Last week was the “blood moon” eclipse, when the super moon (it looked larger due to its proximity to the earth, as it was at the point in its orbit that brings it closest to the earth and the earth’s shadow gives the full moon a red glow). It was difficult to see from many parts of New York because of the cloudy weather that night but many other areas had clear views. Such an event (the last one was in 1982 and it will not be repeated again until the year 2033) caused a lot of excitement and moon-watching parties but in older days it would have been a cause of alarm.
In the Norse eddas, a monster named Managarmr, the Moon Hound, swallows up the moon and stains the skies with blood during Ragnarok, the end of the world. According to the Gylfaginning (the opening portion of the poetic eddas), Managarmr is also known as Hati Hróðvitnisson, and is the son of Fenrir, the grey wolf, and a giantess.
In the Old Testament, the prophets warned that the moon would be dyed with blood at the end of the world and in the Book of Revelation the moon is also predicted to shine as red as blood: “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood” (Revelation 6:12). This sixth seal that was broken open to release earthquakes and eclipses is followed by the opening of the famous “seventh seal,” the subject of Ingmar Bergman’s movie.
One of the Brothers Grimm reported that “In a lighted candle, if a piece of the wick gets half detached and makes it burn away too fast, [common folk] say ‘a wolf (as well as a thief) is in the candle’; this too is like the wolf devouring the sun or moon.” It seems that the wolf eating the candlelight was related to the wolf eating the moonlight and that one could certainly be linked to the other.
Maybe we can do an experiment to see if we can cause an eclipse with a candle like that? I can see a story developing here; can’t you?
Speaking of “bad moons,” you should see the BAD MOON ON THE RISE series here! There is a new fantasy-horror-thriller review posted each day of October. Some great new ideas for your reading thrills-and-chills!