By the end of 2015 we will have experienced a total of six Supermoons as the moon orbits the Earth closer than usual. The first of these brighter and larger looking moons occurred with the new moons of January, February and March. The remaining three will be gracing the night sky with the full moons of August, September and October.
The largest Supermoon of the year will occur with both a full moon and lunar eclipse on September 27th at 9:07 EST under the astrological sign Aries. This full moon is also called the Harvest Moon, which occurs nearest to the autumnal equinox each year and has earned its name and reputation by providing more light to assist in the bountiful harvest of the summer’s robust growing period.
What is a Supermoon and Why is it so Bright?
A Supermoon is defined as a full or new moon that occurs when the moon is less than 223,694 miles (or 360,000 kilometers) from the center of the Earth. In contrast, a Micromoon takes place when the moon is farther than 248,548 miles (or 400,000 kilometers) from our planet.
When the moon’s orbit brings it closer to Earth the moon appears larger than normal as result of atmospheric distortion. The magnified effect of a Supermoon is even more pronounced when it occurs at the same time as a full moon.
The magnificence of a full Supermoon can best be appreciated when viewed just after moonrise as it crests the horizon. From this vantage point we can compare the apparent size of the Supermoon with natural elements in the landscape including hills, trees and buildings. A moon near the horizon looks bigger and brighter than when the same full moon is higher in the night sky as result of an effect called the ‘Moon Illusion’.
To fully understand this occurrence, it helps to know a little more about the lunar orbital pattern. At one end of its elliptical orbit, called the perigee, the moon is about 31,000 miles closer to Earth than at its farthest point, the apogee.
A Supermoon is also known as a ‘perigee moon’, or more specifically a perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system. In astronomy, the term syzygy refers to the straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies. These lunar perigees and apogees vary in terms of their proximity to the Earth from one orbit to the next. In general, perigee moons are 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than apogee moons.
A full Supermoon occurs when the moon is full at around the same time it reaches perigee. This phenomenon takes place every 13 months on the average. What makes this period special is that we will be treated to three of these events in a row. The full moon in September 2015 presents the closest supermoon of the year at 221,753 miles from the Earth.
Even under normal conditions, the moon is close enough to exert her influence on our planet. A Supermoon is considered to have subtle but noticeable impacts upon the Earth.
The August, September, and October extra-close full moons will accentuate the spring tides, giving rise to what is called a perigean spring tide. Those of us who live along an oceanic coastline will want to watch for high tides caused by these full moons.
The moon’s gravitational pull can also cause small but measurable ebbs and flows in the continents, called ‘land’ or ‘solid Earth’ tides. These tides are greatest during full and new moons when the sun and moon are aligned either on the same or opposite sides of the Earth. Solid Earth tides are amplified by the closer proximity of the Supermoon.
Like the Earth, our bodies are primarily comprised of liquid and we are subject to the gravitational pull of the moon. During a Supermoon phase many of us are likely to experience an elevated level of tension within our physical bodies.
This lunar induced stress may manifest as an unexplained onset of nervous tension or anxiety and may include erratic fluctuations of emotional energy rippling through our bodies. Overall levels of stress may be high during this period and for some there may be ‘eruptions’ of volatile behaviors.
Just as the Earth releases tension during an earthquake, we are encouraged to ‘shake off’ or release stress, anxiety, and internal imbalances should they occur. If we choose to be proactive, we can utilize these powerful celestial energies to initiate a healthy period of cleansing as we consciously release negative habits and tendencies that no longer serve our highest good.
The best way to let go of stress is to participate in any tension-releasing activity that feels good to us. For instance we can engage in vigorous exercise, a hot bath, breath-work, spending time with friends, and the expression of heightened emotion. This is an excellent time to enjoy people and situations that encourage us to cry, laugh, scream, and let go!
We can also use the art of ritual to diffuse pent-up tension. For example, we can perform a ceremony to burn away what we wish to release under this full moon.
My favorite stress-releasing activity is heartfelt, belly-shaking laughter. The key to success is to include our conscious awareness as we cleanse our bodies of the physical, emotional, mental, and/or energetic tension that we choose to release.
Full Moons are about illumination, endings, and the actualization of our fullest potential. The closer proximity of the Supermoon to our planet serves to amplify these themes. During this moon phase, what we need to have revealed to us will be uncovered— if we offer the Moon our purest intent and make the commitment to see our visions through to completion.
In order to harness the full potential of this lunar event, we can ask ourselves: What do we need illuminated? What endings can we establish now to pave the path towards a more fulfilling life?
The full moon and lunar eclipse on September 27th is in Aries, thus highlighting the values associated with this astrological sign. Aries is a cardinal fire sign that is ruled by Mars, the planet in charge of self-defense and action. Mars is the inspirational source of our warrior instinct and fuels our capacity for bravery and daring. This sense of fearlessness combined with Aries’ action-oriented, impulsive nature make him an excellent catalyst for initiating new projects.
The full supermoon will amplify the bold, fiery qualities of Aries within our lives. We may have a tendency to be feisty and argumentative as we stick up for ourselves in defense of our feelings and ideas. Since Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, he represents a natural starting point for all kinds of projects. This is an ideal time to channel the abundance of “me first” energy to initiate positive change and new beginnings.
An eclipse is a potent astrological event that has the power to initiate change or transformation in our lives and circumstances. Eclipses may foretell meaningful events, a critical turning point, or potential challenges ahead. We may influence the nature of these changes, events, and challenges through the conscious application of our intentions.
A Solar Eclipse occurs at the time of the new moon, when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun. This event represents a new moon with tremendous impact and it signifies new beginnings that manifest as events in the outer, material world. The Solar Eclipse works to bring the future into the present and to trigger new potentials.
A lunar eclipse occurs during the night of a full moon when the moon passes directly behind the Earth and into its umbra (or shadow). This can only take place when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned (in syzygy), with the Earth in the middle. The Lunar Eclipse is said to bring the past into the present so that we can determine what is working for us in our lives and if necessary release something or someone from the past in order to make room for something new.
This is a time of endings, new beginnings, exposure, major changes, and death and rebirth experiences. Lunar eclipses always impact our relationships, and the changes we undergo are tied to how we relate to others. Our emotions can be erratic and highly charged, often causing feelings of upset and disorientation. The actions we take during this period may not have the expected results, but they do bring awareness and enlightenment.
It is extremely unusual for a supermoon and total lunar eclipse to occur at the same time. This phenomenon has happened only five times since 1900, and the next will occur in 2033. The amplifying power of this bigger and brighter moon will magnify the effects of this rare lunar event.
During the eclipse on Sept 27th, the Sun will be in Libra as the Moon is in Aries. This astrological mix may cause a temporary imbalance in our ability to relate with others. If we approach this challenge as a means to expand our self-awareness, the lunar eclipse will provide ample opportunity to see our own reflection through our relationships.
Our individual experiences will vary a great deal as we strive to regain equanimity with the different people in our lives. We will notice that some people naturally inspire and assist us to realize our goals, while others challenge us to prioritize and relate to their needs and emotions. If viewed from the vantage point of self-illumination, these interactions will allow us a rare glimpse into different facets of ourselves.
The key to restoring harmony within our relationships is to express our feelings in a calm, deliberate manner without defending our ego or negating the feelings of others. In doing so we simultaneously trigger the alignment of various aspects of our personality, creating a state of inner harmony. This can be an excellent time let go of old conditions, attitudes and behaviors as we take our lives and relationships to a new level.
The energy peaks at the height of the full moon phase but is potent for two days before and after the event. Sept 25 thru Sept 29th are the best days to harness the magical properties of Aries under this super-charged full moon.
The lunar eclipse will be visible throughout North and South America on the night of September 27th, beginning at 9:07 EST. It will last for 3 hours and 20 minutes and the Moon will be totally eclipsed (totality) for about 1 hour and 12 minutes.
Be sure to get outside to view this rare and magnificent lunar event!