The Lady and the Sky Above Us
Amazing information about the Moon and how she relates to and influences life on Earth
The Moon is the primary source of light in the darkness of the night skies and is the Earth’s only natural satellite. On the nights when She is full, She illuminates the land brightly, when a full Moon occurs at perigee (the time when the Moon is closest to the Earth) this can have the effect of almost being as bright as daytime. The Moon then recedes again, so that at new Moon (the dark of the Moon) She is totally invisible to the naked eye and the mystery of complete darkness envelops the Earth. Our ancient ancestors measured time by the regular cycle of the moon, not the cycle of the sun.
‘Full moons come,
Full moons go,
with their silver glow.
They pass in silence
but as they travel
they are named.’
Rhyme from ‘When the Moon is Full’ a book for young children by Penny Pollack (pub. Little Brown)
The solstices and equinoxes were originally celebrated on the closest full or new moon. This cycle of constant new appearance, growth, and subsequent disappearance is a visible symbol of life, death, and then rebirth with the appearance of the next new moon. This is an ancient enigma that we too are still a part of – when we stand and look up into the night sky and the Moon is shining brightly, we are looking at the same ‘Lady of the night’ that our ancestors were looking at throughout aeons of time.
The Moon acts as a mirror that reflects the light of the sun, in this the moon represents the shadow side of the sun’s light – we are still seeing the light of the Sun even though the Sun is not visible to us. The Moon is symbolic of looking into our own souls, something that we cannot look at directly – in the same way that we need a mirror to look at our own faces – reflecting the mystery and fear within us. The mirror of the Moon illuminates not only the darkness of the night but also our own shadow parts.
These visible cycles of the Moon mirror the life of ‘woman’, and our ancient ancestors saw her as representative of the Triple Goddess. Her three phases of new, full and old reflect the incarnations of maiden, mother, and crone and so the complete triad of the goddess is symbolized in the changing face of the moon.
The Moon is most closely associated with the old and the wise ‘the crone’ – as the phases of the moon repeat constantly the final phase holds the knowledge of the other phases before it – so with the crone who has lived through her girlhood (the maiden) , she has been a mother and she now contains within her the knowledge, wisdom and experience of all the parts of a woman’s life. The moon’s connection with superstition and fear of the dark is but a reflection of the dark old crone whose age makes her both venerated and feared.
The Triple Goddess and the Moon
One of the reasons that the changing moon is particularly associated with women is because the regular twenty-eight day cycle mirrors the cycle of menstruation. This is also reflected in the language that we speak – the English word ‘ month’ is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word monath – akin to the word mona, meaning “moon” – our word ‘ menses’ (referring to menstruation) comes from the Latin word ‘mensis’ meaning “month”. Therefore, the moon’s identification with a womans menstrual cycle and blood was deep and incontrovertible.
The Moon’s Pull on the Earth
The Moon exerts a great gravitational ‘pull’ on the Earth – it is this that not only moves our tides but also affects every ‘water bearing’ organism (plants, animals and humans). Explore the relevant sections through the links below.
Because the Moon is a reflection of the Sun’s light and is seen as symbolic of looking into our own souls She is also linked to the practice of Meditation – “to engage in contemplation or reflection.”