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Title: Lunar Folklore
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Autumn_Heather
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(Date Posted:01/11/2009 23:57 PM)
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As the Sun sets, the Moon rises - and the Little People play on every moonbeam, sprinkling sparkling moon dust on humankind.
 
 
For centuries, tales and legends of "other folk" have delighted generation after generation of children and adults alike.  No matter
what these elusive little people are called- faeires, elves, gnomes, nunus, pixies, tricksters or countless other names - they are said to possess magickal powers.  The source of their power stem from forces of nature, the elements, their own wit or from  magick in some form, whether light or dark and, of course, the moon.
 
The word Moon is probably connected with the Sanskrit root meaning, to measure, because time was measured by the moon.  It is common to all Teutonic languages and is almost always masculine.
 
That is not to say that female images of the moon are not to be found.  There are many.  Some find her difficult to locate, but persistence pays a great dividend when found, for she is truly beautiful with classic facial features, and hair perfectly coiffed, some say, under a stunning Victorian hat.
 
The moon is represented in folklore in all of its five different phases: (1) new; (2) full; (3) crescent; (4) half and (5) gibbous.  In religious folklore, pictures of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary show the moon as a crescent under her feet; in stories which present the Crucifixion, it is eclipsed, and placed on one side of the Cross, with the sun being on the other; and in Creation stories and those which deal with the Last Judgement, the moon is also depicted.
 
The moon is quite prominent in tales of Arbic, Hindu, Afican, Native American and Inuit lore.
 
In the Inuit Moon spirit Tarqeq is a mighty hunter who, of course, lives in the moon.  It is he who may be that proverbial "Man in the Moon."  Tarqeq has been given the difficult task of watching over human behavior, naturally, if he happens to be sleeping, that is when the moon sets, humankind can then exceed their bounds of propriety and misbehave, often in disgusting way!
 
In African folklore, the hare is a trickster who is responsible for costing humans immortality.  As the tales goes, the Moon sent Hare to the first people with a simple message.  "Just as the moon dies and rises again so shall you."  But the Hare confused the Moon's message and said: "Just as the moon dies and perishes so shall you."  The Moon, upon hearing of this, beat Hare on the nose with a stick.  Henceforth, he has sported his split nose.  It is interesting to note tht in the Hare tales from southern Africa the moon is feminine.
 
Chinese folklore is rich with their moon goddess, who is seen as the Lady in the Moon.  One delightful Chinese moon legend, Chang O ascends to the Moon, tells about Chang O and how she came to live in the moon palace.  Another moon legend of interest is Wu Hang and the Moon Palace.  In the Chinese latitudes, the woman in the Moon is not viewed as Victorian since her appearance changes with light variations.
 
The moon in folklore is often associated with death.  The San of Namibia is western Africa tell that the rising and waning of the moon forecast an impending death.  In other African tales, the Moon invited Water to visit, and being flooded out, was forced to find a new home in the sky or loose its light and die. 
 
 In the southern United States, in particular, it is believed that if a dog howls during a full moon, a family member will die.  This belief is written into their local lore.
 
The Moon figures in folktales that portray holidays, animals and strange happenings.  Virtually every school child can associate the moon with Halloween and animals such as black cats and wolves.  Stories that include "things that go bump in the night" invariably portray a typical cat with it's fur standing on end - and always with a larger, larger, largest full moon behind it.
 
The Welsh folklore, the Moonrakers are found.  Those simpletons with typical country guile, who when raking a pond for kegs of smuggled brandy, feigned stupidity when surprised by the excise men.
Their folktales present the Welsh people as if trying to rake out the moon, which was reflected in the water instead of their play with the non-water!
 
One legend connected with the moon purports that on the moon is treasured everything that is wasted on the earth, such as misspent time and prayers, fruitless tears, and unfulfilled desires and intentions, to mention only a few.
 
In Ariosto's legend, Orlando Furioso;  Astolpho found on his visit to the moon that bribes were hung on gold and silver hooks; prince's favours were kept in bellows; and wasted talent was kept in vases, each marked with the proper name.  (Book XXIV)
 
AND
 
On a light note from classic Mother Goose:
 
The Man in the Moon looked out of the Moon,
Looked out of the Moon and said,
"Tis time for all children on the Earth,
to think about getting to bed!"
 
Some say the man in the moon is a man leaning on a fork, on which he is carrying a bundle of sticks picked upon Sunday.  The origin of this fable is from the bible.  As dog is sometimes added as is seen in Shakespeare's Midsuumer Night's Dream:
 
"This man with lantern, dog, and bush of Thora, presenteth moonshine."
 
While in yet another folklore, written tradition says that the man in the moon is Cain, who slew his brother Abel, with his dog and thorn bush; the thorn bush being emblematical of the thorns and briars of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, and the dog being the foul fiend, a poor representation, of the serpent.
 
The moon as literary devise in folklore is  powerful symbol of death, rebirth, male, female, and ambition.  It has played a strong part in the religious life of a people from the earliest day of civilization to present belief groups such as Wicca and Pagan and is inculcated into their growing body of folklore.
 
The realm of folklore can be found on any moonbeam, but the exact location of the "other folk' - the faeries, gnomes, sprite, cluricaun, ghosts and others - of whom folklore is written is as elusive as the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
 
To see the crescent Moon over the right shoulder was considered lucky, but seeing it over the left shoulder was unlucky.  In Cornwall, if a boy was born during a waning Moon, they said that the next birth would be a girl.  When anyone spoke of Mountains of the Moon, it simply meant white mountains.  The Arabs call white horses "Moon-colored."  In certain areas of England there was an expression that if a dark Moon came out on Christmas, a fine harvest would follow.  Other areas declared that a waxing or new Moon on Christmas portended a good year, but a waning Moon a hard year.  In Italy the say that if the moon changes on a Sunday, there will be a flood before the month is out.  If a new Moon falls on a Saturday, it was said there would be 20 days of wind and rain.  It is said of March weather that if it comes in like a lamb, it will go out like a lion.  And if the full Moon fell on a Friday that was also the 13th, it was considered to be the most unlucky day there could be.  Almost every culture believed that if the new Moon came on a Monday, it was a sign of good weather and good luck.  Two new Moons in one month were said to predict a month's bad weather.  A ring around the moon means rain or snow.  If you move to a new house or location during a waning Moon, it will ensure you never go hungry.  Some farmers still believe that crops sown near a full Moon will be ready, for the harvest a month earlier than crop sown during a waxing Moon.  Upon seeing the new Moon, bow to her and turn over the coins in your pocket.  This will bring you luck in all your affairs.  The Irish say that to see your future, for good or ill, take a mirror outside.  Let the light of the moon fall on the surface, and stare into it.  Any face that appears will be connected with your future.  If you suffer from corns, cut them during the waning Moon and they will disappear forever.  Grass crops should be sown at the full Moon.  Then the hay will dry quickly.  Wood cut at the new Moon is hard to split.  If it is cut at the full Moon it is easy to split.  The English had a saying:  "that if a memeber of the family died at the time of the new Moon, three deaths would follow."  Originally, the term moon-struck or moon-touched meant chosen by the Goddess.  These people were considered to be blessed. It is often said that if a person was born at a full Moon, he or she would have a lucky life.  It is said that cat's eyes will be open wider during a full Moon than any other time.  A waning Moon was considered an unlucky time for a marriage or birth.
 
"Farewell, Farewell;
And keep the well, my love!
For nine long years, I'll wait for thee
And hold thee in my heart, my love
And then I shall return, On a Moonbeam
To thy hear."
 
 
Lunar Lore
 
The moon is called "triform," because it presents itself to us either round, or waxing with horns towards the east, or waning with horns towards the west.
                  Brewer, "Dictionary of Phrase & Fable"
 
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief.
                  Shakespeare, "Romeo and Juliet," II
 
Across the sky, night and the moon are seen
To roll along: moon, day and night, and night's
Old awesome constellations evermore...
                  Lucretuis, De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things)
 
Lay thy bow of pearl apart
And thy crystal-shining quiver;
Give unto the flying hart
Space to breathe how short so ever;
Thou that mak'st a day of night,
Goddess excellently bright!
                      Ben Johnson, "Hymn to Diana"
 
The night is come, but not too soon;
and sinking silently,
All silently, the little moon
Drops down behind the sky.
                            Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "The Light of Stars"
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RE:Lunar Folklore
(Date Posted:01/12/2009 20:34 PM)

Moon Myths

An owl calling to the full moon on a clear night portends a death in
the neighborhood.

Cats cannot live unless periodically exposed to moonlight, and a cat
who always wishes to go out under the full moon should not be let
back into the house.

Eclipses, a time when the shadow of the earth falls across the
moon's surface, were once thought to be expressions of anger from
some stellar deity.  Later they were linked in popular folklore to
insanity and natural disasters.  {This was a dreadful forecast;
Lunar Eclipses can happen up to four times a year.} 

The transformations of werewolves {humans cursed to shapeshift into
vicious wolves} were thought to be triggered by the full moon.

In Slavic countries, werewolves were called Vlkodlaks and were
blamed for eclipses.

The Seneca Indians believe that the moon was created from a wolf
spirit; this is why wolves insist on howling at the moon.

If the winter new moon rises in the far north it will be a cold
month; if it rises far in the south it will unusually warm.

If the moon is resting on the back at the start of its fourth
quarter; it will be a rainy week.

A cloudy morning during a waning moon will creat a sunny afternoon.

If the moon is red when it rises, expect rain the next day.

Changes in the moon's apperance occuring on Sunday mean heavy rains
or flooding.

New clothes first washed on the full moon will not wear well.

Stained linens can be whitened under the full moon bleaching rays.

The happiest marriages are those which take place at the first full
moon in the month of June.

Weaning a child on a waning moon will make the child sickly.

Planting on a waning moon will yield a poor crop.

A child born on the dark moon will die before reaching adulthood. 
But a child born on the full moon will live a long, healthy life.

If a pregnant woman is exposed to the moon's light her baby will go
insane as an adult and be given to night wanderings and nightmares.

Pointing nine times at the moon in one night will prevent one's
admittance to heaven.

Riding a white horse under a dark moon produces a month of
nightmares.

Mushrooms gathered on a full moon are cursed by faeries and should
not be eaten.

Fairy rings, dark circles of grass in which humans can become
entrapped in the faery world, are at their most dangerous under a
full moon.

You must have silver money in your pocket when the new moon begins
in order to ensure a prosperous month to come.

Over-exposure to the moon when it shines in daylight can lead to
illness and madness.

Only the most pure of heart should venture outdoors on the night of
the dark moon; other risk falling under the dominion of the Devil.

Vampires, animated corpes which feed on the blook of the living,
have their greatest need on the moon's wane.

The persistent belief that the full moon causes lunancy may have
come from observances of Pagan worship during the dangerous years of
Witch persecutions, when only the crazy or foolhardy were believed
to be willing to risk death by openly honoring the old ways.  The
wild dances of joy and abandon that once characterized these coven
meetings may have been misconstrued by unseen observers as moon
induced madness.
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RE:Lunar Folklore
(Date Posted:01/12/2009 20:35 PM)

moon myths

Whether you’re a hunter, fisherman, trapper, farmer, gardener, or just a nature lover, you can be affected by the moon. And the affect can be a bit different depending on if the moon is new, crescent, harvest, hunter’s, waning, waxing, or a sparkling bright full moon.

Fishermen sometimes cast their lines according to the phases of the moon; hunters find certain moon times good, others bad; and it’s always more fun to camp out under a clear, full moon.

Although the moon plays a big part of outdoor life, few know just how much it affects our earth and our outdoor activities. Throughout history the moon has inspired man’s wonder and challenged his curiosity. Why else would we have sent a man to walk on its surface.

Perhaps more than anything else, the moon has come into play with farmers and gardeners when it is time to plant, cultivate, and harvest plants and crops. Even today many people believe growth patterns are better when planting tasks are performed in the moon’s proper position -- while others follow planting times according to The Farmer’s Almanac, which also details phases of the moon.

Early Native Americans believed the position of the moon during the first half of February indicated whether the growing season would be wet or dry. If the horns of the quarter moon pointed downward, the moon was “emptying its water,” and it would be a wet spring and summer. If the horns pointed upward, it indicated just the opposite, and there would be little rain.

Still today many farmers believe the moon controls crop growth. If you want a good above-ground harvest, plant during a full moon. On the other hand, root crops are to be planted during the dark of the moon.

Many farmers maintain that early July is the best time to plant the last crop of corn, because corn planted then will produce ears that reach upward from the stalk in an attempt to reach the full moon. Whereas, if planted during the last half of the month (when the moon is larger), the ears will snug closer to the stalk because they fear late July’s larger moon.

Some old-time gardeners contend that root vegetables taste better if they are harvested in the afternoon. Silly? Well, modern research has shown that the vital life forces of all plants return to the roots during the course of the late afternoon and evening. At daybreak they rise up again to the portion of the plant that is above ground. So, it would seem that picking is best in the afternoon when the life forces are back in the root system.

The moon is also a predictor for cutting wood. During a full moon for example, it has been considered a bad time to cut wood. Instead, to get the more durable wood from deciduous trees (leaf shedding), they should be cut in the winter -- preferably in December -- under the third quarter of the moon.

Throughout history the moon figured prominently in folktales, mythology, and religious rituals. Many early cultures chose to deify the bright light in the night sky. The early Greeks and Romans worshiped Diana or Artemis as the swift and beautiful Goddess of the Moon and the Hunt.

For the Chinese a woman’s moon face predicated her desirability, while her feet were bound to shape them into moon crescents.

Later the word lunatic came to describe someone who was moon mad as a result of sleeping under the moonlight, or being overexposed to it. Nefarious deeds took place during the dark moon, yet it seems that was the best time to capture a lucky rabbit’s foot -- even better if you were cross-eyed, caught the critter in a graveyard, and whacked off the left hind foot.

If you chose to look at the moon over your shoulder, or peer up at its halo, you were in for a spat of ill fortune, as you would be if you pointed up at a new moon.

Full moon followers have believed that taking medicines and tonics during this phase was most effective, while others have urged wishing upon seeing a new moon to bring good fortune.

Books have been written about the moon’s affects on man. Even today psychiatrists and law enforcement officials say that crime increases and the mentally ill become more agitated on nights of the full moon.

So, whatever you do, there is probably some myth, lore, or legend that brings into play the causes and effects of the man in the moon.

The moon is the earth’s only satellite companion in their annual circuit around the sun. The moon revolves around the earth in an elliptical orbit, making the circuit in 27 days, seven hours, 43 minutes, 11.5 seconds (for those who want to be precise). This is the sidereal month -- the period of revolution around the earth in relation to the stars.

Now to be really confused, if you consider the synodic month -- the period of revolution around the earth in relation to the sun -- then it takes 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes.

During this regular cycle there are four basic phases of the moon (the apparent changes), with any number of variations. The phases are caused by the angles at which the moon’s lighted surface is seen from the earth, and it gives us a new moon, full moon, and different crescent moons.

A new moon is when it is on line between the sun and the earth, presenting us its dark side and therefore hardly visible. It then passes through its waxing (getting bigger) crescent phase into the first quarter, when it is a right-hand moon. It continues on through its waxing gibbous phase, reaching full moon when it is on the opposite side of the earth from the sun, and fully illuminated. The moon marches on through its waning (getting smaller) gibbous into its last quarter -- when it is a left-handed moon -- and then continues through the waning crescent phase until it is again a new moon.

Itself a dark globe, the varying amounts of light that illuminate the moon’s surface as its revolutions bring it into different positions with relation to the sun and earth give us changing perceptions.

The phases between the new moon and the first and last quarters are crescent, and the phases between the full moon and the first and last quarters are gibbous. The whole cycle takes place every 28 and a fraction days (the average each month) with all kinds of things happening along the way.

A full moon is looked upon as a climactic period of the month, and is believed to have power over the human body and mind, over the fertility of animals and crops, and, above all, over weather conditions and the tides.

Tide is the alternate rise and fall of the ocean’s surface. Twice a day it rises (flows) and falls (ebbs), caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun (but the sun having only a third of the moon’s effect).

When the line of pull of the two is the same (at the time of the new moon and the full moon), the tide rises highest (strongest) and is called a spring tide. The greatest tide in the world is at the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia -- 53 feet. When the two pull in different directions (as in the first and third quarters), the crest of the tide is lowest (weakest), and is known as a neap tide.

At a given time there are two high tides on the earth, on on the side facing the moon, and the other on the opposite side, the latter being caused by the greater pull of the moon upon the earth itself than upon the oceans which are still farther away from the moon.

With the lunar day being about 24 hours and 50 minutes, the interval between high tides is about 12 hours and 25 minutes. High tide does not always occur on a given shore when the moon is directly overhead because there is a lag caused by a variety of irregularities and other factors. Tides rise higher where the water enters a narrow estuary, or when the water volume is added to by other natural occurrences (winds, etc.) The ebb and flow of the tide causes an almost continual motion near shores, termed the tidal current or tidal stream.

The moon also is credited (or blamed) for storms, with the heaviest storms in the calendar month in the northern hemisphere being related to lunar phases. Such storms are more likely to occur from one to three days after a new moon, and from three to five days after a full moon. The beginning of hurricanes in the Caribbean have been similarly related to lunar positions.

The mean (average) distance between the center of the earth and that of the moon is calculated at 238,857 miles -- once a staggering number, but no longer now that man has walked on the moon’s surface. The moon’s diameter is 2,160 miles, somewhat more than one-fourth that of the earth. The moon’s gravity is one-sixth that of the earth, thus making a 180 pound man weigh only 30 pounds when on the surface of the moon.

In a month’s time about 59 percent of the moon’s surface comes into view, with temperatures ranging from +243 degrees F in full sunlight at noon, to -279 degrees F with no sunlight at midnight (although calculations vary). The moon shines only by reflected light from the sun, or from earthshine -- when the unlit portion of the moon facing the earth appears to glow.

An eclipse of the moon occurs when the earth obscures the sun’s rays from it, passing into such a position that the earth’s shadow lies upon it, shutting off all light from the sun. A solar eclipse occurs when the new moon takes a position between the sun and the earth, and the moon’s shadow lies on some part of the earth’s surface, obscuring the sun’s light in that region.

So it is any wonder man has been fascinated with the moon. It is mysterious; seemingly with many different powers; and controls not only tides, crop growth, and behavioral cycles, but is that thing in outer space we have romanticized in both poetry and song.

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