FULL MOON PHENOMENA
1. The Moon has been a source of unceasing mystery and speculation since the dawn of time, casting its shadow into the customs of many lands. The Moon has been the stuff of poetry, magic, romance and enchantments. Virtually thousands of beliefs and legends have evolved around the moon throughout history, encompassing its shifting faces and aspects. She has always been that elusive silvery disc, seemingly just beyond touch, looking down on man’s endeavors, yet always changing. What is it about the moon that makes it so intriguing, so mysterious? Though its impossible to cover the all the facts, myths and legends surrounding the moon and its various phases however, I will make an endeavor to highlight few important facts and myths related to only full moon.
2. To apprise you with the Full Moon Phenomena
3. Sequence that I will follow is as flashed:-
a. What is full moon and full moon phenomena.
b. Full moon and its effects on tides.
c. Myths, Legends and Folktales associated with full moon.
4. What is Full Moon. Full moon is a lunar phase that occurs when the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun. As the moon moves behind the Earth, more of the moon will appear illuminated in a cycle called “waxing.” When the moon is all the way behind the Earth, the sun’s light will completely illuminate the visible side of the moon, making it look like a large white disc in the sky. As the moon moves around to the front of the Earth again, the visible disc shrinks, in a process referred to as waning, until the moon appears totally dark because the illuminated portion faces away from Earth. Though, full moon affects the formation of tides however, phenomenon relates to effect of full moon on human being, which is more of a myth then reality.
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Full Moon and Its Effects On Tides
4. Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and the Sun and the rotation of the Earth. The gravitational force of the moon is one ten-millionth that of earth, but when you combine other forces such as the earth’s centrifugal force created by its spin, you get tides. The sun’s gravitational force on the earth is only 46 percent that of the moon. Making the moon the single most important factor for the creation of tides. Tides are created because the Earth and the moon are attracted to each other, just like magnets are attracted to each other. The moon tries to pull at anything on the Earth to bring it closer. But, the Earth is able to hold onto everything except the water. Since the water is always moving, the Earth cannot hold onto it, and the moon is able to pull at it. Each day, there are two high tides and two low tides.
a. Spring Tides. Moon takes 29.5 days to orbit around earth which is known as a Lunar Cycle. The lunar cycle lent its name to the word “month,” which is derived from “moon”. During the period of the new Moon or full moon, the Sun and Moon are lined up on the same side or opposite side of Earth so that the high tides that are produced independently of each other coincide. These are called spring tides and occur after every 14 days.
b. Neap Tides. One week later, the Moon is in its 1st or last quarter until it is at a 90-degree angle to the solar bulge. These tides are called neap tides. Tidal effects of the Moon and Sun tend to cancel each other out and the range between high and low tide is small.
5. Blue Moon. This is typically the occurrence of a 13th full moon in a year. There are generally 12 full moons in a year. However, since the lunar cycle is approximately 30 days to a lunar month, occasionally there will be a 13th full moon in a year but this will happen only in 2-3 years. And when this happen you will get two full moons in a single month – the second full moon in a month is called a “blue moon”. The saying “Once in a blue moon” refers to something that doesn’t happen often – like a blue moon. There was a Blue Moon in December 2009 and now we will be able to see a Blue Moon in August 2012. A Month with no Full Moon, in astronomy, this phenomenon is called as Black Moon’. This phenomenon happens only four times this past century, the last in February 1999. In fact February is the only month in which this can occur. The 21st century will see the event only four times: February 2018, 2037, 2067, and 2094.
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6. Myths, Legends and Folktales Associated with Full Moon. From the earliest times the moon has been featured in folk tales, myths, and legends. The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans worshiped Isis, Diana, and Artemis as the celestial Goddess of the Moon. Some of the common phenomenas discussed frequently are:-
a. Full Moon And Romance. It is a common believe that the full moon lift the spirits of most people particulary young and teenagers. It is also believed to rejuvenate feelings of love and stimulate pent up passions.
b. Human Reproduction. Courting, mating and childbirth myths are heavily intertwined with moon phases; just the act of a female sleeping under the full moon’s rays was thought to make her magically with child. Among the Buganda(A state of Uganda) of Central Africa it is customary for a mother to bathe her newborn child by the light of the first full moon.
c. Moon Madness. An ancient, but still common, popular belief is that a full moon is responsible for increased insomnia, insanity, crime and violent behaviour. The word ‘lunatic’ has its origins from word lunar and is based on this belief. A pseudoscientific explanation for “moon madness” is that the moon affects people in a similar way that it affects the oceans, causing tides as human body is also composed of 75% of water. This is not justified by natural laws as the human body is too small to be significantly influenced by the moon’s pull. There is no good scientififc data that shows a relationship between the moon and human behavior.
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d. Werewolves. In ancient folk phenomena of Lycanthropy was attributed to Full Moon. (Lycanthropy is the ability or power of a human being to undergo transformation into a wolf, or to gain wolf-like characteristics).
It was believed that human being Werewolves were thought to transform during the full moon.
e. Full Moon And the Magic. It is also believed that the moon has a direct influence on magical and spiritual workings. The timing of magical workings (spells) are usually coordinated to full moon. These timings in spellcraft has been acknowledged for centuries possibly going back to the magic peformed in the temples of ancient Egypt.
g. Folktales Associated with Moon. Folktales are associated with the moon in almost in every part of the world. In west it is believed that The ‘Moon rabbit’ is a rabbit that lives on the moon in folklore, based on psychology that identifies the markings of the moon as a rabbit. In Japanese and Korean versions it is God Elixir, pounding the ingredients for rice cake. In subcontinent it is long considered that an old lady lives in moon that is always spinning yarn on a spin wheel.
7. It’s no wonder that through the ages man has been fascinated with the moon. It is wondrous and mysterious, and possesses a certain power over mankind that is real, if not always understood. Seemingly with certain powers, the moon reigns over our imagination and facets of the physical world we live in. I will end up my thoughts on the poem ‘To The Moon’ By Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
Among the stars that have a different birth,
And ever changing, like a Joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?
‘To The Moon’ By Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)