The Big Fat Full Moon

What’s more romantic than moonlight?

My father proposed to my mother on a bridge with the reflection of the moon on the Mississippi River below. She loves to tell the story, how she didn’t answer right away so he took her by the shoulders, peered into her eyes, gave her a little shake and said, “Say yes.” She did, of course.

But I haven’t had any proposals recently, and tonight is Purnama, the ceremony that celebrates the full moon.  Here’s the culprit, just an hour ago, smiling down on my balcony.

P1070350I have no curtains, shades, blinds, or draperies of any kind on any windows. I love light, most light, that is. Moonlight is different. It’s blue. Blue light is not my favorite, neither the eerie illumination from the moon, nor the cold neon glow from the cool color light bulb I bought by mistake. And when it should be dark outside but my house is bathed in that phosphorescent sheen, I don’t sleep. When I don’t sleep, I do other things, like think.

So while I was not sleeping last night as the moon approached full, I contemplated the Hindu calendar that pays homage to the lunar cycles. Purnama is the full moon ceremony, Tilem celebrates the dark moon, and they alternate every fifteen days.

All Balinese ceremonies, celebrations, and rituals have a meaning and a specific purpose. I’ve seen the women walking to temple with offerings on their heads around 8 p.m. on the moon nights. But I never thought to ask why.

So after Ketut finishes arranging a potted bougainvillea at the bottom of my stairway, I snag him. “Tell me about Purnama and Tilem. What are the meanings of those ceremonies?” Sometimes I ask him questions pertaining to rituals and he’ll think for a minute, make a sheepish little laugh and say, “What it means? I don’t know.” This time he explains in some detail and I come away understanding that this ceremony, like many, ensures the balance of opposites, light and dark, life and death, good and bad, happy and sad. If a person is experiencing sadness now, he is told not to worry because soon he will be happy. And if happy, don’t get too excited because it will change. He ends by saying, “Always like this,” and I don’t know if he’s insinuating that from the beginning of time this is the way it’s been done or if every fifteen days it’s always the same. It’s because of the possibility of various interpretations that I decide to check the internet. Google agrees with Ketut but goes on to elaborate.

P1070343Balinese people believe that at the height of the full moon and the peak of dark moon, clusters of galaxies emit a certain energy that affects the lives of living creatures on earth. Therefore, the people of Bali begged (pray) that the energy provided will be positive energy for life.

When you consider that the 2,740,300 Hindus on Bali, are all taking offerings, going to temple, and praying in the blue moonlight tonight, that’s a lot of concentrated focus on a very small island. No wonder the energy here feels different. Where else on earth is it prayed in from the galaxies?!



10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. In the Stillness of Willow Hill
    Sep 09, 2014 @ 09:20:35

    I smiled as I read that you have no curtains, shades, blinds, or draperies. I can’t bear to cover my windows either! Looking out right now, the morning sun is golden upon our expanse of pasture, with the birches alighting leaf by leaf.



  2. sageblessings
    Sep 09, 2014 @ 09:40:17

    I, too, have been up for two nights with the light of the moon. Who knew we’d experience it simultaneously half worlds away. It is a wonderful to ask for such benevolent energies to bless the island.



  3. Barb Garland
    Sep 09, 2014 @ 11:50:23

    Thank you, just what I have been contemplating the past week, the Divine balance of everything. much love



  4. Lottie Nevin
    Sep 10, 2014 @ 02:12:56

    According to Juliette de Bairacli-Levy (a rather wacky but wonderful herbalist), we should all take full advantage of the moonlight and sleep in its glow whenever possible. Apparently moonshine is as important as sunshine for good health. There’s a lunar factoid for you!



  5. Val Boyko
    Sep 10, 2014 @ 07:20:11

    My moon was behind its duvet cover … I hope it will come out to play next time it is full! I love the long shadows and the serenity.



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