Posts Tagged ‘full moon’

Someone else’s MGB, Glasson Marina, February 2014

The last Friday of February, this year, was also a full moon, thus seeming especially auspicious. Previous years would have had me and the small blue car at Glasson Marina, enjoying the year’s first hints of spring. From Glasson, I like to walk the quiet lanes to Cockerham, then back up the Lancashire coastal way, over the green sward, by the remains of the abbey, and the Plover Scar light. I’d have lunch at Lantern O’er Lune, then return home via the garden centre at Barton, for coffee and cake. A grand day out, as they say.

I first did that trip in 2014 in an old grey commuter mule called Grumpy. I’ve done it every year since, except last, and this. On that first trip there was a guy at the marina in a gorgeous red MGB. He looked to be in his seventies, living the dream, with his Irvine flying jacket. At £850 a go, that jacket was as much of a statement as the car. Cynics might have said he was menopausal. But in your seventies? Not likely. Okay, he looked a bit eccentric, but the guy had spirit, and he inspired me. The next year I was in the small blue car, an old but reasonably well-kept Mazda roadster. All right, she’s no MG but, forgive me, I never held the same faith in British motor cars as others. I’d thought to keep the car a year or so, get her out of my system, and sell her on, but we’re still together. I drew the line at an Irvin jacket.

My MX5, Glasson Marina, 2015

This pandemic year however, the car is under covers, and I keep my steps local. On Friday, I walked a pleasant circuit from my doorstep, instead, just clipping the next village. I was hoping to see a particular buzzard, thus scotching rumours the bird had been shot. I didn’t see it. As I walked I was thinking of Glasson. I was picturing the crocuses in the churchyard, and along the canal bank. I was also thinking about writing, and the answer to a question I’d posed: Why have I not decided upon so much as an opening sentence of new fiction yet, months after putting up my last novel? I have never been without a work of fiction for company. But time is ticking.

Things are pretty well upended, was the answer to my question. You’ve had a big change of circumstance, what with early retirement and everything, so let it ride, don’t rush it. And fair enough, I’m not. I’ve bought a 3D printer to tinker with, and I’m designing and building bits and bobs for myself. I’ve made a clock case, a watch case, and some quick-release clips for stashing Alpine poles to my rucksack. Ironic, I thought. For most of my life I have been writing as a distraction from the trials of engineering. Then I retire, and I take on personal engineering projects as a distraction from writing. I am, if nothing else, perverse. But the answer goes further, deeper. It takes in the ruins of the world, and how best to move on from them.

I understand that in one sense I’m in a good place. A final salary pension helps enormously, but most of all I’m lacking anger. However, I’m also lacking passion, which is possibly less good. I look upon the corruption of political high office, and I don’t care any more. I read how the cost of BREXIT is now roughly the same as our contributions to the EC since 1972, and I don’t care. The Labour Party is veering once more to the right, purging itself of even moderate old lefties like me, and I don’t care. I’m fine, I want everyone else to be fine too, but I’m waking up to the nature of the world as being one of ineradicable inequality, indifference and self-entitlement. Money makes you mean, and since money buys power, you can plot your course from there to the most logical outcome – which is pretty much the ruins of where we are.

The Taoist texts talk of clarity. They use the image of a lake. If we are emotionally aroused, they say, it’s like the perturbation of the surface, and the stirring of sediment. Then we cannot see through to the bottom of things. Only through calmness, through stillness, does the sediment settle out and clarity is restored. But while in stillness, there might indeed be a kind of clarity, I find there’s not the energy to power a hundred thousand words of fiction. It strikes me therefore, I might have already written my final novel. On the one hand I’m surprised by that, since I’d always imagined my retirement as a time I could spend writing to my heart’s content. On the other hand, again, I don’t care. The muse has been slipping me the occasional idea, but I can tell she’s not serious. She has not once lit the blue touch-paper. All of which perhaps goes to show the Universe is not without a wry sense of humour.

Then, as I write, my son brings news of a pair of buzzards circling my garden. He’s rummaging in some excitement for the binoculars. It’s an unusual sight, a pair of them like that, and a bit of a shock, actually. I break off for a photograph, snap-on the long lens. I’ve been stalking buzzards in my locale for a while now, trying to get a nice sharp image of one, while lamenting their vulnerability, and suddenly there are two over my house, as if they had come to look at me and pose. It’s surely an omen. Of what, who can say? Light or dark, we take our choice. Myself, I’m optimistic. It seems you don’t always need to venture far in seeking what you want, also that we needn’t go chasing every shadow. Indeed, perhaps what we seek is actually seeking us, and all we have to do is find sufficient stillness of mind to let it in.

Glasson, on the last Friday of February 2022? The small blue car will be twenty years old.

It’s a date.

One of a pair of buzzards, circling over my house

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moonThere’s a wealth of lore regarding the moon. It features in our ritual and our calendars, and there’s always been a belief in its ability to affect our mood. Until recently however respectable scientists have poured scorn on the idea, pointing out there is no known mechanism by which the moon can affect the mind. The only known force the moon exerts upon the earth, they say, is gravity, but while the moon’s gravity can indeed raise ocean tides, a scientist will assure you the gravitational effect it has on my brain is no more than the gravitational pull exerted by the computer I’m typing this into. It’s true – gravity is not the answer, but then respectable mystics no longer maintain that it is.

Personally, I’ve always held that the moon does have an effect on the psyche – perhaps not everyone’s, but certain sensitive individuals – and that it’s quite common, and natural, and I don’t mind that we don’t yet know, conclusively, what the mechanism is. My evidence is subjective and entirely experiential. I’ve simply noticed that the time coming up to full moon is when I’m at my most creatively and emotionally outgoing. It’s when things get done, and the energy needed for them just flows. Conversely, following the full moon I become gradually more contemplative, more inward looking, and less creatively active, with a definite hiatus around the time of the new moon when my brain floats aimlessly about like a boat that’s lost its anchor. Of course I still have to do what needs to be done, but it can be a real struggle to get my brain in gear and, regarding, the energy, it feels like I’m running on empty.

It’s interesting that my personal diary backs this up. Searches for things like: “disconnection”, “airiness” and “spaced out” all closely correlate with the period around new moons. This is a time for leasure-reading, for meditating, for dreaming, and for inviting syncronicities – not for actively seeking to influence outcomes in the real world.

Of course, it could be that I’m simply looking at the moon, seeing what phase it is, and adjusting my mood to suit, rather than actually responding to subtle earth-energies, and all that other new-age guff. That’s fair enough, in which case you might say I  I simply favour maintaining an awareness of the moon, and other aspects of the natural world, and aligning myself to its rhythms, like my ancestors once did. I am, in short, not looking to prove anything, either to myself or to others. It is what it is, and it seems to work for me.

But if it’s true, my suspicion has always been that the mechanism is tied up with the earth’s magnetic field and its perturbations resulting from the constant buffeting it gets from the solar wind. And, since the moon moves around inside this system of magnetic flux, it’s feasible it has a regulating effect, and that a lunar signature should be detectable in the geomagnetic data.

If you study the figures for daily geomagnetic flux levels, as published by NOAA*, put it all in a giant spreadsheet and apply some filtering, you can indeed pick out an effect, a rising and falling in intensity of the geomagnetic index with a period that correlates with the lunar phase. Other’s have looked at this too, including NASA analysts in the past (Stolov et al 1965), and come up with the same thing. There may be other space weather experts who can elaborate on it now, but, while fascinating, my understanding is this research has always been considered inconclusive, controversial, and somehow not a respectable field for any career conscious scientist to be associated with at all – dare I say because it sounds like lunacy?

But non-scientists, like me, have no difficulty with it, nor in suggesting we might be picking up on the earth’s lunar modulated geomagnetic “vibrations” through the pineal gland, a  pine-cone shaped organ located deep in the brain. It’s sensitive to magnetic fields, and regulates the body’s circadian rhythms – things like sleep patterns – through the secretion of melatonin. Again, scientists have long blown raspberries at this idea, but a recently published study has indeed shown changes in blood chemistry and sleep patterns correlated with the phases of the moon. It’s summarised as a news item on the BBC here. This is the first time I’ve ever read of any respectable research in this area that was not wholly sceptical. So maybe science is beginning to catch up with myth, with sober research data now pointing in the direction mystics have been indicating all along; that it really does make a difference what moon it is.

*NOAA – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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