It’s no wonder why there are so many interesting myths about the moon, considering it’s so fascinating. The moon has been a central figure of beauty, mystery, and intrigue for thousands of years. Its beautiful way of lighting up the sky is a light that guides us through the night. Furthermore, the fact that the moon has such a strong connection with the Earth has led people to believe it is a deeply powerful entity. There is a lot of truth behind this since the moon controls things like the tides and keeps the Earth spinning steadily.
Charles Q. Choi of Space.com puts it best, “The moon is Earth’s most constant companion and the easiest celestial object to find in the night sky.”
It’s also important to note that without the moon, we would not exist, and our fascination with the moon has never truly ended. While many myths about the moon and its power have been debunked, we know so little about the world around us that there might just be a little truth to some of them. But that’s a story for another day.
In this guide, we would like to take you through some of the most interesting myths about the moon. Following various cultures across the globe and spanning thousands of years, it’s intriguing to discover how important the moon was (and is) to so many cultures and why.
1. The Moonlight Can Make You Go Mad
Even today, one of the most common myths about the moon is that the full moon can alter your mood and make you act in a more irrational or more violent manner than usual. The full moon makes you go crazy, that’s why everyone is acting weird tonight – this is one of the common myths about the moon. While many experts have debunked this theory, there is a reason that the full moon has been recorded as having an effect on human behavior for thousands of years.
It was known as being ‘moonstruck’, and even the word ‘lunatic’ is derived from the Roman goddess of the moon, Luna. As far as Japan, the power of the moon was revered. It was believed that the moon was a god with the power to see the future, and priests would study the moon’s reflection in a mirror for fear they would go mad if they gazed upon it directly.
In England, it was recorded in the 13th Century that many had died because they didn’t protect themselves from the moon. This is because it was believed that if you slept where the moonbeams could reach you, the evil influence of the moon would infect you.
Perhaps people believe myths about the moon such as this one because they’re searching to find meaning behind their shifting moods or altered behavior. However, our mods change all the time, and it’s not very likely the moon has much to do with it. If you’re searching for meaning behind why you are the way you are, you could get to know yourself better by having your DNA analyzed through an at-home DNA test. With the CircleDNA Premium DNA testing kit, you’ll get over 500 reports about yourself, including some of your genetic strengths and weaknesses, and personality traits you’re more likely to have based on your genetics.
2. The Moon is Where Souls Await Reincarnation
Another one of the interesting myths about the moon is its connection to the afterlife. The moon has very often been associated with life and death; the cycles of the sun and the moon are fairly reflective of the circle of life. Where the moon rises in darkness and the sun brings us light, the association of life for the sun and death for the moon is fairly natural and expected.
In some early Ancient Greek sects, the moon was seen as the final resting place for the dead. This was before the realm of the dead was associated with Hades and the underworld, showing the evolution of Classical beliefs.
However, one of the most interesting beliefs is that of early Hinduism. It was originally believed that the moon was where the souls of the dead would go to await reincarnation. When you looked to the moon, you knew your loved ones were there awaiting judgment to see what they would come back as in their next life.
3. The Lunar Rabbit Can Grant You Immortality
The Lunar Rabbit is prevalent in Chinese and Japanese mythology, and it is said that if you are able to travel to the moon and find the rabbit, it will mix you a potion of immortality.
In Chinese folklore, the rabbit is the companion of the moon goddess, and it is his job to pound the ingredients needed to make the elixir of immortality. Some versions of the story also have the rabbit mixing the ingredients to make moon cakes alongside the elixir.
While the Vietnamese version of the tale also portrays the rabbit as mixing an immortality potion, the Japanese and Korean versions are a little different. In these stories, the rabbit is making mochi or rice cakes on the moon for humans to eat.
4. The Sun Fell in Love with the Moon
The story of the sun and moon falling in love is one that transcends times and cultures. In Native American stories, the sun is a chieftain, and the moon is his wife. The stars are their children, but the sun chases them and eats them, which is why they vanish when he rises. (Think of how many times stargazers complain about the moonlight drowning out the stars.)
The moon loves the stars and plays with them, but there comes a time every month when one side of her face darkens as she mourns those the sun caught.
In Nigeria, the sun and moon were also married, and they lived happily together on Earth. They were visited by their friend Flood, who brought water and all manner of creatures to their doorstep. However, he rose so high that the sun and moon were forced to flee to the sky so that they could remain safe.
5. The Moon Goddess Became Trapped on Earth
The Indonesian island of Java has a beautiful story about the moon goddess. It says that she once visited the Earth so that she could bathe in a lake, and she wore a cloak made from swan feathers so that she could fly back into the night sky when she was done.
However, a man stole her cloak while she was bathing, and it left her completely trapped on Earth and unable to return to the sky. She married the man who stole her cloak, and she used her magic to feed her household every day with just a single grain of rice.
When her husband discovered this secret, he was furious, and she lost her magic. She was forced to pound rice every day like the other wives in order to feed her family. But there came a time when she found her swan cloak and was able to return to the sky once more.
By this time, she had a daughter, and so the moon goddess decided to return to the sky and resume her place among the stars at night, but she returned to her husband and child during the day.
There are so many stories that follow the moon and its impact on the world below. It’s interesting that the moon’s deity is almost always female, something that likely links to the fact the moon’s cycle is almost identical to a woman’s menstrual cycle in terms of timeframe. In fact, the cycle of the moon was used as a fertility tracker as recently as the 1950s.
The way in which these stories have changed through time and the similarities shared between so many cultures will always be fascinating. The stories here just scratch the surface of what various civilizations have depicted the moon to be. We hope that you have enjoyed the tales brought to you today and that they have perhaps inspired you to discover more stories.