The Truth About Blue Moons

There’s a True Blue Moon headed our way Sunday, August 22nd, so here’s my two cents to add to the contemporary folklore about it. A Blue Moon is not just the second Full Moon in one calendar month, historical record reveals that it’s actually the third Full Moon in a season when there are four Full Moons. And in ancient ages, it may have been notable because it activated a sacred cross among the stars.

In ancient Babylonian culture, when the Sun came to its Summer Solstice in the region of Leo, there were four stars recognized as mighty celestial guardians: the star Regulus, in Leo, guarding the North; Antares at the western gate; Fomalhaut in the South; and Aldebaran, guardian of Vernal Equinox to the East.

These four stars stand opposite one another in the sky and were known as the Royal Stars of Persia. When the Sun passed by each star, sacred ceremony would be held to honor them. And if the Moon came Full while the Sun was in conjunction with one of these stars, that meant it would light up the opposite pole of the cross, activating the whole sky.

Now, in a season with four Full Moons, the third Full Moon can only ever occur in the months of February, May, August, and November at nearly the same time that the Sun is meeting one of the Four Royal Stars. In my world, that’s what makes it so unique, and full of rare potential, because only “once in a blue moon” does the ancient cross of the celestial guardians get activated.

Until it does, these guardians sleep, waiting for humanity to awaken to the role of the stars in human life.


Hear “The Storyteller’s Night Sky” on Interlochen Public Radio and via podcast.

As shown above, the August 22, 2021 True Blue Moon will occur beside the planet Jupiter and the star Fomalhaut, opposite the Sun and Regulus, thereby activating one axis of the ancient cross created by the guardians of the sky known as the Four Royal Stars of Persia.