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June 23, 2013

It is a full moon tonight, and an unusual one. Not only does it coincide with midsummer, but it will be the largest full moon of the year: a ‘supermoon’. This happens when the full moon is at perigee, meaning at the closest point of its orbit around the Earth.

I know little of astronomy and less of astrology, being confused by one and sceptical of the other. What I do know is that the full moon has an effect on me. For the past three or four days I have been increasingly restless and irritable. I’ve been sleeping badly, plagued by vivid dreams and early wakening. A coming full moon always has this effect. Since I keep only half an eye on the phases of the moon, however, it usually takes me a while to connect it with my mood. Only after I’ve snapped at a loved one and wondered why I’m being such a grumpy cow do I have that forehead-slapping moment of realisation: ‘Of course, it’s a full moon…’

This ‘supermoon’ seems to be having a stronger impact than usual, which I suppose is to be expected. The whole subject of the moon’s effect on the Earth is one I find strange and fascinating. The idea that lunar gravity can pull on the tides of vast oceans and individual humans alike is extraordinary, and I wish again that there was not such a divide between science and mysticism in their explanations of natural phenomena.

High winds are buffeting the trees around the castle and whistling down the chimneys, and I am feeling frowsty and cross. I know the two are connected, though I can’t grasp how. I am looking forward to this supermoon passing the full, however beautiful it might be tonight. When it starts to wane tomorrow, both macro- and micro-cosms should start to calm down a bit: and I know that everyone in my household will be grateful!

Does the full moon affect you? I’d love to know your experiences. Perhaps all humans are lunatic, whether we’re aware of it or not?



Image from Wikimedia Commons


You can watch a webcast of tonight’s supermoon at


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18 Comments leave one →
  1. June 23, 2013 7:38 pm

    I have my camera set up on its tripod and ready to go.I hope to catch great photo of the moon over the lake.
    But, I am not affected by the moon’s phases. Never have been. And I’ve always felt a little left out because of that, for some reason. Every month, I keep track and check myself for signs of insanity or irritability and find nothing abnormal.

    • June 23, 2013 9:19 pm

      Don’t they say that the first sign of insanity is checking yourself for signs…?! 😉
      Best of luck with the photography. I’ll be checking your photo blog for the results!

  2. Melinda permalink
    June 23, 2013 7:54 pm

    I always look forward to reading and viewing what you have to say. This posting is particularly interesting to me. I always look forward to the super moon due to the fact it effects the ocean tides so greatly. It would only make sense it would also effect we humans as we are for the most part composed of water. I fly fish for striped bass in the ocean close to our home and fishing is very good on the outgoing super moon tide!

    • June 23, 2013 9:22 pm

      Well now, there’s a wee fact I’d never have known if you hadn’t told me – that fishing is good on the supermoon waning tide. ‘Tight lines’ (good fishing) as we say here!

  3. Toffeeapple permalink
    June 23, 2013 9:44 pm

    Oh, I missed it because of the thick cloud cover. I don’t think I am affected by it …

    • June 23, 2013 11:10 pm

      Pity it’s cloudy tonight. Last night was bright and clear, but I forgot to look for the moon before I went to bed.
      Funny how some people are affected and others not.

  4. June 23, 2013 10:04 pm

    I don’t think it has an effect on me, although I have had a headache for the past few days. However I put it down to end of term burn-out, which still seems to affect me even tho I’m at several removes from being hands-on now.

    I am however intrigued by moon planting and mean to investigate it properly. The cautious Scot in me is not quite sure what to make of the various tinctures of horn…

    Presumably your part of the country was under thick cloud too?

    • June 23, 2013 11:14 pm

      End-of-term-itis is definitely rampaging through our family, which doesn’t help!

      I have never investigated moon planting. It seems to make perfect sense to me, though, given that the moon has such dramatic effects on tides and weather and living creatures. One of the things that exasperates me about much science is the tendency to assume that, if something cannot be explained according to currently available empirical knowledge, it must be hokum. Tinctures of horn, though…well, I must keep an open mind!

  5. Mary K. in Rockport permalink
    June 24, 2013 4:38 am

    I know exactly what you mean about the effect of the full moon on my being. I figure it must have something to do with its pull on the water in my body. I do not like the full moon! But the rest of my family is unaffected.

    • June 25, 2013 11:30 pm

      Interesting that some people are affected and some not. It certainly makes sense that the pull on all that H2O would affect us, though why some people don’t notice it is another question.

  6. June 24, 2013 10:04 am

    The full moon definitely has an effect on me! I notice it myself, very often. Tension, irritability, increased awareness, fidgety nights when I really need my sleep! My daughter often has bad dreams around the full moon. When you think about it, it makes sense – the force affects not only the water on the planet but the rocks themselves, although they don’t show it in the same way. And we are made of the same components. I shall be glad when this ‘supermoon’ is over, however beautiful it is!

    • June 25, 2013 11:32 pm

      You sound as if you are affected in exactly the same way as me! I don’t know if it’s anything to do with heightened sensitivity in general, or intuition, or who knows what.

  7. June 25, 2013 9:59 pm

    I’ve really enjoyed looking at all the pictures people took of the supermoon.(WIKI did a good job – my night shots turn out sooo bad)
    The moon affects tides – and humans are what 90% water? Quite possibly has an effect.
    You are one of several bloggers that wrote of being unusually irritable and uneasy – (the others usually sound cheerful and stable)
    I was really energized but it…but being eccentric, who would notice the difference? Always wanted to be Aunti Mame.
    Hope the woods have soothed you…maybe it’s the forest sprites stirring up things?

    • June 25, 2013 11:33 pm

      Good to hear of someone who is affected in a good way. I often feel energised before a full moon, but in a rather frazzled, manic way. Could well be those forest sprites. 🙂 Anyway I am slowly coming ‘down’ again now, thank heavens!

  8. hmunro permalink
    June 26, 2013 4:29 pm

    I think there really *is* something to the idea of “lunacy,” because it’s been reported for centuries across all cultures. But these days I think most of us have grown so disconnected from nature — and even from ourselves — that perhaps we don’t notice anymore. I wouldn’t be surprised if someday we (re)discover that all sorts of unseen natural forces influence how we feel and behave. Great post, DB!

    • June 27, 2013 12:07 am

      I’m sure you’re right, Heather. The disconnect from the natural world was probably the thing I found hardest about city living. For all that I appreciated the 24 hour energy of the city, it felt deeply ‘un-natural’ to me. I am definitely not cut out to be an urban sophisticate! 🙂

  9. June 29, 2013 3:18 pm

    I’ve never been aware of any effect of the full moon on my moods, but that may be because it’s so often cloudy that I lose track of its phases. 🙂 DH and I were certainly impressed when we saw the moon rise late on Monday as we drove here from the ferry. Even a couple of days past the full it looked enormous.

    Many French country folk swear by planting according to the moon’s phases and there is even an annual publication you can buy here which tells you exactly when to plant what, based on the lunar cycle.

    • June 29, 2013 6:52 pm

      I’m not surprised that the rural French are more in touch with this idea of lunar planting than us. France has not become cut off from its rural roots the way so many people in Britain have done. Nothing so truly rustic as a farm in deepest France!

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