In the traditional Chinese lunar calendar, this is Chung Yuan — the Moon of the Hungry Ghosts. Back on the New Moon, the Gates of the Underworld were flung open, allowing ghosts and spirits of the dead access to the world of the living. The spirits spend the month visiting their families, feasting and being entertained. The homeless and unhappy ones go searching for victims.
Tonight’s Full Moon is the Hungry Ghost Festival and marks the climax of this time. It is the custom to prepare feasts at home as well as leaving tables of food and treats in every street. Harassment is also avoided by offering clothing, incense, paper models of houses and cars, and special currency known as “hell bank notes.”
Each of these offerings is then burned, since the flames will carry material objects into the Realm of the Spirits. Special rites are also performed, in order to help any spirits who are homeless, who have no descendants to pray for them, or who drowned and therefore have no resting place.
It is also customary to make a paper boats, sometimes thirty or forty feet long, which will carry the restless ghosts back across the sea of want, hunger, thirst and torment, enabling them to reach Nirvana. The boat is then burned, ensuring its arrival in the spirit world.
This is a Moon of many other names, as well, including the Sturgeon Moon, since this is when these prized fish were once easily caught in the waters of the Great Lakes. This ancient species of fish, which had survived since the Jurassic era of dinosaurs is now on the razor’s edge of extinction.
Other Native Americans call this the Fruit Moon, Women’s Moon, and Moon When All Things Ripen. It is also known as the Lightning Moon, the Corn Moon, and Dog Day’s Moon.
As you know, Full Moons are always in the sign opposite of where the Sun is. So since the Sun is in Virgo, this is a Pisces Moon (is this only a coincidence with its sturgeon lore?).
Lynn Hayes tells us, “In a Full Moon, the Moon is opposite the Sun in the sky from our vantage point, requiring us to bring into balance the polarity of two opposing astrological signs. Here we have the Sun, which just moved into Virgo from Leo yesterday, and the Moon which has just moved into Pisces.
“There is a solar shift of energy from Leo – bright and sunny with an accent on self-expression – into Virgo, bringing our attention to the mundane details of life and the need to create order. The lunar shift moves from Aquarius – innovative, but also rational and scientific – to the dreamy flow of the inner world that Pisces brings us.
“Pisces, as Virgo’s opposite, lives in the realm of Spirit and ideals rather than the mundane. Where Virgo is concerned with matters of the body, Pisces opens the door to the worlds that lie within the soul and psyche. Where Virgo is practical and teaches us to create order, Pisces longs to transcend everyday reality and ascend into more soulful experiences. Neither is better than the other – with the opposition we must learn to create balance and integration.
Astrologer Diane Lang (Neith) writes, “This Full Moon has many edges and lacks resolution but it can shed light on those places in us and our lives that need attention. As the cardinal T-square slowly slides apart and the dust starts to settle, we can begin to see where we want to go next. Mercury being retrograde may work to our advantage this time around, giving us time to go back over old issues and re-think our approach. As always, practice kindness and consideration for all we interact with.”
And Julia Bondi concludes, “At the Pisces Full Moon, it is time to put down our schedules, our problems, even our anxieties. It is time to listen to the archetype of Pisces whispering inspiration to us. Only in the peace of Pisces’ inner quiet, inner listening can we begin to hear the guidance we are constantly being given, feel the embrace of our spirit and the spirit of life itself. This is where the answers are, where the potential is, where we will find renewal.”
May it be so. Blessed be!