This Sunday night the moon will turn red. At 7:11 pm CDT the Harvest Moon will begin to enter the earth’s penumbral shadow for the fourth time in 18 months. Three hours later the moon will be totally eclipsed in shadow. Sunday’s lunar eclipse caps off what is known as a tetrad- four total lunar eclipses occurring at 6 month intervals. These eclipses have become known as “Blood Moons.” And some Protestant Christian astrologers such a John Hagee are linking these “Blood Moons” to the end times and cashing in handsomely with book and DVD sales. Christianity and astrology, the belief the moon, planets and stars have an affect on human affairs, have never had a close relationship. In fact astrology is strictly forbidden in the Bible. Leviticus 19:26 forbids the practice of divination and sorcery. In Deuteronomy 18:9 it is stated that augers, soothsayers, diviners, and sorcerers are “abhorrent to the Lord.” The Catholic Church laid out its ideas on astrology in the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” a book of Catholic doctrine published in 1992. It states, “All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.” So Sunday night when the full moon begins to darken don’t try to seek a deeper meaning into it. Just enjoy it for what it is: the natural occurrence of the moon, earth, and sun lining up for the fourth time in under two years to turn the Harvest Moon the color of blood. Hopefully the skies will be clear and the clouds far away. But perhaps the best place to view the eclipse would be in an airplane above the clouds. That’s where Pope Francis will be as the eclipse takes place. The Pope ends his American journey Sunday night when his plane takes off for Rome just as the moon becomes the color of blood. A bad omen if you ask me. Enjoy the eclipse!
Michael E. Palmer is a writer and photographer based in Alabama.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org