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Weather Omens and Signs
Weather as a Messenger
The weather has always been a point of concern for human beings. It determines the harvest of crops, whether rain or sun, without which plants would not survive and neither would we. We look to the sky to tell us whether our day will be filled with sunshine, clouds, rain, hail, thunderstorms, or snow. These things determine our comfort and how we live our lives. Our ancestors would read certain weather omens and signs as good or bad, as foretelling the weather in the near future or foretelling future events.
The sky has long been linked to certain gods. In certain cultures, there are wind gods, storm gods, and sun gods. Ancient beliefs about weather omens have been passed down to us through the centuries, most of it has been lost in time, but some of which we still know today. Learn how weather can be a messenger and about some of the most common and bizarre weather omens and signs.
Blood Moon, Blue Moon, Ring Around the Sun and Moon
In Maryland, people say if there's a ring around the moon it will snow the next day. I have found this to turn out true a few times in my life.
If there's a ring around the sun, it can also mean rain or snow is coming soon. The ring around the sun or moon is made from ice crystals that reflect light, so the sign of the ring meaning snow or rain is quite logical. Another Old Wives Tale says that if there are stars inside the ring around the moon, you can count the stars and it will tell you how many days it will snow or rain.
Blood and Blue Moons
If the moon appears red it is called a Blood Moon. This happens when there's a total lunar eclipse. Many prophecies and apocalyptic predictions have been made involving a blood moon; however, it's spiritual significance is a lot less ominous. A lunar eclipse is said to reveal your inner most desires - things that are hidden from others and maybe even from yourself.
If there's two full moons in one month, the second full moon is called a Blue Moon. The saying "happens once in a Blue Moon" comes from this astronomical event meaning it doesn't happen often. Blue Moons may signify a new opportunity such as a new job, new friendship or new love.
A red sunset could indicate a period of dry, hot weather for at least twenty four hours.
Rain, Rainbows, and Storm Signs
In the days before modern technology, farmers and common folk looked to nature for signs of rain and storms. Often the behavior of animals would warn them of rain:
- If you see one or more snake trails in the dust, this means rain is coming. Snakes are said to become active before a rainstorm.
- Any kind of creature seeking shelter suddenly means a rainstorm is coming (for logical reason). This could be anything from birds to frogs to bees trying to get into your home, shed, barn, or garage.
- When horses' tails get bushy, this means rain is coming.
Depending on the day or month, rainy or dry days could indicate the weather and/or luck to come. A dry month of March means a wet Spring season thereafter. April showers bring May flowers, after all. If it rains all day Wednesday without a single ray of sunshine, this is supposed to indicate more dangerous weather like a thunderstorm or even a tornado. If the wind blows on your wedding day, your marriage will be full of fights, BUT rain on your wedding day is very good luck!
Rainbows capture our attention and don't let it go. They have come to be associated with a time of peace and serenity, as many people relate it to the story of Noah and the Ark. God sent a rainbow to tell Noah he would never again flood the earth. Rainbows often are seen after large storms and so signify the end of a storm, literally and figuratively. Some say if you come to the end of a rainbow, you will find a leprechaun's pot of gold.
Seeing a double rainbow is a rare and special event. In Feng Shui, a double rainbow means you are going through transformation. The first rainbow represents the physical, the second represents the spiritual.
Thunderstorms can indicate a period of painful or violent transformation for the individual. This could mean one's life is about to get turned upside down, particularly if the storm comes out of nowhere and seems to only affect the area in which you reside.
My grandmother used to say if you count during the clap of thunder, the number would tell you how many miles away the storm was. She had the right idea, but the actual scientific way to do it is to count the seconds after the thunder has stopped. Every 5 seconds indicates 1 mile. Divide your count by 5 and that will tell you how far away the storm is.
My grandma also used to say thunderstorms happened when the devils and angels were battling in the heavens. Or that God was playing bowling ball. This old belief dates back to ancient times, when thunderstorms were thought to be the gods growing angry with mankind. Or it indicated the coming of the Wild Hunt, an old European belief in spirits and devils that would ride the clouds and high winds on certain ominous nights collecting souls as they passed by.
Where lightning touched down in ancient times, this became a place of great sacred reverence. This is the place where the gods had touched the earth. Anyone who was struck by lightning in ancient times was thought to become a shaman - someone who could bridge the gap between earth and the realm of the gods.
Lightning in modern times often strikes fear or wonder in the minds of those see it. It is mother nature's light show. It could symbolize a time of "waking up" for those who haven't been paying attention to blatant divine messages sent to them. Or for those who have been making bad decisions in life, a close by lightning strike is to warn them of impending doom if they head down the same path.
Snow was foretold in many ways, some logical others seem like silly superstition. Other Old Wives Tales talk of snow on certain days indicating good or bad luck.
- A great mast of fallen acorns indicates a harsh winter ahead.
- If the snowflakes are large, the snowstorm won't last long. If small, you'll have many days of snow.
- Whether a winter will be harsh or not depends on the thickness of the animals' fur beforehand.
- If it snows on your wedding day, your marriage will be joyful and bountiful.
Often in literature, snow symbolizes a period of "hibernation" or rest for an individual. It can also indicate transformation or renewal in the idea that when Spring comes so too does new life. Snow also represents purification and cleansing. Think of how the first snow looks after its covered the ground - blanketing the dead plants in pure white.
In Germany, an old saying about the first snow goes something like this - "Frau Holle is shaking out her bedsheets". This refers to a goddess in folklore who is said to shake out her downy bed linens of which always causes the first snow. In other parts of the world, this piece of lore is prominent too. In Scotland, she is known as the Cailleach.
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© 2018 Nicole Canfield