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Astronomical Applications, Sunrise, Sunset, Moonrise, Moonset, Eclipses, Twilight And A Story Of Moon Magic

Blame It On The Moon Dancing
by Lesley Holdcroft

She is doing it again. Rising. The full moon is unveiling all her glory for the second time this month. Exquisite. Ancient. Mysterious. And I for one don't have the slightest idea what to do about any of this.

"Listen." My friend's voice urges me on this blue moon night. "Listen to the wind."

There is the twirling tinkling of distant wind chimes, and then it comes: a roar of rushing wind. Its power is absolute. There is nothing else, and it stops me. Is it the voice of our southern ancestors, as my friend who also lived in Texas whispers?

Our darkened figures glide through the garden on this freezing January night and grab a bench, positioning ourselves under the full pantheon of the lunar light. Neon moonbeams dive through the ocean-like sky and cut through the trees, sculpting jagged black shadows.

The whhhhh-whhhh-whhhhh of the wind is ever present, rippling through my blanket, sending my long hair into a crazy dance. I look into the sky. The storm rages on.

Why? I ask my heart. Why don't I know what to do?

I am a woman now. A woman who watches the moon, bleeds with the moon, walks the beaches of Puget Sound's saltwater and thinks of the moon. Born just as human feet first touched the lunar surface, I grew up in her shadow, illuminated by her light.

I noticed her most with the men I have loved. She came out to wink at the birth of every love affair, and the death. But tonight marks the first night I've gathered with another woman to share La Luna's light.

Sitting beside me in this otherworldly land of white neon and shadow, Kitty seems happy enough beneath the blanket she wears shroud-style. I'm not surprised. She is a Cancer, the sign ruled by the moon. She speaks of "moon baths" and tells me the Moon is for sitting meditation. She even looks like the moon pearly and ethereal.

I am a solar baby golden, outdoor loving and trusting the sun enough to swim in Puget Sound's 50 degree waters when the sun shines, as it does far more than people in Seattle seem to realize. But there is a longing that nests inside me. With each passing year, I find myself more and more intrigued by the moon. It is as if She has called, and I am answering.

When did it begin? When did the years of men friends and boyfriends and growing up sisterless give way to this new era? What would cause me to sit outside in a garden before a blue moon with a lunar-loving woman?

Who can say? The heart is a mystery. But something shifted, and I enrolled myself in ballet class, trading my Notice-Me black miniskirts for pink tights and a floral skirt which absolutely delighted me.

From there, it was shimmies and belly rolls and sexy coin skirts and headdresses in bellydancing class, and rolling around with a group of giggling girls in tumbling class and partnering in yoga and dance class.

These women came to me like escorts, ushering me into a new world. And with them, the memories. The laughing Arab women who bathed me and all the other nearly naked women in a Tunisian hammam. The girls I'd join for moonlit summer swims. The naked women lounging in my club's sauna, chatting without a drop of self-consciousness.

Each time, after saying good-bye, I would leave feeling more sure of myself as a woman, more relaxed, more accepting. It is an instinctive thing, this shedding of selves before other women, and to know it is to know the wonder of staring into one's own reflection and finding there beauty. For me, the change was seismic. Soon I would even change the spelling of my name from Leslie to the feminine version, Lesley.

Sometimes in dance class we work in circles, giggling as the work rocks us between confidence and embarrassment. When my eyes meet those of another woman, we smile. We are sending a kind of invisible blessing to each other.

There is something given by a woman that can be given by no one else. To my future husband, I am beautiful. But it's the women in our lives who praise the props, the ingenuity, behind the effect. I have moved among women in ways not seen by my men. The feminine realm offers a place where beauty and expression not sexuality is the goal. And there is something deeper. Something primal. Something perhaps answered best by the stellar body which governs our cycles.

We have come together in her name for so long now. The preclassical Greeks had women mystery schools named for Hera, Zeus' wife. Without electricity and artificial light, the women bled together and in synch with the new moon the three days of darkness marking the end of the lunar cycle, as well as the beginning.

This time was considered the most powerful for those willing to enter and make peace with the darkness or their own shadow selves. During these moonless nights, the women gathered in huts to make offerings and penetrate their own mystery through dance and prayer.

The ancients knew better than we to schedule their lives in tune with a body strong enough to influence the ocean's tides. The creation phase of the virginal White Goddess, from new moon to waxing. The preservation phase of the fertile Red Goddess of the full moon, and the destruction phase of the wise Black Goddess, or waning moon. This crone figure reminds us that death is not the end, but the beginning of the next cycle.

Devotees of Diana, Artemis, Isis, Selene and all the other lunar goddesses believed the night was not to be feared, or even conquered. Rather, it was to be honored and through that honoring, understood. Rituals of dancing, bathing, even the modern-day shopping allow us to reach through the competitive fog to find there the softness of a sister's cheek.

Perhaps sisterless women are the lucky ones. The mysteries of opening up in the full moonlight, of feminine love, come when we are old enough to honor them. And as I rest on this bench during this strange blue night, I lift my eyes to the brightest body in the night sky and know that I am not the first wanderer who wants to come home.

She nudges me. I laugh. Kitty is my sister now. Here with the blue moon's rays spraying out as if from a wheel I know that I too have found my center.

Lesley Holdcroft is a creative writer and journalist who writes for a variety of local and national publications from her Seattle home. This is her first story for at msn

Astronomical Applications, Sunrise, Sunset, Moonrise, Moonset, Eclipses, And Twilight

Table of Sunrise/Sunset, Moonrise/Moonset, or Twilight Times for an Entire Year
Complete Sun and Moon Data for One Day
Moon Illumination
Phases of the Moon
Lunar Eclipse Computer
Recent and Upcoming Eclipses of the Sun and Moon
Altitude and Azimuth of the Sun or Moon During One Day
Data for Major Solar System Bodies and Bright Stars
Earth's Seasons - Equinoxes, Solstices, Perihelion,and Aphelion 1992-2005
View the Phases of the Moon for any date and time

Each moon throughout the year can be used for different purposes. While all of the spells listed below can be worked at any time of year... they are especially effective during this time.

January...........Wolf Moon.......................Protection

February..........Moon of Winter Storms..............Binding

March.............Moon of Chastity..............Romance-Love

April.............Moon of Blessing............Bless-strength

May...............Hare Moon........................Fertility

June..............Moon of Two...................Bonding-Love

July..............Mead Moon...................Health-Healing

August............Moon of Green Plants.........Finances-Gain

September.........Barley Moon...............Peace-Friendship

October...........Blood Moon...................Honor-Victory

November..........Oak Moon.................Banishing-Sealing

December..........Moon Of Snow.....................Happiness

Variable..........Blue Moon.....................Goals-Future