Previously: O Jogo das Tres Formas/The Three Cups Game.
Some ritual games can only be played at specific moments in time. Case in point: The Blood Moon Ritual, which — you guessed it — can only be performed during a blood moon. Ostensibly, it’s a “how to go to another world”-type of game, although it’s also definitely a “just for fun” game — not one that will “work” in any realistic sense. Indeed, it falls entirely on the “made-up” end of the creepy internet lore spectrum; invented by a Quotev user based in the Philippines in early 2018 and reposted to the r/ThreeKings subreddit in June of 2022, it reads more like a creepypasta than anything else.
Although the moniker itself sounds pretty foreboding, blood moons are, in practice, much less eerie than you probably think. The title itself doesn’t refer to anything like a bloodletting or ritual sacrifice; it’s simply reflective of the color the moon appears to be when specific celestial conditions are met: Reddish, as if it had been tinted with a drop of dye — or, yes, blood.
[Like what you read? Check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available from Chronicle Books now!]
What’s really happening, though, is just a total lunar eclipse. During this kind of eclipse, which can only occur during a full moon, the Earth passes between the moon and the sun, meaning the moon falls completely within the shadow of the Earth. However, a touch of light can still reach around the edges of the Earth through its atmosphere and hit the surface of the moon. The atmosphere filters out the wavelengths of light towards the violet spectrum, preventing us from seeing blue or green shades, but the long wavelengths that appear to us as shades of orange and red can still drift through. So, when these waves of light reflect off the moon’s surface at this time, it makes the moon appear red. Hence: Blood moon.
Of course, I say “just” a total lunar eclipse; that’s mostly just to drive home that there’s an actual, full, scientific explanation behind the whole thing. Although lunar eclipses as a larger category occur pretty frequently — about three per year — only about a third of them are total lunar eclipses, according to Time And Date. Within a decade, roughly four or five total lunar eclipses can be spotted from Earth. So: They’re not super rare, but they’re also not happening every month.
At the time of this writing, the next blood moon — that is, the next total lunar eclipse — will occur in the wee hours of the morning of Nov. 8, 2022. Accordingly, the night of Nov. 7 through the very early morning of the 8th will be the next time you can play this game. It’ll give you something to look forward to after the Halloween season is over, right?
Again, though, it’s worth noting that this one might not do what you want it to.
But then again… as always: Play at your own risk.
- One Principal.
- One Assistant.
- A playing space that meets the following requirements: a) A building of at least two stories c) with a balcony at least one story up d) which may be easily access from one of the building’s rooms.
- A mobile phone, data connected, battery nearly drained. (See: Additional Notes.)
- A time-keeping device, separate from the mobile phone.
- A mirror.
- Matches or a lighter.
- A food item. (See: Additional Notes.)
- A sterilized pin.
Making The Preparations:
- First, make note of when the next blood moon is — not just the date, but also the precise times at which the total lunar eclipse begins and ends and the time at which the moon will reach maximum eclipse in the geographic area in which you are located. (See: Additional Notes.)
- On the night of the blood moon, prior to the beginning of the eclipse, gather your supplies and your Assistant, and go to your chosen playing space.
- Once you have arrived at your playing space, go to the room that connects with the balcony.
- Open any windows in the room that look out onto the balcony and ensure that there is direct airflow between the room and the balcony. If there are no windows, make sure the balcony door may be propped or kept slightly open without danger of it accidentally closing, and again ensure that there is direct airflow from one space to the other.
- Place the mirror inside the room somewhere you can easily see it. Do this with the time-keeping device, as well.
- Position the Assistant inside the room, and make sure they have easy access to the incense and matches or lighter.
- Place the food item inside the room within easy reach of the Principal.
- Place the sterilized pin inside the room. You may give it to the Assistant for safe keeping, if you like; just make sure you are not in danger of losing track of it between now and when you will require it.
- If you are the Principal, keep the mobile phone on your person. Make sure that it has no more than 30 percent of its battery charged, and that it is connected to data, not Wi-Fi.
- Elsewhere in the building, set up your sleeping space, ensuring that it is safe and secure.
- Once you have set everything in its place, check your time-keeping device. What time is it? Is it still prior to the time at which the eclipse is set to begin?
- You may now pass the time however you wish, as long as you do so using your mobile phone. You may speak with your Assistant during this time, if you like. HOWEVER: Keep an eye on both the time, and your phone’s battery level. Do NOT allow the battery level to drain completely BEFORE the time at which the eclipse is set to begin.
- Continue to pass the time.
- Check the time: Is the eclipse about to begin?
- Good. You may proceed.
Starting The Journey:
- In the minutes before the eclipse starts, and in the moments before the phone’s battery drops to zero percent, position yourself in front of the mirror.
- Look at yourself in the mirror. Lock eyes with your own reflection. Do not look away.
- Keep the phone on.
- Keep looking at your reflection.
- Let the phone battery drain.
- If you have timed it correctly, the phone’s battery will drop to zero percent just as the eclipse begins. When this occurs, look away from the mirror, retrieve your food item, and exit the room onto the balcony. If the room does not have any windows you have previously opened, leave the door to the balcony propped open.
- Now: Depending on your role, perform one of the following sets of actions:
- Principal: Once you have arrived on the balcony, position yourself in a spot where as little moonlight as possible can shine on you. Look up at the moon. Do not look away. As you look, consume your food item. Eat carefully, and do not any crumbs if you can help.
- Assistant: While the Principal conducts their business on the balcony, remain inside the room and take up the incense. Light it using the matches or lighter. Move through the room with the lit stick of incense, allowing the smoke to drift through the space and purify it. Make sure that some of the smoke may also drift out the open windows or through the open door to the balcony. Remain here while the Principal carries out the remaining instructions.
- Principal: Keep gazing at the moon as you eat. When you have finished consuming the food item, do not look away. Keep looking.
- You will now have to take something of a leap of faith: You must estimate when the lunar eclipse has reached its maximum point. When you believe you are shortly before this point, chant aloud the following words: “The lesser light will rule me through, no greater light to bring me down.”
- Repeat them again: “The lesser light will rule me through, no greater light to bring me down.”
- And again.
- Keep chanting.
- Do not look away.
- Be there.
- Be there, present, with the blood moon.
Arriving At The Destination:
- Principal: When you believe the point of maximum eclipse has passed, cease your chanting, exit the balcony, and return to the room. Retrieve your sterilized pin and pass through the room.
- Assistant: Let the Principal pass. Do not stop them. Do not speak to them. Remain here, in this room, until morning. Then, and only then, may you leave.
- Principal: Go downstairs; then go outside.
- Look up at the fading blood moon, and prick your finger with the pin until you draw blood of your own.
- Let the blood well up. Then, go back inside, and go to your sleeping space. Do NOT return to the balcony, or to the room connected to it.
- Sleep, if you can.
- When you wake: Observe the space around you. How does it look? How does it feel?
- If you have performed each of these steps correctly, you will find yourself somewhere… else. Somewhere other than your own world.
- Even if it looks on the surface to be familiar, you will know it is not.
- Welcome. I hope you enjoy it here.
- Because there is no known way to return.
For best results, perform this ritual not only on the night of a blood moon, but on the night of a blue blood moon. The term “blue moon” refers to the second full moon within a given month with two full moons, rather than the usual single full moon. Occasionally, a blue moon may coincide with a blood moon, making that night’s moon a blue blood moon. The next blue blood moon is not scheduled to appear until Jan. 31, 2037, however; in the meantime, players may attempt on a regular blood moon instead.
This online tool may be used to identify the date of the next total lunar eclipse, the times at which it is slated to begin and end, and the time at which maximum eclipse will be reached in your location. Consult the times for “full eclipse,” and use these times as your guidelines as you play.
It is NOT necessary to empty the playing space of other people or pets before playing; others may be present during the game and will not come to any harm. However, if you are playing in a building or space with others present, ensure that you will not be disturbed at any point.
The battery of your mobile phone should be charged to no more than 30 percent at the start of the game. However, the battery should not begin at too low a level, either. If the battery drains either too early or too late, the game will be forfeit; you will have to wait until the next blood moon to try again.
Additionally, do not attempt to play with your phone connected to Wi-Fi. Use data ONLY.
You do not have to turn the lights out inside the room connected to the balcony before you begin, although you may if you like.
The food item may be whatever you like, from a snack to a full meal. However, it is recommended that you choose something that is relatively easy to eat and not prone to messes.
Do NOT attempt to play this game alone. The assistant is essential, and must be present until the conclusion of the game.
Regarding The Assistant:
And what of you, Assistant? What are you to do at the conclusion of the game? When the eclipse has passed and the sun has risen, you may leave the room. If you are feeling kind, you may clear up the supplies and take them with you when you go.
You may check in on the Principal’s sleeping space before you vacate the premises, if you like.
If you find it empty, however…
… Well. You’ll know where they’ve gone. I hope you said your goodbyes beforehand, because you may never see them again.
Even if you were to play the game again, using yourself as the Principal this time…
… Let’s just say there’s no guarantee you’d end up in the same place.
[Photo via Schlumpf98/Pixabay]