November’s Frosty Tiger Shark Moon

Welcome to Issue 11 of Volume V of Earth, Moon and Stars!

In this issue:

      • Beaver Frosty Tiger Shark Moon
      • Seasonal Calendar
      • Skywatch ~  Comet ISON: See It Now!
      • Starwatch ~ New Series on Astronomy of the Zodiac
      • Astronomy Basics ~ The Celestial Sphere
      • Moon Poetry by Marjorie Allen Seiffert || Moon Art by Robin Samiljan
      • Folklore – Celtic Tree of the month~The Reed
      • Astrology ~ Mellowness and Communication


Frosty Beaver Tiger Shark Moon
     As we’ve noted in past issues, Native American Indians of the northern and eastern United States kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon, appropriate for the month in which it occurred and keyed – naturally enough – to the goings-on in their natural environment . . . the weather, the plants, the animals. This month’s was traditionally dubbed the Full Beaver Moon, either because this was the time for setting beaver traps, or because the beavers themselves were busy building their winter dams at this time. Some Algonquins called this moon the Full Frost Moon or Frosty Moon

    Other cultures have/had their own traditions. In New Guinea this full Moon is traditionally called the Tiger Shark Moon. I haven’t yet found an explanation of the significance of this name. What I can tell you is that, according to Wikipedia, the tiger shark has been nicknamed “the garbage can of the sea”, due to its tendency to swallow virtually anything it encounters. Sounds to me sorta like goats, the difference being that while these sharks will actually swallow non-edible manmade objects, goats will only taste things like tin cans to see if they are edible, but will not actually swallow them. The Wikipedia article also noted that the tiger shark is considered a near-threatened species due to finning and fishing by humans. Maybe they are more prevalent this time of year? (Remember, New Guinea is in the Southern Hemisphere, so it’s approaching summertime there.)

When the Night Comes (Tina Palmer)

When the Night Comes (Tina Palmer)

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November Beaver Moon [Cyndi Lavin]


 The beautiful beaded embroidery you see here was created by Cyndi Lavin for her Bead Journal Project (a part of her Beading Arts Facebook page) where you can see all twelve of her Moon creations. Cyndi also has her own websites Mixed Media Artist, and Beading Arts, rich with examples of and information on beads, jewelry, and other art mediums.






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November’s full moon:       Sunday November 17 15:16 UT (10:16 am ET, 7:16 am PT)
December’s new moon:      Tuesday December 3 00:23 UT
.                                                Monday December 2 7:23 pm ET, 4:23 pm PT
December’s full moon:       Tuesday December 17 09:29 UT (4:29 am ET, 1:29 am PT)
December Solstice:              Saturday December 21 17:11 UT (12:11 pm ET, 9:11 am PT)
                                                                                                                 [Ref: Moon Phases]

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Comet ISON – See It Now!

     ISON – discovered just a year ago by two Russian amateur astronomers and now being called the “Comet of the Century” – unexpectedly brightened last Wednesday on its approach to the Sun. It will make its closest approach to the Sun (perihelion) on November 28, which is Thanksgiving Day in the United States (and thus my dubbing it the “Thanksgiving Comet”). No one knows how many more days it will remain visible, so if you’re at all interested, grab some binoculars and head outside about half an hour before sunrise and look into the south eastern skies. More details at NASA’s Comet ISON Observing Campaign, at Universe Today, and this very helpful/practical article at Sky & Telescope.

Comet ISON

Comet ISON (Sky & Telescope)

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New Series on the Astronomy of the Zodiac to Begin in the New Year

     Each month beginning in January, we will explore one of the constellations that inhabit the zodiac. You won’t have to understand any astronomy to enjoy it, but I will introduce some basic stuff anyway for folks who are interested. This will help tie in the astronomy that lies behind the astrology for each month.  In preparation for this, last month we began introducing a little basic astronomy. Taken a bite at a time, it’s fairly digestible, and will make your stargazing more interesting and fun. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get so excited you’ll go out and get your own telescope!


The Celestial Sphere

     Last month we talked about the difference between constellations and asterisms, and promised we would talk about how we talk about locating stars in the sky. Thus this month we’re getting a tad more technical and introducing the concept of the celestial sphere, which will help in visualizing where stars are located (at least when viewed from planet Earth).

Fixed Celestial Spheres — An Ancient Concept
     As you probably know, the pattern of stars we see in our night sky is not a true representation of where these stars are actually located in three-dimensional space. However, because they are so mind-boggling distant, we cannot, with our eyes alone, detect that they are actually moving, nor can we tell that they are at vastly different distances from us. They simply appear to be pinholes of light shining through (or attached to) a gigantic black sphere – sort of like looking up through the holes in a giant upside-down colander. This is, in fact, how astronomy was generally understood until relatively recent times. (See the Wikipedia article Celestial Spheres.)

The Celestial Sphere
Over the last few hundred years astronomers have greatly advanced the technology of observing the universe. Based on the increased accuracy of their observations, they have drastically revised their models of the universe and have, as a consequence, dispensed with the old ideas of nested “colanders” actually being out there. However, in talking about where to find a particular star, they find it convenient to still describe star locations as if they are fixed on a giant imaginary globe called the “celestial sphere”. They can get away with this because the stars are so far away from us that they all appear to be fixed in space and at the same infinite distance. (See Wikipedia article Celestial Sphere.)

An Atlas of the Stars
Thus astronmers developed an “atlas” of the stars (no, not Beverly Hills) so that they – and the rest of us, too, if we like – can talk about where to find them when we look up into the sky. It’s similar to locating a point on the Earth using latitude and longitude. The celestial sphere is merely an imaginary extension of the Earth’s surface, with the Earth’s north pole pointing to the north celestial pole (NCP), and our south pole pointing to the south celestial pole (SCP). Accordingly, the celestial equator is merely a projection of the Earth’s equator, as if it were an infinitely stretchable rubber band. In this visualization, the Earth is considered fixed while the celestial sphere appears to rotate around us (even though we know it is the Earth that is actually spinning). (See Wikipedia article Equatorial Coordinate System.)

Latitude and Longitude on the Celestial Sphere
     To locate a star on the celestial sphere, astronomers use a spherical coordinate system based on angles, similar to our latitude and longitude. A particular star’s angle above/below the celestial equator is called its declination, analogous to latitude. The star’s angular distance from the celestial sphere’s “zero longitude” along the celestial equator is called its right ascension, analogous to longitude.

Celestial Sphere

Celestial Sphere (Encyclopedia of Science)

     The significance of the vernal equinox as the “zero longitude” point and where it is located on the celestial sphere are topics we will take up next month. For now, a star’s declination and right ascension are what we need to know to locate it. This will help us in our talking about the astronomy of the zodiac.

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The Moonlight Sonata

My soul storm-beaten as an ancient pier
Stands forth into the sea; wave on slow wave
Of shining music, luminous and grave,
Lifting against me, pouring through me, here
Find wafts of unforgotten chords, which rise
And droop like clinging seaweed. You, so white,
So still, so helpless on this fathomless night
Float like a corpse with living, tortured eyes.
Deep waves wash you against me; you impart
No comfort to my spirit, give no sign
Your inarticulate lips can taste the brine
Drowning the secret timbers of my heart.

~Marjorie Allen Seiffert (1885-1970)

Full Frosty Moon

Full Frosty Moon (Robin Samiljan)

     This beautiful watercolor is by Chicago artist Robin Samiljan from her  collection “A Year of Moons“. Prints are available for purchase at Fine Art America

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The Celtic Tree Calendar

     The Celtic Tree Calendar consists of thirteen lunar divisions. Rather than follow the actual waxing and waning of the Moon, most contemporary Pagans use fixed dates for each “month” so as to stay in sync with the (solar) Gregorian calendar. The modern tree calendar is based on a concept that letters in the ancient Celtic Ogham alphabet corresponded to various trees.



     The Reed is the tree – or plant, in this case – that is honored this month (October 28 to November 23). The Reed Moon was called Negetal, pronounced nyettle by the Celts, and is sometimes referred to as the Elm Moon by modern Pagans. Reed is typically used to make wind instruments, and this time of year, its haunting sounds are sometimes heard when the souls of the dead are being summoned to the Underworld. This month is the time for celebration of death and honoring the cycle of life and rebirth. (The above was excerpted from the article “Celtic Tree Months.”) 

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Molly HallMood of Taurus
Here’s a brief excerpt from Molly Hall’s Transiting Moon in Taurus article this month at

     The Moon is exalted in Taurus, and that means it’s an easy-going fit. The Taurus lunar mood is mellow, calm and low-to-the-ground. You can go barefoot, languish in the Sun, draw out the enjoyment of a particularly tasty meal. It’s easier to feel the weight of who you are, on the Earth, rather than just being “in your head.” It’s great for tending to practical matters, since your two hands are ready to dig in.

     The grounded nature of Taurus allows us to be focused on one thing. It’s a fixed sign, that inspires us to go into something fully, to flesh it out. The Taurus energy helps you discover your natural talent. And you might find it easier to practice your craft or hobby. You can get in the zone of work, and take pleasure in making real progress. It’s an excellent time to be in the studio or with your musical instrument. You can earth your dreams in real ways.

Autumn leaves (Getty Images)

Autumn leaves (Getty Images)

(For the complete read, see Molly’s article Mood of Taurus and also visit her front page for more astrology.)

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Japa Kaur ~ Kundalini Yoga Horoscope: November 18-24

A new source this month from Spirit Voyage. Note that since the Moon makes a complete transit through the zodiac each month (as opposed to the year that the Sun takes), it moves to a new “house” every 2 1/2 days. This article treats the week following this full moon.

     Don’t look now but the Moon is in Gemini – so you won’t have to look. You’ll just know – because everyone is talking! There are lots of tidbits on the newswire today. Gemini represents communication, relations among neighbors, siblings, and those you see on a daily basis. Make better friends with your colleagues at work. Strike a conversation with your barista. People are in the mood to talk. Get things off your chest. Make connections. Bring out the social butterfly within. Reach out, share, and call your brothers and sisters. This is a good time to take steps – even small steps – toward mending important bridges in your life.

(For the complete read, see Kundalini Yoga Horoscope: November 18-24)

Full moon in Taurus

Full moon in Taurus (Astro Shaman)

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If you especially like (or dislike) something you see here, or would like to see something in particular covered in a future issue, or you have something interesting about the Earth, Moon, or Stars you would like to share, please leave a comment. I’m always interested in how folks who stop by here are moved/influenced/affected.

Until the full moon in December, here’s wishing you and yours a month of mellowness and communication!

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The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with (hopefully interesting) facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about our one and only natural satellite and how all of us — people, animals, plants, water, even rocks — are affected and connected by her.

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Unless otherwise noted, this blog claims no credit for any images appearing on it. Copyrighted images remain the property of their respective owners; attribution is provided when known. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it appear here, please leave a comment with your email address and a link to the image in question and it will be promptly removed. Your comment will not be published.



About aquarianman

Aquarian interested in anything to do with the Earth, our Moon, and anything flying around out there in space.
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