The unearthly nature of moonlight – alternating between phases of shadowy darkness and crystal-clear brilliance – has inspired both awe and fear, leading to a variety of diverse lunar myths. The word “lunatic” is related to the belief that moonlight – especially during the full moon phase – induces madness. This superstition may in part reveal the origins of many nocturnal monsters – especially those of the shape-shifting variety (werewolves, vampires, etc.).
“Selene, circle of gleaming gold, daughter of radiant belted Helios…”
“Celine thee moon, that is the most revered of stars, THE EYE of NIGHT…”
“Rosy-fingered Selene after sunset, surpassing all the stars (astra), and her light spreads alike over the salt sea and the flowery fields; the dew is shed in beauty, and roses bloom, and tender chervil and flowery meillot.”
“She is the ruler of tides of flux and reflux. The waters of the Great Sea answer unto her, likewise the tides of all earthly seas, and she ruleth the nature of woman.”
“There are two things you cannot hide for very long – the moon, and the truth.”
Our ability as humans to observe, record, and “keep” time is thought to have evolved from the lunar phases. As one of the few natural patterns that repeats itself both frequently enough, and visibly enough to allow early humans to grasp its cyclical nature – the waxing and waning of the moon offered a predictable rhythm – that could in turn be compared to other natural rhythms. With each half of the cycle punctuated by a dramatic visual extreme – the brilliant full moon and the dark, shadowy new moon – the lunar cycle echoes the same dark to light transition characteristic of night and day. As an intermediate between fairly “obvious” short-term cycles in nature (e.g., night & day; warm & cold seasons: wet & dry periods) – and less obvious long-term cycles (e.g., months; years; planetary orbits, etc.) – the lunar phases gave humans the perfect reference point to begin calculating “time” as a cycle. Like the Rosetta Stone, the lunar phases gave humans the key knowledge to identify thousands of related patterns that would otherwise remain unobservable. With a high level of continuity and consistency over time, the lunar cycle could be isolated and understood fairly easily. It is this ideal combination of ambiguity and certainty, unknown and known, obscure and obvious that make certain patterns accessible – and others entirely out of reach. The search for this “sweet spot” will always define our existence as living beings; however, when we have finally mastered the essence of ALL LIFE (not just our own), we will realize that reciprocity, interconnectedness, symbiosis, and equality are the ULTIMATE “sweet spot” for all creatures. And everything in life will feel “just right…”