Mysteries of the Moon

The moon sits high in the sky. All of us have admired it, but only some of us have explored its mysteries. It is the other part of the pagan holidays. Each full and dark moon serves its own purposes. Here we’re specifically talking about the full moon however.  The moon is important to the cycle of the Earth.  It manages the waves and even has an effect on a woman’s menstrual cycle.

There are thirteen moons every year.  Each month has a moon and the thirteenth is called the Witches’ moon. Whenever there are two full moons in a month the second one is the Witches’ moon. It has another name as well. It is also called the Blue moon.  The thirteenth moon is a part of the reason why magick is associated with the number thirteen.  It is also the reason other cultures have attributed it to bad luck; it is the interloper, an extra moon.

Most esbats are held on the night of the full moon preferably outside. I don’t know many people who get to do this, but if you have the privacy enjoy it.  Of course, weather is not always permitting and usually if that occurs, most groups will meet before the full moon and as close to the actual date as possible.  And some groups meet on both the New and the Full moons.

So what are the Esbats about? Well first of all they are about our connection to the world, magick and others. More specifically however, there are two other related reasons.  First, they still honor the Goddess and the God, particularly related to either the dark or full moon. Second, they celebrate the mysteries of life through those Goddesses and Gods.

The Moon and Magick

As mentioned earlier, the moon has a remarkable effect on people and animals. Pet owners often see weird behavior from some of their pets on the full moon.  And some witches claim to have heightened awareness of magick and the world.  Miles Betty, in Teaching Witchcraft, says that we celebrate the Esbat because of the profound affect the moon has on us.

As a rule, spells for prosperity, luck and positive goals are best done as the moon grows full while spells for removing things should be done closer to the dark viewing of the moon.  As the moon is a reflection of the sun’s light some traditions use “moon mirrors” in their magick. I honestly don’t know a lot about moon mirrors, but I hope to eventually find a good source on what they are and what they are used for. If anyone has any good sites on this please let me know. I would love to look at them. The only thing mentioned in the book is scrying, but I’m sure there are other purposes to such a tool.

We’ll talk more about scrying in a later post.

In addition to the usual ritual (a post coming up in a few weeks) during the full moon there is something specific that many groups do. It’s called Drawing Down the Moon.  In this portion of the full moon ritual the high Priestess stands receptive as the maiden guides “collected” moon powers into the Goddess.  So essentially, you are channeling the Goddess.

Having seen it done by my previous mentor, it isn’t something that I suggest just anyone do. It is still a wonderful thing to watch if you can find someone who can do it well.  And for naysayers, no it isn’t a show. If you are pagan and can feel the energies of the world around you, you can tell when someone is seriously doing this or just faking it.

Man and the Mystery of the Moon

For millennia, the moon has fascinated man.  There is a reason the word lunacy and lunatic comes from the words for moon.  At one point schizophrenia was blamed on the moon.  Medieval scientist even went so far as to dissect human brains trying to understand the moon. At one point they thought that the two lobes of the brain mirrored the light and dark moon. Of course, they realized this wasn’t the case, but is it so hard to see how it might have happened?

And what about the people who behave differently on the full moon? There isn’t any reliable evidence, but we’ve all seen it, if we really think about it.  It does seem like there are more crimes committed around the full moon. Or at least that was a superstition or theory (whichever you prefer) in the past.  At one point a woman’s menstrual cycle was considered to be powerful and was often associated with the moon.  There were even cultures that once locked away women during their period until they returned to normal. It was because of that very theory.

The point being that the moon has always held mystery for man and still does.

Theories of the Moon

Now that we’ve talked about humans and the mysteries of the moon explored in the past, let’s talk science.  We do know about its composition. We know that it’s there, but even science can’t explain all the mysteries of the moon.  Let me give you a practical example. It regards the moons origin.

Mystical energies aside, what do we know about the moon? In all honesty it is a bit of a mystery itself. There are several theories as to how it came to be, but none of them work quite right. Space.com has an article on this; however, I find it amusing that for once, Wikipedia was far more useful in this case. So if you’re interested, just look of origin of the moon on Wikipedia.

Why don’t they make sense? Well I’ll try to keep it short. First is a collision between two planetary bodies. It calls for a glancing blow between Earth and Theia.  This accounts for the moons iron core and an otherwise similar composition to Earth, but not the rise in temperature of part of the Earth (up to 18000 F). It also doesn’t explain the moon’s volatile elements not being as depleted as would be expected had this happened.  There are some other issues, and no upgrades to the theory have solved them. Check out Wikipedia for more info.

A second theory is that the moon was captured by the Earth. However, one of three things would have had to happen if this were the case. Either the Earth needed an extended atmosphere, there would have been a collision of planetary bodies, or a great divergence of the course.  Which some say may explain the abnormal orbits of Jupiter and Saturn.

Other theories include fission, accretion, and the existence of a second moon (we somehow took a moon from Venus).  The point being that we really don’t know much about the moon. We know its size. We know its gravity.  And we know that it dictates our tides. Finally, we know that its relation to the sun and the Earth dictate whether we see it as full or new.

But there are still a lot of mysteries surrounding the moon.

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