Apparently there was a Supermoon on Sunday night, I didn’t see it, maybe you didn’t either as it was rather cloudy. We get a Supermoon effect when a full moon is coincident with the moon being closest to the earth in its orbit. If you really wanted to get technical it’s called a perigee-syzygy, though knowing that might only be useful in a pub quizzes or in Scrabble. The moon sits there in the sky displaying itself at regular intervals as it reflects sunlight to us. It’s not something that we often ponder on; we often only think about it when it looks pretty in the sky, set amongst scuttling clouds or when it is large and bold, a resounding light in the darkness. It does though have some unusual properties. It’s the largest satellite in the solar system relative to its planet; it appears to us on earth to be exactly the same size as the sun does due to the relative size and distance from us compared to the sun. Which is why we can get total solar eclipses on earth. Due to the nature of its own rotation relative to the earth’s rotation, it always shows the same face to the earth. Which is why we talk about the dark side of the moon. Because we have the moon, the earth’s rotation is more stabilised than it would have otherwise been; and as you know the gravitational effect of the moon produces our tides.
But does it have a deeper, a less apparent effect on us too. The term lunatic or its derivative loony, means of the moon or moonstruck. As if odd or strange behaviour is caused by the presence of the moon. In astrological terms the moon also represents mother or feminine; maybe because the cycle of the moon is about 28 days. It’s also used in astrology to represent the unconscious mind, whereas the sun represents the conscious mind or ego.
There is a Zen saying too about the moon; it is a message about truth and understanding and it says that all of our individual ideas and religions are “like fingers pointing at the moon”. What we all tend to do is to focus and fixate on how different our fingers look; “oh my finger is different to your finger; my finger is longer or stouter or stronger or more elegant than your finger.” What we forget is that we should be looking at the moon. Now the moon here is used as a metaphor for truth. Each of us has our own truth based on our own unique perspective and life experience but regardless of that, the truth is like a sphere; it matters not what direction you approach it from, it looks the same.
The moon also gets associated with our past and who we were rather than who we are now. In our collective past the moon has been a symbol for us, a representation of something else, a periodic reminder for us of a deeper sense of meaning in ourselves. And who are we now? Travellers who have taken our first halting steps beyond the confines of terrestrial existence and who have set foot on the moon, albeit briefly and 45 years ago?
Next time that you see the moon, don’t just enjoy its beauty as a shining disc set in the night sky allow its radiance to draw you deeper within and as it does, ask yourself what is your next step going to be?
“Suddenly, from behind the rim of the moon, in long, slow-motion moments of immense majesty, there emerges a sparkling blue and white jewel, a light, delicate sky-blue sphere laced with slowly swirling veils of white, rising gradually like a small pearl in a thick sea of black mystery. It takes more than a moment to fully realize this is Earth . . . home.” Edgar Mitchell Apollo 14
“Wisdom is as the moon rises, perceptible not in progress but in result.” Chinese Proverb