A MOON LOVER
Have a kind thought for the moon lover who adheres to ancient Greek mythology and describes herself as a Selenophile, after Selene the ancient Greek goddess of the moon. In 2021, and minus a visual image, a modern person may imagine a selenophile to be a St John’s Wort shrub or even a Yew tree. In agricultural reality a selenophile is a selenium-accumulating plant such as St John’s Wort, the Yew, alfalfa grass and others that have such a high concentration of the mineral as to be toxic to animals. Some of the land in North Kerry, West Limerick and Clare is high in the mineral selenium because it has shale and black marine deposits.
The moon has been earth’s companion in the universe through time. They shaped each other through the connection of their gravitational pull and we know that’s what affects the tides in our oceans and open water such as lakes. The moon orbits earth in about 28 days while rotating on its axis which results in the moon keeping the same face turned towards earth. The phases of the moon are: New moon (not visible from earth), Waxing crescent, First quarter, Waxing gibbous, Full moon, Waning gibbous, Last quarter, Waning crescent. The process repeats the next month.
Aristotle, the Greek philosopher (384-322 BC) suggested that the brain was the ‘moistist’ organ in the body and perhaps it could be influenced by the moon in the same way tides were, giving rise to a ‘lunacy effect’. Across the centuries some people have believed in the ‘lunar lunacy effect’ and in the Middle Ages it was called the ‘Transylvania effect’ when humans were supposed to transmogrify into werewolves or vampires during a full moon.
Scientists have studied whether or not the moon influences various physiological and psychological systems. The results say there is no connection between a psychiatric condition and any of the phases of the moon.
Love and romance are the best things in life and if they are sparked by moonlight I’m all for it. Songwriters and poets have written countless inspirational words on the mystery, such as “your silv’ry beams will bring love’s dreams”.
The power of suggestion may be influencing the thoughts, feelings and actions of people, e.g. “The loveliest faces are to be seen by moonlight, when one sees half with the eye and half with the fancy”.
I wouldn’t want to detract from the moon but when reality kicks in we must acknowledge that “the moon is beautiful only when the mind is seeking beauty and the heart is loving”.
Twelve people have walked on the moon as part of the Apollo program from Neil Armstrong in 1969 to Eugene Cernan in 1972. The Apollo 8 astronauts were the first people to see the far side of the moon in 1966. When we talk about the ‘dark side’ of the moon what we mean is that our lack of knowledge about it has kept us in the dark. We are gaining knowledge about both sides of the moon through space exploration.
The following is our Full Moon calendar for 2021.
January 28 Wolf moon
February 27 Snow moon
March 28 Worm moon
April 27 Pink moon – supermoon
May 26 Flower moon – supermoon
June 24 Strawberry Moon
July 24 Buck moon
August 22 Sturgeon moon
September 21 Corn/Harvest moon
October 20 Hunter’s moon
November 19 Beaver moon
December 19 Cold moon
We have learned a lot about the moon but there is much more to learn. I am reminded of Donald Rumsfeld’s quote:
“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know.
There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know.
But there are also unknown unknowns. These are things we don’t know we don’t know.”