Howling at the Moon

The New Testament (Colossians 2:16) points out that you cannot be judged for how you observe or do not observe any particular calendar of religious festivals. I’m not trying to add any burdens to your life, but to enrich your grasp of biblical living.

If you read modern calendars, Sunday is the New Moon. Perhaps you are aware that under the Law of Moses, this was taken as something like a Sabbath. They would blow the shofar and celebrate as a minor festival. It was commanded by God (Numbers 10:10; 28:11-15).

One minor problem here: Our modern calendar is Solarian. It all comes from the worship of the sun, and so does that notation about the moon. In Hebrew culture, the New Moon was not that point in time when the side of the moon facing earth was totally blacked out. It was when that first sliver of light began to show as the cycle began anew. It had to be observed by those appointed to keep an eye on that very thing, who in turn reported it to the priests in the Temple so the shofar could be sounded and everyone put on notice.

Biblical society was lunar, not solar. They kept track of how the lunar and solar calendars didn’t jive, but the point was to cling to the lunar pattern as part of their agricultural existence. In other words, the solar cycle affects you, but in a very real natural sense, the moon affects you more. Granted, modern science generally denies any significant effect, but science also denies a lot of things the Bible says. We know that God wove His divine moral character into the fabric of reality, so it’s not something science can measure until scientists start taking seriously the heart-led moral consciousness.

So the effect of the moon has long been noted in less scientific literature. I’m not all that concerned about such lore, but I am trying to get a sense of why it mattered for God’s plans with Israel. That Israel essentially failed those plans is not the point. This whole thing of Radix Fidem is a fresh look at things long forgotten. I’m seeking the Lord’s face on this, and for now, my convictions tell me to simply become more aware of the lunar cycle.

On my Linux desktop, I have a set of system monitors that can include all kinds of stuff, some quite frivolous. I’ve added a module that displays the moon phase and depicts what I would see if the moon was visible (it’s overcast where I am as I write this). Right now it’s the last tiny sliver of the previous cycle fading away. Sometime in the next few days it will show the first sliver of the new cycle, and that will be the biblical New Moon.

Right now I’m not doing anything special. But I can tell you that any police department will report this is generally a quiet time, whereas the full moon can be downright crazy. The most bizarre criminal activity comes during the full moon. Nurses in hospitals and prison guards will tell you similar stories about the folks in their care. It doesn’t much matter what science says about that because the effect is pervasive on humanity, and we still have to find ways to deal with it. Apparently God meant for the moon to affect us, so we need to play along to see what blessings come with it.

Even if, as the linked article suggests, it’s nothing more than the effect of the moon’s light on your sleep, it was still the default condition of humanity for most of our history. I know that modern lighting changes all of that, but I’m not convinced it’s a curse. Rather, I sense that there is something much more fundamental to our moral nature as creatures made in God’s image.

About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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3 Responses to Howling at the Moon

  1. I just had a conversation about the phases of the moon with my (10 yr old) granddaughter as we shared chores in the kitchen. She now knows what most people don’t, although there was a time that everyone did – that the full moon rises at exactly the same moment as the sun sets, and it then rises an hour later every night, until the last sliver of the old moon appears in the last moments before sunrise, then onward until we see the new moon’s crescent in the western sky, setting just a little after the sun. I’ll review it with her another time, and then another, until I know she’s ‘got’ it. She’s a bright kid, and (for now) interested in anything her granny has to say, so I slip as much of this kind of ‘folkloric’ knowledge in as I can, every time we get together.

    I’ve helped several women fix their irregular menstrual cycles by teaching them to pay attention to the moon’s phases (there’s a reason we used to call it women’s ‘moon time’). And of course I plant, prune and harvest by the moon.

    The moon calendar is certainly practical, aiding gardeners, sailors and probably shepherds. It affects fertility (both human and animal), tides, and even how much blood loss there will be from an injury or surgery. It can also be used to predict weather patterns.

    In other words, the moon ties us in with Creation. Being in sync with it is definitely part of my prescription to anyone who wants to be fully heart-led.


  2. Iain says:

    If you don’t want the ground to suck up the new gravel on your driveway you lay it on a new moon. I have no idea why this works but, it does. I like the mystery of it and a “scientific” explanation would just suck all the fun out of it.


  3. Jay DiNitto says:

    I recall reading something about artistic output–back before modern lighting, when we had biphasic sleeping patterns–and the full moon. Artist-types would be more prolific in between early and late sleeps, in the early morning, when the moon was in a more fully-lit (don’t know the real term) state. Wish I had saved the article.


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