Stargazers have this week been treated to a lunar phenomenon known as a Strawberry Moon, which occurs in the run up to the summer solstice.
The sixth full moon of the year often takes on a reddish glow as its light shines through more of the Earth’s atmosphere than usual. During the summer solstice, the sun appears highest in the sky in the northern hemisphere, and the moon appears lowest. Because of this, moonlight shines through more of the Earth’s atmosphere, refracting at a different angle and taking on a red hue.
The name Strawberry Moon comes not only as a result of the full moon’s colour, but because it coincides with the annual strawberry harvest in America, and was named this by native American tribes in Algonquin. In other parts of the world it has different names, such as the Rose Moon, Honey Moon and Mead Moon in different parts of Europe.
The Strawberry Moon is traditionally a sign of the warmer months to come for the northern hemisphere, and colder months in the south.
Around the summer solstice, the orbit of the moon around the Earth is almost exactly the same as the sun. Which means, as the sun appears at its highest point in the sky, the moon will appear at its lowest.
How sweet! The last full Moon before the June solstice goes by Strawberry, Rose, or Honey Moon. These refer to what you can eat/grow this time of year, not a rosy color. #WinterIsComing in the southern hemisphere so enjoy a Long Night’s or Cold Moon. https://t.co/tV6N7j64EG pic.twitter.com/xuUOVhXe6Z
— NASA Moon (@NASAMoon) June 17, 2019
According to astrologer Monique Morales, the current full moon falls within Sagittarius, and will bring good fortune to us all. The moon is apparently in alignment with Jupiter, which is associated with optimism, thinking big and adventure, though it could also be an emotional time.
Morales told VICE:
We are all walking a very fine line between ascension and delusion so we really have to take care of ourselves. We just have to open up ourselves and dig for deeper truths.
The Strawberry Moon is also in harsh aspect towards Neptune, which is associated with illusions and delusions. A few planets, including Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto, and Mercury are in retrograde in a few weeks. The full moon is a positive respite window; right now would be a good time to do meditative practices.
So, if you’re planning on whipping out your binoculars to catch a glimpse of this week’s Strawberry Moon, be sure to look out for Jupiter too, which is spending the month of June in close proximity to Earth, so we can all have a gander at its rings. How thoughtful.
Oh yeah, and do some meditative practices while you’re at it.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.