Ancient Moon/Brain Analogy

Often noted in these web postings is the fact that the science of astronomy in the ancient past played a central role in presenting spiritual teachings.  For example, in prehistory cultures the Moon, or Luna, served as a fitting symbol for the enlightened mind.  Their reasoning was astonishingly insightful and testified to a committed study of Earth’s celestial companion as well as a keen observation of the workings of the human brain.  The Moon was understood by our “primitive” ancestors as symbolically embodying the negative principle by which man receives mental discernment, for neither the Moon nor man’s brain shed their own light, but only reflect what they borrow from a higher source.

The Moon was regarded as the material symbol of the receptive principle which is at work throughout Creation, and which enfold the attributes of mental discernment.  In conjunction with this, the Earth itself was, for obvious reasons, the common symbol for the human species.  The Moon/Earth relationship presented an active illustration of how man absorbs the light of wisdom.  In that distant timeframe it was known and taught that the Earth revolved about the Sun, and from this scientific knowledge of the electric relationship of these two spheres the electromagnetic activity centered in the brain could be demonstrated.

The prehistory sages observed in the phases of the Moon a repeating review of the creative powers that are eternally at work.  The cyclic enactment of the “dark of the moon,” or when the Moon passes into the shadow of the Earth, for example, was seen to symbolize life issuing out of the void.  The new moon phase, of course, is not new; it is simply an illusion caused by a dense matter object (Earth) moving in its cyclic pattern and temporarily blocking the light that the Moon reflects from the source.

Earth in its rotation about the Sun will periodically turn from that source of light, and consequently bring upon portions of itself periods of non-illumination.  This seemed to the prehistory sages to act as an illustration of humankind’s repeated lapses of attention in regard to respecting the sustaining power of Cosmic Intelligence.  In ignoring our relationship with the rest of Creation, humankind obliges itself to depend upon the reflected light which intellect offers, just as the Moon reflects the light offered by the Sun.  This analogy is itself remarkable wisdom when we consider that without the light of the Sun to give purpose to the Moon’s presence (visibility), the Moon would be virtually invisible to our sight.

Like the Earth in its turning, half of a person’s human nature receives illumination while the other half rests in apparent darkness (non-awareness of self).  Even so, the resting mind continues to retain and maintain its identity within the cosmic panorama, and the enlightened mind perceives itself as rising again—like the new Moon—above the horizon of self-awareness to dispel the dark.

To those prehistory sages every phenomenon of the Moon’s appearance, just as every feature of Nature, held symbolic expression.  The first quarter of the Moon was seen by them as having issued from its conjunction with the fecundating principle of life.  Luna was therefore seen as typifying the gestation attributes of Nature, the first quarter of the Moon’s increasing light representing to them first growth—and the issuance of higher wisdom.

It is for this reason that the crescent new Moon was often used on the robes of Pagan-age wizards, priests and priestesses.  This is the reason also why it is regarded as the symbol of the goddess honored by Witch-Nature covens.  And this accounts, too, why the crescent new Moon came to be held as the attribute of Christianity’s Virgin Mary.  Certainly the New Testament texts offer no reason to associate Mary with the Moon.  That association was brought into Roman Catholic thought during the Middle Ages.  The waxing Moon had stood as a symbol of the young maiden from the most ancient times from a belief that the waxing phase of the Moon was connected to a maiden’s menstruation period.  In Pagan interpretation the three phases of the Moon—waxing, full, and waning—served as the receiving representative of intellect, thus it was regarded as a feminine aspect.  These three phases were consequently presented as maiden, mother, and crone.  Christian myth makers chose to ignore the “crone” part, of course.

The Moon, as a passive receiver, was adopted in ancient times as a goddess figure, and the three aspects became a trinity mystery.   In various ancient cults this triple aspect came to represent the “Great Mother,” and in this capacity was often referred to as the “White Goddess.”  This triple aspect is adored by many in Witchcraft.  This is the background upon which the Virgin Mary came to be associated with the waxing Moon.

Knowledge once known to the most ancient known culture, the Sumerians, became fragmented long ago.  Somehow those prehistory scientists knew that the Moon held no atmosphere.  And they regarded the Moon to be a separate and independent member of the solar family, not some satellite of Earth.  The folklore that grew around that ancient knowledge stated that when energies were forming as our solar systems’ planets, an invading planet-sized object interacted with this planet’s unstable material.  That “battle” thus accounted for a smaller portion breaking away from the unstable mass which would become Earth.  That chunk that broke away then lost its primal atmosphere and radioactive elements, causing it to shrink in size.  Drained of its elements, and thrown from the orbital pattern established by the forming planet Earth, it became the companion of Earth, sharing its orbital neighborhood.

Abridged from The Shiny Herd.

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