On Wednesday, March 20th, 2019, the equinox will feature a special accompaniment in the form of a full moon. “What’s the big deal?” you might say. “I see a full moon every month.” And that’s true, and from a visual perspective, this full moon isn’t going to be perceptibly very different from any other full moon in March, or even April or February. But on a theoretical level, this is something special. This is the time of decade when the moon and sun are closest to trading places in the sky, and it won’t happen again until March 20th, 2038.
Since 1920, there have been an average of 12 years between Equinoctial Full Moons, and while they sometimes occurred very close together (6 months from September 1934 to March 1935), they were far more often 9 to 19 years apart:
- March 1924
- September 1934
- March 1935
- September 1953
- September 1972
- March 1981
- September 1991
- September 2010
- March 2019
- September 2029
- March 2038
Edit: Forbes has convinced me it is pretty much 19 years (each March and September) with some “near miss” scenarios that exclude it happening in years like 2000, so I am adding September 2029 to the list. I am not going to go back to the errors I seemingly made in the early dates.
When these two event coincide (the full moon and the equinox), the length of day and night are the same exactly during the phase of the moon when the moon is up all night and down all day. It is a day of near perfect celestial symmetry, of balance. This year, for example, the sun and moon will overlap only for 7 minutes in the morning and 11 minutes in the evening, about as tight as it can get.
So, if you go outside and take a look at the sky on Wednesday, you probably won’t notice much more than the beauty of nature and the perfection of the heavens you could see any day of the year, but maybe this unusual event will prompt you to see at least that.
More important, however, are the magical implications of an event like this on a fantasy world! Do people disappear at dusk only to return at the dawn of the next Equinoctial Full Moon? Do the fey come out in force? Do angels and demons battle? Does a gate open in the heavens to allow the invasion of alien forces? Is the sky lined with beams of power that can be harnessed by ambitious mages? Who knows what might happen in a world of magic when the heavens are so aligned!
Regular readers of the blog know that I run a real time campaign using current solar and lunar patterns. You better believe this event will not go unnoticed in that world. Comment below with how you might use it to inspire yours!