Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Magical Mysterious Cats



Illustration for Puss 'n Boots


Cats are a constant source of amusement, humor, affection, comfort, fear, and suspicion. The domestic cat, Felis Catus, is found in the most comfortable location in any house, and has a passionate approach to napping. The fairy tale Puss 'n Boots was originally a story about how wonderful it was for a little girl to have a cat to take care of her. Domestication of cats is an ancient practice dating back at least 10,000 years.  



The history of cats and their symbolism is shared by the owl and the snake. What do cats, snakes, and owls have in common? The answer to that is pivotal in the history and symbolism of all three, cats especially. They all eat rodents; one rat can ruin an entire cache of grain. All three animals were encouraged to frequent farms in northern Europe; milk was left by farmers for them so they would return - this became a practice of leaving "gifts" for their animal friends, then "offerings" to the animal spirits. In European legend the Corn Cat cared for corn crops; when harvested it retired to a special sheaf set aside for it, until the next growing season.

During the Dark Ages, in an effort to subvert Pagan culture, the Church demonized all three animals and it became illegal to even own one as a pet. This effectively destroyed the agricultural commerce of those outside the Church, crushing their independence. From this slander came the modern demonic associations in symbolism to all three (Duncan-Enzmann).

Prior to their deconstruction, cats, snakes, and owls held places of honor in the myths and traditions of many cultures. Cats and snakes, or serpents, are sometimes adversaries, sometimes colleagues. All three animals are sacred in various religions, but the cat holds a special place in the homes of the gods, not to mention the homes of humans. Indeed, during the first century BC it was illegal to kill a cat, and if the murderous act happened after an eclipse, the killer might be torn apart by a mob. St. Agatha was called St. Cat, and the patroness of cats is St Gertrude.

Royal and sacred cats are evident in the cultures of Egypt from 2500 BC. Egyptian temples dedicated to the sun had images of cats in them. A symbol for sun god Ra is a cat, and they are sacred to Isis. Egyptian goddess Bast, or Bastet was imaged with a cat's head; earlier depictions were with a lioness's head. Linked to protective forces, cats were known to defeat snakes and were worshiped for their ability to defeat the enemy Serpent.

Greek goddess Hecate can turn into a cat; she is a goddess of witchcraft. This perhaps was influential in the belief that witches keep cats. The furry feline is also sacred to Diana (Artemis); her brother Apollo, the sun god, is imaged with or as a lion. In Indian religious iconography, the vehicle of sage Vidali is a cat. For two hundred years the Siamese cat resided only with monarchs; Burmese and Siamese believe that cats enshrine spirits of the dead. Scandinavian goddess Freya has a chariot pulled by two cats. The goddess Virgo, who holds a sheaf of grain, or corn stalk, has a cat guardian. Indeed, the Virgin is linked to the cat; Helen, Frigga, Pasht, Artemis, Diana, Maya, and Mary, all, like Virgo the Virgin Mother, have the same attributes. They are linked to the moon, and to the cat. Hercules was given a lion.


When the Christian church demonized cats to a superstitious world, every black cat became a devil, and every old woman who kept cats became a witch. Indeed, a woman was hanged in Exeter because a neighbor saw a cat jump into her cottage window one evening. No further proof was needed. Demons and sorcerers of many traditions are priests and gods of older religions cruelly misrepresented by intolerance and efforts by the church to subvert them. A common belief was that souls too corrupt to inhabit human bodies were in beasts like cats, lions, and monkeys. Since that time, cats have become associated with demons, ghosts, omens, vampires, genies  corpses, and witchcraft. Demonic stinging cats are the enemy of the Celts. They are both charms and talismans.

Cats are representatives of Hecate, goddess of death, and there are many recorded instances of cats appearing right before someone died. In Egypt, cats were credited with considerable powers of clairvoyance. Cats feel beforehand and react to magnetic and meteorological changes. According to physicist Duncan-Enzmann cats, and many animals, can smell water, different types of land and vegetation, and navigate by the stars and sun. This explains their uncanny ability to travel great distances over unknown terrain and return home. Cats were watched in olden time to forecast nature's varying moods. Almost universal is the belief that a cat cleaning behind its ears with wet fore-paws foretells rain. Some cats even display telepathic ability to know when their master returns.

Cats, and other felines, are prevalent in symbolism. They are the fourth sign of the Chinese zodiac, corresponding to Cancer. Cats represent the Great Hunter - they are most present while seeming most absent, relentless in purpose, have unerring aim, and are able to see in the dark.  Goddess Liberty is often imaged with a cat at her feet. In Heraldic iconography cats have been used by companies of soldiers as they symbolize liberty. Romans often used cats on banners, most likely to symbolize the goddess Liberty. After the fall of the Republic, a cat at the feet of a Pope symbolized treason and hypocrisy.

The cat in Native American symbolism denotes cunning, ingenuity, and forethought. Unlike many other cultures, they consider cats neither friend nor servant to mankind. Cat characters are found in the fables, fairy tales, folklore, and poetry of many cultures; Puss 'n Boots, The Cat in the Hat, Lewis Carol's Cheshire Cat, and Duck Wellington's Cat are only a few. 

There are many common expressions about cats:

Playing cat and mouse is an expression derived from the association of the cat with the sun and moon, and the mouse with clouds. The sun darts in and out of the clouds playfully, before dissipating it, as a cat plays with a mouse before pouncing. In Puss 'n Boots the Cat persuades the ogre to become a mouse, then after a good chase, eats him. 

Cats are blessed with nine lives; Apollo, the god of light, was the producer of the original nine month lunar year and is surrounded by nine sister muses; these nine muses grew out of the nine month gestation period - one muse for each month. In Egypt there are three companies of nine gods, also derived from gestation trimesters, as is the trinity of trinities.  Freya, the Norse goddess whose chariot is pulled by cats is connected to the number nine, and she is, in part, a goddess of witchcraft.  

White or black cats being good or bad luck depends on where you are. In some cultures a black cat is not bad luck, as it is not associated with death, and in some places a white cat is because it is the color of ghosts. 

Cats are associated with foreknowledge, and in Japan linked to genies and vampires. The Sephardim (Spanish Jews) believed vampire cats lived among them; Lilith (created before Eve as Adam's first wife) lives as a  black cat named elBroosha, also known as a Screech Owl or Barn Owl, associated with witchcraft. Cats have become symbols of life and death, day and night, sun and moon, good luck and bad, deity and devil. Whatever has befallen them, today these cunning creatures are sometimes family pets, but mostly ignored, like an old toy we would be embarrassed to play with.

Just remember, when you come home to your dog, he wags his tail and you feed him and pet him, and he thinks "wow, you are a god." Your cat sees you, rubs up against your legs, you feed it and pet it, and it thinks "wow, I am a god."


Michelle Paula Snyder
Michelle Snyder is a professor of mythology, and an author, publisher, speaker, and artist. She  did her post-graduate research at the University of Wales, decoding ancient and prehistoric symbolism, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales.  Her artwork has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.


Symbologist Michelle Snyder
Non-Fiction - Symbology:
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images
Symbology: Decoding Symbols through History
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered
Symbology: Art and Symbols
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: ReVision
Symbology: World of Symbols
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

Michelle Paula Snyder
Fiction – Fantasy Wonder Tales:
The Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time Lessons, First Book
Call of the Dragon and other Tales of Wonder
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book one: The Lost Unicorn
 A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book two The Lost Mermaid 
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book three The Lost Dragon

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Symbols of Scary


Halloween, or Samhain, the ancient pagan new year, is celebrated at the beginning of winter, a time when everything dies. Corn stalks, harvest sheaves, and scarecrows are all symbolic of the rituals and tradition of the harvest, the basis of the Samhain or All Hallows Eve celebrations. In agriculture, scarecrows are responsible for keeping the birds away. Other common Halloween symbols - cats, snakes, and owls - were depended upon for keeping grain stores rodent-free. In order to suppress pagan agricultural industry, these animals were demonized by the church, associating them with all things evil.

Samhain was a time when the gates to the underworld were believed to be opened and spirits roamed the earth freely.  Offerings of fruits and vegetables were made to honor the dead. Over time, a night to remember and honor the dead became a night of fear of the dead; a day when fairies and ghosts were about. This required masks to hide from the fairies and ancestor-worship rites to placate the spirits. Skeletons are symbols of the dead and a favorite Halloween decoration. Samhain was a night when the dead could cross over and communicate. This was an important time for divination, as any information about the nature of the coming winter was valuable.

Goblins, also a Halloween symbol, are not ghosts. Goblin is actually the  French name for Fairy Folk or Fair Folk, the descendants of the white-skinned blonde Maglamosian people; northern Europeans who, because of their knowledge of astronomy and natural sciences, were feared and powerful, and gained the reputation of being able to do magic.

A very popular activity at Halloween is carving pumpkin faces and lighting them from inside with a candle. These scary faces are sentries designed to scare off evil spirits; legends of the demon Jack probably originated from sightings of bog and marsh “lights” that looked like lanterns being carried. Referred to as Jack-O-Lanterns, they were caused by combustion of methane and marsh gasses.

The most common Halloween character of all is the witch. The word witch likely comes from a word meaning wise one. Pagan witches have many traditions. It is said that at their annual celebration they would marry, initiate new witches, and dance about on branches or broomsticks. Old pictures of witches show them worshipping a horned figure, most likely Cernunnos, the Celtic god of the woods, a Green Man. When the church attempted to stamp out or change all pagan celebrations Cernunnos became a devil figure. Later, witches were imaged with wings like a bat’s; bats fly at night and sleep hanging upside down, lending them to be associated with scary things.

Kids love to dress up and go out to Trick or Treat. Viewed as extortion by some, the tradition actually comes from a time when poorer families went house begging, offering prayers for the dead en exchange for food and money. This was called “guising” (disguising” oneself and knocking on the doors of the affluent) Those who gave were blessed with good luck, those who were stingy were threatened with bad luck. Trick or treat is actually a later American phrase and was known as a time of pranks that were supernatural in character, such as taking apart something large and putting it back together on a roof, or fixing a door so it wouldn't open. People gave candy to avoid having pranks played on them. As the popularity of pranking died out, candy was still given to groups of children who visited their neighbors in costumes to get some goodies.

Early Christians disliked Samhain’s association and connection with the supernatural, and spread the belief that spirits of the dead were delusions from the devil. Eventually the Celtic traditions became associated with the Christian hell, and were greatly feared. Today, less moral significance and more theatrical emphasis is enjoyed by those who practice Halloween traditions. As it is with December to January New Year celebrations, in Pagan and Wiccan traditions Allhallows Eve is considered a good time to make a new start or begin new projects.

TRICK OR TREAT??????

Michelle Paula Snyder
Michelle Snyder is a professor of mythology, and an author, publisher, speaker, and artist. She  did her post-graduate research at the University of Wales, decoding ancient and prehistoric symbolism, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales.  Her artwork has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.


Symbologist Michelle Snyder
Non-Fiction - Symbology:
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images
Symbology: Decoding Symbols through History
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered
Symbology: Art and Symbols
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: ReVision
Symbology: World of Symbols
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

Michelle Paula Snyder
Fiction – Fantasy Wonder Tales:
The Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time Lessons, First Book
Call of the Dragon and other Tales of Wonder
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book one: The Lost Unicorn
 A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book two The Lost Mermaid 
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book three The Lost Dragon

The 'Handbag of the Gods' Decoded



By: Symbologist Michelle Snyder & Dr. Robert Duncan-Enzmann

Theories about the meaning of the ‘handbag’ in ancient images like the above, range from the idea that it proves time travel – how else could a god from long ago have a designer bag? – to its use for carrying gold while hanging from an ancient Egyptian helicopter.

In order to decode symbols within images, one must first take into consideration their context: when, where, what, who, and how. Symbolic language uses patterns and so one must also be in the habit of counting dots, lines, angles, and other repeated shapes. Geometric shapes were used to depict concepts, nouns, and ideas. Most of our contemporary symbols evolved from those used in prehistory for astronomical, agricultural, and navigational notations. For more on that subject see Symbology: ReVision, or one of my other books on symbology which feature Duncan-Enzmann’s groundbreaking translations.

In the book Ice Age Language: Translations, Grammar, and Vocabulary (Enzmann & Snyder, pub: WKS) Duncan-Enzmann explains the pictorial language used since the ice ages and how this language works. Cardinal images are fundamental to ‘reading’ inscriptions and images; if it is a picture of a duck, it is about a duck – how and when to hunt one, what parts of it are useful and for what, and how to use them. All this information is inscribed on bone, stone, or ivory, preserved for the succeeding generations. Link lines connect symbols that are relevant to each other, lead lines direct the flow of information. It was a grammar of sorts, creating paragraphs of information with pictures. This picture-language was used for tens of thousands of years, and is still evident in modern languages such as Chinese.

To decode what one part of an image might mean, it is necessary to have a general idea of what the rest of the image is telling you, and to do that, you must know the culture and when the image was made. Duncan-Enzmann is a world authority on the subject.

The ‘Handbag of the Gods’ is a symbol found in many cultural as sculptures and imaged as part of  emblems, sculptures, and reliefs. They are always connected with kings, gods, or leaders. According to Duncan-Enzmann, this shape is used to convey a standard weight, just as the megalithic yard was a standard measurement used to build the megalithic observatories. The symbol for this standard of measurement is the rod and cord, found on many ancient images, and again, it is always associated with leadership, power, kings, or gods.


The rod and cord of ancient and prehistoric kings, queens, and gods

One must consider the applications of the concept of weight. Ounces and pounds, or kilograms, depending on where (one must always consider where a symbol is being used), are one idea of weight. But there is also the weight of the law. The weight of tribute. The weight of obligation. The weight of responsibility. This ‘handbag’ represents all of these concepts; which one depends upon the ‘paragraph’ it is in, just as words like ‘ruler’ do. Whether it refers to a king or twelve inches depends upon context.

Duncan-Enzmann traces the ‘handbag’ to ancient Egypt, where the Remen (rod and cord) was a symbol for standard length. The Egyptians used the handbag as a symbol for standard volume and weight. This concept became the Masonic Lewis. The Handbag of the Gods is found around the globe because the culture that used the symbol migrated and settled around the globe. In Gobekli Tepe (image 1) one inscription shows three handbags, which Duncan-Enzmann translates as fractions of standard weight. Image 2 shows four characters. From left to right: Time (patterns and angles), Weight (the handbag), Length (with the rod and cord), and Area (the ashera pole for astronomical reading). Image 3 is an example of weight as the law, the weight of taxes on you.

  
                1                                       2                                                   3

Another symbol that is consistently used, much of the time in emblems where the handbag is evident, is the flower pattern called a ‘watch’. Again, to some persons this is confirmation of  advanced alien technology or time travel. Yet, it is a watch of sorts, a calendric which shows patterns of the solar and lunar year, and is often shown separately from the ‘watchband’. Image 4 shows us four such ‘watches’ and in them, much seasonal information. In his right hand (your left) a symbol which indicates dry-season rod-and-cord land surveys. In his left hand (your right) we see semi-monsoonal valley floods. The flower pattern circles, left to right, show us a four-season calendric, and reading the rims tells of taxes and percentages of crops to be paid.  


4


Dr. Robert Duncan-Enzmann
Physicist, scientist, starship designer, astronomer, mathematician, geologist, cryptologist, archaeologist, historian, linguist, MD, author of Ice Age Language: Translations, Grammar, and Vocabulary; Planetology and Space Mission Planning vols. 1, 2, 3; Expanded Order Theory  




British Embassy School, Peking, China; Univ. London; WW II USN, AC; RN, AB Harvard; ScB Hon., London; Standard, MSc, Witwatersrand; Nat Sci Scholar; MIT course work; Royal Inst. Uppsala Swed.; PhD/MD Cuidad Juarez, Mex.; Pacific Radar: Greenland Gap-filler, Canada DEW-line; SAGE; Pacific PRESS; California ATLAS, BMEWS;  ICBM; Kwajalein Atoll ICBM intercept; TRADEX; Mars Voyager; Cryptography.

Michelle Paula Snyder
Michelle Snyder is a professor of mythology, and an author, publisher, speaker, and artist. She  did her post-graduate research at the University of Wales, decoding ancient and prehistoric symbolism, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales.  Her artwork has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.


Symbologist Michelle Snyder
Non-Fiction - Symbology:
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images
Symbology: Decoding Symbols through History
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered
Symbology: Art and Symbols
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: ReVision
Symbology: World of Symbols
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

Michelle Paula Snyder
Fiction – Fantasy Wonder Tales:
The Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time Lessons, First Book
Call of the Dragon and other Tales of Wonder
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book one: The Lost Unicorn
 A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book two The Lost Mermaid 
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book three The Lost Dragon

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Our Night-time Attendant - the Moon

The Enzmann Torch Long Passage Ship, cover of Analog

Astronomy is not a subject most people have much training in. Our age of technology has eliminated the need for each person to be able to direct himself by the stars above, or understand the passing of seasons according to the star patterns that accompany them. Yet the greatest human endeavor is the exploration of our vast solar system and the universe it is in. Without knowledge of astronomy, even our technology will not be sufficient to accomplish this - maps of the stars and planets will be made by humans working with machines. Human knowledge is paramount in any great effort, and for those who look to the stars, astronomy is imperative. And so here I share some lessons designed for young people and adults, to convey the wonders of the heavens to those who seek to know more. They are adapted from Starland, by Sir Robert Stawell Ball, 1899, then from Pillars, by J. R. Snyder & R. D. Enzmann, to be published in 2018.

Phases of Our Attendant – The Moon

The first day of the week is related to the greatest body in the heavens – the sun – and accordingly we call that day Sunday. The second day of the week is similarly called after the next most important celestial body – the moon – and though we do not actually say Moon-day, we do say Monday, which is very nearly the same. In French, too, we have lune for moon, and Lundi signifies Monday. The other days of the week also have names derived from the heavens and we will address this, but for now we are now going to talk about the moon.  
We can divide the objects in the room into two classes. There are the bright faces in front of me, and there are the bright electric lights above. The electric lights give light, and the faces receive it. I can see both lights and faces; but I see the electric lamps by the light which they themselves give. I see the faces by the illumination which they have received from the electric lights. This is a very simple distinction but it is a very important one in Starland. Among all the bodies which glitter in the heavens there are some which shine by their own light, like the lamps. There are others only brilliant by reflected light, like the faces. It seems impossible for us to confuse the brightness of a pleasant face with the beam from a pretty lamp, but it is often not very easy to distinguish in the heavens between a body which shines by its own light and a body which merely shines by some other light reflected from it. I think many people would make great mistakes if asked to point out which objects on the sky were really self-luminous and which objects were merely lighted up by other bodies. Astronomers themselves have been sometimes deceived in this way.
The easiest example we can give of bodies so contrasted is found in the case of the sun and the moon. Of course, as we have already seen, the sun is the splendid source of light which it scatters all around. Some of that light falls on our earth to give us the glories of the day; some of the sunbeams fall on the moon, and though the moon has itself no more light than earth or stones, yet when exposed to a torrent of sunbeams, she enjoys a day as we do. One side of her is brilliantly lighted; and this it is which renders our satellite visible.
Hence we explain the marked contrast between the sun and the moon. The whole of the sun is always bright; while half of the moon is always in darkness. When the bright side of the moon is turned directly towards us, then no doubt we see a complete circle and we say the moon is full. On other occasions a portion only of the bright surface is directed to us and thus are produced the beautiful crescents and semicircles and other phases of the moon. 

A simple apparatus, as in this illustration, will explain their various appearances. The large ball there shown represents the moon, which I shall illuminate by a beam from the electric light. The side of the ball turned towards the light is glowing brilliantly, and from the right side of the room you see nearly the whole of the bright side. To you the moon is nearly full. From the center of the room you see the moon like a semicircle, and from the left it appears a thin crescent of light. I alter the position of the ball with respect to the lamp, and now you see the phases are quite changed. To those on my left our mimic moon is now full; to those on my right the moon is almost new, or is visible with only a slender crescent. From the center of the room the quarter is visible as before. We can also show the same series of changes by a little contrivance shown in the next illustration. 

Thus every phase of the moon, illustrated below, from the thinnest beautiful crescent of light that you can just see low in the west after sunset, up to the splendor of the full moon can be completely accounted for by the different aspects of a globe, of which one half is brilliantly illuminated. 

We can now explain a beautiful phenomenon that you will see when the moon is still quite young in its cycle. We fancifully describe the old moon as lying in the new moon’s arms when we observe the faintly illuminated portion of the rest of that circle, of which a part is the brilliant crescent. This can only be explained by showing how some light has fallen on the shadowed side; for nothing which is not itself a source of light can ever become visible unless illuminated by light from some other body.

Let us suppose that there is a man on the moon who is looking at the earth. To him the earth will appear in the same ways the moon appears to us, only very much larger. At the time of the new moon the bright side of the earth will be turned directly towards him, so that the man on the moon will see an earth nearly full, consequently pouring forth a large flood of light. Think of the brightest of all the bright moonlight nights you have ever seen on earth, and then think of a light which would be produced if you had thirteen moons, all as big and as bright as our full moon, shining together. How splendid the night would then be! You would be able to read a book quite easily. Well, that is the  sort of illumination which the lunar man will enjoy under these circumstances; all the features of his country will be brightly lighted up by the full earth. Of course, this earth-lighted side of the moon cannot be compared in brilliancy with the sun-lighted side, but the brightness will still be perceptible, so that when, from the earth, we look at the moon, we see this glow distributed all over the dark portion; that is, we observe the feebly-lighted globe clasped in the brilliant arms of the crescent. At a later phase the dark part of the moon entirely ceases to be visible, and this for a double reason: Firstly, the bright side of the earth is then not so fully turned to the moon and therefore, the illumination it receives from the earthshine is not so great; and  secondly, the increasing size of the sun-lighted part of the moon has such an augmented glow that the fainter light is overpowered by contrast. You must remember that more light does not always increase the number of things that can be seen. It has sometimes the opposite effect. Have we not already mentioned how the brightness of day makes the stars invisible: the moon herself, seen in full daylight, seems no brighter than a small particle of white cloud.
Just like all other planets and stars the moon appears to rise in the east and set in the west every day, but the moon is the only heavenly object to also revolve around the earth. The moon orbits the earth once every twelve months (moon-ths). The moon’s path around the earth is on the same ecliptic plane as the solar-system disk, the same as the sun and planets of our solar system. Another unique feature of earth’s moon is that while it revolves around the earth every 28 days, it rotates only once. This leaves only one side of the moon facing earth at all times, and therefore the other side, the “dark” side, is always facing away, though the dark side is only dark when the side we see is full at sunset. The phases are the same in both northern and southern hemispheres on earth. In the northern hemisphere, the ecliptic crosses from east to west in the south side of the sky. In the southern hemisphere it follows the ecliptic across the northern sky and phases are seen from the opposite side, illuminated from left to right to left.
 
When the moon passes by the sun in the daytime, it cannot be seen against the blue sky. This marks the beginning of the cycle of the moon’s phases. This first phase is the “new” moon, when the moon rises and sets with the sun, and it is often symbolized as a dark moon against a dark sky; the new moon is in the blue sky all day, but reflects no sunlight towards earth.
As the new moon continues its orbit around the earth and passes away from the sun, it enters its waxing crescent phase for seven days, with the crescent visible in the sky throughout the day. It sets just after the sun in the west and rises later in the day each morning.
After those seven waxing crescent days, the moon reaches a 90° angle from the earth and sun at its first quarter when we see only half of the illuminated surface of the moon – it is half the circle we see, but a quarter of the moon. The first-quarter moon rises at midday, crosses the mid-sky meridian at sunset, and sets in the west at midnight. This begins its second seven-day phase called the waxing gibbous, when our visible half of the moon is increasingly illuminated and the moon rises later in the day each afternoon.
When the moon rises 14 days after its new moon cycle (seven days after its first quarter), it is 180° from the sun and rises as a full moon in the east as the sun sets in the west. The full moon crosses mid-sky meridian at midnight, sets in the west as the sun rises in the east, and begins its third phase, called waning gibbous. The moon’s face is now illuminated on its opposite side. Its first quarter side darkens as it rises later each night for the last 14 days of its orbit around the earth.
After the seven waning gibbous days, the moon is 270° around its orbit and reaches its last quarter; the other half of the visible illumination reflected off the moon is lighting the other side, rises in the east at midnight, and crosses the mid-sky meridian at sunrise. This marks the final phase, the waning crescent, and it rises closer and closer to the eastern sunrise each night. After seven days as a waning crescent, it begins another new orbit as it rises with the sun as a new moon.

As the moon orbits the earth it appears either slightly above or slightly below the ecliptic.  When it crosses over the ecliptic as a full moon it is directly aligned with the earth and sun, and the earth’s round shadow can been seen on the surface of the full moon in a lunar eclipse.
When it crosses over the ecliptic as a new moon it is directly aligned between the earth and sun, and as the sun is blocked by the moon, its shadow is cast upon the earth in a solar eclipse. Solar and lunar eclipses only happen during new moons and full moons when the moon’s orbit crosses the ecliptic at those times. Seeing the earth’s round shadow on the face of full moons helped prehistoric astronomers observe the shape of the world they lived on, and they surmised that the earth is round. The full moon also marks calendar events such as Easter, celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the first day of spring, or the third Sunday of the lunar month beginning on or before March 8th. The Gregorian astronomical calendar, which was calculated in 600 AD, predicts these Ecclesiastical full moons; Easter is celebrated on different Sundays each year.
The moon travels about 13° every 24 hours and makes a complete orbit in twenty-eight days. It progresses through the Zodiac on the same plane as the sun and planets along the ecliptic, and passes through to the next Zodiac constellation every other night. It also begins its new cycle of phases as a new moon in a different Zodiac each month. This makes a convenient way to gauge the passing of time based on the changes of the moon and its position against the stars. A week determines the change in phase quarters, and in a fortnight (14 days) it changes from new to full and full to new each month. Knowing the phases and the positions helps to keep track of passing weeks and months observing the stars that it passes by.
Our prehistoric ancestors predicted the phases of the moon, especially the full moon, which allowed them  to hunt game which was nocturnal. Knowing the cycle of constellations was also critical to survival, as the star pictures above indicated the weather patterns below, allowing preparations for planting, breeding, harvesting, hunting, and most especially winter. 
About Symbologist Michelle Snyder


Michelle Snyder is a professor of mythology, and an author, publisher, speaker, and artist. She  did her post-graduate research at the University of Wales, decoding ancient and prehistoric symbolism, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales.  Her artwork has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.

Michelle Snyder
Non-Fiction - Symbology:
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images
Symbology: Decoding Symbols through History
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered
Symbology: Art and Symbols
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: ReVision
Symbology: World of Symbols
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

Michelle Paula Snyder
Fiction – Fantasy Wonder Tales:
The Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time Lessons, First Book
Call of the Dragon and other Tales of Wonder
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book one: The Lost Unicorn
 A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book two The Lost Mermaid
 A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book three The Lost Dragon

Coming Soon: