On the eve of this years Strawberry Moon, the shortest full moon of the year and lunar signal to some Native American tribes that it was time to harvest ripening strawberries, I reflected on the night.
During the Middle Ages, compline was the hour for nightly prayer, marking the end of the day for monks. Typically involving meditation on death, it initiated the hours of dark and silence - a perilous time. As clergy drifted to sleep, their authoritative prayers faded and spiritual protections weakened. In the darkening night, the faithful and the superstitious lay awake and envisioned freewheeling devilry, unchecked by the dozing pious. The witching hour - from midnight until 3:00 AM - was when spirits and spells became the most potent. This was followed by Satan's hour - 3:00 AM until 4 AM. Supernatural threats aside, this darkest hour of night is no time for humans to be about as we are physiologically ill-suited to nocturnal pursuits.