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The Spring 2011 issue of The Earth Scientist is focused on modernizing seismology education. Thanks to IRIS, you can download this issue for free as a pdf. Print copies are available in our online store.

Myths about Moon

Many cultures around the world have interesting myths about the Moon, reflecting its prominence in the night sky and its impact on our lives. Visit the links below for interesting glimpses into the beliefs of early civilizations. Do you see any similarities between these myths?
The Full Moon in January is called the Wolf Moon. It is named after the hungry packs of wolves that howled at night.  The Algonquian tribes of Native Americans had <a href="/earth/moon/full_moon_names.html&edu=high">many different names</a> for the Full Moon through the year, reflecting their connection with nature and the <a href="/the_universe/uts/seasons1.html&edu=high">seasons</a>, hunting, fishing, and farming.<p><small><em>Image courtesy of Windows to the Universe</em></small></p>In ancient times, Chinese people believed that there were twelve Moons as there were twelve months in one year. It was believed that the Moons were made of water. The name "mother of moons" is associated with that of <a href="/mythology/moon_china.html&edu=high">Heng-o</a>.  This image shows the detail of an eighteen-century embroidered emperor's robe including a white hare, which was believed to have lived in the moon.<p><small><em>Image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.</em></small></p><a href="/mythology/anningan_moon.html&edu=high">Anningan</a> is the name of the <a href="/earth/moons_and_rings.html&edu=high">Moon</a> god of some of the Inuit people that live in Greenland. Anningan chases his sister, <a href="/mythology/malina_sun.html&edu=high">Malina</a>, the <a href="/sun/sun.html&edu=high">Sun</a> goddess, across the sky, but forgets to eat, so he gets much thinner. This is symbolic of the phases of the moon, particularly the crescent.<p><small><em>Image courtesy of Planet Art</em></small></p><a href="/mythology/Ix_Chel_moon.html&edu=high">Ix Chel</a>, the "Lady Rainbow," was the old Moon goddess in Maya mythology. Ix Chel was depicted as an old woman wearing a skirt with crossed bones, and she had a serpent in her hand. She also had a kinder side and was worshiped as the protector of weavers and women in childbirth.<p><small><em>Image courtesy of Windows to the Universe</em></small></p><a href="/mythology/coyolxauhqui_moon.html&edu=high">Coyolxauhqui</a> was the <a href="/earth/moons_and_rings.html&edu=high">Moon</a> goddess according the Aztec mythology. The image above reproduces "The Coyolxauhqui Stone," a giant monolith found at the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan.<p><small><em>Image courtesy of the Museo del Templo Mayor, Mexico.</em></small></p>

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