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What is a Lunar Halo?



A lunar halo is caused by ice particles around the moon.

Image (c) Photographers Choice/Getty Images; Licensed to About.com LunarHalo

What does it mean if there's a ring around the moon?

Image © Stockbyte/Getty Images; Licensed to About.com

A reader asks, “I was outside last night for a full moon ritual and there was an incredible circle around the moon. What is the magical significance of this?

It’s not really a magically significant event so much as a scientific one. It’s actually a phenomenon known as a lunar halo, and it happens sometimes when there are ice particles in the air around the moon’s surface. The folks at the Farmer’s Almanac have a great explanation of it, and say, “A lunar halo is caused by the refraction, reflection, and dispersion of light through ice particles suspended within thin, wispy, high altitude cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. As light passes through these hexagon-shaped ice crystals, it is bent at a 22 degree angle, creating a halo 22 degrees in radius (or 44 degrees in diameter).”

It’s definitely beautiful to look at. From a folkloric standpoint, however, many traditions of weather magic indicate that a ring around the moon means bad weather, rain, or other foul atmospheric conditions are on the way.

In general, there is no Wiccan or other Neopagan magical correspondence related to the lunar halo. However, if you really feel like it’s something you need to incorporate into ritual, you might want to associate it with a working related to preparing for negative influences that may be coming your way.

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