5 Ways To Use The Moon For World-Building Inspiration
When you look at our history books and the artifacts that exist from prehistory, there’s a definite trend.
Humanity has always looked upwards.
From Stonehenge, to the Pyramids in Maya and Egypt and elsewhere, to China’s Puyang Tomb and its mosaic of constellations, the moon and stars have always inspired us.
Note: There’s even a science devoted to studying it! Archaeoastronomy is the study of how people in the past “have understood the phenomena in the sky, how they used these phenomena and what role the sky played in their cultures.”
Even today, people from around the globe admire the moon and take the time to step outside and look up when we know there will be an eclipse.
The moon has a lot of influence: it creates our tides, gives us a sense of the passage of time, and provokes our imagination.
So, when it comes to creating a fantasy world, the moon (or moons!) can help inspire you!
5 Ways You Can Use The Moon To Enhance Your Fantasy World Building
1 – Gods and Goddesses
From Sumeria to Greece to India, lunar Gods and Goddesses abound, often a counter-part to an opposite-gendered Sun God or Goddess.
When creating your world mythology, try to decide what your people made of the moon and the sun. Do they believe everything to be part of the divine, do they believe in a singular god, do they have stories of the celestial bodies?
Even if your world has ‘advanced’ past that sort of thing, there is likely to be a sort of holdover from earlier in their history. References, stories, and holidays.
2 – Holy Days and Celebrations
New Moons, full moons: holidays based on the lunar cycle are popular. From the Chinese New Year to Ramadan to Easter here on Earth, we pay attention to the moon when we want to honor a momentous occasion.
Any society you create is going to have a major holiday. Whether religious or not, people like breaks.
When creating a culture, decide in what sort of ways your people recognize their holy days. Do your people meditate? Do they hold large festivals? Think about ways the moon may influence the timing.
3 – Calendars
Following off the holidays, our months started out approximately the length of a lunar cycle, only politics and the solar cycle got them misaligned.
Our weeks are carefully subdivided lunar cycles, drawn and quartered. 28 days to our lunar cycle, divides evenly into 4 weeks of 7 days each. It’s not a coincidence.
If you’re writing a new world, is your week going to be the same length? Why? What about your months?
4 – Tides
The sun has a bit of influence, but our moon is the main game-player when it comes to dictating high-tide and low-tide here on earth.
If your story is placed on a version of Earth, tides can play a part. If your story is placed on another world, how many moons do you have? Are they closer or further away? Think about how that’s going to affect the tides!
5 – Moods
Legends talk of werewolves running rampant when the moon is full and even mere mortals acting strangely.
Despite scientific studies pooh-poohing on this theory, some people, even today, believe that people act more impulsively when the moon is full.
Does your world have this sort of syndrome? Is it reversed? Do you want your world to have superstitions about the full or the half or the new moon?
New worlds are fun to create, but I find I really enjoy making up reasons why things are the way they are in my worlds.
What sort of things do you look to, when designing your worlds?