May’s Camas Full Moon

Happy May Full Moon!

Welcome to Issue 4 of Volume VII of Earth, Moon and Stars!


  The moon will become exact full May 4 (Monday) at 03:42 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 a few hours after midnight Monday in Greenwich, just about everyone will see closest to actual fullness on Sunday night. You guys in the Philippines and West Australia get slightly closer on Monday night, but you really won’t be able to tell the difference. As you have read here before, she will also appear full to most unaided eyes on the nights before and after these nights of optimal fullness. Check Seasonal Calendar below for times in some representative time zones.


      • Moon Names ~ Camas Blooming Time Moon
      • Moon Art ~ Camas at Sunrise | Uplands Camas
      • Seasonal Calendar ~ Moon dates and times
      • Celestial Mechanics ~ Last and next eclipses (with “blood moon” photo)
      • Celebrations ~ Wesak (“Buddha’s Birthday”)
      • Astrology ~ Full Moon in Scorpio: Mystery and Drama | Alchemy and Surrender


May’s Camas 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.

   As with every month, the May full moon was given many names by Native Americans and peoples around the world. “Flower Moon” was popular, for reasons that are obvious, and has been treated in this blog in previous May issues, which you can read in the archives over there to the right. In looking for some unusual names, I found that the Kalapuya of the Pacific Northwest named not just one, but four of their twelve moons after the camas plant. They called the May full moon “atantal” which means “camas blooming time”.  (ref: American Indian Moons)

   Excuse me? Camas? I’d never heard of it. (According to, most English speakers haven’t, either.) To my surprise, this plant used to cover whole meadows with its brilliant blue in the spring. Apparently – despite the incursion of cattle farming – there are still many meadows in which they grow today.

Field of camas at sunriseBill Stevenson)

    This beautiful photo shows the predominant lavender color of the flower. Occasionally it shows up in white, a specimen of which you can see in the foreground. The photo is by Bill Stevenson; you can see other amazing outdoor photos by Bill at his website Bill Stevenson Photography.

   So why did the Kalapuya revere this plant enough to name four full moons after it? Maybe you can guess that it had to do with more than just its pretty face: these people found that the plant’s bulb could be used for food. Other common names for camassia include quamash, Indian hyacinth, camash, and wild hyacinth. (ref: Wikipedia)


   I like to find art that’s related to the month’s theme; in a search for “camas blooms painting” I found the beautiful painting below. It’s by Jeffrey J. Boron, who calls it “Uplands Camas”, an oil on wood panel. Jeffrey does a lot of paintings en plein air. You can view his work on his website Jeffrey J. Boron.

Uplands CamasJeffrey Boron)


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
May’s new moon:            Monday May 18 04:13 UT; 12:13 am EDT
.                                           Monday May 18 7:13 am IDT; 12:13 pm PHT
.                                           Sunday May 17 9:13 pm PDT; 6:13 pm HAST
June’s full moon:             Tuesday June 2 16:19 UT; 12:19 pm EDT; 7:19 pm IDT
.                                           Tuesday June 2 9:19 am PDT; 6:19 am HAST
.                                           Wednesday June 3 12:19 am PHT
[Ref: Moon Phases]

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   My Colorado daughter sent me this photo of last month’s total eclipse of the Moon over Pike’s Peak in Colorado Springs.

April's total eclipse (Farmer's Almanac)

April’s eclipsed “blood moon” over Pike’s Peak (Lars Leber)

   This photo has been splashed all over the Web, so it was tricky to ascertain its origin. Appears to be by Lars Leber. See his website Lars Leber Photography for some astounding photos of Colorado that will knock your socks off.

      You can also see another great shot of this event at this page.

   Note that the fourth and final total eclipse of the current “tetrad” will occur on September 27/28, and will be visible from most of North America, South America, Europe, west Asia and parts of Africa. The next total lunar eclipse after this one won’t be until 2018, so if you’re interested at all in catching this one, it’s not too early to start making plans. (You can find details at timeanddate.) The next tetrads will occur in 2032/33 and then in 2043/44. In the meantime, there will be triads in 2018, 2026, and 2028. (Well, I’m calling them triads.) We will discuss triads and tetrads in future issues as we approach the September eclipse.

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   A major moon-related celebration this month is Wesak, one of the most important festivals in the Buddhist calendar that informally is called “Buddha’s Birthday”, but actually commemorates the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and death. This holiday is celebrated on different dates, depending on the tradition of the local country. It is primarily celebrated in the Vaisakha month of the Buddhist and Hindu calendars, which translates to the current full moon in most places. 

Vesak Day celebration ~ Viet Nam

Vesak Day celebration ~ Viet Nam

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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. The Moon is currently transitioning from Libra to Scorpio; she will be in Scorpio when full and will transition to Sagittarius on Tuesday.

Molly Hall ~ Molly Hall

Full Moon in Scorpio – Mystery and Drama

   Molly Hall is chief astrologer at Fasten your seatbelts as Molly takes us on a wild ride in her article: Full Moon in Scorpio on her astrology site. Here is a brief distillation from her revealing column for this full moon:

   Scorpio pulls us in to the mysterious depths, with its treacherous and profound shadows. The dark has power, and that makes it daunting, but also a promising landscape — for deep change and renewal.

   Warning us about Scorpio’s psychic-emotional power, she continues with this advice:

   Scorpio is often called the all-or-nothing sign. If you risk it and surrender, the rewards are big. The whole self is poured out and mixed with the potent Full Moon energies. The release of certain emotions can be destructive if there are wounds exposed. But the deluge is movement, and is a catalyst out of swampy stagnation.

   Apparently we need to pay special attention to how we handle ourselves at this full moon. I can’t do Molly’s article justice without including it in its entirety, so I recommend that you click over to her page “Full Moon in Scorpio” and get the full hit.

Scorpion Under Full Moon

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

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

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Emily Trinkaus ~ Emily Trinkaus

Full Moon in Scorpio ~ Alchemy and Surrender

   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.

Emily collage  (Gemini Alter Ego)

   The full title of Emily’s column for this full moon is: Alchemy and Surrender; it’s definitely worth a look. In her customary way, Emily asks us the good questions that make us reflect: “[This] Scorpio Full Moon . . . lights up the basement of the subconscious and reveals inner blocks to creativity and growth. Where have you lost your power, passion and vitality? Where are you playing it safe and not playing your edge? What do you need to let go of so you can create what you really want?

   Noting that the sun is currently in Taurus, Emily goes on to say, “Taurus-Scorpio themes amplified at this Full Moon include power, money and resources, intimacy and sexuality (just a few light areas…), and the tension between holding on and letting go, control and surrender. The Scorpio Full Moon also illuminates our shadows, the parts of ourselves we’ve rejected, suppressed, denied or disowned.”

   If you’d like further insight into Scorpio and its effects at this Full Moon – including the alchemy and surrender in the title of her piece – you will definitely want to check out her column Alchemy and Surrender for the full story.

Full Moon in Scorpio

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 these and other celestial bodies affect us directly, 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 June, here’s wishing all of us a month of surrender and transformation!

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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.
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