written by Brandon Carignan
The earliest civilization’s (Egypt, India, Babylonia, and China) literary works give evidence to their worship of the moon and lunar deities. So, why were these ancient civilization so enamored by the night sky? And why are we, today, still fascinated with the moon and stars?
The answer is really not clear. However, we do know that certain earthly events are directly related to the moon’s positioning and influence. These events include the movement of tides due to the moon’s gravitational pull on the earth. If we did not have a moon our nights would be significantly darker, the earth’s axial tilt would vary over time, and our days would only be 6-8 hours. So, that is why the moon is so important and why whole religions are based on the moon’s contributions to earth.
Moon worship is based on the belief that the moon’s phases, plant growth, and animal and human life are all related. Some civilization’s ritual practices include leaving food out at night to absorb the lunar rays, and the bathing babies in the light of the full moon for health and prosperity. Babylonian astrologers assigned the moon a more important role than the sun in their research and traditionally related the moon as masculine, and the sun being feminine.
The Gregorian Calendar is internationally used today and is solar based. However, many ancient societies based their calendars on the moon, thus the creation of lunar calendars. For example, the Islamic calendar is lunar and based on the different phases of the moon as depicted [see sidebar]. The eight significant lunar phases are the New Moon (fresh starts and beginnings), the Crescent Moon (intentions, hopes, wishes), the First Quarter Moon (challenges, decisions, action), the Gibbous Moon (refinement), the Full Moon (signed, sealed, and stamped), the Disseminating Moon (gratitude and thanks), the Last Quarter Moon (release and letting go), and lastly the Balsamic Moon (rest and recuperation). It is said that women are physically and emotionally connected to these lunar phases and their emotions follow patterns similar to each phase’s significance.