Ms Luna and her Mysterious Moods

At night, as the celestial sky sparkles with stars and Luna casts her eerie shadows, a lone wolf lifts his head and challenges her with a mournful howl.

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Okay back to the present, life is raining lemons on the full moon and moods are moodier than usual.

It’s been said that moods are determined by moon phases and on a full moon, people and animals go a little loco. Or do they? Let’s first start with a little background summary on the moon.

Mystery has surrounded the moon since caveman first laid eyes on her one clear and starry night. If it wasn’t for her moonlight, then used as an ancient celestial torch, prowling sabre tooth tigers and other, large fanged animals, caveman would have become extinct rather quickly and we probably wouldn’t have been blessed with those wonderful David Attenborough documentaries.

The moon takes its name from the word lunar taken from the latin word luna, and coming back to the beginning, meaning ‘moon‘. Lunacy is also derived from lunar and was thought to have first been tossed around by philosophers such as Aristotle and Pliny the Elder who believed the full moon made people a little crazy. This may have been due to the fact that it was bright during a full moon and more people were out and about. Imagine them in the modern world with lights on every night.

It takes Luna approximately 27.something days to orbit the Earth, this ties in nicely with the female menstrual cycle so it’s no wonder the moon is associated with Goddesses across cultures. The Greeks have Phoebe, Artemis, Selene and Hectate; the Incans have Ka-Ata-Killa, and Mama Quilla; the Egyptians have Hathor; and the Polynesians have Lona and Mahina (the Hawaiian word for Moon). Of course there are many more, too many to mention here.

So that it’s not just about females in this article, Luna’s male counterpart is Sol, Latin for sun 😉

Menstruation (which relates to the moon), and menses, comes from the Latin mensis meaning month. This goes back to the Greek word mene meaning moon and finally arriving at the English words month and moon. A word which hasn’t been mentioned so far and might be nice to include here, is mood, because the mood can swing from sweet kitty to raging lioness in less time than you can say “How are you feeling?”. That’s when life no longer rains lemons, instead, it hails.

There have been countless studies done on moon cycles and mentruation, and whilst light does affect the menstrual cycle, no correlation has been found between the two cycles.

In astrology the moon governs the emotions, and as it governs the tides as well, it’s all about water. Water = emotions. *Science shows us we do consist of water, babies are approximately 75 to 80% water – makes sense with all the milk they drink. As we reach adulthood the percentage starts to drop, men are 60 – 65% water while women are 50 – 60% water (all percentages are approximate). These figures show it’s men who are probably more emotional during a full moon – this would be an interesting concept if it wasn’t for the women’s cycle which we know affects moods. The brain holds approximately 85% water and bones 10 – 15% – so it’s important to drink water to keep the brain and rest of the body hydrated.

(*source: http://www.chemcraft.net/wbody.html)

Moon phases influence animals and humans, and it would seem it’s because of the light or lack thereof. *Noga Kronfeld-Schor led a study on the effect of moon light on different predators, and said “The first hours of the night are darkest during the week following a full moon, and the lions are hungriest at that time because of the low predation success during full moon nights.” More animals find themselves in emergency with injuries during a full moon and again it seems light has something to do with it – more light means more time to be out.

(*http://news.discovery.com/animals/10-animal-habits-you-can-blame-on-the-moon-130702.htm)

Could it be that odd behaviour in people and animals during a full moon is a belief? The more people talk or read about strange happenings during moonlight hours, the greater the possibility of being influenced by those stories. It’s also possible that during a full moon something out of the ordinary happens, this in turn is filed into the brain’s memory bank. On the next full moon the brain unconsciously searches for more of the same and when found is also added to memory.

In NewScientist magazine 3 August 2013 there’s a short article called Sleep suffers under the full moon’s glow and mentions a decade old study into sleep quality of 33 volunteers, between the ages of 20 and 74 years old. This study was designed to not only exclude the menstrual cycle and was conducted in tightly controlled conditions including total isolation from natural light – imagine being in an underground cave and someone turns out the lights and you the idea. What they found was that around the time of the full moon 27 out of the 33 participants slept the least well. Although this study was small (and needs further investigation) it’s possible we have a circalunar clock in our brain too but is yet to be discovered.

Theories and studies abound of Luna‘s mysterious moods, including stories of strange and unexplainable happenings on the full moon. Maybe it’s a combination of all the theories, studies and the unexplainable, in which case, everyone wins 🙂

Sonnet of the Moon

Look how the pale queen of the silent night
Doth cause the ocean to attend upon her,
And he, as long as she is in his sight,
With her full tide is ready her to honor.
But when the silver waggon of the moon
Is mounted up so high he cannot follow,
The sea calls home his crystal waves to moan,
And with low ebb doth manifest his sorrow.
So you that are the sovereign of my heart
Have all my joys attending on your will;
My joys low-ebbing when you do depart,
When you return their tide my heart doth fill.
So as you come and as you do depart,
Joys ebb and flow within my tender heart.

~ Charles Best (1570 – 1627), English poet