13 Crazy Beliefs About the Moon

Myth and Folklore

For thousands of years, people have looked up to the moon and created stories about her (or his, in some mythologies) origin and the magical powers of the lunar light. These stories and beliefs have been passed down, altered, and retold anew in folktales and superstitions. Some of these ideas remain present in our common beliefs and misconceptions about the moon.

1. It Will Get You Pregnant

Before people knew about man’s part in procreation, many cultures around the world believed that it was the moon that made women pregnant. In some cultures, moonbeams were able to impregnated women. In other cultures, it was a moon bird, sent down from the moon to deliver babies, like the stork, to women who wanted them.

Both the new moon and the full moon were good at getting the ladies pregnant. The new moon represented the flat belly that would grow with pregnancy. The full moon, on the other hand, was charged with fertile power and its moon beams could impregnate women who stared too long at its light or women who would sleep on their backs, leaving their bellies exposed.

2. The Morning Dew

In ancient Greece, the people believed that the moon was a goddess of fertility, rain, and the morning dew. The moon’s morning dew was so important to them that there was a statue of the moon goddess, called All-Dewy-One, where maidens would dance around in celebration of the morning dew.

By the middle ages in Europe, the dew was associated with love and beauty. Women would go out and collect the morning dew, believing that if they washed in it they would attract a lover. Morning dew would later be gathered on the morning of May Day (May 1st) and used for bathing to preserve one’s youth.

The moon photographed from space.
The moon photographed from space. | Source

3. Makes Hair Grow

Throughout Europe and the U.S. there are superstitions connecting hair growth and moon phases. Many people believed (and some still do) that cutting hair during the new moon will cause their hair to grow in faster and thicker. Washing hair was also done during the new moon to increase hair growth and to make their hair shiny and healthy. Of course, this was during a time when people seldom washed their hair and it was socially acceptable to plan a hair washing every 29.5 days. Of course, if they wanted their hair to turn darker in color and grow in slower, they would get their hair trimmed during the dark phase of the moon (waning or dark moon).

4. It’ll Shrink Your Meat

No, not that kind of meat, but the meat that is prepared in the kitchen and served at the dinner table. People held beliefs that animals that were slaughtered for the table during the new moon would increase in size when cooked were popular in both Europe and the U.S.. If the animal was slaughtered during the waning or dark moon, the meat was supposed to shrink when it was cooked.

For some people, slaughter superstitions were taken to even further levels of must dos and don’ts. Cattle, for example, should only be slaughtered during the full moon and pigs during the new moon. Fish, on the other hand, could be caught and killed at any time, as long as the moonlight never touched the meat because the moon would spoil the fish.

5. Grants Wishes

There are numerous ways to gain wishes from the moon. Since most of these wishes are granted during the new moon, let’s break out our lunar calendars and get ready to start playing the lottery.

The most common wish superstition is for the new moon. On the night of the new moon, we are supposed to look over our left shoulder and gaze at the moon for the first time that night while, at the same time, making a wish. Another superstition states that while we are gazing at the new moon over our left shoulder, we should put a hand in our pocket and make a wish while turning round the money that is supposed to be in there. Viewing the moon without any money on hand will supposedly keep us broke for the rest of the month. Even a small amount of coin will increase after viewing the new moon over our left shoulder.

Pegasus and the moon.
Pegasus and the moon. | Source

6. The Lunar Effect

Since the times of ancient Greece, and possibly earlier, people have believed that the full moon can make some people act crazy. The full moon was linked to lunacy (insanity caused by the moon), lycanthropy (werewolf-ism), suicide, vampirism, and numerous criminal tendencies. Many people in today’s world, including the well educated folks, still believe that the moon can affect people’s behavior. The reasoning behind this is since the moon affects the ocean’s waves and since the human body is about 80 percent water, the full moon must also have a negative pull on the brain. Research, on the other hand, has shown no link between mental illness and criminal activity to the phase of the moon.

7. Cures Warts

Got a few warts? The most common wart cures practiced, and still practiced, by people worldwide involves the phases of the moon. Called sympathetic magic, some people believe that as the moon grows smaller, so do other things, such as warts. To use the shrinking effects of the moon, a person might cut a potato in half during the full moon, rub the wart with a potato halve, and bury it out in the yard. As the moon decreases from full to dark moon, the wart would also disappear. Stranger cures involve allowing a snail to slime the wart on the night of the full moon and that as the moon darkened, so would the wart or, even worse, the wart would slowly be transferred to the snail.

8. Dark Side of the Moon

Made popular by the album title by Pink Floyd, many people believe that the far side of the moon is dark. While it is true that we only see one side of the moon, the side that we don’t see does get exposure to the sun. The moon’s far side gets just as much sun time as the near side of the moon. We just don’t see it happen.

9. Silver Moon

Ancient Greeks referred to the moon as a silvery orb. In their magical rites, the moon was associated with the metal silver, mercury, and with silvery mirrors. As crazy as it seems, the ancient Greeks were not too far off. NASA has discovered that the moon’s soil has small amounts of powdery silver in it. It is not completely certain if all of the silver originated on the moon or if it was left there by meteors and comets that had crashed into the moon.

Moon Map

A stunning full color example of J. B. Homann and Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr’s important c. 1742 map of the Moon.
A stunning full color example of J. B. Homann and Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr’s important c. 1742 map of the Moon. | Source

10. Tears of the Moon

Among ancient Hindus was the belief that pearls fell from the night sky. The pearls were the actual tears of their moon god. These pearls were considered an antidote to poison. They were worn as healing charms and were worn for courage. In ancient China, the moon pearls, if swallowed whole by a woman, would make her pregnant with a child of the moon.

11. People Came From the Moon

On the island of Nias in Indonesia, the native people once believed that the first humans descended from the moon. This belief holds partially true for those who believe in alien conspiracies. They tend to believe that our alien ancestors either lived on the moon at one time or had a moon base where they could watch over their Earthly descendants. While science has shown over and over again that life originated and evolved on Earth, some scientists do believe that evolution would not have occurred as it did if it wasn’t for the moon. The moon’s strong pull on the ocean, causing tidal waves to pull warmth from the equator to further parts of the planet, may have been the reason why nucleic acids were able to take form. At the very least, life might not be as diverse as it is today without the moon’s tidal pulls.

12. Affects Birth Rates

It’s not just an old wive’s tale, some nurses and doctors also swear that with the full moon comes an increase in baby births or that, for many women, labor begins during the full moon. Many educated people believe that since a woman’s menstrual cycle is similar to the cycle of the moon that it is only natural for more births to occur during the pull of the full moon. Recent studies, however, show that there is little difference in the number of births between full moon and any other phase of the moon.

13. Weight Loss

Called the Lunar Diet, Moon Diet, and Werewolf Diet, some people believe that carefully timed water fasts and juice cleanses will help us lose weight. The new and full moon, they claim, will help pull excess water weight and toxins from our bodies. While an interesting and well timed out diet plan, there is no scientific research proving or disproving whether the Moon Diet is effective because of the moon’s cycles, but there is evidence that monthly fasting and juice cleanses may have positive health effects on our bodies.

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2 comments

MsDora profile image

MsDora 16 months ago from The Caribbean

Disappointed (but smiling) that number 6 isn't true; it seemed to be the explanation to so many erratic behaviors in people.

Your article is very interesting, and of course a very informative lesson on beliefs about the moon. Thank you!


Vic Dillinger profile image

Vic Dillinger 16 months ago

The only "link" between a full moon and criminal behavior is the obvious one: you can see better to do your dirty deeds at night under a full moon! Excellent article, well- written, and entertaining (three things i don't see too often here). Great job!

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