A Super-Duper Full Moon
A few days after enduring the most contentious election in our nation’s recent history, Americans will have the good fortune to experience a far more positive ‘once in a lifetime’ event with our next full moon. On November 14th, skywatchers from all over the world will be regaled with the biggest, closest, and brightest Supermoon since January 26, 1948.
The moon next Monday will reach the crest of its full phase at 1352 UTC. This translates to 8:52 a.m. for those of us on the east coast of the United States and 5:52 a.m. for those on the west coast. The moon will reach perigee within ninety minutes of that time.
While no one can guarantee that it will ‘make our country great again’, the Supermoon is certainly going to be an extraordinary sight. It will appear nearly 15% larger and 30% brighter than a regular full moon, and we won’t see another moon this visibly large until 2034!
A Great Big Beaver Moon
The full moon in November is known by some Native and early colonial Americans as the Beaver Moon. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, it marked the time of year when traps were set for beavers and other thickly furred animals whose pelts were popular for use in creating warm winter clothing.
This full moon signified a time when beaver fur was at its most perfect stage, having grown thick and warm in preparation for the winter ahead. In addition to being valued for their beautiful, waterproof hides, beavers also supplied an oil that was prized as a hair protector. If trappers waited too long the lakes would freeze over, limiting their ability to capture the animals and reducing their supply of lucrative, fur pelts.
Another interpretation of the lore suggests that the naming of November’s moon was inspired by the fact that at this time of the year beavers are actively preparing for winter. Native peoples revered the Beaver as a great spirit animal who held big medicine. Beavers were admired as the ‘builders of their own life’ and inspire us to be the architects of our own unique lives. The big, bright Beaver Supermoon enhances the meaning of this message.
What is a Supermoon and Why is it so Bright?
A Supermoon occurs when the moon’s orbit brings it closer to the Earth than average. The term was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle more than three decades ago. According to Nolle a supermoon is a new or full moon that has to come within 224,641 miles of Earth as measured from the centers of the Earth and moon. In contrast, a Micromoon takes place when the moon is farther than 248,548 miles from our planet.
A Supermoon makes the moon look much larger and brighter in the night sky as result of atmospheric distortion. The magnified effect of this phenomenon is even more pronounced when it occurs at the same time as a full moon, which is already a time of heightened sensitivity. When the moon is closer to the Earth its influence on our intuitive and emotional capacity is further amplified.
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’.
For those of us living in the Americas, the upcoming moon will be closer to full on the evening of November 13th, making it the best night to appreciate this lunar phenomenon.
It’s All About the Orbit
To fully understand this occurrence, it helps to know a little more about the orbital pattern of the moon. Because the moon orbits the Earth an elliptical or egg-shaped manner, it is not always the same distance away from our planet. At one end of its elliptical orbit, called the perigee, the moon is about 31,000 miles closer to the 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 and while interesting is a fairly routine astronomical event. What makes this full Supermoon special is that it will travel within 221,524 miles of the Earth, the closest it has been in over 68 years. Furthermore it won’t come this close again until the full moon of November 25th, 2034.
A Word About Full Moons
Each full moon represents the most important planetary aspect in astrology, when planets are in opposition. In this case, Sun in Scorpio is opposite the Moon in Taurus.
The full moon focuses our attention on relationships of all kinds, including the relationship it has with the previous new moon, which represents a time of initiation. The full moon is believed to highlight themes or ideas that were put into motion at the onset of each lunar cycle.
These themes may be expressed subconsciously through our behavior, relationships and actions, or we may consciously manifest them in the form of projects or personal goals. As the themes unfold and gain momentum with the waxing moon, they reach a point of critical mass in the days leading up to the full moon. Projects or manifestations initiated at the beginning of the lunar cycle can be fine-tuned or completed with the culmination of the full moon.
The lunar cycle also exerts significant influence on our emotional, intuitive, and instinctual natures which reach their peak at the full moon. In addition to being a time of harvest, the full moon represents a period of change, flux, and emotional adjustment related to the themes of the previous new moon.
Planetary Effects of a Supermoon
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 orbital pattern of the moon exerts a constant influence on the tidal flow of our oceans. Each full moon creates larger-than-usual tides as the moon, Earth and sun fall into linear alignment. This planetary arrangement causes a phenomenon known as a spring tide, characterized by especially high and low tides on the same day.
Perigee full moons create the highest and lowest tides of all. The closer proximity of a supermoon amplifies this effect even more, giving rise to what is called a perigean spring tide. Those who live along an ocean coastline will experience particularly high tides during the few days before and after November’s extra-close full moon.
The lunar gravitational pull can also cause small but measurable fluctuations in the ebbs and flows of 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 also accentuated by the closer proximity of the moon.
Bodily Effects of a 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 or other uncharacteristic 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.
How To Release Lunar-related Tension
The best way to let go of stress is to participate in any tension-releasing activity that is healthy and feels good to us. For instance we can engage in vigorous exercise, consensual sex, a hot bath, breath-work, or spending time with friends. We can find creative and appropriate ways to express our heightened emotions. This is an excellent time to enjoy people and situations that encourage us to cry, laugh, scream, and let go!
We might also use the art of ritual to diffuse pent-up tension. For example, we could perform a ceremony to wash or burn away what we wish to release under this full moon. We might also choose to get off the grid for awhile to spend time in nature hiking, camping, or quietly tuning into the energy of our planet in appreciation of Mother Earth.
My favorite stress-releasing activities include heartfelt, belly-shaking laughter, dancing, and swimming in the ocean, preferably with wild cetaceans. 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.
Metaphysical Significance of a Full Supermoon
The Full Moon is a time of culmination and the promise of fulfillment of that which was started at the New Moon. It is a period of emotional sensitivity when romance, intimacy, and relationships are highlighted. Full Moons are also about illumination, endings, and the actualization of our fullest potential.
A Supermoon magnifies these powerful themes and brings them into our conscious awareness. We have the opportunity to release what no longer works in our lives to make space for new energies and potentialities. In order to harness the full potential of this lunar event, we can ask ourselves the following questions:
What is being illuminated within my life that is prompting me to me to grow and evolve?
What do I need to conclude or let go of to claim and experience a more fulfilling life?
Am I manifesting my heartfelt desires each day and if not how can I do so successfully right now?
This illuminating moon phase will reveal to us what needs to be uncovered, whether we like it or not. What we do with that information will determine the direction of our unfolding lives.
Supermoon in Taurus
The November full moon is at 23° Taurus, thus emphasizing the messages and energies associated with this astrological sign. It also illuminates the adjustments that may be needed to actualize goals that were set at the time of the new moon in Scorpio on October 30th.
Both of the astrological signs associated with the focal points of this lunar cycle are fixed, indicating a general tendency to resist change. Their energy also contains an unstoppable, enduring quality that serves to take projects and ideas to completion. Both Scorpio and Taurus resonate with a feminine polarity characterized by energy that is receptive and magnetic.
Scorpio is a water sign. She amplifies our emotional sensitivity, expression of passion, and our perceptive and intuitive abilities. Goals or projects put into motion under Scorpio’s new moon would have been infused with intensity and heightened emotionality. Under her lunar influence the most likely themes for manifestation would include the desire to form or deepen intimate relationships, improve communication with others, and develop our spirituality.
Taurus is an Earth sign. She is considered the rock of the zodiac, appreciated for her practical, supportive, and reliable approach to life. Her ‘earthiness’ draws attention to our physical needs and our sensory orientation to the world around us. Taurus is ruled by Venus and therefore directs our focus to considerations of love, sensuality, and comfort. Taurus intensifies our desire for pleasure, luxury, and personal satisfaction. When she exerts her influence we are prone to experience a deeper appreciation of beauty and the need for peace and quiet within our lives.
The Moon in Taurus is at her most solid, sensual, and exalted state of being. She is secure and well-rooted as she appreciates the profound beauty of the Earth in the present moment. She is satisfied, peaceful, and sees no reason to change anything. During Taurus Moon we are especially resistant to change that is beyond our control. We are content to accept and cultivate the bountiful resources that exist within our lives.
The November Supermoon may shed light on the karmic adjustments to be made in our lives to achieve our heartfelt goals. In particular this full moon provides an extra push to fully commit to our chosen spiritual path. The close proximity of the moon will amplify the still, calm, quietude of Taurus, enabling us to listen closely to insights and intuitive messages harbored deep within our souls that will guide our progress.
When to Tap into Supermoon Power
The energy of this Super-duper Moon peaks at the height of the full moon phase on November 14th but is potent for two days before and after the event. Therefore the period between Nov 12th – 16th represent the best days to harness the magical properties of Taurus under this super-charged lunation.
Here in the United States, our best option for viewing the event will be to stay up late on Sunday night, November 13th, or wake up very early on Monday morning when the moon will be closer to full. That way we will see the moon at its biggest and brightest level of illumination. Also, because the moon shines opposite the sun at the time of full lunation, we’ll see it beaming all night from dusk until dawn.
Wherever you live, be sure to get outside to view this rare and magnificent lunar event. Believe me folks, it’s going to be “great”.
Namaste, and may peace be with you in these turbulent times, Susan
Fun facts and references:
Click here for more in depth information about the Taurus Supermoon
Earth’s name in Greek is Gaia. To describe the position of the moon in relation to the Earth, Greek astronomers called the closest approach of the moon’s orbit peri-gee (close-to-Earth), while the furthest point was called apo-gee (far-from-Earth).
The name Beaver Moon was used by both the early colonists and the Algonquin tribes. The November full moon was also called the Frost Moon.