Posted by Alythea
Since November 30, 1994 I have been watching for the moon, charting it in my journals using symbols I devised myself, and then compiling my data, using my training in art to help me organize the information and frame the questions in a search for answers. From the beginning I have refrained from doing research, instead exploring what I can teach myself just by looking and by talking with people about my findings. Influenced by my BA in Anthropology (Brown University, 1972) I have tried to put myself in the place of preliterate humans, who once figured out very detailed understandings of the movements of the stars, moon, and planets. Here is the first drawing of that initial sighting of the moon. I was confused because the moon appeared to be rising at 6:30 in the morning and I had always thought of the moon as being a nighttime thing. This confusion set me to wondering and prompted me to look for the moon each evening. Of course, I couldn’t find it again for almost 2 weeks because the moon was not out at the time I expected it to be.
developing my symbols
As I developed my symbols I realized that I needed a way to make my sightings comparable. I decided to use my body as orientation and my hands as measurement, like the hands of a clock, of how high the moon was in its east to west arc.
I began to feel that the moon was shifting north and south in the sky so I began to include a street map which became reduced to a tic tac toe symbol to measure what I came to call “The North/South Shift.” And after a few weeks of sightings I flipped the way I oriented the directions in my journal, putting East on the left and West on the Right, South at the top and North at the bottom. This match more closely my actual experience of seeing the moon (I live outside Chicago, in the Northern Hemisphere and most of the time the moon is south of the east-west axis.)
I flip the directions
After several months of struggling to find the moon I decided to compile my sightings into charts so I could compare and see what I was learning. Below are the first two charts:
Eventually I came to a fairly standardized way of recording the moon in my journals and of creating the moon charts. I currently have over 170 charts and update them whenever a new opportunity to show The Moon Project arises.
left: typical journal pages; right: 15 moon charts