If you happen to stand on the edge of Minas Basin in Nova Scotia when the tide is coming in you will hear what is termed “the voice of the moon” in the form of 14 billion tons of water flowing into the basin where the highest tides in the world occur. It wasn’t until Newton published the Principia that the world became aware of the gravitational connection between the sun, moon and the tides. An awareness of the movement of the tides is essential for seamen to successfully navigate the seas. The benefits of knowing the gravitational effects of the moon did not only assist sailors, but as I learned recently from an avid surfing friend the best waves come at the new moon and the full moon. This phenomenon is referred to as the spring tide.
When the moon is full or new, the gravitational pull of the moon and sun are combined. At these times, the high tides are very high and the low tides are very low. This is known as a spring high tide. Spring tides are especially strong tides (they do not have anything to do with the season Spring). They occur when the Earth, the Sun, and the Moon are in a line. The gravitational forces of the Moon and the Sun both contribute to the tides. Spring tides occur during the full moon and the new moon.
When the sun, moon, and earth are aligned it creates a greater gravitational force on the earth which produces greater tides and, of course, higher waves. Although the sun’s gravitation is much greater than that of the moon, the moon’s closer proximity to earth makes its gravitational effect on the earth just over twice as much. The key to the spring tides is the alignment of sun, moon, and earth.
The approximate fortnightly rhythm of the tides has a massive effect on intertidal and marine organisms. If you were to be swimming on the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of northern Queensland in Australia four to six days after one particular full moon in the year, you would witness the greatest mass spawning event on the planet. The coral spawn when the tides are slack as opposed to many fish species that take advantage of large outgoing tides to sweep their eggs into the relative safety of open water.
But the cycles of the moon also affect gestation periods of animals such as vertebrates, and the menstrual cycle of women is approximately the same as the lunar cycle. So there is evidence to show that there is some relationship between fertility and reproduction and the cycles of the moon.
Can we learn something from the tidal rhythms of nature? Can the relationship of the sun and moon to the earth provide us a key ingredient to discerning the secret to our spiritual relationships? If the success and fertility of physical life can be traced to knowledge of the rhythmic cycles of the sun and moon in relationship to the earth could there be lessons to be learned in the spiritual realm?
Before we step in that direction let us consider another interesting relationship regarding the sun, moon, and the earth. The moon has no light of its own. It is a passive object. All the light of the moon is a reflection of light from the sun. The sun generates its own light; it has an active principle. The moon carries the light of the sun; it operates on a passive principle. The active sun and the passive moon operate together to create a rhythmic influence on the earth. Again are there lessons here of the relation of the sun and the moon that speak to us about the rhythm of life in the spiritual world?
Consider what happens when you attempt to look directly into the sun. The brightness of the sun makes it impossible to look at it for more than a few seconds. Looking at the sun will damage your vision. Is there any way to look at sunlight? Yes, we can behold the light of the sun by looking directly at the moon, thereby eliminating the danger of damage to our eyes. The light sourced from the sun is channelled through the moon which acts mediatorially to conduct light to us safely and without harm. The question that begs to be asked is, “Is there a meaning to this?” The commanding presence of the sun is such an important component for all life. Its rays bring us warmth and light, and it plays a central role in the fertility of the planet, but if we disrespect the sun it can cause us harm. Again are there things here for us to learn?
As the ancient seer John sat on the isle of Patmos in the Mediterranean Sea, he saw a great wonder in vision:
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: Rev 12:1
John describes a relationship between the sun, moon, stars, and a woman. She is standing on the moon. This is her foundation. She is clothed in the light of the sun and has the light of twelve stars upon her head. She seems to be completely in harmony with the cycles and timing of the sun, moon, and stars and is aware of her relationship to them. Considering that the book of Revelation was a book of spiritual themes, would it not hold spiritual significance?
Before we answer this we need to ask, “Can we trust the writings of the Bible as a reliable guide into spiritual things?”