The Moon Illusion

Tonight’s full moon appeared particularly prominent in the night sky, brightly protruding through the trees at the peak of a nearby mountain. I cannot speak for everyone, however I for one found the energy of the full moon on this occasion to have a significant calming effect, like a deep sigh, a release from recently culminated stresses and strains. Clarity suddenly seemed obtainable.

The lunar cycle has many meanings across differing cultures and occupations. Some perform full moon rituals, some choose to cleanse their crystals and gemstones by bathing them in the elegant energy of a full moon. A full moon is said to be the culminating stage in terms of healing on a mental, emotional and/or spiritual level. It is therefore not surprising human behaviour can be temperamental around the time of a full moon. Some studies have indicated increased admissions to psychiatric hospitals during a full moon.

Interestingly, the moon has been depicted in various sizes according to geographic location. This is known as the ‘moon illusion’. In fact, the moon, in reality, remains a constant size. Our perception of its size, however, varies depending on the moon’s surroundings. The closer to the horizon we view it to be, the larger it appears. The higher in the sky away from other elements of the environment, the smaller it appears. This is said to be due to the way the human brain interprets an objects size based on depth and distance calculations. In essence, our perception of the moon’s size is determined by its surroundings. Maybe Einstein was accurate when he implied “everything is relative”.

It seems the way we perceive something isn’t always an accurate representation of reality. Rather, it is our brain’s interpretation of what is being ‘seen’. This brings into question – to what extent are our human senses processed, filtered and/or censored in order for us to perceive what we believe to be ‘reality’? Food for thought.