Moving on from thunder to a more shining celestial body - the moon.

Although the scientific knowledge give todays humans every moonanswer to any of our questions, the fascination of this heavenly phenomena to many is as great as to our ancestors. No other celestial body appears in the same variety of shapes as the moon, and no other has the same frequent effect on the earth with the tide being the most visible.

The moon has been regarded a female deity by many cultures thus contrasting it with the male sun. The female symbolism is understandable since amazonthe menstrual cycle coincides with phases of the moon. The amazons - female warriors of greek mythology was armed with weapons relating to the moon. Their main weapons - the bow - is formed like a half moon and the double axe (or labrys) is made of two half moons and associated with female power. They also had shields shaped as crescents.

In classic Christian belief the Blessed Virgin Mary is associated with the moon in the book of Revelation (12:1):

A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.

As the moon reflects light from the sun, it is - in Christian symbology - often used as a symbol for something reflecting the light of God. Mary is thus often related to the moon in Christian art. According to second century bishop Theophilus of Antioch, the sun is the image of God while the moon is the image of man. Origen, on the other hand likened the church with the moon - reflecting the faith onto mankind.

In both alchemy and astrology planets controls certain metals. The moon is associated with silver as is the sun with gold.

In this issue we will look closer to just one goddess - Selene of Greek mythology (equivavalent to roman Luna). She is pictured as a young woman with a very white face riding a silver chariot drawn by two horses. She wears a half moon above her head. Her brother, fittingly, is Helios the sun god and her sister Eos, goddess of the dawn. In Rome, Luna had a temple on Aventine Hill. Built in the 6th century BC and destroyed in the Neroean fires of AD 64.

It appears that the first manmade machine, Luna 2, on the moon in September 1959 or the first human steps on the moon by Neil Armstrong in July 1969, has not made mankind less fascinated by the moon. Whenever we see this great yellow globe at the horizon or the steely white version high above we are filled with awe and respect for the forces of nature.