The ancient Incans and Mesopotamians believed the blood moon was an omen portending death and overthrow of the king. Some Native American tribes believe that a blood moon meant that the moon needed care. Islamic cultures view the phenomenon as a time for special prayers.
The blood moon took on a spiritual meaning more widely in 2013 as the blood moon prophecy was picked up by media channels and shared widely. Christian preachers interpreted a series of prophecies in the Bible that spoke of the end of days following a specific sequence of lunar and solar eclipses. As the term blood moon became widely known, it prompted intense interest and widespread examination of the phenomenon.
Clearly the blood moon spark curiosity and the imagination of many.
Blood moon is a descriptive phrase for a total lunar eclipse that takes place during the full moon. The reddish color, though ominous, is simply a result of the scattering of sunlight through the earth’s atmosphere, similar to what happens during sunsets that appear red.
The Spiritual Meaning of a Blood Moon
2013 was also the year I became aware of the blood moon in a profound and memorable way. In the fall of that year, I lost my father suddenly and tragically. Nearly three weeks after his death I had gathered with a circle of my hula sisters to hike through the Haleakala Crater, which is known as the quietest place on earth. The moon was full and the stillness in that sacred place calmed my soul.
We finished our 11-mile hike and sat under the light of the full moon in our ofuro, a Japanese-style hot tub heated by a firebox. As we sat in the steaming waters, I shared where I was in that moment with my complicated grief. It was then that the blood moon began showing itself.
We watched in awe as the bright light of the moon that had guided us through the lunar-like surface of our Haleakala hike was dimmed by a reddish glow. I had heard this was going to be a blood moon but did not fully comprehend what that meant until I sat there surrounded by dear friends. I let myself feel the darker aspects of my experience, the shame, the anger, the guilt, and the engulfing grief.
[Read: “10 Affirmations for Your Next Full-Moon Ritual.”]
An eclipsing of the brilliance of the moon allows for an exploration of the subconscious or hidden layers of our emotional and spiritual aspects. The spiritual meaning of the blood moon is the opening of the path to exploring what is often referred to as our darker side, emotions such as rage, shame, and grief. These emotions are not widely acknowledged in our culture, and yet they exist.
When we honor both the brilliance and the shadows that make up this reality of our human existence, we open ourselves to a deeper and more profound place of relating to life and to the sentient beings that surround us. This idea is seen in the ancient Chinese symbol of duality known as yin and yang. By honoring both the light and the dark, the masculine and the feminine, and the modes of action and of rest, we allow in the truth of the world.
Blood moons and their spiritual meaning are a reminder that there is immense power and intelligence that can be found in the shadows if we only have the courage to explore with discernment and free from judgment.
Looking to embrace the power of the blood moon? Try this: “Blood Moon Meditation.”