, wouldn’t classify the whole month of March as spring or the entire month of September as fall. Therefore, you should only ever refer to astronomical seasons while tracking or working with Blue Moons.

Example: A Blue Moon in an Astronomical Season

You need to ascertain which astrological season you are in before you can decide whether a Full Moon is also a Blue Moon—the actual, seasonal one. Let’s take an example where we are headquartered in New York and it is September 5, 2024. This day occurs prior to the fall equinox but after the summer solstice. Consequently, summer is the present astronomical season.

There will be four Full Moons in New York in 2024 between June 21 and September 22, according to the lunar calendar:

June 21
July 21
August 19
September 17

The Blue Moon, which occurs on August 19, is the third Full Moon of the season.

Just search for the Full Moons that occur twice a month to get the monthly Blue Moons. These are uncommon as well, albeit maybe not as much as the seasonal ones. For instance, there was one such monthly Moon in New York in 2023 but no seasonal Blue Moons. Following the first Full Moon of the month on August 1st, it happened on August 30.

How Often Do Blue Moons Occur?

Blue Moons happen once every two or three years on average. Some publications go even further; Britannica, for instance, claims that they happen roughly 41 times a century, or every 33 months.

Can the Moon Actually Be Blue?

Regretfully, blue moons are not blue in real life. The phrase “the Moon is blue,” which denoted impossibility in the 16th century, is perhaps where the name originated. Henry VIII’s infamous advisor, Cardinal Wolsey, said in the sixteenth century that his adversaries “would have you believe the moon is blue.” So, it was thought to be very ridiculous to have a Blue Moon.

But ever since, a lot of individuals have claimed to have seen blue moons. For instance, according to Britannica, many people saw blue hues in the Moon after the Krakatoa volcano in Indonesia erupted in 1883. This is probably the reason why the Blue Moon is currently regarded as extremely rare rather than impossible.

What Is the Spiritual Meaning of a Blue Moon?

A lot of spiritual people think that every Full Moon has a unique meaning. It is believed to represent the pinnacle of our endeavors and the result of our diligence and optimism. This is because different phases of the moon have general symbolic meanings. The waxing phases come before the Full Moon, while the declining phases come after. The Moon swells during its waxing phases and diminishes during its declining phases.

Waxing phases are associated with setting intentions and taking action in spirituality. They center on committing to actions and making the required progress toward our objectives. Conversely, waning periods are far more inwardly focused. They designate a period for introspection and let-go. In summary, attracting what we desire and letting go of what we do not want in life are the two main goals of waxing and waning periods, respectively.

Therefore, every other Full Moon has the same qualities as a Blue Moon. It is thought to contain energy that can assist us in realizing our goals. It is also a season of harvest, thanksgiving, and celebration. We ought to acknowledge and appreciate our accomplishments, as well as savor the results of our hard work.

Blue Moons, on the other hand, are believed to have far greater power than typical Full Moons.Spiritualists think that they can assist people in realizing their most ambitious dreams, ones that a typical Full Moon might not be able to. Set in the early, waning periods of the cycle, ideally right before the Blue Moon, intentions are said to be more potent.

Global Blue Moon: An Alternative Interpretation A multitude of cultural perspectives have been provided regarding the Blue Moon. For instance:

The Moon is generally associated with the feminine in many cultures. It is connected to intuition, secret knowledge, mystery, and sensitivity, among other things. It is believed that during blue moons, these “feminine” forces are more intense.

Other cultural perspectives are nearly entirely different. It is believed that the Blue Moon represents a period of extraordinary clarity and connection with the Divine, rather than a symbol of mystery and the unknown. This is mostly because it is so uncommon.

It was said that the blue moon represented disease and destruction in medieval Europe.

In the past, the phases of the moon were also quite important to many farmers and gardeners. We don’t know for sure what the Blue Moon represented, if they ever recognized it at all, or even if they even called it that. We do know, though, that they thought the Moon controlled moisture, thus planning farm chores around its phases was crucial. It was believed that “killing weeds, thinning, pruning, mowing, cutting timber, and planting below-ground crops” were best done during full moons in particular.

How Can You Leverage The Energy of This Moon?

If you’re into the spiritual interpretations of the Blue Moon, you might try making specific wishes and requesting the manifestation of your goals right before the moon sets in the sky. Setting your aims during the New Moon that occurs before the Blue Moon is a good idea. Then, during the declining phases that follow, you should practice commitment and focus.

Around the time of the Blue Moon, your wishes may come true. But don’t give up if it doesn’t occur. Instead, consider what you might need to let go of in order to create room in your life for the things you desire. Engage in self-reflection and disengagement.

If you work in agriculture or gardening, you might also think about allocating your chores to the various phases of the moon. It is believed that the waxing Moon is wet and fertile, whereas the waning Moon is dry. This suggests that you should plant new crops during the first quarter of the moon and remove unwanted items from your garden, like dead branches and weeds, during the last quarter of the moon.