What do Artemis, Hecate, Brizo, Callisto, Selene, Diana, Luonnotar, Mardoll, Gala, Albion and Akua'ba have in common? They're names of the moon, as is Luna, the Roman name. From this we get the word lunatic and the assumption that the moon has the power to imbue insanity.
Given that there's no actual moonlight - it's a reflection of the sun's light - just how does the moon have such an influence over us? From claims of increased activity in the AE room, from heightened street crime to car crashes. Even our pets are affected by the pull of the full moon. A study was carried out between 1997-99 at Bradford Royal Infirmary: 1,621 people reported being bitten by animals during the full moon. The attackers were: 11 rats, 13 horses, 56 cats and a staggering 1,541 dogs. This was twice the number of attacks reported at other times of the moon cycle.
The moon has a hold on our imagination. We've stood on it, poked it about and it is host to countless myths. It's not unusual, therefore, that kids are drawn to it. Unlike adults, the young make time to stand and stare. At bedtime, they can gaze at the full moon, which has a peculiar effect: it energises them. This can affect sleep patterns and, therefore, school performance.
Not long ago our ancestors looked to the moon to eke out a living because observation of the sun and moon cycles were the only ways to ensure survival. Before the industrial revolution, we lived closer to nature: being mostly farmers, hunters and shepherds, our ancestors learned to plant, harvest, fish and celebrate by the phases of the moon and seasons.
Today, gardeners are guided by the moon when planting seedlings. The maximum spring growth occurs at the new and full moon. It's all about rhythm. All living beings have it, although it's known these days as biological rhythm.
One of three primary biorhythmic cycles, our 29-day emotional cycle is based on the moon's influence. However, we often ignore this, so our natural rhythm has been interrupted to such a degree that it can affect our health. With just a flick of a light switch, we can defy nature and alternate our natural cycle. It can cause problems with sleep patterns leading to insomnia, and throw our immune system out of kilter. Our body reacts negatively when we ignore natural rhythms and among them the moon's cycle is paramount.
Lawrence Bogle is designer of 'TES Friday' magazine and a practising homeopath in east LondonNext full moon: January 25
MANAGE THE EFFECTS OF THE MOON ON YOU
* The waning moon, when it travels from full to new (dark), is a time to detoxify the body. On the new moon the body's capacity to throw out poisons and rid us of nasty substances is at its most powerful.
* The time of regeneration is the waxing (full) moon. This is a time to absorb, so healthy eating and low alcohol intake will be beneficial at this time. Also nutrients and vitamins will be more readily absorbed, making it a time to nourish ourselves.
* We accumulate water at the full moon so we can appear bloated. Connective tissue is weaker, which makes the healing process following any surgery less favourable. Take homeopathic Arnica, 30c three pilules daily for a day before and several days after any surgery or visit to the dentist. It will hasten the healing process.
* The sun and moon gravitationally influence the Earth. When they're both on our right, (position of the new moon) their combined forces increase tidal activity. When we're between them, at a full moon, they're pulling in opposite directions. Humans are comprised of approximately 80 per cent water, so is the Earth. We're like mini planets with our own tides rising and falling, just like those on earth.
* In homeopathy, among our 2,000-plus remedies, is one that is prescribed for ailments as a result of the effects of the moon - and there are many: depression, oedema, epilepsy, nervousness, menstrual flow and sleep disorders. The remedy is called Luna, oddly enough, and works to calm individuals who can't help but stare at the moon, especially kids.
* Put the moon theory to the test: keep a moon diary. At the time of the new and full moons, look at your students as mini planets and check whether there's more disruption at the full moon. If a child goes particularly berserk, send them to me for a dose of Luna.