Ancient and Modern Mysteries of The Moon Explored - How The Current Science & Mythology Have Been Harmonized.

Did humanity really take that 'one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind' in 1969? And is the Moon really all that we think it is? From ancient myths to modern science, here's a closer look at this peculiar rock (or is it a rock?) in our starry sky.

Writings about the Moon and our Universe are as ancient as civilization itself. The Dogon tribe of Mali in West Africa, have a peculiar story to tell. They were documented by the American author, Robert K.G.Temple, in his book, The Sirius Mystery: New Scientific Evidence of Alien Contact 5,000 Years Ago. Temple was curious to know how this isolated tribe in Africa could have possibly known about the Sirius B, the white star that accompanies Sirius A. Although this was only one of Temple's theories, the evidence he found led him to believe that the Dogon tribe were visited by aliens – the same species who taught the arts and culture to the Ancient Egyptians, the Greeks and the Sumers. And the Dogons are not alone in this.

Another tribe, the Zulus, also believe in the existence of aliens. The Zulu Shaman, Credo Mutwa, explained the legends of a Reptilian race (or Chitauri) that stole the Moon and hollowed it out so that they could oversee Earth from a headquarters in order to control the human race. This act allegedly ended 'The Golden Age' on our planet and led us down a path of devastation.

A hypothetical illustration showing how the moon orbits around the sun.

A hypothetical illustration showing how the moon orbits around the sun.

While this may sound like science fiction material, recent scientific evidence has caused widespread controversy about the Moon's significance. Rhett Allain, Pan Associate Professor of Physics at Southeastern Louisiana University, writes for Wired, that the Moon doesn’t actually orbit the Earth. He says that it's much more accurate to conclude that it orbits the Sun. Hence why we only ever see one side of the moon and to quote Pink Floyd, the 'Dark Side of the Moon' remains a mystery to us. This is fruitful soil for conspiracy theories. So – physics aside – is there a reason for this? Is there extra-terrestrial life on the Moon?

That question is better posed to those who have actually been on the Moon - the Apollo 11 crew, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in particular. Except… Armstrong has been sworn to secrecy (according to Dr. Steven Greer, the ufologist, and founder of the Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and Aldrin suffered a nervous breakdown sometime after the landing. Dr. Steven Greer believes that NASA is withholding information about the landing on the Moon from the public. Teaming up with the Emmy-Award winning filmmaker, Amardeep Kaleka, he collected eye-witness testimonies from numerous government and military officials sharing personal stories of encounters with extraterrestrial life forms, in his disclosure documentary, Sirius. What's more, he makes strong claims that Neil Armstrong, along with the rest of the Apollo 11 crew, saw the Moon being crowded with alien spaceships. Allegedly, Armstrong was told not to disclose this information. In addition to Dr. Greer, there are other people who can shed some light on the Moon's dark side. People who have spent decades researching outer space and all the conspiracies surrounding it. The American author, Richard C Hoagland, advocates that there is – or once was – an alien civilization on the Moon. He fervently believes that NASA is withholding valuable evidence on this from the public.

Illustration showing Earth, moon and tidal influence. (credit: 123rf.com)

Illustration showing Earth, moon and tidal influence. (credit: 123rf.com)

Whether or not there is life on the Moon, its influence on the Earth cannot be denied. In a 2011 BBC documentary 'Do We Really Need the Moon?', the space scientist D.r Maggie Aderin-Pocock discusses our intimate relationship with the Moon. It's thanks to the Moon that we have 24h days. As a species, who have inhabited the Earth for 200,000 years or so, we haven't been around long enough to notice the difference, but billions of years ago the Earth was spinning so fast that an average day lasted only five hours. The gravitational pull of the Moon caused the Earth to slow down. Dr. Aderin-Pocock also explores the popular belief that a full Moon can affect our psyche. The Romans revered the Moon goddess Luna, a name that has survived as a prefix for terms like 'lunacy' or 'lunatic'. But Dr Aderin-Pocock dismisses the 'Transylvania effect' – the idea that people become wilder and more violent during a full moon – tracing its origins back to the time when people didn’t have electricity, and so were more likely to be active during full moons simply because the sky was brighter, thus creating more opportunities for conflict. However, there are plenty of nocturnal animal species who become active and fertile during a full Moon.

But the idea of a 'lunar effect' is still widely contested. The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, believed that – similarly to its effect on the tide – the Moon can have a profound effect on the brain, as it is the moistest organ in the body. Considering that people are made of roughly 80% of water, it seems logical to conclude that the Moon would have some effect on our behavior. As the average menstruating cycle for women (28 days) coincides with the Moon’s cycle of phases (29.3 days), several studies have proposed a link between the two. The author, Teresa Moorey, writes in her book,' The Goddess', that 'many women menstruate at new Moon and ovulate at full Moon' and that this pattern links to the qualities of mothering physical children. But women who 'menstruate at full Moon and ovulate at dark Moon' are connected to heightened creativity. However, studies conducted over the years into the 'lunar effect' have produced contradictory evidence. Although, interestingly, one study did find that the lunar cycle 'exerts effects on laboratory rats with regard to taste sensitivity and the ultrastructure of pineal gland cells.'

David Icke, British author, and public speaker believes that the pineal gland plays a major role in the development of our consciousness. He concludes that the effect of the Moon has shut down 'the third eye' in most of us, which used to help our ancestors perceive reality far beyond the physical sphere. The Moon has also affected our sense of time, making us think in terms of 24h days. The Reptilian brain that we all possess interferes with our attempts to access higher states of consciousness - an ability that, according to Icke, we used to possess in the aforementioned 'Golden Age', which is prevalent in a number of mythologies around the world.

Calling on contradictions in popular science on the origins of the Moon, Icke combines science and ancient records to explain his theory of the Moon. He believes that the Moon was built by the same Reptilian race referenced in the Zulu legends, causing catastrophes on our planet that led to our demise as a species. To evidence his claims, he quotes Isaac Asimov, a Russian professor of biochemistry. Asimov questions how the Moon came to be, since it is a staggering 2,160 miles in diameter, while – by all laws of logic – it should only be 30 miles in relation to the diameter of our planet. The NASA scientist, Robin Brett, also questions this anomaly, stating that it would be easier to explain the non-existence of the Moon than its existence.