What is a Blue Moon?
Image of a pale, visibly blue moon on the night of 25 December 2012, by Crefollet
When planning our 2023 exhibition schedule, we discovered August 31st was when a blue Supermoon would rise, and decided to plan a group show that would launch on the same date.
Following on from our Pretty in Pink exhibition, which asked artists to work with pink and red gemstones, it was natural that this exhibition brief asked artists to focus on blue gemstones, and to harness the energy associated with this celestial event.
So what exactly is a blue moon, and what is its significance?
A blue moon is an astronomical phenomenon and despite its name, has nothing to do with the actual perceived colour of the moon.
A full moon usually occurs every month, meaning we witness 12 full moons a year. However, the average lunar cycle actually takes 29.5 days, meaning every 2-3 years we gain an extra full moon; the 13th of the year.
The rarity of the event has also given rise to the popular saying “once in a blue moon”, suggesting that something is infrequent, or unlikely to occur.
While the term blue moon doesn’t actually refer to the moon’s hue, at certain points in history a visually blue moon has occurred under certain atmospheric conditions. The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, along with forest fires in 1950s Canada, sent fine ash particles into the atmosphere. These particles were just the right size to scatter red light, making the moon appear blue.
Georgie Harrison's works for Blue Moon
What about the spiritual beliefs surrounding a blue moon?
The blue moon is considered a rare and powerful celestial event, with significance in many belief systems such as Christianity, Paganism, and astrology. Examined in spiritual and astrological contexts, blue moons are often associated with powerful energy and a time of heightened intuition and alertness.
A blue moon also holds historical significance across many cultures and civilisations.
The Ancient Egyptians associated the blue moon with the god Thoth, who represented wisdom and writing. It was considered an auspicious time for scribes and scholars to seek divine inspiration for their work.
Chinese culture associates it with yin energy; representing introspection, intuition, and feminine power, while Japanese folklore sees it as symbolising transformation and change - believed to bring about shifts in destiny and new beginnings.
In ancient Mayan civilisations, the blue moon was connected to the goddess Ix Chel. It was believed that Ix Chel would grant her blessings and fertility to those who honoured her during the blue moon.
However you look at it, the blue moon is a phenomenon that has captured the curiosity of many. The artists in our Blue Moon exhibition - Georgie Harrison, Karla Way, Kim Victoria, Luke Hammond and Tessa Blazey - harness the potent energy associated with this event, infusing their jewellery designs with personal narratives, contemporary perspectives, and intricate craftsmanship.
Visit us in the Royal Arcade to explore this dynamic interplay between earthly treasures and celestial marvels. Blue Moon is showing at Pieces of Eight Gallery until September 21st, 2023.