WE WERE THERE: The Supermoon Eclipse (Part 1)

credit: Pinterest/layoutsparks.com

I got married on September 27, 2008, at 5:30 p.m.; seven years and four hours later my husband and I were standing in a deserted picnic area by the highway outside of Great Barrington, MA, watching a red mist take over the moon.  If any mystic horror was going to happen to us in our lives, it would have happened then, right? So we stood there, enduring the eldritch hooting of remote owls or wolves and less-remote humans,  plus the roar and blaze of cars on the highway, plus a strange throbbing that we thought was coming from an invisible body of water a few feet away, and we didn’t quite know where the drop was, and we also couldn’t quite see our car where we’d parked it in the darkness; forgetting, a little bit, that we were parents and that our two-year-old daughter was sleeping at my brother’s house in Springfield fifty miles away, but not forgetting that we were partners, and that we had been together forever, and now we were two bodies on this strange margin of nature and culture that was entirely not wild but also not entirely safe; and we waited, and ducked our heads when car headlights passed so they wouldn’t blind us to the stars that we never got to see in Brooklyn, and we watched.

I knew people were excited about this eclipse, but when we got back to our hotel feeling like we’d actually seen something, or risked something as a couple, on this weird magic day inside our marriage (I know, we’re citified wusses, we were in no danger, but you guys! Didn’t you know that you’re always in danger? Doesn’t a blood moon sort of tell you that, too?), and I had cell service again, it seemed like all my friends were also really seeing and risking and feeling something in the light of the blood moon, too. So I thought we should probably register that this had happened, document our collective experience of eclipse or of moon worship, collate the evidence that We Were All There. Moon stuff is feminist stuff by definition, right? I asked the Weird Sister staff, plus some of my friends and family, to tell us how it went for them. I ended up with two posts’ worth of moony stories; here’s the first installment!


the moon from the movie-theater parking lot

My husband Paul
(interviewed over Gchat)

(Me) We’re going to talk about last night when we watched the eclipse together.

(Paul) We watched the first bit of the eclipse and you were like “how much of this do we have to watch?”

ha ha ha ha

“are we on the hook to watch it uneclipse?”

ha ha I forgot that I used the phrase “on the hook”

we were in a parking lot

We had just seen the movie The Intern.

then we decided to drive to our hotel. I saw an icon for a campground on my gps so we pulled over and watched the second half of the eclipse in pitch blackness next to a scary forest. There was another camping area (or something) about 50 yards down the road that seemed to be filled with hooting postapocalyptic warbois.


We were a little worried about them although we did not confide this to each other at the time. Caolan had a plan to get into the car and take off

Yeah, if they bothered us, that was my plan. But I was worried I would horror-movie fumble and drop my keys in the grass while they dragged us down and ate us or something.

and i had a plan that we would run into the woods where their car-headlight and chrome-blinded eyes would offer little advantage against our night vision

ha ha ha ha ha such a bad plan

and we could camouflage ourselves like peeta
while they tripped over roots and said “here kitty kitty!”
and potentially we could jump ’em

Earlier today you told me about this plan and I couldn’t believe this was your plan
it sounded like the scariest horror movie plan ever
it sounded just about as scary as getting murdered by hooligans
on a picnic ground

are you afraid of what’s in the woods?
because it’s US

I was also afraid of the car that pulled into the picnic ground when we were there, and a couple got out and I was like “well at least it’s a couple” but then I was like “it’s a cannibal couple who could overpower us!” but then they drove away and we think maybe they had hoped for a secluded space to have eclipse sex in
I should have known then what your plan was because when they got out of their car you were like “we have the advantage, they can’t see us standing here in the dark”
“they haven’t developed their night vision like we have”

Night vision is also important because it also lets you see sky as a blanket richly mottled with stars like dust, jewels that be long to the whole world! also you said the spring tide was high in your blood and i said you were a little creep.

Geri, San Francisco, CA
(Note: Geri & everyone below was interviewed over email)

Where were you when you watched the eclipse?
At home

Who were you with?
My partner and my dogs and my bird

Had you made special supermoon-eclipse arrangements ahead of time?
We were planning on watching it from our window but there were too many clouds/light to see it 🙁

How did you feel during the eclipse? How did it affect everyone around you?
I felt angry that I didn’t see it! Also was feeling more lustful than usual towards someone outside my marriage (I’m in an open marriage so I talked about it w my partner/he knows about it). My dogs were sleepy. My bird was less poopy.

Where or how or with whom do you hope to spend your next lunar eclipse?
Fucking on a hiking trail in the middle of a darkened forest


Photo credit: Becca

Becca, Brooklyn, NY

First I watched the eclipse from my bedroom window—the closest thing to the tower room I’ve always wanted that I’ve ever had—with my two cats, Contessa and Sylvia. Ever since Contessa arrived as my first familiar nine years ago, I’ve been writing eclipse poems about her reactions: “Kitty’s First Lunar Eclipse,” “Kitty’s Second Lunar Eclipse,” etc. (The only line I can remember off the top of my head is “batting blackjacks in the dark.”) This time, Contessa and Sylvia stayed curled up on opposite corners of my bed, which sounds like no big deal, but around here only one cat’s allowed on the bed at a time! It’s like King of the Castle, but Cat of the Bed. Anyway, eventually I couldn’t stand it anymore and went down to the stoop to get a more direct connection to the moon, which was nearing full eclipse. My mom and my sisters and I were texting about it, and for a while it seemed like the eclipse was at a different stage of completion in the central time zone, but that didn’t really make sense. No one could explain it. Inexplicable. Outside some people stopped on the sidewalk to turn to look at it, and a few neighbors left their houses to walk down the street to get a better view. I was a little disappointed (I had fantasized about an impromptu block party), but also my suspicion that My House was The Best Viewing Spot on the Block was confirmed by the fact that people kept standing on the sidewalk in front of me while they looked. To my right were bags of garbage thrown out by my upstairs neighbors, who had moved back to Chicago the night before; now a rat was nosing his way in. All day I’d felt jealous of the neighbors—I always want to move back to the Midwest in the fall—and the red marble moon at full eclipse (which lasted longer and stranger than I expected) kept me company, let me go through that for a while. Here I was on my Brooklyn stoop with a view no one could deny. Who can say what stage of eclipse would have greeted me in the central time zone?


Marisa, Brooklyn, NY

I started watching the eclipse outside of Veselka in the East Village, post dinner, then followed it to Big Gay Ice Cream, then down 1st Ave to the L train, then watched in Williamsburg as I walked home from the subway, and finished watching from my kitchen window. I was with Matt and with our friends Chrissy and Dave who were visiting from San Francisco; we had just left our friend Thomas who went home after dinner because he had a headache. We hadn’t made plans in advance to watch but we had talked about it. During the eclipse I kept spilling ice cream all over my clothes. I’m not sure if this was weird or if the ice cream was just extra melty. I felt excited but also creeped out. I kept trying to imagine being on earth before scientists knew about eclipses, and being all alone and without the internet and with no way of knowing what was going on, and how I might have thought the moon was getting smudged away by demons or the world was entering a new dimension or something. I tried to make myself terrified by these kinds of ideas. I didn’t listen to any music. After watching the eclipse, I felt a sense of calm and positivity and a sort of clarity. I went online in the dark in my room and read about what kinds of feelings the eclipse is supposed to cause, but I didn’t learn as much as I hoped to. By the next eclipse, I hope to better understand interpretations of lunar cycles and astrology in general; this is a longstanding goal of mine. I hope that Becca and Cathy will teach me all about astrology and intention-setting, and that we can all spend the next eclipse together and have some kind of magickal ceremony. I also hope to be away from the lights of the city so I can see the moon’s blood red color in all of its glory.


Emily, Brooklyn, NY 

My upstairs neighbor texts me “COME TO THE ROOF!!!” and then “NOW.” I forgot about the moon and was in bed, trying to fall asleep, but I put on shorts and a sweater and went up to the roof and he was there and so was my husband and so was my neighbor’s wife, who’s pregnant. I liked the eclipse. It was beautiful and surprising and dark. I wished I was farther from the city. But I liked that there was a human in utero right there. And then the following morning, a loved one passed. And so the world feels expansive and confusing, and the moon feels steady and unsteady.

A Weird Sister Writer, NYC 

Where were you when you watched the eclipse? 
I was supposed to be at a reading with a friend but thanks to Mercury retrograde, my friend had to cancel (because he was reuniting with old friends which makes it even more Mercury retrograde!) I was invited to a last minute barbecue so I was planning on just doing that instead. Then another friend called to invite me to see the moon at the beach but I told her we might get in trouble with the beach police. Ha. So I invited her to the barbecue. Also it seemed like too far and too dark to go to the beach. Maybe I’m a scaredy cat.

Then the guy I had been dating but was taking a break with unexpectedly called and said he was in the neighborhood. So I thought “wow. We will spend the Supermoon together after all.” I really thought we were sort of over/minimally ghosting each other. A slow fade.

Who did you end up actually watching the Supermoon with?
I was alone because I sort of had a not so great time with the dude I was seeing/taking a break with and called it an early night. Then I felt too bummed to go to the barbecue. Mostly I wanted to be alone anyway. I hadn’t actually had any alone time in awhile.

Ok also I was feeling weird because I had hooked up with another guy (“guy #2”) on my break with the other dude (“guy #1”) and I was wondering who guy #2 was seeing the Supermoon with. Yes I realize this makes me a sort of terrible person.

How did you feel during the eclipse?
I know that full moons are about culminations and that eclipses bring truth and all the astrology stuff I read said that this particular moon was about ENDINGS. So I figured my dude and I were going to break up. It just felt strange he would pop up on the night of the eclipse. I guess I put a lot of weight into astrology.

My cats were acting strange. I saw the calm cat of the bunch hissing for the first time ever.

Did you listen to any music?
I listened to the talking heads “nothing but flowers,” T. rex “life is strange,” and Vivian girls, “take it as it comes

How do you think your life will be different now that you have had this experience? 
I think I have to be honest with guy #1 (and myself!) about how I’m feeling. It’s not that I’m not normally honest with people im seeing, but…I just didn’t expect to start feeling this way. It never occurred to me that I would start feeling this way. Maybe I thought it would end before I could feel this way or magically work out and be smooth sailing.

Where or how or with whom do you hope to spend your next lunar eclipse?
Shit. Ha. The next total lunar eclipse will be in January of 2018. That’s only a couple of years from now but I really have no idea where I’ll be. I hope that at the very least, I’ll be outside. And I hope that if I’m with someone, that I’m being completely honest with them about what is going on.


Mimi’s office moon

Mimi, Queens, NY

Where were you when you watched the eclipse? 
I started out in my apartment, looking out the window at the supermoon. But then it went out of sight, so I went outside to meet my neighbor. I couldn’t see the moon from her block, and I got extremely agitated waiting for her– I didn’t want to miss any of it! She finally came down, and we went back to the street corner. There were small clumps of people on the four street corners, some coming and going, and some, like us, staying put for most of the hour from 10-11. Lots of people taking photos. I was taking photos too, and liking people’s moon posts on Facebook now and then, though I felt a little guilty looking at my phone screen when I could just have been looking at the moon the whole time. A car drove by and a guy hung out the window almost upside down to check out the moon. Above us, a teenage boy opened his window and looked at the eclipse from there, leaning out of the window enough to make me almost worry about him. We watched until the moon was eclipsed, and kept trying to see red in it. After staring at the eclipsed disk for a while, I went home, where I realized I could see it from the windows on the side of my apartment. So I sat at my desk in the dark and looked up at the moon, and it finally started looking red. Maybe I should add that I was waiting for a gentleman caller, and was thinking about his visit, and how it seemed romantic to have a late date on the eclipse. But then perhaps no date could live up to a super moon eclipse.

How did you feel during the eclipse?
I felt really excited! I thought I would need to walk around, or that the hour of the eclipse would seem long, but I stood on the same street corner nearly the whole time, and it went pretty fast. I told my neighbor how I was thrilled we were actually out– that I always miss things like the Pleiades, but now was catching every moment of this. And I thought back to my most exciting celestial experiences– watching the Pleiades while camping out in a field with frost on the ground with friends during high school, and, with the same group of friends, catching a surprise viewing of the Northern Lights i Connecticut while at a beach after dark.

How do you think your life will be different now that you have had this experience? 
I have had a new celestial experience, and a powerful reminder not to miss other ones in the future. (I’ve seen a small red moon high up in the sky. Weird.) So I hope I’ll be more vigilant about watching the sky for exciting phenomena.

Where or how or with whom do you hope to spend your next lunar eclipse?
Ooh this makes me think of the quizzes in Seventeen where it would ask me how I’d like to spend my prom, years before I’d even have a prom, and I’d pick something like “next to my boyfriend,” and the result would be “you’re super committed to your honey!” and I’d think, but wait, I don’t have a honey, I just would like one. But I’m going to resist that old pattern, and say, with some of the old friends I’ve seen other amazing celestial phenomena with. After all, it’ll be 2030-something as I recall, so it’d be pretty cool to be hanging with old friends then.

H., Chicago, IL

I was at home with my husband. He was watching a baseball game on his computer and I was watching the animated film Chico and Rita while working on a statement of my teaching philosophy. “Oh, the eclipse,” I said. We went to the back porch. He stacked two buckets filled with dry compost on top of each other and propped a small telescope, which we use mostly for birding, on the upper one. But it was cloudy out, and we couldn’t make much out. I tried to kiss him but I had garlic breath. Then we went back inside and he made fun of a Facebook post by a guy we know. “He’s asking if anyone can see the eclipse or if it’s too cloudy,” he said. “Why doesn’t he go outside and look? Live a little!”

S., California

Where were you when you watched the eclipse? 
I was in the car, driving back from dinner with my brother and sister-in-law and niece and nephews, who live in a spot so shaded by trees that we would not have been able to see any of the moon from their deck until quite late. As I drove I saw the reddish circle above me, very much shadowed by clouds, and then when I got home it was a clearer white disc with a shadow moving over it, so I stood on the street next to my car, when I got home, and watched for a while.

How did you feel during the eclipse? Did it affect your body or your mind in any surprising ways? Did it affect your relationship to the people or creatures or objects or ideas around you?
No. I wish it had.

How do you think your life will be different now that you have had this experience?
Not certain. I would like to be more moon-governed but feel that I am generally a sun and black-sun governed person.

Where or how or with whom do you hope to spend your next lunar eclipse?
On the beach. But that’s where I hope to experience most things, so it’s not a very particular answer.

Seth, The Deep South

Where were you when you watched the eclipse? 
On my back porch. Although I didn’t really get to see it because of stupid clouds.

Who were you with? 
My dog Frank.

Had you made special supermoon-eclipse arrangements ahead of time? 
I lit candles, and every full moon I put out a dish of salted water with my big chunk of amethyst in it, which is how I clean it, and this time since it was an eclipse I also lit a white candle and set it in the dish so it was lit the whole time even when the moon was eclipsed.

Did you listen to any music? 
Yes! I listened to The Creatures’ “Pluto Drive,” which, even though it’s about Pluto, sounds like it’s about the moon.

How do you think your life will be different now that you have had this experience? 
I renounced some things that I’d rather not mention, and wrote them down and set the paper on fire, so those are going to stick.

Where or how or with whom do you hope to spend your next lunar eclipse?
On my back porch alone listening to The Creatures with a candle in a dish with my soaking amethyst.


Stay tuned for more lunar stories later this week!


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