Can the Full Moon Affect Human Behavior?

Can The Full Moon Affect Human Behavior

For thousands of years it has been believed that the fortunes of men and women move in cycles. The ancients depicted the concept as the great Wheel of Fortune, eternally turning and spilling off the winners on top while bearing up the wretches beneath and giving them their time in the limelight before they, too, get dumped. The trouble was that no one knew for sure what powered that wheel or exactly what speed it was turning for any given individual. People knew their days were numbered, but they didn't know the number.

Until recently the situation hasn't improved much. For hundreds of years we have known that it is the regular and predictable cycles of the moon and sun that regulate the ocean's tides, but the tides in the affairs of humans have not been so easily forecast. It was almost as if they moved erratically of their own accord, unmotivated by outside forces.

The extensive cycle research of the past thirty years has proved otherwise. It has established numerous links between regularly occurring human behavior and external natural cycles ranging from weather and solar radiation to phases of the moon and planetary cycles. Here are some dramatic examples.

A Link Between Murder And Full Moon And New Moon?

At the University of Miami, psychologist Arnold Lieber and his colleagues decided to test the old belief of full-moon 'lunacy' which most scientists had written off as an old wives' tale. The researchers collected data on homicide in Dade County (Miami) over a period of 15 years -- 1,887 murders, to be exact. When they matched the incidence of homicide with the phases of the moon, they found, much to their surprise, that the two rose and fell together, almost infallibly, for the entire 15 years! As the full or the new moon approached, the murder rate rose sharply; it distinctly declined during the first and last quarters of the moon.

To find out whether this was just a statistical fluke, the researchers repeated the experiment using murder data from Cuyahoga County in Ohio (Cleveland). Again, the statistics showed that more murders do indeed occur at the full and new moons.

Dr. Lieber and his colleagues shouldn't have been so surprised. An earlier report by the American Institute of Medical Climatology to the Philadelphia Police Department entitled 'The Effect of the Full Moon on Human Behavior' found similar results. That report showed that the full moon marks a monthly peak in various kinds of psychotically oriented crimes such as murder, arson, dangerous driving, and kleptomania. People do seem to get a little bit crazier about that time of the month.

That's something most police and hospital workers have known for a long time. Indeed, back in eighteenth-century England, a murderer could plead 'lunacy' if the crime was committed during the full moon and get a lighter sentence as a result. Scientists, however, like to have a hard physical model to explain their discoveries, and so far there isn't a fully accepted one. Dr. Lieber speculates that perhaps the human body, which, like the surface of the earth, is composed of almost 80 percent water, experiences some kind of 'biological tides' that affect the emotions. When a person is already on psychologically shaky ground, such a biological tide can push him or her over the edge.


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Does The Full Moon Affect Surgery?

Crimes and violence aren't the only things affected by the 29+ day full moon cycle. In the Journal of the Florida Medical Association, Dr. Edson J. Andrews writes that in a study of 1,000 tonsillectomies, 82 percent of postoperative bleeding crises occurred nearer the full than the new moon -- despite the fact that fewer operations were performed at that time! Clearly, the full moon is a dangerous time for surgery, and the dissemination of this knowledge should result in planning operations for the new moon.

Does The Full Moon Affect Logging Success?

Practical economic use of the lunar cycle has been going on for a long time. In tropical rain forest countries in South America and Southeast Asia, where most of the world's hardwood comes from, tree-harvesting contracts are linked to the phase of the moon. The trees are only cut down on a waning moon, as near to the new moon as feasible. This is because on a waxing or full moon, the sap rises in the trees and extensive sap bleeding attracts hordes of deathwatch beetles, which will devastate a crop. Awareness of this cycle means the difference between making or losing millions of dollars every year.

Does The Lunar Cycle Affect Fertility, Gender, And Births

One future use for the monthly lunar cycle may be in choosing the timing and gender of babies. Curtis Jackson, controller of Southern California Methodist Hospital, reports that more babies are conceived on the waxing moon than on the waning. He quantified 11,025 births over a period of six years and found that nearly 1,000 more children were conceived during the waxing moon. Apparently, successful conception is easier at that time. More interesting are the results of German researcher W. Buehler. In an analysis of 33,000 births Dr. Buehler found that there was a significant preponderance of male births during the waxing moon. This knowledge, combined with medical techniques known to affect fertility and sex, may well help people in planning for their children.

Reprinted with permission of Destiny Books an imprint of
Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vermont, USA. www.innertraditions.com

This article was excerpted from the book:

Dynamic Astrology: Using Planetary Cycles to Make Personal and Career Choices, ©1997,
by John Townley.

This book is for those who want to move beyond a static interpretation of their natal chart to an understanding of how planetary cycles affect such things as one's career, finances, and opportunities. In an easy-to-use format, John Townley discusses the principles of dynamic astrology and shows how the cycles of the planets and important degrees in your chart play a continuing role in your life.

Info or Order this book.

About The Author

John Townley is a lifelong astrologer, author, composer, and historian. His professional experience has spanned the fields of business, science, journalism, maritime history, and the creative arts. He may be reached at [email protected].


Video Extra: Full Moon: Fact or Fiction?

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