In the late 13th Century, our ancestors created a word for people who were believed to go insane due to changes in the moon’s cycle. Lunatic. Derived from the Old French word lunatique, and late Latin, lunaticus–folks could be moonstruck during a full moon, when changes in mood and temper precipitated all kinds of erratic behaviour. In 1824, Britain even passed a Lunacy Act, which stated that people often went mad during a full moon.
Long before that, our ancestors knew that the moon was a powerful sacred entity, something to be watched, worshipped, and admired. Associated with dreaminess, the goddess, and water, Luna is a feminine entity whose shifting cycles mirror our own.
Because of this, witches have long been associated with the full moon. As have werewolves. Lycanthropes. Her bold female presence had the power to transform a man into a terrifying creature–by day he is man, by night he hunts man.
So, does she really make us crazy?
Police, firefighters, and hospital emergency staff, often claim that on a full moon the crazies come out and they are run off their feet. Is this just another urban legend or can the moon really turn us into lunatics?
In 2007, Dr Michael Zimecki of the Polish Academy of Sciences revealed that scientists have discovered physiological evidence of what our ancestors have always known. The moon affects us in a myriad of ways. In short, it messes with our hormones:
The lunar cycle has an impact on human reproduction, in particular fertility, menstruation and birth rate. Other events associated with human behaviour, such as traffic accidents, crimes, and suicides, appeared to be influenced by the lunar cycle…At this stage of investigation, the exact mechanism of the lunar effect on the immune response is hard to explain. The prime candidates to exert regulatory function on the immune response are melatonin and steroids, whose levels are affected by the Moon cycle. It is suggested that melatonin and endogenous steroids [which are naturally occurring in humans] may mediate the described cyclic alterations of physiological processes. Electromagnetic radiation and/or the gravitational pull of the Moon may trigger the release of hormones.
How were you feeling two nights ago as the April full moon struck? Were your hormones in a tizzy? Did you see anything odd? A flash of teeth in the shadows? Can you even remember?