“Hail Fair Moon, Ruler of Night.
Guard Me and Mine, until the Light”
Imperial Customary Prayer before sleep
While the sun god the All Father is always portrayed in a positive light, as the sustainer and preserver of all life on Eletreus, his partner the sky mother Moon Goddess has a slightly more complicated personality..
Among the Druids, who were the first humans to recognize the gods and later evolve into the Church of the All Father, the Sky Mother was equal in power and importance – after all, it was their union that brought the world into existence..
To both the Druids and the Church of the All Father (where the equality of the moon goddess is clearly defined and stated several times in the ancient texts) the Sky Mother is a caring, gentle deity. She guards against nightmares, her soft light illuminating the night that without her would be plunged into pitch blackness, is Queen of the sea, the rivers and the tides, and is there when a woman gives birth, doing all she can to bring another precious life with an open future into the world.
But, unlike the sun, which is constant and operates like clockwork, the moon is always changing and can be unpredictable.
So too, is the moon goddess – who is especially beloved and understood by the people of Tuath De – who call her as they would a family member, and to them she is known simply as Danu.
For the Tuath know that just as she is changeable, unlike the sky father – whom they love and respect, but do not worship – she also has some darker aspects to her character..
Or perhaps the better way of saying it is not so much that she has a dark side, as her core personality is one of a loving (if sometimes unpredictable) mother to her children. Rather that sometimes, she becomes something else entirely..
The natural 28 day cycles of the moon hint at this. The full moon is both beautiful and terrible, for one the one hand it lights the otherwise dark sky and is gazed upon by and inspires lovers, poets and writers. But the full moon is also the time of the werewolves, predators and madmen..
Another example of this everyday (every month) duality are the phases of the moon. The new moon is both frightening but heralds a new beginning, and it is said that as she waxes, she fills the world with her blessings, and as she wanes, she withdraws them for the next cycle.
But there are two other events that are completely different and even the druids can not always predict. The Blood Moon, and her dark twin sister, the shadowmoon..
THE BLOOD MOON – A BAD MOON RISING
The Druids know, and prepare months in advance, for the blood moon when it comes. It is rare, and follows a pattern that lay people are bewildered by, but when news travels that a blood moon is due soon, the whole of Eletreus makes preparation..
It lasts only a few hours. But the damage caused in that time can take months or sometimes even years to repair..
For when Danu changes from soft white to a sickly red, the creatures of darkness respond and come crawling out from their hiding places, consumed by an insatiable hunger and bloodlust. In the Empire, people lock themselves indoors and soldiers rush about preparing for the inevitable fighting and horrors to come. In Tuath De, they weep and cry and pray for their mother to come back..
But though bad the Blood moon may be, the shadow moon is far, far worse..
THE SHADOW MOON AND THE RESTLESS DEAD
Less common than the blood moon, and much harder to predict (usually mistaken for another blood moon) the Shadow Moon sees the mother seem to fade slowly from the sky – all the animals go silent, and the people, cling to each other in fear.
For the night of the Shadow moon is the night of the dead.
On this night, the dead who have been wronged are granted one hour to extract their revenge and most people who can flock to the churches, temples and monasteries where the dead dare not come. But for those caught unawares, the night sky is filled with vengeful apparitions scanning and desperately seeking out their victims so they may at last go to their final resting place.
Worse still, ton he night of the Shadow Moon the veil between the worlds is thin – and it is the key component needed for the darkest of magics to be at their peak effect.
The night of the shadow moon is a night of fear, a night where evil cultists get once window of opportunity to execute their most devastating magics (though as may be expected, it is a night of celebration in the Land of the Dead)..
For all this evil, however brief, you would think that the moon goddess would be disfavored – and in the Church of the All Father, she is to some degree – relegated to a secondary role – but still recognized for her role as co-creator of the world.
In the Church of the Paragon, both are equal and in the higher mysteries of the Druids and Churches alike – all are one and the same, which is why the seal of both churches has the sexes of the gods reversed.
THE BALANCE RESTORED – ECLIPSE AND THE SUPER MOON
In all lands that acknowledge and worship the dual god and goddess, the Eclipse is a time of great celebration and heralds a new and fresh beginning. For brief union of the All Father and the Sky Mother represents the great union that created the world – and during this time, curses can be undone, diseases cured and prayers are answered.
But it is during the supermoon, which only happens once or twice in the span of a normal human lifetime where it looms nearly 30% larger and 60% brighter than the normal full moon, that the moon goddesses blessings are at their peak effect.
In addition to the same blessings as from the eclipse, only even more powerful, during the supermoon nature explodes with new life, the fields become more fertile, the fish more plentiful – and in some parts of Eletrues, such as Tuath De, creatures and plants appear, just for one night, with incredible magical properties.
Furthermore, the rays of the supermoon, when combined with ancient Druidic rituals, can cure Lycanthropy, restore blighted or cursed lands, and blinds the evil creatures that usually rule the night, turning their eyes milky white for its duration and permanently blinding any who are stupid enough to gaze upon her in her full glory.
It is also during this time that the goddess is said to take her human form and will wander the earth, granting wishes, righting wrongs and otherwise doing all she can in a short period to heal and nurture her creation.
In the end, as we said at the beginning, the Sky Mother is a complex being. But despite her flaws, in her heart she loves all the creatures under her soft glow equally and unconditionally, and is now and forever, the mother of all creation.