Moon as symbolism in literature is extensively used in poems and arts. While the Sun is a symbol of masculine energy, the moon is universally represented as feminine energy, signifying a person’s lifecycle. Moon also place a major role in astronomy. In art, the moon is used as an inspiration for peace and love and thus symbolizes calmness, beauty, and nurture. In literature, it is used as a symbol of folklore, such as a man on the moon or a rabbit, which means the moon also represents superstitions and magic. With the whiteness of the many, most tourists also prefer going to their favorite tourist spots such as Niagara falls, the Taj Mahal, and Venice during the full moon day to bask in its beauty and capture amazing pictures. Despite the dark side, the moon is also worshipped in cultures such as Turkish, Hinduism, Vietnamese, and Chinese, as well as in ancient cultures like Aztecs and Mayans. The word moon is derived from the Proto-Germanic word ‘mēnô’ or ‘menon’, the Old Norse word ‘mani’, ‘maane’ from the Danish language, and the Dutch word ‘maan’, which has roots in the Latin word ‘mensis’ means month.
In astronomy, the new moon is the first lunar phase. The new moon in the Bible represents the Hebrew calendar based on the lunar cycle. In China new moon symbolizes the beginning of the month in the Chinese calendar. According to Hindu culture, a new moon is a symbol of Amavasya, which means dark night, the first day of the calendar that starts the day after the dark moon phase. They also believe that children born on a new moon are usually audacious, adventurous, creative, and independent. Also, in Hindu culture, if the new moon falls on a Monday, it is celebrated as Somvati is celebrated for good luck. According to Chinese culture, the new moon also symbolizes a new beginning; hence the new year is celebrated with the new moon days. The other countries that follow the same traditions are the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia. Diwali, a Hindu festival, is celebrated on the new moon day with fireworks symbolizing victory over evil. Similar to Chinese, Jewish and Islamic auspicious days follow the new calendar on the new moon day. The traditional New Year’s depend on the moon cycle instead of dates.
In Greek and Roman mythology full moon symbolizes the goddess of the hunter, and they represent the full moon as the hunter moon. The Chinese believe that celebrating a mid-autumn festival on the full moon day unites the family together and represents happiness.
As per astrology, the half-moon has 2 powerful symbols. The first quarter half-moon symbolizes the bravery to overcome obstacles, and the second quarter half-moon represents the understanding of life. In Ancient Egyptian culture, people believed the half-moon was the god of the Pharaohs, and they wore half-moon amulets all time.
Waning Gibbous and Waxing Gibbous
A waxing gibbous moon means the moon’s illumination grows more than half. Waning gibbous means the moon’s illumination decreases by more than half. A child born during waning gibbous symbolizes good luck and is blessed with the gift of luck and opportunity according to Hinduism as well as pop culture. In Christianity waning gibbous moon is a symbol of revival which means the spirit is being reborn. The waxing gibbous phase is part of the moon at the west and the waning gibbous phase at the east.
Waning Crescent and Waxing Crescent
The moon is waxing crescent after the new moon when the sunlit part increases, but less than a half. The waning crescent phase lights wane until the new moon when it’s completely gone. In the Northern Hemisphere, the waxing crescent phase is a thin crescent of light on the right. This moonlighting decreases in a waning crescent. The crescent moon is a symbol of fertility, love, life, and death. Islam is represented by the crescent moon and a star. The ancient Sumerian moon god Nanna and Babylonian moon god also used the crescent moon as symbols.
Mythology, Folklore & Legends
In Japanese mythology, the moon symbolizes the goddess of Tsukuyomi, who rules the night. Moon is a symbol of love and marriage in Japanese folklore and also represents beauty. According to Japanese folklore, celebrating the beauty of the moon has impacted Japanese religion, culture, and literature in both ancient and modern cultures. Tsukuyomi, a male god of the moon in Japanese Shintō legends, was brother to the sun goddess Amaterasu, whom he also took as his wife. Furthermore, Japanese folklore also mentions that a rabbit was brought to the moon by a mythical man.
According to Roman mythology, the moon goddess Diana is also the goddess of hunting and wild animals. In Roman mythology, the moon represents the great love of the goddess Luna, who was known as a sheep thief. In Egyptian mythology, the moon is a symbol goddess Isis.
In Greek mythology, Selene is the Titan goddess of the moon. Greek mythology mentions a man named Lycaon, who was turned into a wolf by the gods as a punishment for trying to trick Zeus and making him eat human flesh.
In Europe, one of the folklore is about a man who was vanquished to the moon for a crime. Among the Norse people, who coined the term werewolf, or “man wolf,” it was strongly believed that a warrior became stronger by wearing a wolfskin belt and taking on the spirit of the wolf. In parts of Western Europe, it was believed that a person could transform into a wolf if he slept under the full Moon, depending on the spiritual days of the year. In Norse mythology, the moon symbolizes Sun, which is a daughter, unlike in Eastern mythology, where the Sun is a male. Germanic folklore mentions a man caught stealing from his neighbor’s hedgerow, also called sheep thief in Roman legends, banished to the moon. In Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the Man in the Moon is called Moonshine and carries a lantern to proclaim Renaissance.
In Chinese folklore, the goddess Chang’e is stranded on the moon after consuming a high dose of an immortality potion. Hence she was the spirit of the moon. It is believed that she lives with a wood cutter named Wu Gang and her pet jade rabbit.
In Hindu mythology, the full moon symbolizes festivals such as Holi, the festival of colors, and the new moon symbolizes the Diwali festival based on the lunar phase. Hindus believe Chandra is the god of the moon and the father of the Buddha. As per Hindu Vedic mythology Chandra, the moon god, is also associated with night plants, vegetation, animals, and birds. Based on the lunar phases, each moon phase is uniquely named as the new moon is called amavasya, the waxing and waning crescent is called Shukla paksha, and the full moon is called Purnima, the waning and waxing gibbous is called Krishna paksha, and the dark moon is the Shivaratri.
In Greenland, Alaska, and the Arctic, especially in Inuit folklore moon is called Anningan, and the sun goddess Malina is Anningan’s sister. According to legend, after a quarrel, Malina leaves, and her brother follows to catch or apologize. As Anningan forgets to eat and grows thinner, symbolizing the moon’s waning phase. When the Moon appears to disappear completely, the Inuit believe Anningan has gone to find food. When he ultimately catches up to his sister, this rare event causes a solar eclipse.
According to the Northwest Coast, indigenous tribes represent the moon as a feminine symbol associated with the wolf. It also symbolizes a guide, protector, and transformation. Additionally, the Native Americans name the moon according to months to represent seasons as well. It starts with the winter season. The names are the cold moon in December, the wolf moon in January, and the snow moon in February. During the spring season, the moon’s names are as follows crow and worm in March, egg moon in April, and flower moon in May. After the spring, during summer, the moon is called strawberry in June, thunder in July, and red in August. Finally, in the autumn moon is known as harvest in September, hunters in October, and beaver in November.
In New Zealand, Maori myth says that a young girl named Rona displeased the Moon, so he captured and took her far away to the moon. Rona grabbed onto a tree and dragged it with her to the moon. Also, the tree in the moon symbolizes fertility.
Dreaming of a blood moon represents the end of the relationship or a worldwide catastrophe. Blue moon dreams are a symbol of transition and struggles. Dreaming about the new moon is a symbol of a new beginning in life. The Crescent moon of the dream symbolizes good luck. In ancient shamanic culture, the new moon symbolizes the manifestation of a dream and wish. In Indonesia, especially Balinese believe the new moon is scared day and are given warnings about the fleeting nature of the cycles of life, representing light and dark.
Love & Life
Based on the zodiac sign, the Aries sign, as per the moon phase, symbolize leadership and loyalty. Hence people who are born with that sign as per the lunar calendar are known to be good leaders and kind. Moon in Taurus indicates relationship, love, and emotional sign. The moon in Gemini is a symbol of individuality and love. The moon in Cancer represents talkative nature and people who love easily. Moon in Leo represents the love of handwork. Moon in Virgo symbolizes caring and love. Moon in Libra is a symbol of making love bonds. Moon in Scorpio indicates devotional love. Moon in Capricorn symbolizes the love of climbing the success in life. While the waxing moon symbolizes growth and abundance, the waning moon cycle is a symbol of decreasing desire as well as the creation of life, also known as fertility.
The blood moon is most visible in North America before dawn. In Asia, Australia, and the rest of the Pacific, people see it just after sunset. In Ancient Mesopotamia, the blood moon symbolizes the cosmic attack on the king. Christians symbolize the blood moons denying their beauty and luck or the occurrence of a major event that impacts worldwide change or fulfillment of a prophecy. Native American tribes believe the blood moon is a symbol of new beginnings when the sun and moon line up perfectly, as this happens every 18 years. Based on astrology blood moon symbolizes chaos, disruption, and change.
In the Bible, the blue moon symbolizes the angel and blessing for Christians who have an encounter with Jesus Christ under the blue moon. In America, the blue moon symbolizes the Maine Farmers’ Almanac starting in the 19th century. According to pop culture blue moon symbolizes love and rarity.
Heraldry, Flags, and Logos
In European culture, the Triple goddess symbolizes the Maiden, Mother, and Crone. The triple goddess looks like a waxing crescent; the full moon is the mother, and the waning crescent is the Crone. In British tradition horned god of the moon symbolizes nature and hunting. It looks like a full moon with an upside crescent. In Arabic and Middle-Eastern countries, the waning moon is used by Muslims in their flags to represent a cultural and political expression. In national flags, the crescent moon and star are used to represent realistic depictions of the coexistence of the moon and Venus by the following countries Turkey, Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia. In the 20th century, Sahrawi Arab countries also started using the crescent moon in national flags, including Malaysia, Pakistan, Kashmir, and Mauritania.
Astronomy & Astrology
In Vedic Astrology from India, the moon represents the mind of a person. Also, Hindu astrology decides the birth star, called nakshatra, which is similar to zodiac signs based on the moon. These stars, as per the moon’s phase and position, signify the mental stability of a person. Also, the moon is known as the queen of the celestial cabinet.
Examples of Moon as Symbolism in Literature
Moon By David Wright
O up there, zero
These hills, and the lake-
Puller of water,
Puller of blood, blind
Eye not lookin, but
There, opaque, a ball:
Have seen you over
In this poem, the moon is a symbol of chaos and attraction as it causes the tides to rise depending on the cycle.
Moon By Kathleen Jamie
Last night, when the moon
slipped into my attic room
as an oblong of light,
I sensed she’d come to commiserate.
Here the moon is personified, and it symbolizes the visitor, perhaps the speaker’s lover.
The Moon is distant from the Sea – (387) By Emily Dickinson
The Moon is distant from the Sea –
And yet, with Amber Hands –
She leads Him – docile as a Boy –
Along appointed Sands –
He never misses a Degree –
Obedient to Her eye –
He comes just so far – toward the Town –
Just so far – goes away –
Oh, Signor, Thine, the Amber Hand –
And mine – the distant Sea –
Obedient to the least command
Thine eye impose on me –
In this example, the poet is describing how the sea pulls the moon towards her. Here the moon is a symbol of love and obedience.
Moon-Riders By Carl Sandburg
THE BABY moon, a canoe, a silver papoose canoe, sails and sails in the Indian west.
A ring of silver foxes, a mist of silver foxes, sit and sit around the Indian moon.
One yellow star for a runner, and rows of blue stars for more runners, keep a line of watchers.
O foxes, baby moon, runners, you are the panel of memory, fire-white writing to-night of the Red Man’s dreams.
In this poem, the moon symbolizes innocence as well as divine.
A Hat Full of Sky By Terry Pratchett
Sometimes the moon is light and sometimes it’s in shadow, but you should always remember it’s the same moon.
In this example, the moon represents stability and hope.
Styx By Bavo Dhooge
It’s the moon that moves me. The sunlight makes everything so obvious.
In this example, the moon is the symbol of hope and inspiration.
A Quote By Mark Twain
Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.
In this example, the moon is compared to a person’s personality or nature, which can switch between good and bad. It also symbolizes phases of a person’s life or life cycle.
Nana, Vol. 14 By Ai Yazawa
But even when the moon looks like it’s waning…it’s actually never changing shape. Don’t ever forget that.
In this example, the moon represents transformation and stability.
Shatter Me By Tahereh Mafi
The moon is a loyal companion.
It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human.
Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.
The example uses the moon as a symbol of friendship, loyalty, gentleness, and sensibility.
The Lord of the Rings By J.R.R. Tolkien
Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars.
Romeo and Juliet By William Shakespeare
Do not swear by the moon, for she changes constantly. Then your love would also change.
Here the moon is a symbol of transformation and distrust.
A Hat Full of Sky By Terry Pratchett,
Sometimes the moon is light and sometimes it’s in shadow, but you should always remember it’s the same moon.
In the above sentence, the moon symbolizes stability and confidence.