I read somewhere that science describes nature whereas religion gives it meaning. For example, spring teaches us that there is life after death; stars, like prophets, guide travelers in the dark to their destination. Nature’s harmony points to one Creator. And, the Moon is a timekeeper, and the luminary that takes over when the Sun sets. The Sun is the realm of day and the waking hours of the Self, and the Moon inhabits the landscapes of the soul, emotions, and dream life – so they say.
The moon has always played an important role in Egyptian religion, even through modern times, with it’s symbolisms related to the Islamic faith. During ancient times, it was never as important to the Egyptians as the sun, though the moon was considered by them to be the nightly replacement of the sun. Within all of the known creation accounts, the Sun is always paramount. However, in the relationship between the Moon and the stars, the lunar god can be designated as “ruler of the stars”
In ancient Egypt, the Sun god Ra and the Moon god Thoth embodied this Sun-Moon switchover. When the Sun god Ra journeyed into the underworld at night, Thoth took over until Sunrise.
The harmony and balance of Natural Rhythms guide all that we do – our very existence. Our ancestors lived their lives by the rising and setting of the Moon and Sun. It was a necessity for them to be ‘in tune’ with the natural rhythms of the Earth. For us, in this modern world, it is a choice.
With the shift of the lunar (feminine) calendar to the solar (masculine) calendar came a shift in masculine dominant energy on Earth. That energy is now said to be equalizing to create a balance between the divine feminine and masculine.
The Moon has long been a source of great mystery and fascination for Man ever since primitive man first looked up into the night sky. Ancient cultures learned to utilize the Moon and her monthly phases for very practical purposes, not the least of which was as a method of keeping time, based on the monthly cycle of the Moon through Her phases, which provided clear markers, or signposts, indicating the passage of time.
The cycle of the moon continues 29.5 days, affecting many processes taking place on the Earth. This is the natural period to which cyclical Earth processes are connected. The tides take place during this lunar month; the atmosphere’s behavior changes, as well. This change affects weather and meteorological occurrences. The manner in which sunlight gets reflected from the surface of the moon is also experiencing periodical change.
All these changes in nature have the power to affect organisms – plants, animals and human beings alike. Few people know it but the moon cycle affects the intensity of wine fermentation, the reproductive periods of animals and even the ovulation in the case of humans.
Every culture with an eye to the sky has honored the Moon, and been mesmerized by its changing face, and influence on waters and women’s cycles.
For thousands of years it has been believed that the fortunes of men and women move in cycles. The ancients depicted the concept as the great Wheel of Fortune, eternally turning and spilling off the winners on top while bearing up the wretches beneath and giving them their time in the limelight before they, too, get dumped.
The trouble was that no one knew for sure what powered that wheel or exactly what speed it was turning for any given individual. People knew their days were numbered, but they didn’t know the number.
Until recently the situation hasn’t improved much. For hundreds of years we have known that it is the regular and predictable cycles of the moon and sun that regulate the ocean’s tides, but the tides in the affairs of humans have not been so easily forecast. It is almost as if they move erratically of their own accord, unmotivated by outside forces.
The extensive cycle research of the past thirty years has proved otherwise. It has established numerous links between regularly occurring human behavior and external natural cycles ranging from weather and solar radiation to phases of the moon and planetary cycles.
So what does the moon reflecting the sun’s light tell us?
Historically man has tracked the Moon Phases out of necessity and curiosity.
Practical economic use of the lunar cycle has been going on for a long time. In tropical rain forest countries in South America and Southeast Asia, where most of the world’s hardwood comes from, tree-harvesting contracts are linked to the phase of the moon.
The trees are only cut down on a waning moon, as near to the new moon as feasible. This is because on a waxing or full moon, the sap rises in the trees and extensive sap bleeding attracts hordes of deathwatch beetles, which will devastate a crop.
Awareness of this cycle means the difference between making and losing millions of dollars every year.
Probably the most distinguished work connecting planetary cycles with events and trends in the lives of individuals has been that of French psychologist and statistician Michel Gauquelin.
In the mid-1960s he set out to disprove astrology statistically by analyzing planetary positions at the births of professionals, using samples as large as 10,000, 15,000, and 20,000. Astrologers have always believed that certain planets coming up over the horizon, or directly overhead at a person’s birth, guide that individual toward a certain profession.
To Gauquelin, the task he had set for himself seemed like a piece of cake. All he had to do was prove that the planet associated with athletic achievement, Mars, fell at random points in the nativities of 10,000 or 15,000 athletes, and that would be that; astrology would be debunked. To emphasize his point he also investigated groups of doctors, lawyers, writers, and others in jobs associated by astrologers with specific planets.
To Gauquelin’s surprise, the results turned out to be exactly the opposite of what he had expected. Mars did appear to be rising or culminating in a vast number of athletes’ birth charts. Similarly, Jupiter appeared for bankers, Saturn for doctors, Mercury for writers, and so on. Gauquelin was astounded. Had he accidentally proved the case for astrology when he had meant to debunk it?
Actually, he had done a lot more than that; because his data not only confirmed traditional astrological assignments, they uncovered new ones. For writers, for instance, the traditionally associated planet is Mercury. Gauquelin found that Mercury was indeed significant in writers’ natal charts, but he also found that the moon was equally important, something astrologers had never posited.
Gauquelin’s work established the fact that planetary positions do affect human disposition, talent, and direction and that these effects can be specifically determined by scientific methods such as statistical analysis and probability.
During the Colonial era Benjamin Franklin published “Poor Richard’s Almanac” – it was a best seller and most every household had an almanac and used it for many things. The Almanac contained the calendar, weather, poems, sayings and astronomical and astrological information.
The Farmer’s Almanac is an annual North American periodical that has been in continuous publication since 1818. Offering a calendar, based on the phases of the moon, which includes Weather predictions, planting and harvesting guides, fishing guides – and health tips. Previously, it was common to consult the almanac when scheduling any medical procedure or surgery.
In Islam, the moon can be understood as a metaphor for the Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him. The Prophet, whom Muslims believe is the best of all creation, most perfectly reflects the light of God, just as the moon, the brightest object in the night sky, most beautifully reflects the light of the sun. And as the moon lights up the darkness of the night, the Prophet illuminates our understanding of what is good and right in the ignorance of this earthly life.
Many misunderstand Islam’s view on science. In short, Muslims do not view understanding the workings of the universe as threatening, but rather as an opportunity to learn more about God.
In other words, religion and science do not have to be incompatible.
To understand the basic difference between the Sun and Moon in astrology, the most helpful analogy, I feel, is the ancient Chinese Taoist concept of Yin and Yang. Like these two primordial principles of our dualistic universe, the Sun and Moon, and the roles that they play in an individual’s nativity, or astrological birth chart, are opposite yet complementary to one another.
Yang is Masculine and Yin is feminine. Yang is Light and Yin is Dark. The ancient astrologers called the Sun the Lord of the Day, and the Moon the Queen of the Night. Likewise, in ancient forms of astrology, two broad schools or camps arose: astrologers who were primarily Solar based, or oriented towards the Daytime Sky, and those who were Lunar and Stellar based, oriented more towards to Nighttime Sky, with its Moon and Stars.
The Solar based astrologers predominated in the West, and so, Western civilization has had a predominantly Yang, Solar emphasis of conquest and dominance in the outer, material world. Eastern civilization, and their forms of astrology, are primarily Lunar and sidereal based, giving them a more Yin, contemplative, introspective nature.
In an individual’s natal chart, the Sun represents the conscious will; charisma and personal power; logic, reason, discretion and self control; personal dominion and authority; the centering and integration of the personality; and the drive towards self-actualization.
Cultivating and fully expressing one’s Sun is the key to sanity and self-actualization. Conversely, the Moon represents the subconscious mind and its feelings and instincts; one’s emotional nature and temperament; one’s heart, as opposed to one’s head; one’s capacity for nurturing, healing and regeneration, both of self and others; one’s personal comfort zone; and one’s relationship to the irrational and whimsical.
Cultivating and nurturing one’s Moon is the key to happiness. Obviously, both of these great luminaries, the Sun and the Moon, are central and important factors in the formation of anyone’s personality. Yin needs Yang, and Yang needs Yin. Yet so much of pop astrology is based only on one’s Sun sign. Failing to take the Moon into account as well only takes into account half of one’s personality.
Elementally, the most Yang element in Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, is Fire. The ancient Chinese called the Sun Tai Yang, or the Great Yang Luminary. In Medical Astrology, the Sun rules the Vital Metabolism, which is driven by the Metabolic Heat, or Fire.
Accordingly, the Sun rules the Fire sign of Leo. Elementally, the most Yin element in TCM is Water. The ancient Chinese called the Moon Tai Yin, or the Great Yin Luminary. In Medical Astrology, the Moon rules Fluid Metabolism and the Phlegmatic Humor. Accordingly, the Moon rules the Water sign of Cancer.
Fire and Water are also complementary opposites in that Fire is the greatest emitter of light, heat and energy, whereas Water is the greatest receiver or absorber of light, heat and energy. Like the positive and negative poles of a battery, Fire emits and Water receives.
Similarly, the Sun is the primal source or emitter of light, heat and energy in our solar system, whereas the Moon is the primal receiver or reflector of the Sun’s light, heat and energy.
In other words, the Sun is the emissive luminary, whereas the Moon is the receptive luminary. What does all this mean to us personally? It means that, when you are being more solar in your orientation, you are being more cause; and when you are being more lunar, you are being more effect. The Solar principle is action, whereas the lunar principle is feeling, or reaction. This is an oversimplification, of course, but nevertheless, I think, helpful.
The belief that the lunar cycle has an influence on human health is old and widespread, and the mass media encourage pertinacious rumors that it also influences the medical progress in several medical procedures and long-term results.
These ideas are supported by some medical studies, which have found a connection between the lunar phase and certain medical phenomena.
The Sun is the realm of day and the waking hours of the Self, and the Moon inhabits the landscapes of the soul, emotions, and dream life.
We human beings are like the moon. Just as the moon is there to reflect the light of the sun, so are human beings who are made to reflect the Light of the Divine Sun. Without the sun and its light shining upon the moon, there is no value of the moon.
That is the significance of the statement full of esoteric implication, (la haowla wa la quwwata illa bi Allah); there is no power and transformation without that of God.
Without God’s illumination, human beings are of no value. By its very nature the moon doesn’t have its own light, thus it has no ability to shine. Without the sun, it may remain oblivious forever in the night sky. In order for its illumination, it looks at the sun. Similarly if the divine qualities in man are not awakened, or if the divine qualities are not made to shine upon the inner heart, man is nothing.
Only by reflecting and illuminating the “Adamic form”, man can claim its original state of creation in the image of God, in the reflection of God. And the reflection begins when we slowly start walking in the path of self-realization, which essentially is coming to understanding and realizing our innate divine nature.
When self realization comes to full circle, to its perfection; like the moon which grows over time from total darkness and non-existence to full moon, so is the state of fully realized human being. The full moon is the realizing of that potential and becoming the perfect or complete man.
The moon and its growth over time from total darkness and nothing visible in the sky, to a splendid full moon is like a metaphor of the journey and states of a fully realized human being.
The light, in different faith traditions has been called by different names such as: in Hinduism this is Krishna Consciousness, in Buddhism this is Buddha nature, in Christianity this is Christ Consciousness and in Islam this is Nur Muhammad.
All are talking about the primordial light that the Divine gifted to humanity from its own Light. No matter what the name has been given based on the familiarity of its audience and recipient at different ages, this is the Light of the Great Sun, the Divine.
The earth, which blocks the light of the Sun, is the symbol of our ego, our gross self.
Even though earth is much smaller compared to the Sun, yet it can totally overshadow the light and makes the moon completely dark. So is the role of ego and the extent to which it can cover our divine nature, it can prevent all light to be shined upon our inner heart.
When the earth moves out from the path of the Sun, when the veil of ego is removed – only, and only then we can enjoy the beauty of the full moon, beauty of a realized human being gets manifested.
And, as the full moon is in a clear night sky so are the perfected self-realized beings shining with magnificent light. They become the receptive vessel where Divine Light, Light upon Light, descends.
Live and Learn. We All Do.
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