Some Observations on the Moon


The Moon must have always played an important role in the lives of our ancestors as a source of reflected sunlight during the night. Its changing form must have caused wonder, puzzlement and perhaps a need for explanation. There is some evidence, from engravings on bone, to suggest that Palaeolithic man may even have recorded its daily phase changes over its 29.5 day Lunar Cycle, the time it takes to make one complete orbit of the Earth, as part of a simple calendar system .

From our ancestors’ point of view, this was possibly because they noticed a link between lunar phases and the best times for hunting and fishing. Eclipses would have been even more cause for wonderment and especially concern. As such, many stories would no doubt have evolved to try and explain these observations, recording their importance through oral tradition, art and monuments:

  • The Nebra Sky Disc discovered in 1999 dates from about 1600 BCE and is probably one of the most interesting recent examples of such art..
  • Whilst most people are aware of the solar alignments within Stonehenge, there is also evidence for lunar alignments during its earliest construction phase marking the so-called Major Lunar Standstills, an event that takes place once every 18.6 years.


Lunar Phases

We now know that it is the changing relative positions of the Moon with respect to the Earth and the  Sun during its orbit that explains its changing phases from ‘New’ through to ‘Full’ and back to ‘New’ Moon again when, for a few days, the Moon 'disappears' as it lies in the same direction as the Sun and is lit only on its far side (see diagram);

01_Moon Phases

Interestingly, as the Moon also coincidently rotates roughly once on its axis during one complete orbit, the same face of the Moon is always presented to the Earth.



Tides too are also controlled by the movement of the Moon in conjunction with the Sun, with the Moon being the dominant partner in this relationship. The relative positions of Sun, Earth and Moon, together with the rotation of the Earth account for the tidal effect and the extremes of tidal range that result in Spring and Neap tides, and is shown very simply in the following diagram:


Click on image to see animation


Moreover, it is the daily movement of the Moon in its orbit around the Earth that results in the changes to the timing of high and low tides over the lunar month.

A more detailed explanation of the tidal effects is given in the following links:

and tide prediction tables are to be found on the National Tidal and Sea Level Facility.



On rare, but predictable, occasions, the Moon passes directly between the Earth and Sun causing a Solar Eclipse as shown in the following diagram:

04_Solar Eclipse

As such, a Solar Eclipse can only occur at New Moon.  Because its shadow only tracks across a small part of the Earth; not everyone will be fortunate enough to witness it.  Some will see a total eclipse, with the Sun completely obscured, some a partial eclipse and others nothing. There are also occasions when the Moon is slightly further away from the Earth which results in an Annular eclipse. This is because the size of the Moon is insufficient to cover the entire Sun and leaves the outer edges visible in the form of a “ring of fire”.

More information:

A Lunar Eclipse, when the Moon passes into the shadow of the Earth, can only occur at Full Moon.  Total lunar eclipses involving the full Earth shadow results in the Moon taking on a reddish tinge but partial eclipses are not so spectacular.

03_Lunar Eclipse

More information:


On behalf of The Sunwheel Grove Druid Order


Thoughts of The Grove

The Moon

The Moon is known to influence The Earth, rippling its surface, and causing seas to
have tides and other unseen influences.
The water element concerning The Moon, has long been associated with female.
energies. The Sun being associated with the more robust male energies.
Fire and Water – heat and water complement each other in the growing seasons.
Needing both conditions / elements to grow nature’s abundance.
Each are important in the human realm and each can be learned from. A balance of
both is ideal for the peace of the world. The softness of water counterbalancing the heat of
the sun.

The Moon is not involved directly in man’s struggles for homeostasis. The Moon is
where it ought to be, whether unseen behind clouds or glowing brightly, in the night sky.
Among its other influences it has the ability to reflect light. Something that can be
learned from with the right attitude.
We can only see The Moon clearly because it reflects light. Think about that as a
human quality, ‘Reflecting Light’.
We too can reflect light through helpfulness and kindness.
On nights we can see The Moon, considering those qualities could be attributed to
The Moon as a teacher. Influencing deeper than tide movements and the rest. Helping us to
be more aware human beings.
The Moon quietly existing in our sky to reflect upon.


Skydrift Moon


In Praise of Lady Luna – Friend to Creatures of the dark

Her disc of silver lights vulpine eyes,
She's badger's mutable disguise,
Owl's ever watchful midnight guide,
That lady of forever tides.

Friend to feline's nightly prowls,
Eternal as the lupine's howls,
Gently up and gently down,
Lady Luna wears night's crown.

Zigzag bats in moon lit flight,
Moths jitterbug in her sight,
Be she dark or be she bright,
She sets our earthly hearts alight!


Willow Foxkin


The Magic of the Full Moon’s Glow

The full Moon’s glow lights up the night,
It shines a ghostly silvery white,
It clears the path in front of me,
Night’s cloak of black lifts so I can see.

Creatures of the dark are calling,
A howling Fox gives out a warning,
Telling me to be aware,
That I am not alone out there.

But I am safe under this powerful orb,
The beauty of life,
A beacon for all.

The magic of the Moon is clear,
Its far away and seems so near,
But if you stretch and reach up high,
You will only touch the sky.

For I am it and it is me,
Stardust is the common key,
So if you look then you will know,
The magic of the Full Moon’s glow.


Little Raven