|The full moon due on the 25th (of March) was called the Maple Sugar Moon by the Chippewas because that’s when the sap flowed the freest. According to the Celts, it’s the Nuinne, whose purpose is The Weighing of Truth.
Our ancestors were vitally interested in the celestial bodies and studied them carefully because they needed to know when to plant and when to harvest. Some cultures, like the Chinese and the Celts, even based their calendar on the lunar year.
Full moons always had particular fascination – if nothing else, they’re hard to miss – and they figure in folklore from many cultures. They’re associated with everything from werewolves, to the pull of the tides, to increased crimes of violence, to the lunacy of falling in love and other aberrant behavior.
Well, “lunatic” comes from the Latin word for the moon, “luna.”
The full moon is also thought to bring on childbirth. According to at least one hospital administrator, it’s not a myth. In “Moonstruck?” written by reporter Robert Lovinger, Debbie Raposo, director of women’s and children’s health at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, at the time the article was written, said she’d actually tried to staff her maternity unit with that in mind.
“Clearly, more babies are born around the full moon,” Raposo was quoted as saying.
A statistical analysis of her hospital showed a correlation, though other studies have not found statistical relevance. See: http://www.s-t.com/daily/01-99/01-31-99/e01li135.htm .
In fact, most scientific research disproves any lunar effects on behavior. I. W. Kelly, professor of educational psychology at the U. of Saskatchewan and chairman of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal did some research back in 1986 on the lunar effect in collaboration with an astronomer from Colorado State University. His meta-analysis (a study of studies) found too many statistical errors in the original studies.
Back Kelly came in 1996, along with Rotton and Culver, to study the lunar effects on the homicide rate, traffic accident, calls to the police and fire department, domestic violence, birth of babies, suicides, assassinations, casino payout rates, kidnappings, aggression by pro hockey players, violence in prisons, major disasters, agitated behavior by nursing home residents, assaults, alcoholism, and more. They found no significant correlations. See: http://skepdic.com/fullmoon.html .
Why is it, then, that people in the trenches, like bartenders, ER physicians, maternity nurses, policemen and psychiatrists (at least one has written a book called “The Lunar Effect”), and my next door neighbor all attest to the fact that things hop up around the time of a full moon? And why is it in the folklore? Is there something we know intuitively about it?
Raposo said the psychiatric ward at her hospital noticed the same effect, and the local police captain at the time, one Capt. Paul Cardalino, noted that “during full moons, it seems there are more problems with family disputes domestic violence, and people who are unstable.”
A minister friend of mine said she “knew” the full moon affected people because she’d worked in an old folks’ home. “They kept trying to get out when there was a full moon,” she told me, “and we’d find them wandering the streets if we didn’t lock the doors.”
There’s at least one study confirming -- Dr. Leiber’s study (J Clin Psychiatry. 1978. May 39(5): 385-92), postulates “the existence of a biological rhythm of human aggression which resonates with the lunar synodic cycle.” Interesting that this is the study that finds that psychiatric emergency room visits decline around the full moon. (This isn’t necessarily good news though, folks; those who enter the P-ER are there to get help. If they aren’t there, where are they and what are they doing?)
Alan Hirshfeld, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, also felt it’s been disproven, but added, I assume without prompting, “People may tend to get more romantically inclined…”
There are also all those theories about the tides and the fact that we humans are 80% water.
Cecil Adams, in his “The Straight Dope” ( http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a2_337.html ) points out that other things besides the moon exert influence on us: “Researchers have calculated that a mother holding her baby exerts 12 million times the tide-raising force on the child that the moon does, simply by virtue of being closer.”
It sounds like the researchers were talking about physical movement. We’re talking about emotions, very watery things indeed. But who exerts more emotional pull on an infant than the mother holding it? You see how complex it all is …
It also should be noted that the nearness of the moon affects the tides, not the phase of the moon.
Kelly, Rotton, and Culver attributed the persistent myths to four things: (1) media effects; (2) folkore and tradition; (3) misconception (i.e., the tidal force of the moon depends on its distance from earth, not its phase), and (4) cognitive biases (all bad events don’t occur during the full moon and all events that occur during the full moon aren’t bad!).
So where does Emotional Intelligence come in? Emotions are strong and they’re also contagious. Some of us are more open to “suggestions” than others, and more effected by the emotions of those around us, and by tradition, the media, and so forth.
EQ is about self-awareness. I invite you to observe things around this full moon. Self-management is key to emotional intelligence, and related to success in relationships, career, and life, as well as to our wellness. Here’s how it works.
IF the full moon exerts pressure on us to act irrationally, so do other things, like PMS, heat, toxic people, crowded conditions and stress.
IF others around you were to start acting more looney than usual, they also do during conflict, bankruptcy, stock market fluctuations, personal crises, and stress; and,
IF other people ‘believe in’ the lunar effect, it’s part of reality.
No matter what ‘effects’ are going, using your EQ can help you function at your best, and manage your environment positively.
The werewolf, metaphorically, is about letting your reptilian brain take over and hijack your reasoning. You get too tired, too hungry, too stressed, or are assaulted, and you turn into a ‘beast,’ yes??
We have to cope with emotional “pulls” all the time. Because of our limbic connection with other humans, which is what makes our bonding possible, we can tell what others feel, and it can get to us. Being aware of how you’re affected by other things – people, circumstances, your own emotions, and possibly full moons – is knowledge you can use for better self- and other-management. Then you can respond to circumstances, not just react to them in a knee-jerk, sometimes beastly, fashion, yes?
Does the full moon cause aberrant behavior, including that craziest behavior of all – falling in love? We don’t know. We do know the full moon is beautiful.
I think of a cruise I took during a full moon not long ago. Who wouldn’t fall in love standing on the deck of a ship watching the full moon rise over the endless ocean with no signs of civilization in sight – fall in love with the person standing next to you, the one you left back home, with the night, with life, with the wonder of it all?
“And all the night’s magic seems to whisper and hush. And all the soft moonlight seems to shine in your blush.” (Van Morrison, “Moondance”)
It’s your full moon. Make it a good one! Use your EQ.
About the Author
©Susan Dunn, MA, EQ and Life Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc . Coaching, Internet courses, and ebooks around emotional intelligence for your personal and professional success. Mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org for FREE EQ ezine. Susan trains and certifies EQ coaches. Email her for information about this fast, affordable, comprehensive, no-residency program.