April’s Eclipsing Seed Moon

Happy April Full Moon!

Welcome to Issue 3 of Volume VII of Earth, Moon and Stars!


  The moon will become exact full April 4 (Saturday) at 12:06 Universal Time; correspondingly earlier in time zones west of Greenwich, later in time zones to the east. (See this past December’s Seasonal Calendar for clarification about Universal Time.)

   Because fullness this time will occur Saturday around noon in Greenwich, your best night for viewing fullness will depend on where you are. People east of Greenwich to the International Date Line will see a fuller moon on Saturday night, while those west of Greenwich (to the Date Line) will see a fuller moon on Friday night. As we have pointed out previously, she will also appear full to most eyes on the nights before and after these nights of optimal fullness. Check Seasonal Calendar below for times in some representative time zones.

   This full moon will also move into total eclipse, the third in the current “tetrad” of total eclipses. For locations and times and other interesting facts and rumors, see the section below: Total Eclipse of the Moon.


      • Moon Art ~ Cedar Lee
      • Moon Names ~ Seed Moon
      • Seasonal Calendar ~ Moon dates and times
      • Celestial Mechanics ~ Total Lunar Eclipse
      • Celebrations ~ Passover | Easter
      • Astrology ~ Full Moon in Libra: Radical Rebalancing | Releasing Reactivity


   I found the beautiful painting below in a search for “seed moon”. It’s called “Seed Moon Rising”, an oil on canvas by artist Cedar Lee, who loves to paint trees and specializes in original oil paintings of tree canopies and particularly redwood forests. You can see more of her work on her website Art By Cedar.

Seed Moon Rising (© Cedar Lee)


April’s Seed Moon

   As you know (especially if you’ve been following this blog), many cultures in both hemispheres 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.

   While the April full moon was given many names by Native Americans, the name “Seed Moon” seems to fall within the exclusive purview of English Medieval and Wiccan societies. It is not difficult to imagine how this name became popular at this time of year.

Seed Moon



April’s full moon:            Saturday April 4 12:06 UT; 8:06 am EDT; 5:06 am PDT
(in total eclipse)        2:06 am HAST; 3:06 pm IDT; 8:06 pm PHT
April’s new moon:          Saturday April 18 18:57 UT; 2:57 pm EDT; 11:57 am PDT
.                                           8:57 am HAST; 9:57 pm IDT
.                                           Sunday April 19 2:57 am PHT
May’s full moon:              Monday May 4 03:42 UT; 6:42 am IDT; 11:42 am PHT
.                                           Sunday May 3 11:42 pm EDT; 8:42 pm PDT;  5:42 pm HAST

.                                           (See sections below for details on the following event/holidays)
Passover (begins)            Friday April 3 (at local sunset)
Full Lunar Eclipse           Saturday April 4 (totality: 11:57 – 12:02 UT)
Easter                                 Sunday April 5
.                                                           [Refs: Moon Phases, SeasonsSolar and Lunar Eclipses]

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   As you know, an eclipse of the Moon can occur only when it is full. This is because an eclipse (solar or lunar) requires the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon to be in a direct line, or syzygy. Coupled with the solar eclipse of two weeks ago, this Full Moon will move into total eclipse for a mere five minutes — the shortest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century. (Compare this to the total eclipse coming three years from now on July 27, 2018, when totality will persist for a full 102 minutes — this century’s longest.)

Lunar eclipse diagram

Lunar eclipse diagram

Lunar Eclipse (Laurent Laveder)

Lunar Eclipse (Laurent Laveder)

   This total lunar eclipse will be visible from western North America, eastern Asia, the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand. Eastern North America will be able to see a partial, but not a total eclipse. For folks in North American time zones, the greatest eclipse will happen just before sunrise on Saturday April 4. If you are somewhere in the world’s Eastern Hemisphere (eastern Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Australia), you will witness maximum eclipse after sunset on Saturday.

   To see type and times for this eclipse in any city, go to this timeanddate.com page and type in a city name. For some fascinating graphics, check out ShadowandSubstance.

(ref TimeandDate (April 4), EarthSky (eclipse essentials), EarthSky (April 4)

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   The major moon-related celebrations this month include the Jewish festival of Passover and the Christian holiday of Easter. Even though most people in Western countries are familiar with these holidays, I present a brief synopsis of each below, followed by an explanation of how determinations of their calendar dates relate to the Moon’s cycle. (If you would like more expanded explanations, please see my posts from April 2014 and April 2012.)


  Passover (or Pesach in Hebrew) is a major Jewish festival. It commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, as recorded in the Book of Exodus in the Torah (the Jewish bible).

  The Hebrew word pesach means “to pass over”. During this eight-day observation, Jews take part in a ritual meal known as a seder, which incorporates the retelling of the story of the Exodus and of their deliverance from bondage in Egypt when the Angel of Death “passed over” the houses of the Israelites.

Using a Moon-Based Calendar to Determine the Start of Passover

  The Hebrew calendar is a lunisolar (lunar/solar) calendar, used in modern times to determine when Jewish holidays occur. The Torah dictates that Passover is to begin at sundown on the evening before the 15th day of the month of Aviv/Abib (now called by its Babylonian name Nisan), which is the first month in the Hebrew calendar. Since each Hebrew month begins on a new moon, Passover always begins on the night of the full moon in Nisan. While this is usually the first full moon following the Spring equinox, it is sometimes the second one.

  The reasons for the “sometimes” are somewhat complex, since they relate to the age-old attempt to keep lunar calendars more or less in line with the seasons. Because the seasons are determined by the Earth’s journey around the Sun, and not in any way by the Moon’s revolution around us, attempts to reconcile solar calendars with lunar calendars have always been approximate at best.

  Whereas the Hebrew calendar was originally observational, based on a number of factors that were used to empirically determine when Spring had actually arrived (for example, when the barley had ripened), this practice ended back in 350 CE when Hillel II standardized the Hebrew calendar to be fixed by mathematical calculation.


   The Christian holiday Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ following his crucifixion, and is the oldest and most important annual religious feast in the Christian liturgical year. In a larger sense, Easter celebrates the triumph of the new life of Spring over the death of Winter, both literally and figuratively.

   The earliest known observance of Easter, called Pasch (derived from the Hebrew pesach for Passover), occurred between the second and fourth centuries. These celebrations commemorated both Jesus’ death and his resurrection at once, whereas today these two events have been split up between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Using the Moon to Determine the Date for Easter

   For Western churches, Easter is calculated as the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon, which occurs on or after the vernal equinox. If the full moon falls on a Sunday, then Easter is the following Sunday. The holiday can occur anywhere between March 22 and April 25.

   The Western church does not use the actual, or astronomically correct date for the vernal equinox; instead it uses a fixed date (March 21). And by full moon it does not mean the astronomical full moon but the “ecclesiastical moon”, which is based on tables created by the Church. These constructs allowed the date of Easter to be calculated in advance rather than determined by actual astronomical observances, which at the time were less predictable.

   The Council of Nicaea in 325 established that Easter would be celebrated on Sundays; before that Easter was celebrated on different days in different places in the same year.

   The Eastern Orthodox Church uses the same formula to calculate Easter, but bases the date on the (older) Julian calendar rather than the more contemporary Gregorian calendar that is most widely used today.

   Unlike the Western Church, the Eastern Church sets the date of Easter according to the actual, astronomical full moon and the actual equinox as observed along the meridian of Jerusalem, the site of the Crucifixion and Resurrection. Consequently, both churches only occasionally celebrate Easter on the same day. This was the case last year, 2014. In 2013 Western Easter was in March, while Eastern Easter was in May. This year (2015) the two will be only a week apart. Next year (2016), Eastern Easter will occur five weeks after Western Easter.

The Connection Between Easter and Passover

   The Jewish holiday Passover and the Christian holiday Easter have been intertwined ever since the Last Supper which, according to some versions of the story, was a Passover seder. The Last Supper took place just before the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, thus interlocking the two holidays. The word Pasch (derived from the Hebrew pesach for Passover), came to mean Easter (Pascha) as well.

   Christian celebrations of Easter were originally tied to Jewish celebrations of Passover. Similar to Passover as a celebration by Jews of their deliverance from bondage in Egypt, Easter for Christians is a celebration of deliverance from the bondage of death and sin. Jesus is the Passover sacrifice, and since in some narratives of the Passion the Last Supper of Jesus and his disciples is a Passover meal, Easter can be seen as the Christian Passover celebration. Both holidays resonate with the celebration of new/everlasting life.

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   Unlike the Earth – which takes 365+ days to make a complete circuit through the Zodiac – the Moon takes just a month to make her rounds. This means she spends on average only two and a half days in each zodiac sign. This Full Moon will be in the sign of Libra the Scales on April 3 and 4.

Molly Hall ~ Molly Hall

Full Moon in Libra – Radical Rebalancing

   Molly Hall is chief astrologer at about.com. This month Molly writes about the Full Moon in Libra on her about.com astrology site in her article: “Radical Rebalancing“. This month, in a departure from her usual focus on our personal lives, she goes global, addressing the “…on-the-edge-of-war atmosphere of the moment.” Here is a brief distillation from her deeply reflective column for this full moon:

   The cosmic constellation of the Libra Full Moon is set to cheer on spontaneity. […] there could be spontaneous uprisings, where people boldly step out of the old roles and traps.

   She then tells us she is reminded of the following quote from The Little Prince:

   “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

   …and goes on to inform that: “The National Dream Center ran a red alert recently, showing that dreamers were picking up hints that there will be a ‘rally,’ and that the plans for wider war will fail.

   For the full hit, click over to her column “Radical Rebalancing“. 

Girl with Sword (Anna Gorin)

   In addition to her insights around this full moon, Molly offers up the following:

Also visit Molly’s front page for lots more interesting astrology.

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Emily Trinkaus ~ Emily Trinkaus

Lunar Eclipse in Libra ~ Releasing Reactivity

   Head priestess at Virgo Magic, Emily is based in Portland, OR, and works with astrology as a tool for healing, empowerment, personal growth and collective evolution. In addition, she and energy healer Katie Todd run the Full Moon Priestess website where they conduct monthly Full Moon Galactivation teleclasses for women.

Collage by Emily (lunar eclipse)

   The full title of Emily’s column for this full moon is: Releasing Reactivity, Returning to Love – Saturday’s Lunar Eclipse in Libra; it’s definitely worth a look. In it she points out that “A Lunar Eclipse is an extra-potent Full Moon, so emotions are running high, and there’s a pressure-cooker kind of feeling. What’s been submerged in the subconscious rises up, demanding to be seen, felt, released, transformed, healed or simply held in love.

   Emily goes on to say, “Libra is not only about romantic partnership but signifies how we relate to ‘the other,’ the dynamic of projection.” She then unloads both barrels by letting us know that especially right now there is a “…strong potential for reactivity, the kind of reactivity that poisons relationships and curses the people you care about…” — and then introduces us to the Soul Shrinker. Though Emily can often be light and sweet, when the situation demands it, she’s not afraid to tell it like it is “with the bark off”.

   If you’re up for a sober look at things that can be cathartic, check out her full column Releasing Reactivity, Returning to Love for the full story.

Full Moon in Libra

My Personal Take on Astrology

  Some folks have wondered why I have an astrology section in a blog that purports to be “science” oriented. I suppose I could cite ancient cultures in which astronomy and astrology were the domain of the same person. And that a broader way of understanding the aim of science is to expand knowledge (the word science being derived from the Latin word  scīre “to know”). My own sense is that while we humans live in a material world that runs by certain rules of physics, we each experience our lives in this world subjectively. It’s what makes us similar and at the same time unique.

   How much do celestial bodies influence our lives? Certainly the Sun and the Moon have noticeable gravitational effects on water and even rocks. Electromagnetic and particle radiation from the Sun has both obvious and subtle effects on just about everything on this planet. Even moonlight affects plants and animals.  I do not claim to know if or how much other celestial bodies affect us, but I like the wisdom, warmth and humanness that Molly and Emily express in their writing, and believe that including them not only expands my potential audience, but also exposes folks to ways of thinking about their own lives that they might not have otherwise considered. Let me know your take on this. I won’t make your comment public if you ask me not to.

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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 feel free to leave a comment. I’m always interested in how folks who stop by here are moved/influenced/affected by what they encounter here.inspiration 

  Until the full moon in May, here’s wishing all of us a month of rebalance, release and new growth!

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A few detail-oriented folks have inquired about my use (or mis-use) of Initial Caps in words like earth, moon, and sun. In the long run, it doesn’t affect understanding; Whether I write ”the President” or “the president”, you still know who I’m referring to. I write “the Northern Hemisphere”, just as you would (correctly) write “the West Coast”; it’s a proper name, and in English we capitalize proper names.

When it comes to suns and moons it can get confusing. There are billions of suns out there; we have given names to more than 40 million of them, ranging from names given in other languages (e.g., Aldebaran), to less fanciful but more utilitarian names, such as HD 140913. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has decreed that our sun is the only one without such a proper name, although historically and in poesy it’s been called by quite a few.

Similarly for our moon. We’ve christened all of the other 182 moons in our solar system with names – ours is the only one we call the Moon.

Since we capitalize the names of all the other heavenly bodies (even asteroids and comets, for pity’s sake), I feel we ought to show at least as much respect for the ones most important to us. The IAU agrees.

So does Wikipedia. Their Manual of Style says: “The words sun, earth, moon and solar system are capitalized (as proper names) when used in an astronomical context to refer to a specific celestial body (our Sun, Earth, Moon and Solar System): The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System; The Moon orbits the Earth. They are not capitalized when used outside an astronomical context (The sky was clear and the sun felt warm), or when used in a general sense (Io is a moon of Jupiter).”

Sometimes it’s a fine line. If I write “by the light of the silvery moon”, I won’t capitalize it, because I’m referring to an image of the celestial body, not the body itself. By contrast, if I write, “the light from the Sun reflects off the surface of the Moon,” I capitalize both, because I’m referring directly to the celestial bodies.

If you inspect the archives of this blog, you will likely see many instances where I departed from this rule. We’ll call these oversights, and eventually I will correct them. Meanwhile, it’s an interesting challenge just to follow it in new writings. Are we having fun, yet?

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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 and/or links are provided when known. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to 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 made public.


About aquarianman

Aquarian interested in anything to do with the Earth, our Moon, and anything flying around out there in space.
This entry was posted in Astrology, astronomy, moon and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to April’s Eclipsing Seed Moon

  1. cyndilavin says:

    Thank you for an interesting read, as always!

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