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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: Blue Moon

DEFINITIONS

Blue Moon: The earliest reference to the concept of a Blue Moon appeared in 1528, where it simply meant something absurd or impossible. Later, because of a difference between the physical world and the Catholic church’s calendar, an extra full moon occasionally appeared at the “wrong” time. They referred to this as a “betrayer” moon, and in Middle English, the word for “betray” sounds similar to “blue.” By the 19th century, a Blue Moon was associated to the seasons. Each season—summer, fall, winter, and spring—generally lasts three months, meaning that there are usually three full moons during a season. Because a solar year does not coincide with the lunar year, occasionally a season will have four full moons. When this occurs the third full moon of the season is called a Blue Moon. In 1946, Sky and Telescope magazine ran an article that misinterpreted the seasonal understanding, and stated that in any month of the calendar year that has two full moons, the second full moon was called a “Blue Moon.” This error caught on and is now the most popular interpretation for the source of the expression. Metaphorically, “once in a blue moon” means something that rarely happens.


ARTICLES

Crystal Cousins
There are many other gemstones besides clear quartz crystal that can be enjoyable and beneficial. Many different types of beautifully polished gemstones that can be used for healing meditation, energy and enjoyment. Gems come in many different ...
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Principles of Ceremonial
Magical ceremonial can be built up and elaborated to forms of great subtlety and complexity, but the initial principles which cause its creation are simple in the extreme. In the first place, ceremonial is a different thing from meditation, and it ...
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What You Should Not Expect from Magic
Everyone who gets into ritual magic has pretty much the same goal—he or she wants to rule the world. They may not admit it even to themselves, but they are thinking: Suppose, just suppose, I could learn to hurl lightning bolts from my fingertips, ...
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Review of the Harmonious Tarot
Summary: The Harmonious Tarot is a beautiful homage to the artwork of Walter Crane and an interesting exploration of an era. The serene, gentle (at first glance!) images calm you, invite you in to explore the intricate details, and then, just when ...
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Review of The Nigel Jackson Tarot
Summary: A unique crossover between older classical designs and the Rider-Waite-Smith pattern, giving it a feeling of antiquity but the familiarity of modern standards. The book itself, with it information on the history of the Tarot and the impact ...
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Review of the Anne Stokes Gothic Tarot
Summary The stylish art of Anne Stokes brings this deck to life…or death, if you go by the number of undead and other fantastical creatures! This attractive, Marseilles-style deck gives traditional Tarot a gothic twist by associating the ...
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Review of the Favole Tarot
Summary  Much sought after in the US because of its beauty, the Favole Tarot is a unique Marseilles-style deck. Adding to its gothic aesthetic are the creative suits: butterflies, masks, flowers, and crosses. Vampires, clowns, Witches, and ...
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Witchcraft and Voodoo
Voodoo and Witchcraft are the two most misunderstood religions in the world. Each has a public image and an inner reality. Most frequently that public image has little to do with the private, inner and real religion. Voodoo Voodoo is a mixture of ...
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Review of The Fey Tarot
Summary: The Fey Tarot invites you into a world of joy and magic. The faeries in these cards are not traditional English spirits but altogether different and completely enchanting. Likewise, the meanings of the cards and the messages they give are ...
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Review of The Book of Shadows Tarot, volume 1: As Above
Summary The Book of Shadows Tarot is the first deck in a two deck set. Each deck is designed to work on its own as well as in tandem with its partner deck. This volume, As Above, is a unique deck using the structure of Tarot to explore the beliefs ...
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Review of The Pictorial Key Tarot
Summary: More than just another RWS copy, The Pictorial Key Tarot takes the original RWS concepts and brings them into the 21st century. It uses the same basic symbolism as the RWS, but enhances it in places to make Waite’s original ideas clearer ...
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Sensitive people have gotten a bum rap. We live in a world that doesn't embrace the values of sensitivity, so we get told that we are weak, unusual, touchy, and hard to please. The sad truth is that we hear these messages in many ways throughout our lives. Even if it is from a well-meaning teacher or parent who tries to "toughen us up," the crux... read this article
Remaining Magickal in the Midst of Chaos
Sacred Space, Tarot, and Your Magical Practice
The Magical Use of Prayer Beads
The Future of Money Magic: What Do We Put Under the Candle When Our Currency Goes Digital?
Understanding the Moon Signs of Others

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