Legends of Ladies on a Full Moon

When witches go riding and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers, ‘tis near Halloween —

The full moon for centuries has held an aura of magic and mystery. It’s connected to the ebbs and flows of the tide as well as to the changing cycle of women’s bodies. A long-held belief was that a full moon was associated with insane behavior, such as sleepwalking, illegal deeds, fits of violence and transforming into werewolves. The word “lunatic” comes from the Roman goddess of the moon, Luna, who was thought to ride her silver chariot across the black sky each night. 

In fact, across the globe, the moon represents women of mystique and wonder.

The Polynesians believed that the moon was a goddess named Hina. In ancient Persia, the moon was Metra, the world mother. The Aztecs of Mexico called it Mictecacihuatl and believed it traveled through the sky hunting out victims to consume. A goddess has been defined as a Devine female of supernatural powers, believed in and worshipped by the people. The incantation to the White Goddess, inspired by the phases of the moon, goes like this:

I, who existed before the universe came into being,
I, who will exist after the universe has ceased to be,
I, who bear witness to the rebirth of all things, I, who all things come from and return to,
I, the White Goddess, have unveiled the mysteries.

Rituals abound to honor the full moon—which this month happens to be a Full Hunter’s Moon (also known as Blood Moon, Falling Leaf Moon or Shedding Moon) and falls on Oct. 27. Each year from sundown on Oct. 31 comes Halloween, followed by the Day of the Dead (Nov. 1). This is also known by the Sabbat name of Samhain, which is the cycle of death and rebirth, and a time to reconnect with our ancestors.

We’ve all heard of ‘the man in the moon,’ but did you know the legend of the lady in the moon? This is an image that is easy to spot and can be seen between the first quarter and the full moon. Check her out with binoculars; the moonshadows and many oceans of the moon form her profile and hair. Native Americans thought the lady in the moon came down one night to help rescue a mother and her village from starvation. The legend says she came to Earth as a glowing light and taught the villagers how to grow crops and sing songs to help their children go to sleep at night.

When the full moon is hung in the 10-month sky, wiccans and pagans believe this is when to make contact with the dead and perform their rituals accordingly. One such ceremony is called Esbat (French for “frolic joyfully”) where covens meet to honor gods and goddesses during the full moon. These include the deities of healing, of war and of various nationalities (Celtic, Norse, Roman, Greek, Egyptian and more). The triple Greek goddess of the Moon is Selena, represented by the full moon; Artemis, goddess of the hunt, is the waxing moon; and Hecate is the waning moon and goddess of witches. Selena represents womanhood who, at the full moon, is at the height of her fertility.

Global-wide goddess legends of mystique connect women with the full moon—particularly in October. Happy Halloween, ladies!


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