As the Sun sets, the Moon rises - and the Little People play on every moonbeam, sprinkling sparkling moon dust on humankind.
centuries, tales and legends of "other folk" have delighted generation
after generation of children and adults alike. No matter
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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)
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!"
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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"