Moon Halos: The Spiritual Meaning and Science Behind Rings Around the Moon

A ring around the moon, aka a moon halo, appears when moonlight refracts ice crystals; but spiritually, it means so much more.


Feb. 28 2024, Published 3:04 p.m. ET

Photo of trees and the night sky featuring a ring around the moon on a winter's night
Source: iStock

Perhaps you've seen a ring around the moon in the sky and wondered why it was happening. Scientifically, it's simple: The ring, aka a moon halo, appears when moonlight refracts (changes the direction of) the ice crystals in cirrus clouds, per the National Weather Service (NWS).

That said, the beautiful sight makes people wonder what a ring around the moon means spiritually.

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The moon can represent many things, with various cultures having different interpretations. Read on to learn some of the spiritual meanings behind a ring around the moon, also known as a 22-degree halo.

A ring or halo around the moon over the city of TromsA in arctic Norway
Source: iStock
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A ring around the moon often means a storm is coming.

According to EarthSky, there's an old idiom that goes, "ring around the moon means rain soon" — and it's often true. As the outlet explains, cirrus clouds often appear before a storm; and since cirrus clouds are a key ingredient in moon halos, it makes sense that a ring around the moon may indicate an incoming rainstorm.

The Euahlayi and Kamilaroi Peoples of New South Wales, Australia, as well as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples of Australia, have historically connected a lunar halo with the rain, per the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).

Some Indigenous groups interpret moon halos as a warning to find shelter.

The Peoples of Australia's western desert believe that a ring around the moon indicates that the Moon-man, a figure who represents the phases of the moon, is taking shelter before a storm, as noted by ACARA.

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A lunar ring may also mean changing weather patterns.

A ring around the moon spiritually means an incoming weather change for the Nakoda people of Alberta, Canada, as noted in Smithsonian Magazine. Like the Euahlayi and Kamilaroi Peoples of Australia, the Nakoda traced the connection between a lunar halo and fast-approaching storms.

The moon is surrounded by a faint ring over the Atlantic Ocean
Source: iStock
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Conversely, lunar halos can also mean protection from storms.

According to Spiritual Unite, in ancient Greece, many people thought that a ring around the moon symbolized protection from weather events like storms.

Some traditions think a lunar ring represents happiness.

According to Chapter 34 of the ancient Bṛhat-saṃhitā, Hinduism teaches that the color of a lunar halo can represent different things.

For instance, a ring that is the color of "a peacock or fire or silver, or oil or milk, or water" may mean happiness is coming. Or, a moon ring the color of a peacock’s neck may indicate incoming rain.

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A ring is pictured around the full moon in the night sky
Source: iStock

Seeing a lunar halo may indicate divinity.

According to Simone M. Matthews, founder of Universal Life Tools, seeing a lunar halo "is to experience a moment of spiritual insight, a window into the divine." So basically, she believes the moment itself of witnessing a ring around the moon can be godlike.

Matthews also notes that each individual views a lunar halo slightly differently, depending on the angle from which they are viewing it — which can be a reminder of how we all have different perspectives.

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