I am writing today due to my great muddle concerning the mysteries of the moon. The first great mystery is that at the moon's first quarter you can't see anything at all. And that is a lot less than a quarter in my book. At least with a quarter you've got something. But the first quarter moon is nothing at all. With a real quarter all you need is another dime to call Starhawk about this nonsense. But with the first quarter moon you're just stuck figuring it out for yourself. So maybe we just go along until it makes sense. Suffer to learn and all that.

So we suck it in and move on to the second quarter. But this is really a half moon, not a quarter. Just look at it, there is a half circle and one perfectly straight edge, nicely filled in with light. Ignore the little squiggles on the straight edge, caused by the rough surface. We don't want to worry about that stuff, because let's face it the moon has some pretty heinous alligator skin and acne scars, no matter whether she is the crone or the maidenest of maidens. Maybe that is why she is hiding her face completely at first quarter. Young people are so much more sensitive to such things, you know. Okay, everyone, at the next full moon we should  all send the goddess a whopping slather of oil of olay. Hey we help the Sun get young again at Yule, why not the Moon as well?

To get back to the quarter confusion, perhaps we need to add them up? Two quarters do make a half, but if that is the rationale then someone didn't think it through very well. I mean what is next up? Third quarter, a.k.a.  the full moon. Well, three quarters certainly don't add to a whole, just try and change 75 cents for a dollar sometime and see.  Are we are supposed to be including the rest of the moon in these calulations? Think three dimensionally, girl! In that case we are at least seeing an actual quarter of the moon at second quarter. But what the hell makes it second? As far as I can tell it is the first quarter we have seen, the first one being a big fat zero! And the full moon doesn't work any better this way, because the third quarter, which is supposed to be full, is actually only a half. And then there is fourth quarter. Add 'em up? Take a look, fourth quarter is definitely not the whole enchilada (although the markings might resemble something you'd see on a tortilla). From our initial naive viewpoint, fourth quarter is just another half moon. Or a quarter in the three dimensional model, but it is only the second actual quarter to be seen! So much for the geometry and fractions skills these pagans have. I've also heard there is this bit about cutting an apple in two and getting five, so it is not an isolated incident.

Now it may be that we have to take a very different perspective from what we have been. Let's imagine we are floating above the whole system looking down on the moon. No no, forget the tree and the steps and the door. Uhh, we already did it... just take my word for it.  So what do we see now during first quarter? Anyone? A half moon! Or is it a quarter? (three dimensional, three dimensional!) Can we a-shrieka eureka yet?  No!, this is just as bad. In fact all we ever see  is a half moon spinning around slowly, which in the three dimensional model is a quarter moon spinning a little faster and more erratically as we lose our balance from craning our necks and thinking too much. Maybe I shouldn't have been so hasty with the trance induction. Everyone ground! Okay.

Is this stuff sensible if we consider the whole  three dimensional moon at all times? Then we are always dealing in full moons, still spinning, no quarters at all. Strike one. They say to embrace and use your shadow so maybe we better include the dark part of the moon in the reckoning. Well, first quarter has one whole side lit, and that is exactly half of the whole moon. So first quarter is a full moon which is a half moon. Strike two. By the induction I neglected before, in this model all quarters are full moons which are half moons. Strike three! Even the genuine full moon is a half moon. It is always a half moon. We keep coming back to half moons. So I guess the real mystery is whether the moon is half empty or half full.