Saturday, October 31, 2009

Is it water retention that's the problem?

Werewolves, demons and bats, oh my. The full moon is on the rise, and things are outa whack. I swear, a succession of craziness can only be attributed to one thing. A full moon.

The Moon is known to have a huge effect on the ocean's tides. While the moon's gravitational force causes the water to rise up, the earth is also pulling downwards, causing tides. Water levels are dependent upon the force of the moon. So with a full moon comes the high tide.

From this observation, the concept of the moon affecting human behavior evolved. This is because the human body is 80 percent water. It is believed that just like the ocean, when the moon is full, there will also be an upset of water balance in the human body, causing a person to behave irrationally.

Lately I have observed this phenomenon. Not water retention. Perfectly sane people doing perfectly insane things. And there can only be one explanation. The full moon.

According to the Farmer's Almanac, the next full moon is scheduled for November 2, 2009 at 7:15 PM. In preparation for this lunar event, I did some web surfing on the topic (what else does one do when one can't sleep) and discovered some interesting "facts" about full moon-ology.

The Farmer's Almanac website provides some helpful tips to manage the effects of the full moon.

When to Plant, Wean, Castrate, Build Fences, Harvest

The age-old practice of performing farm chores by the Moon stems from the simple belief that the Moon governs moisture. Pliny the Elder, the first-century Roman naturalist, stated in his Natural History that the Moon "replenishes the earth; when she approaches it, she fills all bodies, while, when she recedes, she empties them."

Here are some helpful hints for those in the agriculture business:

1. Rail fences cut during the dry, waning Moon will stay straighter.

2. Wooden shingles and shakes will lie flatter if cut during the dark of the Moon.

3. Fence posts should be set in the dark of the Moon to resist rotting. Ozark lore says that fence posts should always be set as the tree grew. To set the root end upward makes a short-lived fence.

4. Don't begin weaning when the Moon is waning.

5. Castrate and dehorn animals when the Moon is waning for less bleeding.

6. Slaughter when the Moon is waxing for juicier meat.

7. Crabbing, shrimping, and clamming are best when the Moon is full.

8. Best days for fishing are between the new and full Moon. See our best fishing dates for the year.

9. Dig your horseradish in the full Moon for the best flavor.

10. Set eggs to hatch on the Moon's increase, but not if a south wind blows.
(Source: The 1994 Old Farmer's Almanac, Martha White

Good to know. But what about the superstitions. After all, it is hallow e'en. Turns out, werewolves are also thought to occur on full moons.

A werewolf or werewolf is a mythological or folkloric human with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf or an anthropomorphic wolf-like creature, either purposely, by being bitten or scratched by another werewolf, or after being placed under a curse. Werewolves are often granted extra-human strength and senses, far beyond those of both wolves or men. Apparently, werewolves are vulnerable to silver bullets, should you encounter one this full moon season.

There has to be something to this theory. The belief that the moon and its effect on people is rooted in science, superstition and language. We sing about it, make movies about it, and we talk about it all the time.

The Latin word for moon is Luna. Other words that are derived are lunatic (late 13th century), meaning insane. It can also mean "moon-sick". Lunacy was formed in 1541 as a "condition of being a lunatic,", originally in reference to intermittent periods of insanity, such as were believed to be triggered by the moon's cycle, or "month-sickness."

The fullness of the moon has always been blamed for catastrophes in both nature and human beings. In some cases, the moon was used as an excuse of a committed crime. England lawyers in the 19th-century used the "guilty by reason of the full moon" defense for their cases - pointing out that their clients could not be held responsible for acting under the control of the moon.

Whether it's science fiction, science or just fiction, it's hard to say. There are studies that attempt to link crime to the full moon. In 1974, Psychologist Arnold Lieber, from the University of Miami began conducting studies centered on the crime rates of Miami-Dade County in Florida.

From the data gathered, he concluded that full moon has direct effect over the increase in homicide rates. He contacted the media, Miami police, and a hospital administrator to warn them about the danger that comes with a full moon.

In 1978 he wrote a best-selling book called, "Lunar Effects: Biological Tides and Human Emotions", which made his studies more known to the general public. Lieber didn't stop there; he published another book in 1996 and continued to expand his theory about the moon's influence on human behavior.

We are so connected to the big rock in the sky that we have actually made it part of our everyday language. It can be an action: to moon someone. We can "howl at the moon", "moonlight" at another job, be "moon struck", head over heels in love,or we can "shoot the moon."

To bring this to a point, I can only conclude, based on the observations of the world and times thus far, the full moon could be one of the reasons we are all a little crazy.

But if the theory of monthly craziness holds true, we should probably plan an intervention since there seems to be a trend as old as time.

- The threat of a Pandemic Influenza is on the rise even if the Pandemic Influenza is not. My doctor tells me to wash my hands, avoid sick people, and avoid being sick around people. This is not a light matter however. Some people do get very sick. But follow the rules that our doctors prescribe and we will all be a little safer.

- The threat of world war is always on our mind, but when hasn't there been a political struggle? Can't we all just get along? The threat of a global economic crash is always knocking, but the law of economics tells us that if we over spend, eventually we run out of money.

- The threat of job loss, job change or life change is, of course, ready at the wait, but who wants to work at the same job for all eternity?

I think we are all just a little crazy these days, and the momentum seems to be building. And we are reacting. So here are some things we might be able to do to offset the craziness.

1. Stop communicating by email or text. As Thumper's mother used to say, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

2. Take responsibility. For flu watchers, that means wash your hands more. Don't cough on people. And don't touch public surfaces if that creeps you out. If you are unhappy at work, get a new job. If you are concerned about the environment, stop killing it in your own way. If you need a change, change.

3. Accept change when it happens. In fact, hope for change. The day that there is no change in the world is the day we should worry. The ebb and flow must happen.

4. Be kind to others and hopefully they will be kind to you. And if they are not, refer back to points 1, 2 and 3.

So that, my friends, is my best offering on the eve of this full moon. That, and have a glass of water. It can't hurt.

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