During my time in Ireland this year I have been a very lucky moon-gazer. Our summertime night skies haven’t been blighted by typical Irish cloudy skies. I’ve been blessed to observe the full moon in all its glory casting a torch like glow over Dublin, illuminating both sea and land. Dublin Bay by the light of the full moon is a breathtakingly beautiful sight.
In typical Irish fashion myths and superstitions abound regarding the full moon. Here’s a little sampling of some of these ancient stories.
In centuries past, Irish people didn’t always observe a man in the moon. Instead they talked of spotting the hare in the moon who supposedly carried an egg. A lunar hare image is also prevalent in Chinese, Japanese and Mexican mythology, but I don’t know if he was an egg snatcher in those corners of the world.
In some parts of Ireland the ‘man in the moon’ is said to have once been a lazy Irish boy who was carried to the moon as punishment for his slovenly ways. His inadequate brush sweeping skills were at fault in some stories, and in other versions he failed to carry sufficient water from a well with his bucket. Whatever the poor lad was remiss in doing, he is doomed to watch the sleeping world forevermore.
Now if you are a student of Irish luck and want to learn all the rules for mastering the ‘luck of the Irish’ then pay close attention to these upcoming lucky lunar lessons.
When moon gazing it’s very important to search for the moon over the appropriate shoulder. Spotting the full moon over the right shoulder is considered lucky, but bad luck is inevitable if the moon is first spotted over the left shoulder. You wouldn’t know where to look on a moonlit night.
To maximize your lunar luck then a haircut is in order. You are supposedly ensured the best luck of all by getting your tresses trimmed in the light of the full moon.
But be careful afterwards as you sleep. You are doomed to the worst luck in the world if the light of the full moon lands on your face as you rest. Some superstitions go as far as to say you won’t even see the year out if moonlight crosses your face as you slumber. So remember to close your curtains on full moon nights.
Now if you are interested in looking into the future to perhaps spy a potential beau, then head outside with a mirror to examine the reflection of the full moon. Stare long and hard and you might see that special someone. And again, don’t forget to close your curtains as you dream of your prince or princess, for fear the moonlight illuminates your smiling face.
If you have recently recovered from an illness kneel and pray facing the full moon giving voice to your gratitude for being blessed with the grace to live. This old superstition is once again an example of how the Irish mixed old Celtic mythology with Christian beliefs.
The ancient druids were supposedly great students of the heavenly bodies. They often took their oaths by referring to the powers of the sun, moon, and stars.
This ongoing influence of astral bodies on human affairs is evident in old Irish folk speech. “By the strength of the sun and moon” was a favorite old exclamation.
If you are as confused as I am by all these lunar directions, then I think it’s best to stick to the old poem we used to say as children.
“I see the moon, and the moon sees me,
God bless the moon and God bless me:
There’s grace in the cottage and grace in the hall;
And the grace of God is over us all.”
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom
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