Blog Post

Why are People Howling at the Moon During the Pandemic?

If you were listening to this week’s edition of Wacky Wednesday on Women of Grace Live radio, you heard about a strange new ritual that is cropping up across America since the COVID-19 pandemic began – howling at the moon at a certain time of night. What is this all about?

As odd as it might sound, people in many towns and cities across the country are indeed coming outside at 8:00 PM at night to howl at the moon. Depending on the neighborhood, it generally begins with one brave soul coming outside, standing in their driveway, and letting out a great big howl. This alerts the neighbors who rush outside and join in, with whole families standing at a safe distance and yelping at the moon. Why?

According to this article appearing in TIME, “They howl to thank the nation’s health care workers and first responders for their selfless sacrifices, much like the balcony applause and singing in Italy and Spain. Others do it to reduce their pain, isolation and frustration. Some have other reasons, such as to show support for the homeless.”

Whatever the reason, it has caught on among people who feel cut off from society during the national quarantine and are looking for a way to let off some steam.

There’s even a Facebook page sporting more than a half-million members from all over the world, entitled, “Go Outside and Howl at 8 PM” where people can post their intentions for howling.

For example, one person wrote, “I'm going to howl for my son. He is 22 and in prison. He knows he did wrong that's why he is where he is.” Another said, “I am howling tonight for my grandma who just tested positive for COVID19 in a Colorado nursing home where there has been an outbreak.”

The page was started by Brice Maiurro, a poet, storyteller and activist who works at National Jewish Health and his partner, Shelsea Ochoa, 33, a street activist and artist.

“We wanted to do this mostly because people are feeling isolated right now,” said Ochoa, 33, who works at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. “I think it hit on something others needed.”

Even though some choose to bang pots and pans or ring bells, the howlers are getting all the attention, and not all of it is good.

For example, a resident of Colorado wrote to us to complain about the fact that the state’s governor, Jared Polis, endorsed the ritual even though it has occult roots. Whether or not he realizes this is another issue, but howling at the moon does indeed have an association with occult rituals.

According to Jennifer English Morgan, who refers to herself as a Healer, facilitator, designer, project manager, life coach, and Planetary and cultural change agent, “The howl is the spirt of the wolf unleashed in its divine expression.”

The Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neopaganism claims that “Some Dianic and feminist Goddess worshipers include howling at the moon as part of their rituals in order to connect with the most primitive aspects of their inner Goddess.”

Chances are, most of the people who are engaging in this ritual don’t have a clue about these associations and are doing it for fun or as a way to release tension and reconnect with their neighbors. This ritual would be concerning only if people were doing so with the belief that they can turn back the pandemic or bring about healing for a friend by howling at the moon – which would venture into the realm of superstition.

At any rate, it’s interesting to note that the howling of dogs at a full moon has been a metaphor for futile activity since the 17th century.

This explains why praying to God – Who can actually do something about the pandemic – would be a far better way to mark the 8:00 PM hour during this time of crisis.

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