Here we go again with the apocalyptic forecasts. Have you heard about the ominous Blood Moon prophecy? “True believers” say it is an omen signifying the end times, the second coming of Christ and a significant event involving Israel that will soon transpire. I have received many messages and emails asking me if this idea has an astrological basis. The answer is complicated, but first, why has the idea of apocalypse remained so popular throughout history? What is the power in the apocalyptic message? In a Frontline PBS series article titled Apocalypticism Explained: The Resiliency of Apocalyptic Belief, the authors discuss why and how human needs are met by prophetic belief systems such as in this latest craze.
We know that our lives and the world need to change, and we want to believe a great power will swoop in and save us in one dramatic historical moment. As the article states, “…we’re in a bad time now, but things will be better, immensely better, almost immeasurably better in the future. REM had it great. People who believe in apocalyptic teachings say things like, It’s the end of the world as we know it, but I feel fine.”
So what is the Blood Moon prophecy all about? Well first it may help to clarify that there are two definitions of a Blood Moon.
The first technically correct astrological definition of a Blood Moon is the full Moon that occurs in the autumn season a month after the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon is the full Moon that occurs nearest the fall equinox (northern hemisphere). The origins of some of these full Moon names are found in Native American folklore. We find these listed in the Farmer’s Almanac.
The Blood Moon in autumn is also known as the Sanguine Moon or the Hunter’s Moon. It probably appears redder than most full Moons because it rises soon after sunset and is seen low in the sky, shortly after rising, when the atmosphere can make it look reddish. This year’s Full Blood Moon will occur October 8, 2014, which also happens to be a lunar eclipse. Note that a lunar eclipse always occurs on the full Moon, 2-3 times a year, two weeks before or after a solar eclipse which always occurs on a new Moon.
The second definition of a Blood Moon has been misappropriated and sensationalized by Texas-based Christian evangelical minister John Hagee in his 2013 bestselling book called Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change. He is attributing the term “Four Blood Moons” to the upcoming occurrence of four successive total lunar eclipses, which have no partial lunar eclipses in between them, which will be occurring in 2014 and 2015 (April 14-15, 2014; October 8, 2014; April 4, 2015; and Sept. 28, 2015).
Hagee’s book is reportedly a retelling of an idea that was originally conceived by a controversial pastor named Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries in Tacoma, Washington. Biltz proposes that the Second Coming of the Messiah might take place in the fall of 2015. His Blood Moon theory has become an Internet sensation and has, quite surprisingly, even been taken up by a few Western astrologers. Biltz has also written a book titled Blood Moons: Decoding Imminent Heavenly Signs.
The “blood” aspect refers to the fact that in a lunar eclipse, which is simply a super-charged full Moon, the Moon and even the sky often turn a coppery red color. This is because the light that illuminates the Moon has passed through the Earth’s atmosphere. On the Moon, it looks like the Sun is setting behind the Earth, and sunsets and sunrises are red for the same reason that causes the moon to appear red during a lunar eclipse.
These four total lunar eclipses occurring in a row are known in astronomy as a lunar eclipse tetrad. The mechanism causing tetrads involves the eccentricity of Earth’s orbit in conjunction with the timing of eclipse seasons. The total lunar eclipse on April 15 marks the beginning of what one Science at NASA video describes as a “remarkable series of eclipses all visible from North America.”
Some proponents of the Blood Moon prophecy say that this lunar eclipse tetrad is a sign from God related to Biblical prophecy that has something to do with a significant “bloody” event that will take place in Israel which will impact the whole world. With the Iranian problem, you can see where this is going. Blitz and Hagee believe there are significant correlations between historical events in Jewish history which occurred during times of these tetrads in the past.
According to Earthsky.com, lunar tetrads are sometimes common and sometimes do not appear at all. For instance, in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, there were none at all. Beginning in the 1st century there were 62 tetrads in total, and the last one occurred in 2003-2004, and the next one after the 2014-2015 tetrad will take place in 2032-2033. Hagee’s argument is that the current tetrad of 2014-2015 is especially important because it occurs on important Jewish feast days. These feasts are based on the lunar calendar (meaning the holidays regularly fall on full and new Moons and eclipses) so in my opinion, this is pretty insignificant.
Nonetheless, tetrads falling on Jewish holy days do appear to be relatively uncommon. The last one was in 1967-1968 and since the 1st century, tetrads occurred on Jewish holy days a total of eight times (including 2014-2015). Critics of Hagee’s prophecy have discussed how he has made many contradictory apocalyptic predictions in the past. He has incurred controversy for his extreme social and religious beliefs and bigoted comments regarding women, homosexuality, Palestinians, Islam, Judaism, Catholicism, Nazism and even Hurricane Katrina. Yet, he has millions of followers who actually believe in his Blood Moon prophecy.
I of course do not personally ascribe to this Blood Moon prophecy and do not agree with Hagee’s use of astrology for doom-saying. Clearly, the world is in transition and there are other astrological events occurring at this time which I would suggest are revelatory of current and coming transformational (though not apocalyptic) events.
I suppose it could be argued that having four total lunar eclipses in a row might reflect a two-year period in which the world at large sees more emotional turmoil than usual, because the total versus partial eclipses exert a stronger electromagnetic influence. This tetrad may mirror an especially intense cycle of change for North America because it is somewhat unusual for four total lunar eclipses to occur in succession in one area as they will here.
What I feel is most important to understand here is that even proponents of the Blood Moon prophecy have freely stated that nearly half of the lunar tetrads falling on Jewish Holidays have never been tied to a significant event! The best astrologers have a prediction rate that is much better than 50 percent. Astrology comprises a whole array of complex guidelines and techniques for the interpretation of eclipses in individual and mundane horoscopes, and a great deal of information needs to be taken into account before such judgments are made.
The April 15, 2014 lunar eclipse will fall close to the ascendant of Israel’s natal chart. These are important signs of significant events and possibly some turmoil but I do not relate that to the Blood Moon prophecy. This chart below shows the Israel birth chart on the inner ring surrounded by the outer ring of the April 15, 2014 lunar eclipse chart. Note that the Moon and Rahu (eclipse point) are in an out-of-sign conjunction (but still very close) to the ascendant, which can point to the likelihood for a great wave of change that is already happening and will happen in Israel in the near future. Mars (the god of war) in the eclipse chart is also close to the midpoint of Neptune and the ascendant in Israel’s chart. [Please note this and all charts are cast with the sidereal (starry sky) zodiac (Lahiri ayanamsha), not the tropical (seasonal) zodiac in use by most Western astrologers.]
Looking at Israel’s solar return chart for May 15, 2014, powerful retrograde Mars is also close to the ascendant (and first to rise) which can be a sign of a forthcoming (perhaps imminent) significant crisis or conflict for Israel, either related to government, leadership or a foreign affairs matter.
More on all of this later… for now, I will leave you with this inspirational quote from the late American Catholic author and mystic Thomas Merton: When you expect the world to end at any moment, you know there is no need to hurry. You take your time, and you do your work well.