27 July 2018 by Roy Preece
Tonight in England at about 8.45 pm BST (or 7.45 GMT or UT) and in many other parts of the world the full moon will turn the colour of blood.
What does it mean? Well simply it means that the earth will come between the sun and the moon so the sun cannot light up the moon as it usually does.
Perhaps that’s not really a ‘meaning’. Just a statement of fact.
But if people think it has a deeper meaning then a blood moon or eclipse can influence history. The Shang Dynasty of China lasted for 600 years and ended when it was conquered by King Wen in about 1060 BC. A total lunar eclipse took place in 1059 BC, during the reign of the last king of the Shang dynasty.
The moon’s disappearance was seen as an important omen for the vassal king Wen of the Zhou dynasty who decided it meant the time had come to conquer his Shang overlord.
The Zhou conquerors claimed this was for moral reasons. They said that the Shang king was evil and that heaven no longer wanted him to rule.
The story is told in the book of the Chou Dynasty found in the tomb of King Xiang of Wei in 280 AD. It is known as the “Bamboo Annals” (竹 書 紀 年 Zhú Shū Jì Nián) because it was written on split bamboos.
The Shang Dynasty was based on the Yellow River and is noted for its technological and artistic skills.
The moon is very important in Chinese legend with stories such as Jade Rabbit and the moon lady, and the special Moon Festival. We do wonder what the Jade Rabbit and the Moon Lady will do tonight on the blood moon? Will they come out to see how we humans look up to the sky trying to extend our necks as long as we can?