Posted by: Footler PJ30 SEP 2009
There is a full moon this weekend. At such times the moon’s energy is said to be at its strongest and full of magic power. It was believed that a child born during a full moon should live a long and healthy life. Then again, legends tell us that werewolves only emerge at the full moon as well.
Full moons have also been associated with insomnia and insanity, hence the terms “lunacy” and “lunatic”. However, psychologists say there is no strong evidence that the moon’s phases influence human behaviour.
This particular full moon, on Sunday 4 October, is the one nearest to the autumnal equinox and so is better known as the harvest moon. It is rather late this year, since in about three years out of four the harvest moon falls in September.
The moon usually rises about 50 minutes later each day as it moves in orbit around the Earth. At this time in the autumn it is about 30 minutes later as the plane of the Earth’s orbit around the sun makes a narrow angle for the horizon. The time difference between moonrises from one evening to the next is less than usual. Consequently there is only a short period between sunset and moonrise.
As a result of this the harvest moon gives the illusion of being bigger and brighter than other full moons and so was thought to help farmers to gather their crops even after the sun had set. Hence the name, harvest moon. A full moon in October is sometimes called the hunter’s moon for the same reason —more light made it easier for hunters to track their prey.
This special full moon features in other cultures. Native Americans call the harvest moon “the moon of falling leaves” and say that it is a “coming together” time, a good time to gather around a camp fire to greet old friends and make new ones. They say it is a time to be more compassionate to our fellow man. Well, perhaps we might give that idea a try.