We have an awesome suggestion for the game today. It comes from Renee at Renee Rearden Blog. She wanted superstitions about the moon. There's a lot since the moon is a very important part of superstition culture. But before that, I would like to introduce two things.
First is Boyd, my ceramic pumpkin. I even lit a candle in him and everything. Say hello to Boyd, folks.
And the second one is this:
It's called Ooey-Gooey Peanut Butter-Chocolate Brownies. They are easy to make. Yummy as heck. And the perfect treat for any Halloween Party. In fact, I'm baking a new batch for Monday. Excited!
Now, on to the game...
As might be expected, the moon occupies a prominent place in the superstition of the entire Western world. While the sun represents the life essence and the more positive aspects of existence, the moon, ruler of the tides and other elemental forces, is generally taken to symbolize darker, more mysterious and often negative influences. The reverence that ancient moon worshipers felt for the moon is reflected in the mix of feelings that most people still have for the Earth's nearest neighbor in space, even in an age where science has revealed much about the moon's real nature.
Perhaps the oldest and widest known of the superstitions connected with the moon is that those who gaze too long at the full moon risk becoming 'lunatic,' that is, mad, and will henceforth be subject to attacks of insanity whenever the moon is full. The moon's disorienting influence is also to be seen in the erratic behavior of animals at certain times in the lunar cycle and may be linked, according to many authorities, with the human female menstruation cycle.
Primitive awe of the moon and its strange wonders has never quite died away and it continues to be treated by the more superstitious with the utmost respect. In various ancient cultures, for instance, young girls in particular were warned against sleeping in the moonlight, lest they become 'moonstruck' and beget monsters, and even today, children may be instructed to chant 'I see the moon and the moon sees me, God bless the moon and God bless me' to ward off ill luck should the moonlight come into their room. To be on the safe side, many adults will greet the new moon with a respectful bow or curtsey (in which case, they believe they will be granted a wish). Witches and other sorcerers, meanwhile, have long been credited with the power to 'draw down the moon,' attracting its malevolent power to use for their own nefarious ends.
Many ancient calendars depended on the lunar phases, and there have been many attempts to determine from the moon's cycle the optimum times to begin various enterprises. Broadly speaking, the waxing of a new moon is a time when lovers may divine what the future has in store for them, when new projects may be safely begun, and when journeys may be best undertaken. Farmers -- despite any real evidence to support them -- will choose if possible to do their planting and sowing when the moon is waxing (though such plants as runner beans, which grow anti-clockwise, are sown on the wane) and this is also the best time for weddings, childbirth, and convalescence. Livestock slaughtered when the moon is waxing will give better meat.
Bowing to the new moon and turning over any silver coins in one's pocket will guarantee a doubling in the amount by the end of the next cycle. If in company, the first person to see the new moon should kiss one of his or her companions without delay: they may then expect a gift in the near future. It is important, however, that the new moon should not be seen for the first time through glass or through the branches of a tree, as this is a bad omen (similarly if it is first seen to the left side of the observer). Ideally, it should be sighted in the open air via a glance over the right shoulder (in which case a wish may be made).
It is highly inadvisable to be caught pointing at the new moon, as this offends 'the man on the moon' (an obscure mythical figure allegedly banished to the moon for gathering sticks on the Sabbath) and is an invitation to dire misfortune; if done nine times, the person concerned will be barred from entry into Heaven. Moreover, no one should consent to surgery when the moon is full, and any death that occurs during the new moon will be followed by three further mortalities. There is a general agreement, however, that no person can actually die while the moon is rising.
Lovers are advised that the first new moon of the year, if approached in the right way, may reward them with visions of future partners. Generally speaking, the moon must be addressed with respect and the following rhyme recited:
All hail to thee moon, all hail to thee,
I prethee kind moon, reveal to me,
Him/Her who is my life partner to be.
If all goes well, the lover will see his or her future partner in their dreams -- or may even wake to find a single hair from the other's head tucked in between their big toe and its neighbor. The number of moons a lover sees when gazing at the moon through a new silk handkerchief or when examining their reflection in water or in a mirror indicates how many years (or months) must pass before his or her marriage.
A waning moon exerts a generally baneful influence and is a particularly bad time for births and weddings. Anything cut in this period will not grow again, including hair and fingernails, though it is apparently a good time to move house, let blood, pick fruit, cut down trees, and stuff feather mattresses. Worst of all is the period between cycles, when there is no moon at all: children born during this time will come to nothing, as an ancient English proverb warns -- 'No moon, no man.'
The period immediately following a new moon is the most significant. One ancient English tradition advises on the character of each of the ten days immediately following:
Day One: Ideal for births and new projects, but bad for those who fall ill.
Day Two: Ideal for business matters, sea voyages, and sowing seeds.
Day Three: An inauspicious day for most undertakings.
Day Four: Ideal for construction projects and for the birth of politicians.
Day Five: Ideal for conception and the model for the month's weather.
Day Six: Ideal for hunting and fishing.
Day Seven: The most propitious day for new lovers to meet.
Day Eight: The worst day to fall ill, as the illness may prove fatal.
Day Nine: A day to avoid moonlight on the face, lest insanity follow.
Day Ten: A day for the birth of restless souls.
Should two lunar months fall within the same calendar month, extremely bad weather is sure to follow and may extend to flooding and other natural catastrophes. If this happens in May, it will rain 'for a year and a day.' Other weather predictions connected within the lunar cycle include the notion that new moons that fall at the weekend will be followed by bad luck and foul weather. If the 'horns' of the new moon point upwards, good weather is in the offing; if they point down, it will be wet. A halo around the moon at any time in the cycle is a warning of rain to come. A full moon that falls on Christmas Day, meanwhile, is lamented by farmers as a prophecy of a poor harvest in the year ahead.
In folk medicine, a superstition from the north of England recommends blowing on one's warts in the light of the full moon to cure them, while many regions boast the tradition of 'washing' hands affected by warts in a shiny metal basinful of moon's rays while reciting:
I wash my hands in this thy dish,
O man in the moon, do grant my wish,
And come and take this away.
Thank goodness! Now I finally have a cure for my warty hands. And boy was that long. I told you there's a lot of stuff about the moon. If you do decide to test any of these things out, please report back here and let me know how it goes. For now, I leave you with this moon rap: