We all know that the movement of the moon around the earth affects us. The orbit of the moon and the gravitational pull that it has on us is the main cause of the tidal shifts around the world. There is also wide speculation that the moon and its cycle has a profound effect on our bodies as well. For centuries, it was believed that the full moon brought out an added level of crazy to people. This is the time of the month where monsters like werewolves appeared to wreak havoc on unsuspecting villages. Even our modern words like “lunacy” and “lunatic” have their roots in the Roman goddess of the night, Luna. Though the vast majority of the claims of lunar effect on the human brain have been dismissed by science, these beliefs still hold on in our culture. More recently, it has been speculated that when the full moon swings closer to the earth in its natural rotation, there is an even greater effect on us.
At approximately 10:30 pm, Saturday night the moon’s orbit brought it to within 222,000 mi of the earth. It also brought the moon into alignment with the sun to give us the reflective face that we call a “full moon”. This event happens once every 13.5 months or so given the elliptical orbit of our closest celestial buddy and the path that we both take around the sun. Due to a bunch of scientific laws and mathematical properties, which I will not burden you with here, the apparent size and relative brightness of the moon is seen to be approximately 12% greater than a regular full moon. In 1979 the term “SuperMoon” was coined by Astrologer Richard Nolle to describe this event.
Needless to say, the term has not been adopted by the scientific community. Nor has its effect on humans been accepted. Does that mean it doesn’t exist? Well, I’m not so sure of that. There have been studies upon studies trying to see if the cycle of the moon really does play a measurable effect on the human body. This has been done through the study of the body’s chemistry, emotional reaction, physical change and mental influence. There have also been studies that have looked at social dynamics and behavioral changes in relation to the lunar cycle. Investigations have been done to look into whether or not there is a measurable effect of traffic accidents, crime, unusual behavior and more. Nearly every study shows the same thing. No measurable effect. None. Nada, Zip.
Yet, with all these studies and the lack of any evidence showing that there is a correlation, there is still widespread belief that the moon somehow manipulates our bodies, brains and emotional centers to act just a little off. Look through the comments in any online article about these studies. You will find a majority of the comments are telling stories of how the moon affects them or their environment. Their workplaces go nuts, their families get crazy, their pets act haywire. There are still police departments that consciously add extra officers to the patrols during full moons. There are hospitals that add extra staff during this time. Veterinary clinics that find themselves overwhelmed with ill or odd acting animals each month too. There may not be a measurable effect through scientific means, but there is something going on. Something that we just don’t understand yet.
I’m not going to pretend to be an expert here and lay out all sorts of data to try and explain it. I’m no doctor or scientist. Hell, I’m not even an astrologer at this point. But, I will share my thoughts as to what I see around the full moons and what we can do to utilize it to our fullest potential.
There are levels of energy that our modern science still has yet to understand. These are energies that early philosophers, priests, wise men and oracles knew about and harnessed in their practice. Energies that empower and fuel all of those paranormal things that science is still striving to prove. Psychic phenomenon, spirits, premonitions, astral travel, energetic healing, all fall into realms of energy that we do not have the tools to accurately measure and justify. Some of us believe in their existence wholeheartedly, others are still waiting for the proof. It is in these levels of energy that the moon has its effect on us. It’s not gravity that is warping our brains to do unusual things, it is this odd paranormal energetic pull that affects us. A pull that gives us the opportunity to do more. In these times of a “supermoon” this opportunity can be even that much greater.
The frustration that I have with full moon associations is that the popular sensationalized myths hold that this is the time that all the crazies come out. The criminals, the weirdos, the whack-jobs. This is the time that even seemingly normal people start to act crazy and may do things that are out of character for them. I’m not saying that this is not an effect that our dear Luna can have on us, but its not the only effect. The light and energy of the full moon can also bring to light that which in the shadows. It can bring about a safety and protection that comes with added light in the darkness. It can be a culmination of our manifestations and an opportunity to harvest that which we have sown.
When I look at the energy of the moon, I find myself applying the wisdom of the Tarot to it. The Moon card itself is a card of mystery and shadows. When we look at decks that are based on Rider-Waite-Smith images, we see that there are a number of obscure things going on. It is a dark card in terms of colors typically with the use of a lot of blues, purples, shades of gray and black. This makes sense when you consider this is a card of the night. We also will typically find animal images of wolves and dogs as well as creatures of the sea like lobsters and crabs. Here is where the obscurity of the moonlight and shadows start to really have an effect.
Think of yourself out in the woods and you hear that first howl of a wolf. Wow, that is beautiful and majestic. Then a few more chime in, then more and more. Now you realize that the hills around you are full of wolves and that they are most likely pretty hungry. Your thoughts of majesty shift to fear and you start to panic figuring that they are probably stalking you right now. Though the howls may never actually get any closer, your fears grip you and leave you immobilized. Wait, was that one passing through the trees right there? Holy shit, you’re going to die!
Relax, you’re not going to die. Well not tonight anyway. The likely scenario is that those wolves, while they are talking to each other, are stalking out something much tastier and less frightening than you. The reality is they probably want nothing to do with you. It’s your fear that you are somehow on their radar that has you worked up. Irrational fears and obscured vision are a product of our limitations and perceptions. It is not the moon itself that causes these fears, it is our perception of how it affects us and others.
The same holds true with our general actions and our daily fears. Our perception of what is after us or threatening us is often more aggressive than what the truth really dictates. The full moon nights may or may not affect you directly. But what is your perception of it? Do you worry that others will be acting crazy? Are you concerned that something bad is going to happen to you? Chances are, your fears and concerns are no more logical during this stage of the moon than any other.
So, why focus on those negative aspects of the moon? If you are going to hold your attention on potential influences of Luna, why not at least place an equal focus on her good side? Allow the light of the moon to shine on you and illuminate the shadows. Let her brilliance light up what is scaring you. Shoot, why not even tip your head back and howl with the wolves. The moon’s luminance is there to bring you light in your darkest times. To show you that even that which you fear the most is not nearly as bad as you may think.
In these times of the “supermoon”, we have the opportunity to take advantage of that 12% of extra light. A little extra brilliance to shine down on us and show that things may not be as scary as we thought.