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Black Moon (2020)
"There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast."
~ The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens, 1836
As if another dark portent is called for this year ... tonight brings us a Black Moon (a Third New Moon in a season with four New Moons). For the blackest of nights, we have the blackest of black tartans with a visible sett highlighted only by differing light reflecting qualities of the all black stitches (the picture below uses a lighter color for illustration only). While the term "Blue Moon" (astronomically speaking) generally refers to the second full moon in a calendar month, occurring at the same frequency is a "Black Moon," or "Dark Moon," the second new moon in a month (or by another definition: no new moon in a month; or even the third new moon in a season of four new moons)! As many superstitions about black moons exist as those for full moons, with black moons often signaling bad weather, bad portent, or apocalyptic events! Considering everything, enlist the ancient superstition of crossing your fingers! Just in case. 🌑 🤞
The term "a Blue Moon," astronomically speaking, generally refers to the second full moon in a calendar month. Occurring at the same frequency is a "Black Moon," or "Dark Moon," the second new moon in a month, or by another definition, no new moon in a month (or even the third new moon in a season of four new moons)!
As many superstitions about black moons exist as those for full moons, often signaling bad weather, bad portent, or apocalyptic events!
In Scottish folklore, weather predictions oftened hinged on the appearance of the new moon. From Timothy Harley's 1885 "Moon Lore" he writes of another historical folklorist:
Jamieson informs us that "prognostications concerning the weather, during the course of the month, are generally formed by the country people in Scotland from the appearance of the new moon. It is considered as an almost infallible presage of bad weather, if she lies sair on her back, or when her horns are pointed towards the zenith. It is a similar prognostic, when the new moon appears wi' the auld moon in her arm, or, in other words, when that part of the moon which is covered with the shadow of the earth is seen through it." For more lunar folklore, click here.
A tartan worthy of a Black Moon is one of the darkest available, Dark Island. Shown here with a grey weave only to illustrate the patterning, in actuality this tartan is woven in a different way from a conventional tartan. An ecru yarn is woven on a Jacquard loom with the sett being formed by stitches other than the normal twill. Then the finished fabric is piece-dyed black.
Shown here, the patterning stitches are illustrated in grey so as to be discernible. But in the actual fabric, the sett is highlighted because of the differing light reflecting qualities of the stitches on the actual material.
This new category of tartan is called a "Solid Sett" - a solid colour but with a sett still showing.
The Dark Island tartan has become popularly available for kilts as one of the newer "black on black" tartans (Freedom of Scotland being another, with Ben Dubh a close cousin with its black and a dark blue-grey colours).
To see a photography of the newest New Moon ever photographed, the earliest time at which the crescent moon begins to appear, click the moon!