For thousands of years, people have told stories about the full moon, whether folklore or theories.
Okay, you might not see anyone howling or turning into a werewolf, but why do we still hear the phrase “It must be a full moon” muttered by teachers, late-night cops and emergency room personnel?
A little history
In the year 79, a natural philosopher, Pliny the Elder, observed that the moon drew up the tides. Pliny and his fellow philosophers were convinced that lunar force caused everything from insomnia to epilepsy. Although in many folklore literature, the full moon is associated with psychological disturbance and lunacy, it also symbolized a time of activity, opportunity and development. Not only did the moon have a biological or spiritual significance, also a very practical one. Back in the 17th century when there were no street lights or lanterns, anyone who wanted to travel at night depended on the light of the moon. Also, farmers used the light from the harvest moon to reap the season’s crops.
In our world of flashlights and smartphones, we no longer rely on the moon’s light so much but the gravitational or energetic effects are still present. This effect is so strong that the crust of the earth is stretched by tidal effects on a daily basis. That is a major amount of force being released. It would be logical to assume that such an energy has an effect on life on earth as well. This is certainly the case for animals. Cats and dogs are consistently more active during a full moon. In studying nearly 12.000 cases of emergency room visits at the Colorado State Veterinary Center, researchers found the risk of visits to be about 30 percent higher on days surrounding the full moon. In 2001, the British Medical Journal published an article on how animal bites were found to have sent twice as many British people to the emergency room during a full moon compared to other days.
As for the lunacy idea, that might be a little farfetched. There is a theory that before modern lighting, the light of a full moon kept people up at night leading to sleep deprivation that could have caused psychological issues. Still, scientist keep arguing on whether, like in oceans, tide-like mechanisms are at work inside us as well. After all, the human body is about 75 percent water. And it does seem too much of a coincidence given that both menstruation and ovulation loosely follow a lunar cycle.
Be aware or beware?
Living in a modern society dims our awareness of the world we live in. In our daily lives we hardly think about whether it’s a high tide or low tide or if it’s a full moon or not. When an earthquake or a hurricane occurs, we realize how powerful nature can be. But it shouldn’t take a natural disaster to do that. We need to be conscious of the world we live in every single day. Not only because it has an effect on us, but also because we then can appreciate it even more.
As for full moons, on December 3rd, 2017, the moon will appear larger and brighter in the sky than it has in decades. So, teachers, late-night cops and emergency room personnel: beware.