Lunar Attraction

Can Göknil

August 2008

Have you ever wondered when human beings started to be fascinated by the moon? In the Dordogne region of southwestern France, a moon-goddess greets us from a rock relief carved some say 20,000–others 18,000–years ago. Known as the “Venus of Laussel”, this is a prehistoric fertility symbol holding a crescent-like horn in her right hand and clasping her belly with the other. She stands at the Musée d’Aquitain just as proudly today as ever. Celestial bodies were considered sacred and the moon and moon-like shapes such as crescents and horns were regarded as symbols of fertility and abundance. The moon of course supplied the hunter with light during the dark of night and served as a calendar for the farmer. The moon appeared, waxed, waned, and disappeared only to reappear again in a cycle that symbolized human hopes–or perhaps human illusions–about birth, life, death, and resurrection.

Known by many names in the course of the millennia–Sin, Nanna, Suen, Selene, Artemis, Luna, Diana and countless more–this sacred orb was Earth’s closest friend because it was its only natural satellite.

S/he was also something of an adventurer. According to the Hittites (who called him “Kaskuh”), he fell from the sky!

In Central Asia, Kün-Ay was devoured by a dragon!

“Alas! She’s been seized!” they said whenever there was an eclipse; but whether it was a dragon doing the eating or a billy-goat was never quite certain. The one thing that was certain is that eclipse seasons were regarded as unlucky. Even today there are still people in the Sivas region of Anatolia who beat on pots and pans to chase away the “robbers” who are trying to steal the moon when she goes into eclipse. Back in the old days, these were times when hens would not be set to lay, seeds would not be sown, and fields would not be plowed. Be it for a trip or for a birth, the “best time” was when the moon was a thin, new crescent just beginning to wax. The phrase “There’s a moon tonight” was a signal for a lucky day.

The oneiric power of the Moon has also drawn me into its gravitational domain. And that is why I’m able to fly now: soaring above the dark clouds, I join the Sun and Moon and so it is both day and night. The Old Man in the Moon’s globe is a little askew but still it gleams beautifully. Were I to extend my hand just a bit I might caress his face. Would it be wet? Cold? Slippery? I can’t say. But if I could grasp it, it would flow between my fingers down to Earth and there it would set the sea aglow as it floated out over the surface. The clouds would play with the mountains as they waited for this to finish and when they had all crowded into the hollows of the low hills, the trees would be enveloped in a verdant fluid. The Moon would emerge from the water and rising above mountain slopes clad halfway to their summits with pines, it would take up its place in the vault of the heavens once it had got high enough and there flirt with Dream and shake hands with Reality.

And as for my show…

It’s a little bit of moon-dust and a little bit of Can-beams…