“Let me come with you. What a moon there is tonight!
The moon is kind – it won’t show
that my hair turned white. The moon
will turn my hair to gold again. You wouldn’t understand.
Let me come with you.”
(Yiannis Ritsos, Moonlight Sonata, 1956)
There is something beautiful and staggering and dreamy tonight. The moon is full and the snow is melting and the sky is clear. The world stands still.
The moon always has always had a soothing effect on people and triggered their imagination. It has instigated songs of love, stories that explored alternative realities and distant traveling, narrations full of melancholy and darkness. It has taken the form of a Goddess, a lover, a healer, a guide and a companion for thousands of years, even after it was discovered that the pale white dot in the sky was nothing more than a gigantic sphere hanging in the universe. The magic of the moon is not to be found in astrology charts but rather on its calming effect on people that allows them when they look at it while walking down the street to feel just for a second that a thin veil has covered them and they can finally be vulnerable and free.
One of the most beloved representations of the moon is found in the story of Selene and Endymion. Selene was a Goddess, the daughter of Titans Theia and Hyperion and sister of Helios (the Sun) and Eos (the Dawn). She was a pale beauty who was carrying a half moon while traveling on her chariot.
Then one day she fell in love. Her lover was neither an immortal, not a creature of the night. He was a human, either a shepherd or a king. His name was Endymion. The young man was so handsome that the Goddess pleaded Zeus to maintain his eternal youth so he could stay with her forever. The father of the Gods granted her wish, but he put the young man into an eternal sleep. Selene would enter every night the cave where he was sleeping to see his beautiful face under the silver light of the moon. She bore him fifty daughters, the Menae.
This story has been told many times. It is a narration of unattained love and like the story of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid, it is also a story of sacrifice. Even the immortals and the creatures that don’t fully comply with all the rules of the fragile human existence still obey the divine law. Selene only claimed Endymion’s body and beauty for herself. His personality would forever remain lost in Morpheus’ wonderland. It is like a lover that you only meet at night, whose features you can make out in the dark, whose deepest desires you may know, but whose most intimate details of daily life remain a mystery. Like all mythical narrations of love, Endymion will remain a mystery to Selene, as reality and age and the unforgiving light of day would have forever taken away the majesty of his sleeping presence.
Is this a story of fear of reality? No. It is the story of how love is constructed. It begins as an illusion, a made-up image of the beloved. This image will be preserved forever and be recalled in times of need or weakness. During serene walks under the moonlight. The other person, the one that wakes up every day and gets sick, and grumpy and old and dead will also be loved. And every time you live together moments so beautiful that they feel unreal, the images will be preserved and become part of his magical self and your love for him will be strengthened. Just like Selene went back to Endymion at least fifty times and had all these beautiful daughters, so will the lovers revisit the beautiful moments and remember why the stand by each other’s side. These are the moments of love and wonder that defy disappointment, fear and mortality and bring meaning to the journey of life.
The moon hid behind a small grey cloud. Yet the night is young. The moment is gone. Yet the moment is forever preserved deep inside. Goodnight sweet Endymion. Goodnight Moon.
The story of Serenity and Endymion (Usagi and Mamoru) from the Sailor Moon is a direct reference to the myth