The Moon has always fascinated me. With good reason. Science has learned that it possesses a great power and influence upon the Earth. It effects the tides, some also say it affects people’s moods. Legends abound regarding its influence on both people and animals. Some religions state that certain physical aspects of the Moon are a sign of the influence of the hand of God.
Both modern and old (dead) religions place a great influence on the Moon. After all, it is a very physical object, easily seen by one and all, without the need for a telescope or other man-made device. We have always seen the same side of the Moon, again, leading to many myths and legends about it’s unseen ‘dark side’ that is permanently hidden in shadow, away from the Sun.
Let us take a (brief) delve into the extraordinary richness of the Myths and Legends that surround the Moon.
In Hindu mythology, Soma is the god of the Moon. He rides the skies in a chariot drawn by white horses and his name is the elixir of immortality that the Gods drink. It is believed that the Moon stores the elixir, and when the full Moon wanes, it is because some of its liquid has been drunk. The Moon is also believed to be lived in by a Hare, which is why these animals are viewed as being an incarnation of Soma.
In one of the oldest Japanese religions, Tsuki-Yomi was the Moon god. The God was born from the right eye of Izanagi, who initially lived in the Heavens with his sister the sun God, Amaterasu. His sister once invited her brother to represent her to the Goddess of food, Uke Mochi, who gave him a meal created from her mouth and nose. It was apparently a wonderful meal, but because it became from her mouth and nose, he was disgusted by it and killed his host. This angered his sister, to such an extent that he (the Moon) and his sister (the Sun) now live eternally apart from one another.
In Greek mythology, Artemis was the twin sister of the God Apollo. Artemis was the Goddess of the Moon and also the Goddess of the hunt.
Older religions include Ix Chel, the ‘Lady Rainbow’ Goddess in Mayan Mythology. They were an ancient people who lived as far back as 250 AD, who saw the Moon as inhabited by an old woman who held the ‘sky serpent’ in her hand that they believed held all the water of the heavens. Her husband was also believed to be a Moon God, known as Itzamna.
There are many religions, beliefs, often involving many other astral bodies, from the Moon, the sun and the planets. More modern ‘myths’ or fictional legends also include Werewolves and Vampires.
My point is this: What a fascinating thing the Moon is! It’s affect upon our planet is enormous and proven. With equal power and impact, is its affect upon us, our imaginations, moods and even our beliefs. It makes for a powerful thing to write about in fantasy books don’t you think?