January, 10: eclipse of the “Full Wolf Moon”

In humanity’s history, Moon has always played an important role:  legends and observational studies based sometimes on speculative conjectures and sometimes on scientific bases. Its “gravitational influence” exerts an attraction on our planet, together with the Sun, that cause those “deformations” of the Earth and those variations in the level of the seas called tides. The Moon’s influence on our  “circadian rhythm” (rhythm characterized by a period of about 24 hours) about the sleep-wake cycle is now acknowledged also on scientific bases. Its spontaneous function as a clock and a calendar was known from our ancestors in fact they used the Moon and the rising of the stars to measure time, the same way as the Sun.

Back then to recognize the time according to nature pace, thanks to the moon as well, was of fundamental importance for sailing, hunting and sowing.

Today although we certainly are more distant from Nature, knowing its rhythms and influences can be just as important: we still are living beings absorbed in Nature and we participate in it, in spite of everything.

Regardless of the sensitivities and beliefs of each one of us, the spirit of the following is to take at least inspiration from Nature itself, to rediscover a more ancestral part of us, recalling the wisdom of our ancestors, in order to stimulate at any level reflection… food for thoughts!

So January, 10 there will be the first full moon of this new year and together with it, there will also be a partial eclipse. It will be the first of this 2020 in which six will occur: four lunar and two solar. During these days of full moon, it will appear to the naked eye full but astronomers consider it so, only when it will be positioned 180 degrees in opposition to the Sun. Observing the moon, we could detect a progressive color change: from white shining, it will cover itself with a dark area. This effect occurs when our satellite enters the shadow cone projected by the Earth, which stands precisely between the Moon and the Sun. Once fully entered the shadow cone of our planet, the Moon will be visible with a reddish halo, due to the reflection of sunlight in our atmosphere. Although the full moon occurs at the same time all over the world, the clock will indicate different times based on the time zone in which we will find ourselves. This time the eclipse will be partial because the Moon will not be entirely in the shadow cone. In the “maximum” phase, “only” 92% of it will be covered. In Italy the event will begin at 19.06 and will have its maximum peak at 21.11, then ending at 23.15.

Aware of the individual sensitivity, lunar eclipses are said to be very powerful and lead to externalizing our own emotions. We could therefore observe and experience our emotions with the curious eye of the “observer” these days. It is said also that this eclipse will prepare the ground for the coming months: it will guide us to express ourselves, to open up, to get in touch with our emotions and to work to feel at home within ourselves, also helping us to free ourselves and let go of what stuck us so that we can freely take a step forward in our journey.

The first full moon in January is often called the “wolf moon” and is the first full moon after the winter solstice. We are in the middle of winter, the nights are long, cold and a long time ago, when everything rested under the muffled silence of a snow cloak, it was frequent to hear wolf howl approaching the villages in search of food.

Traditionally, given the scarcity of resources this time of the year, it was thought that they howled because of hunger but there is no evidence and today more than then, we know that wolves tend to howl more often in the winter months and generally they do so to define their territory, identify the members of the pack and gather for hunting. One of the most reliable hypotheses is that they organized themselves for a hunt, facilitated by the glow of the full Moon, communicating with each other over large snowy distances. The first full moon also owes its name to the spirit of solidarity typical of wolves who live in packs and who like us, remain with their family throughout their lives, depending not only on affection, knowledge and support but also for survival. Without the pack, many wolves die.

This is said to be a good time to spend it with family members, also referring as family to our “reference persons”. Remembering that what we are, we also owe it to what they have passed on to us. It is a good time to show our affection and gratitude, offer our help and support, renew our ties, harmonize our relationships. Let’s open our hearts to others and take care of our neighbor.

This time of the year, Nature continues to prepare for the great frost: trees have stripped of their clothes to not waste energy, animals hide in the heat of their dens, seeking warmth in the mutual closeness or in the pause of a suspended sleep waiting for the arrival of the spring.
Not to waste, to protect themselves, becoming one.
In separation there is the bitter cold of detachment.
In union the warmth of survival.
Everything is quieted, everything is silence: concentration*.
As before a great leap, we curl up to gather our energies from folds of our body and then the jump, the explosion of our energy.
Nature lives on cycles, life is a cycle.
Everything is circle.
Equally fundamental, equally to explore.

The full moon in January is about “new beginnings“, in the Italian peasant tradition there was a belief that for the twelve nights following the winter solstice, there were twelve women who flew over the sown fields to propitiate the harvest. It was said that in ancient Rome these could have been the goddess Diana and her nymphs. The farmers prayed them to propitiate snowing, so that the snow would have acted as an insulator and protected seeds of the future harvest. An ancient Italian peasant saying was: “under the snow bread, under the rain hungry“. In this period of the year was equally widespread, bury willow branches to invoke the snow and drive away evil spirits that could ruin the harvest. In reality a bit of truth was hidden there: willow has real anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties: it is able to drive away fever, pain, rheumatism and relieve various diseases thanks to the salicin contained in the willow bark that, once ingested and subsequently to intestinal and hepatic metabolism, it was converted into salicylic acid. Today the use of this remedy has been abandoned, due to its irritating action against the gastric mucous membrane, therefore it is preferred to use its derivative: acetylsalicylic acid.

Winter is a difficult time of the year for men, it puts on a strain body and mind. Turning our gaze to nature helps us to live this moment the best way. Nature invites us to gather deeply, to conserve our energies, to dream.
The creative process of the dream is the spark that originates ideas and actions.
Like a seed that rests protected from snow and fed by the earth, it could first become a flower, then a fruit.
Whether or not it will happen, it depends only on our actions and choices.
A year ends, with everything that was, with everything it took away and everything that was returned.
A new year ahead is to be explored.
Everything is still to be written, moment after moment.

What we dream today will determine our actions tomorrow. Our intentions will color our actions.

Wolf’s moon speaks us about energy that flows lazily, sheltered, preserved without waste, taking care of our “pack” together in synergy, supporting those who find themselves in difficulty, to cleanse, to eliminate the redundant, to dream, to plan and to wait, prepare the ground to grow our seeds and then harvest their fruits. Without haste, nature will tell us when the time has come.

Helped by natural decrease of hours of light this time of year, we could go deep down, like in a den, we could find something that we had buried there far from the surface, this is the right season to “go down” and rediscover what is there deep inside. We are often led to think that only monsters are hidden in the depths… but let’s not forget that only in the heart of the Earth reside diamonds!

The descent forces us to let go of every tinsel and all that binds us and prevents us from moving. What holds us back is useless dead weight… and like trees, we too can drop our leaves, to renew the cycle and to return what the earth has lent us and will return us transformed into an endless spiral where life and death are so close to blend in a timeless dance and get no longer distinguishable.
This is a good time for choices, what to keep because it is important and what to leave because it is not needed. Maybe it will not be what we hoped for but if we look at it carefully, maybe it is what we really need, because discerning will make us stronger. Stable. To let go, to progress.

“Healthy wolves and healthy women share very similar psychic characteristics: keen sensing, playful spirit, and a heightened capacity for devotion. Wolves and women are relational by nature, inquiring, and are possessed of great endurance and inner strength. They are deeply intuitive, and intensely concerned with their young, their mates, and their pack. They have much experience in adapting to constantly changing circumstances; they are fiercely stalwart and very brave. Yet the two species have both been persecuted.

CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS

Other names for this moon:
January Moon, Snow Moon, Cold Moon, Wind Turning Moon, Pack Moon, Man’s Moon, Winterfell Moon, Old Moon, Calm Moon, Cold Moon, Chaste Moon, Brilliant Moon, Baked Moon, Moon cheerful, Otter Moon.

additional prompt…

It is said that in 24 hours before the full or the new Moon, it is optimal to practice a “fast”. In the case of the Full moon, a “partial” fast made of light, genuine and possibly uncontaminated food is recommended. In these hours before the climax of the event, our body is said to be more inclined to accumulate toxins and fats which would tend to be retained these days more than others. We should only have one main meal at around noon; a vegetable soup or simply cooked vegetables, possibly organic and seasoned with a little raw oil. In case of unbearable hunger, we could add organic rice always cooked with a simple steam or boiled method and again, a little raw oil. During the rest of the day it will be important to drink a lot: water, herbal teas and fruit juices (natural and without preservatives and without added sugar) or eat fresh seasonal fruit. Hot water, even in form of herbal tea, is preferable, it has a high purifying power and favors the disposal of unnecessary substances that we have deposited in the body.

Fasting is an important and serious practice, to be approached with great caution, especially if health problems are already present, it is important to evaluate the possible effects on your body first with your doctor.

नमस्ते 
Namaste

*even if I don’t know English perfectly, to me this is a rare example on how an Italian word here “raccoglimento” gives a much better sense (than  the word I used “concentration”) of what I wanted to express: “the gathering, the being collected, concentrating intensely in the reflection or meditation of a particular subject and abstracting from any other thought or activity. In particular, ascetic exercise of inner meditation, aimed at the conjunction of the soul, freed from any distraction, with the divinity”… I’m all for better suggestions 😉

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