Lunacy

Lughnasa                                                            Eclipse Moon

alpine glow during totality, Tetonia, Id.

alpine glow during totality, Tetonia, Id.

Fire. Wind and rain. Earth shaking. All under the Eclipse Moon, just after totality. Could this be the havoc wreaked by the black sun? As inferences go, it may show correlation, not causation, true, but in the long history of humanity this inference has been noted many times. “We’re all gonna die!” something like that.

Well, maybe not all of us, but a surprisingly large number have succumbed to natural disasters just here in North America over this lunar month. And, the month’s not over yet. Not to mention the billions of dollars in damage to homes, businesses, roadways, other public infrastructure.

n263470Climate change doesn’t affect earthquakes. But, it does turbocharge wildfire seasons, heat up ocean water and increase the amount of available moisture in the atmosphere. These changes are happening at a level of climate change still considered very modest and not at all as severe as the level already “baked in” by both increased carbon emissions, now above the problematic 400 threshold, and the trapped heat in the world’s oceans.

We’ll learn, eventually, to live with the most dire of these changes through adaptation. Moving cities further inland, developing better fire management regimes, moving crops as the seasons change.

Without drastic carbon emissions reduction though, to near 100% by 2100, these impacts will be looked back on wistfully as the good old days. It’s no wonder that the Kingsnorth’s of the world have come up with dark ecology, how to brace for the ecocide. The odds against dramatic alterations to the climate have gone down as resistance to necessary changes has gone up.

The month of the Eclipse Moon is a harbinger. What will our world be like in 2024 when the next total eclipse crosses U.S. soil? Comparing those two months may lead to more inference like this month’s.

 

How to Reduce CO2 & Hurricane Sandy

Imbolc                                                Valentine Moon

Two quick things from today’s lesson on the impacts of climate change.  More when I’ve finished and it’s begun to sink in.

This is a helpful, hopeful slide and focuses on the idea of wedges, individual chunks that, collectively, can add up to a lot.  And in the time frame required by a 3.6 degree F climate warming goal.

NRDC-wedges

 

An analogy.  Greenhouse gases are the steroids of the climate system. They change the odds.

Can you say Hurricane Sandy was caused by climate warming?  Wrong way to frame the question.  When you look at, say Alex Rodriguez or Mark McGuire, you don’t ask, did steroids cause that home run?  You wait for the season’s statistics or perhaps more than one season and you compare them to another time in the player’s career or to other, similar players.

In the case of Hurricane Sandy we can look at certain aspects of it and say, yes, they were definitely impacted by climate warming.  Here’s what wasn’t.  The hurricane itself.  That’s part of the natural variability of storms in the North Atlantic basin.  The fact that Sandy made landfall on the night of a full moon and therefore at high tide.  Bad luck.

Here’s what was.  Damage from hurricanes comes from two main factors:  storm surge and heavy rainfall.  The storm was certainly impacted by the high tide, but sea level rise made the waves and the storm surge itself much worse.  The sea is higher because water expands as the ocean heats up and because water stored in land ice like glaciers is melting faster than usual.

A warmer atmosphere, already measurable, holds more water vapor.  More water vapor means there is more water available for the heavy rain events.

Both the warmer ocean and the increase in water vapor can, too, feed the overall intensity of these storms.

The Days Are Gods

Winter                                                       Seed Catalog Moon

Mårten_Eskil_Winge_-_Tor's_Fight_with_the_Giants

Thor Battles the Giants

Greek speaking countries, for the most part, changed their day names to conform to the tyr and  fenrirRoman Catholic system.  In the Latin world there was more variation.  Portuguese changed all the names, but in other Romance tongues the old planetary system of the Roman world prevails still with the exception of Sunday, Lord’s Day, and Saturday, Sabbath.

(Tyr and Fenrir

The most resistant have been the British and Celtic tongues.  English replaced Mars, Mercury, Jupiter and Venus with Germanic deities:  Tiw, Woden, Thor, and Frigga. English retains Saturn, Sun, Moon.

Who the heck, you might ask, is Tiw?

Well, Tiw is old English for Tyr,  a Norse god associated most famously with Loki’s child, the great wolf Fenrir, destined to kill Odin when Ragnarok begins.  Tyr stuck his hand in Odin, the WandererFenrir’s mouth as surety against a binding.  The binding held and Fenrir bit off Tyr’s hand.  He’s a martial god, too, sometimes called the Norse Mars.

Woden is Odin, the hanged one who gained wisdom hanging from the world tree Yggdrasil, and the king of the Aesir.

(Odin the Wanderer)

Thor was perhaps the best loved of the Nordic pantheon, a warrior god who specialized in killing giants.  His great hammer Mjolnir has had feature roles in two recent Hollywood blockbusters.

Frigga is a Norse fertility goddess.

Emerson’s quote on the masthead is not idle; the days are indeed gods and goddesses, Then-Frigga-Called-To-Her-All-Beasts,-Birds,-And-Venomous-Snakesno where more so than in the British and Celtic lands and those, like us, who follow them linguistically.

So, this Moon’s Day, weekly reminder of she who shines in the night, I bid you, good-bye.  Until Tyr’s Day.

 

 

 

The Moon

Winter                                                            Seed Catalog Moon

A few words about the moon, our companion around Sol and who takes its own journey Spring Scattering Stars, Edwin Blashfield,1927around us.  In the deep of winter, now, the moon appears in the skylight above our couch, going through its phases and passing across our inside field of view.  In summer it rises in the east, away from Round Lake Boulevard, toward the cul de sac and illuminates our yard, sometimes catching a stray deer or two browsing on the dogwood that grows beneath our 7 oaks.

In the fall in late September it ascends, slowly, swollen into an orange magnificence, an enormous, yet gentle presence in this suburban neighborhood.  And if I were to view it from, say, my hometown of Alexandria, Indiana I could see it there, too.  Or, from the streets of Calcutta.  The streets of Singapore.  The mountains and valleys around Muyhail, Saudi Arabia.  Even Bon Aire, Georgia and Denver, Colorado.  This moon binds us all, it is our evening and nighttime treasure, available to the rich and the poor, the urban and the rural, on mountains and in valleys.

Then there are the early and late phases each month, the sickle moon, as if a slice of full-moon-hiroshige-kisokaidomelon got pretensions, escaped the kitchen counter and decided to lounge among the stars.  Those sickle moons, sometimes they have a star or a planet right in their cusp. Flags remind of this.  How can the heart be anything but soothed when a sickle moon is in the sky?

(full-moon-hiroshige-kisokaido)

The names people give to moons fascinate me.  The beliefs about the moon.  There is, for example, a Japanese tale that a rabbit lives on the moon making rice cakes.  That green cheese thing.  Its role in the timing of planting.  The phases and their influence on things magickal. So much about the moon.

If the sun is hot, fiery yang, a solar warrior fighting the cold depth of space, the moon is soft, cool yin, embracing us all in lambent light, rocking us to sleep and into the land of dreams.

Watch here for posts about the moon.  About a Japanese habit I’d like to make popular here:  moon watching.  About loves kindled under the moon.  About the elegant doe who crosses our lawn slowly, lit by a full  harvest moon.  And watch here, too, for your stories about the moon.