For starters, it’s a catchy song by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
But was there any truth to the lyrics of their famous song?
And is the following a Bad Moon on the rise?
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To answer the first question, the lyrics of CCR’s song are infused with the notion that a ‘bad moon rising’ is a warning, a bad omen, a harbinger of some sinister event to come. Just listen closely to the words:
There’s trouble on the way, earthquakes and lightnin’. There are also hurricanes a-blowing, and rivers over flowing – and it gets worse, there’s also the voice of rage and ruin and they go on to beg of us to don’t go ’round tonight, because it’s bound to take your life, all owing to the fact that there’s a bad moon on the rise.
I thought it had to do with Oscar Wilde’s play Salome, which tells of the (biblical) tale of John the Baptist’s beheading – the desirable Salome dances for Herod and becomes so intoxicated by her performance, he will grant her anything. Her mother persuades her to ask for the head of John the Baptist, Herod obliges and a Blood Moon (rising or otherwise) signified the fulfilment of a prophecy with dire consequences.
But that’s not where John Fogerty got his inspiration. It was 1969 and in his own words:
. . . I remembered one of my favourite old movies – a black-and-white 1941 film called The Devil And Daniel Webster . . . It’s a classic tale where the main character, who’s down on his luck, meets the Devil and sells his soul to him. The scene I liked is where there’s a devastating hurricane; furniture, trees, houses, everything’s blowing around. That story and that look really stuck in my mind and they were the germ for the song.
I don’t think I was actually saying the world was coming to an end, but the song was a metaphor.
Does this mean the song had nothing to do with the Moon or the colour of it? (I just keep asking questions today.)
These days we know that the appearance of a Blood Moon is just a natural phenomenon and a regular occurrence as the Moon orbits the Earth while the Earth orbits the Sun. And it’s not a rare event either. Between April 15, 2014, and September 28, 2015, there were four. This is known as a tetrad.
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And now, to answer the second question. Is my photo a Bad Moon on the rise? No, it’s not.
That photo was taken at moonrise on January 31, 2018, and is of the Super, Blue (Not So Blood) Moon looking neither blood nor blue (in colour anyway) and I missed seeing the eclipse later that night due to excessive cloud cover.
But it’s interesting to note, that if there was such an event that you could call a ‘Bad Moon on the Rise’, it would be watching the Moon rise during a total eclipse and already at totality (fully immersed in the Earth’s shadow) and gloriously bathed in a blood-red hue.
This happened on the east coast of Australia, during the total eclipse back on April 15, 2014.
I can’t remember if I saw this or not, I think I did, though I didn’t have a very good vantage point and at the time I had not taken the first steps towards my penchant for photographing such events.
I’ve no idea when the next time will be that a total lunar eclipse will reach totality as the Moon rises wherever I happen to be at that time, on that day, but I certainly hope I do have a better vantage point from which I can take some photos to share.
I do know that, even though CCR will be on repeat inside my head, I will not consider the Moon to be bad – ever – and if you find yourself where the Moon rises having already reached totality, make sure you do go out and ignore John Fogerty’s lyrics.
It’s not a Bad Moon Rising – it’s an amazing natural phenomenon.
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