The amount of the moon that can be seen is impacted by its orbit around the Earth and Sun.  Depending on its position in relation to these two bodies, the moon will reflect more or less of the sun's light on its surface - thus making it visible in the night sky to Earth.  This changes the "shape" of the moon as it moves through these phases in its orbit.  It takes around 29 days for the moon to move through its phases.  

  • New Moon: The sun illuminates the "far" side of the moon.  , The part of the moon facing Earth is not lit or visible (except during a solar eclipse).

  • Waxing Crescent: Less than one-half the moon is visible/lit.  The visible area (the sun's reflection) is getting bigger.

  • First Quarter:* About one-half of the moon is visible and the the area of the sun's reflection is continuing to grow.

  • Waxing Gibbous: More than half, but less than all of the moon is visible and the the area of the sun's reflection is still increasing.

  • Full Moon: During a full moon, the moon is completely visible. The moon is “fully” lit by the sun's reflection.

  • Waning Gibbous: More than half, but less than all of the moon is visible and the the area of the sun's reflection is decreasing.

  • Last Quarter:*About one half of the moon is visible and the the area of the sun's reflection is continuing to decreasing.

  • Waning Crescent: In this phase, less than one half of the moon is visible and the area of the sun's reflection is still decreasing. As the illuminated area of the moon disappears, the cycle will repeat beginning again with the New Moon

* Quarter refers to the passage of time, not to the area of moon that is illuminated by the sun.  First Quarter means that the moon is a quarter of the way through the full cycle of its phases.

The moon exists as a result of a collision between a Mars-sized "impactor" object and the Earth.  At the time, Earth was largely molten.  The impactor and part of Earth's silicate mantle were "ejected" into space and formed the moon as they merged.  At the same time the metallic core of the impactor was ejected into Earth and over geologic time with the movement of tectonic plates has given rise to workable ore deposits.  Without these core elements, harvested through the mining industry, it is unlikely that Earth would have developed the level of technology that now exists.

[Information sourced from]

The largest impact of the Moon on Earth relates to the role of gravity on water bodies.


"The moon is a major influence on the Earth’s tides, but the sun also generates considerable tidal forces. Solar tides are about half as large as lunar tides and are expressed as a variation of lunar tidal patterns, not as a separate set of tides. When the sun, moon, and Earth are in alignment (at the time of the new or full moon), the solar tide has an additive effect on the lunar tide, creating extra-high high tides, and very low, low tides—both commonly called spring tides. One week later, when the sun and moon are at right angles to each other, the solar tide partially cancels out the lunar tide and produces moderate tides known as neap tides. During each lunar month, two sets of spring tides and two sets of neap tides occur (Sumich, J.L., 1996).

Just as the angles of the sun, moon and Earth affect tidal heights over the course of a lunar month, so do their distances to one another. Because the moon follows an elliptical path around the Earth, the distance between them varies by about 31,000 miles over the course of a month. Once a month, when the moon is closest to the Earth (at perigee), tide-generating forces are higher than usual, producing above-average ranges in the tides. About two weeks later, when the moon is farthest from the Earth (at apogee), the lunar tide-raising force is smaller, and the tidal ranges are less than average. A similar situation occurs between the Earth and the sun. When the Earth is closest to the sun (perihelion), which occurs about January 2 of each calendar year, the tidal ranges are enhanced. When the Earth is furthest from the sun (aphelion), around July 2, the tidal ranges are reduced (Sumich, J.L., 1996; Thurman, H.V., 1994)."

[Information sourced from

For additional information on the impact having the Moon in orbit has on life on earth, click here

The Moon and Celtic Culture

The Coligny Calendar (circa 1 BCE) is made up of fragments of bronze but was once a whole plate.  This Celtic calendar was lunar based.  It begins:


"Each month with the full moon, and covers a 30-year cycle comprising five cycles of 62 lunar months, and one of 61. It divides each month into fortnights rather than weeks, with days designated - from observation - as MAT (good) or ANM (not good). Each year is divided into thirteen months.

The Coligny calendar achieves a complex synchronization of the solar and lunar months. Whether it does this for philosophical or practical reasons, it points to considerable sophistication."


Caitlin Matthews has translated the months on the Coligny Calendar as follows:

  • Samonios (Seed Fall) October/November

  • Dumannios (Darkest Depths) November/December

  • Riuros (Cold Time) December/January

  • Anagantios (Stay Home Time) January/February

  • Ogronios (Ice Time) February/March

  • Cutios (Windy Time) March/April

  • Giamonios (Shoots Show) April/May

  • Simivisonios (Bright Time) May/June

  • Equos (Horse Time) June/July

  • Elembiuos (Claim Time) July/August

  • Edrinios (Arbitration Time) August/September

  • Cantlos (Song time) September/October

Celtic Moon Goddesses

Aine, Arianrhod, Cerridwen, Danu, Epona and Rhiannon

Related Wildwood Cards:

Major Arcana


Card 5:  The Ancestor (New Moon - crescent in west)

Card 6: The Wheel (New Moon - crescent in west)

Card 12: The Mirror (Full Moon)
Card 13: The Journey (Full Moon)

Card 18: The Moon on Water (Full Moon)

Minor Arcana: 

Card: Knight of Vessels - Eel (Moonlight reflected in water - appears to be a Full Moon)

Card: Nine of Stones - Tradition (Full Moon)

Card: King of Stones - Wolf (Full Moon)

Card: Queen of Bows - Hare (Full Moon)
Card: Six of Arrows - Transition (Full Moon)

© 2018 by FIONA MACKINTOSH. Proudly created with