Penumbral lunar eclipse: what does the last lunar eclipse of 2020 mean after such a wild year?

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Kayleigh Dray
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What does the last lunar eclipse of 2020 mean after such a wild year?

The last lunar eclipse of the year is upon us. But, for those who are more spiritually inclined, there’s much more to an eclipse than the way it looks… 

The final lunar eclipse of 2020 – dubbed by many the Darkest Depths Moon or Mourning Moon – is just around the corner.

For those hoping for an entire moon blackout, though, we have bad news for you: this time around, it’s a penumbral lunar eclipse.

So, what’s a penumbral lunar eclipse?

A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the moon travels only through the outer, fainter part of the earth’s shadow, or ‘penumbra’, causing only a slight darkening of the moon’s surface.

Or, to quote astronomer Jon Culshaw, it “sort of turns the brightness down a bit, and gives the moon a subtly different look.”

“It looks odd, it looks alien,” he tells Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG).

“It’s an advancing shadow, as if the edge was sketched, like watching a time-lapse of a charcoal artist colouring out bits of the moon.”

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And why is it called the Darkest Depths Moon or Mourning Moon?

According to The Almanac (which, incidentally, this writer owns and reads at the start of each new month), the name Darkest Depths Moon is “a nice case of stating the obvious, albeit poetically.”

“We are nearly at the very darkest point in the year, and the nights are long and cold,” it continues. 

“But Mourning Moon is something of a puzzle. Perhaps this was connected to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain or the Christian All Souls’ Day, both of which have at their hearts a commemoration of those who have passed away.”

It could also, though, be something as simple as a “sad farewell to the growing year.”

Penumbral lunar eclipse: photo taken in Banská Bystrica, Slovakia.
Penumbral lunar eclipse: photo taken in Banská Bystrica, Slovakia.

Does the last lunar eclipse of the year hold any special meaning?

For those who are more spiritually inclined, there’s always much more to an eclipse than the way it looks.

For starters, an eclipse always takes place during the new moon – which makes it of particular importance to spiritualists, wiccans and all those interested in the occult.

Indeed, according to A Glossary of Magickal and Occult Terms, an eclipse “gives us the energy of an entire cycle of seasons, or cycle of a day from twilight, darkness, dawn to light, from the waning light of autumn to the darkness of winter, to the growing light of spring and brightness of summer.

“This is powerful energy to harness, and can bring about big change quickly.”

And, in some ancient and modern cultures, eclipses have been attributed to supernatural causes – or even regarded as bad omens.

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All in all, it’s a time of meaning and great significance for many, no matter whether they see a full or partial eclipse, so it should come as no surprise to hear that it can affect our horoscopes, too.

Whether you believe in astrology or not, plenty of us know what our zodiac sign is – and even more of us take the time to read our horoscope each day, soothed by the idea our futures are destined by the stars themselves.

With this in mind, we spoke to astrologist, psychic, spiritualist and healer Eva White, and asked her what the last eclipse of 2020 might mean for everyone after such a tumultuous year.

What astrological meaning does a lunar eclipse usually have?

“Eclipses are a time of shift in energy that can cause change in everyone differently,” explains White. 

“It can signify that our emotional cycles have run their course or can also encourage us to let go of certain issues and take action with pending situations. The lunar eclipse will offer cleansing and is an excellent time for setting intention. The moon offers continued rejuvenation throughout a time period of six months, which can lead us into a clean start for the new year.”

How does this one differ, considering it’s the last lunar eclipse of the year?

“The year itself has been a tough experience for most, which can change the effects of the lunar eclipse and how we react,” she continues. 

“The significance of this eclipse is that it ends many cycles of anxiety. Mercury is the ruler, which means we can expect our need for answers to be fulfilled. It gives us a good chance to clear any blocks and a clean slate for the new year.”

Penumbral lunar eclipse: why should non-believers use this as a time for self-reflection?

How can we use the lunar eclipse to change our lives for the better?

“This is a great time to recognise the struggles you’ve faced in the last six months, since our last eclipse on 22 May,” says White. 

“There had been a shift in energy, causing many struggles to endure. Take a look back at what you’ve been through, and how you can learn from those experiences. 

“Now is a great opportunity to set huge goals and take advantage of the relief this lunar eclipse brings after 30 November.”

Why should non-believers use this as a time for self-reflection, too?

“Whether you believe or do not believe in astrological and planetary alignment, you can still notice or feel a sense of change in yourself and others around you,” says White. 

“Try to be aware and pay attention to certain cues that you may be picking up on. In these next few months, you can benefit by paying attention to what the ‘believers’ may be needing from you as a ‘non-believer’. This can strengthen your relationships and show your support during these times of change. Doing so can set you up for the support you may need during these times as well.”

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Moonologist Yasmin Boland previously advised Stylist readers to turn to meditation during an eclipse.

To do this, we should set aside our worries during the eclipse and chant the sacred sound of “om” (a mantra supposedly imbued with high spiritual and creative power) for at least three minutes – although Boland adds that 20 minutes is better.

That done, we should then write down our top 10 dreams, making sure to add some ‘action points’ after each wish, mapping out exactly how you plan to make your dreams come true.

“The process needs to be as practical as it is magical,” she says.

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How can we harness the energy of the moon?

Boland continues: “Afterwards you can burn the list, for best results. Burning it releases your wishes into the ethers and lessens your attachment to the outcomes which paradoxically increases your chances of manifesting your dreams.

“Or if you’re a bit of a sceptic and want proof later, keep the list somewhere you can find it in six months, to check (eclipse energy lasts about six months, until the next eclipse season begins).”

How can I see the last lunar eclipse of the year?

The eclipse will unfold on the nights of Sunday 29 November to Monday 30 November.

Unfortunately for stargazers in the UK, though, the moon will dip below the horizon after 7.30am UTC, so the eclipse may not be visible to most.

When will the next full lunar eclipse take place?

The next total lunar eclipse will not take place until 22 May 2022.

“People in the UK will not be able to see every part of the eclipse but will still be able to see the lunar eclipse at totality when the entire moon turns red,” note the astronomers at RMG

“The moon will start to enter the Earth’s shadow just after 2.30am BST and the full eclipse will occur just before 4.30am. The entire eclipse lasts for more than five hours, ending at 7.50am. However, observers in the UK will only be able to see the eclipse from 2.32am – 5.10am as the Moon will have set below the horizon by the end of this period.”

Eva White is a fourth generation astrologist, psychic, spiritualist, and healer, specialising in Reiki and chakra balancing, aura cleansing, tarot card readings, and palmistry. She is one of 2,000 spiritual advisors who can be accessed via the digital platform to provide you with answers where you need them most in life.

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Images: Getty/Rex Features


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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