Though the moon is the close companion of the earth, she retains many mysteries, and her origin is still unknown. She is, however thought to be about 4,600 million years old, the same age as the earth. Her power was recognized in ancient cultures. She was depicted as both the giver and taker of life, and many legends surrounding the creation concerned the complementary powers of the sun and the moon.
The moon measures 3476km/2160 miles across and her gravity is one-sixth that of the earth. The craters on the moon, which measure up to 240km/150 miles across, may be the result of impacts from comets and asteroids over millions of years, or may stem from volcanic activity within the moon itself. Humans first landed on the moon in 1969, but with hardly any atmosphere and no water, it is not possible for the moon to sustain life as we know it.
Because of the moon’s elliptical orbit, she can be anything between 356,398km/221,466 miles and 406,698km/252,722 miles away from earth. This orbit pattern also means that we only ever get to see one side of her Surface temperatures range from -233°C/-387°F at night to I 27°C/260°F at midday, as the light of the sun is reflected back from the moon’s surface to earth. A moon—sun conjunction creates the image of the crescent, or new, moon and a full moon occurs when the sun and moon are in alignment with each other. The moon is slowly pulling away from the earth’s gravitational influence, by 3cmil in annually, so the length of our daily cycle is actually increasing by a minuscule amount each year.
Because of her ever-changing and yet regenerative cycle, the moon was seen as immortal and as the place to which souls departed at death. She could bring gentle rain, but could also raise storms and ruin crops, so she was considered unpredictable and potentially destructive. Moon goddesses were endowed with both destructive and creative powers. The Mayans’ moon deity was called Ixchel, and was feared as the bringer of floods and storms. Her skirt was decorated with bones, and her crown was a serpent. Despite this she was also a protector of women in childbirth.
In Sumerian mythology, the principal moon deity, Sin, was male. He was associated with the new moon and was responsible for the fertility of the land, for food production and the protection of herds, especially cattle.The re-enactment of the sacred marriage between the male (waxing) and female (waning) aspects of the lunar cycle was undertaken between the king of Ur, embodying the god Sin, and the goddess in the person of a priestess. By performing this ceremony, they were enacting the continuance and co-operation of the two opposites.
In Native American mythology, the spider, who has universal links with the moon, was the weaver of the web of creation, producing the physical world, and then supporting and nurturing life on earth.The snail, because of its moisture trail and its seeming ability to vanish and reappear, is also linked to the moon. It was thought that the snail could travel into the underworld and re-emerge unharmed. The Mexican moon god, Tecciztecatl, was depicted in the shell of a snail.
Mirrors figure prominently in moon lore, because of their reflective qualities, and have long been used for divination. In 19th-century Britain it was common for girls to use a mirror and the full moon to find out when they would be married.Two and a half thousand years earlier, it is said that Pythagoras was taught mirror divination by the wise woman of Thessaly.
Some believe that the moon and the earth were once a single planet, others that the moon was drawn into the earth’s force field at some point. Yet another hypothesis is that the two planets were formed together out of the same space dust and cosmic gases.
The actual origin of the moon remains a mystery?