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Lunar Love: Moon Myths and Legends to Get You Ready for Valentine's Day

The pale glow of the moon in the night sky can be incredibly romantic. Here are some stories of love and lust to stoke the fire this Valentine’s Day.

The lunar goddess’ tale of eternal love.

In Greek mythology, Selene is the goddess of the moon, daughter of Titans, and sister to Helios the sun god, and Eos goddess of the dawn. Selene, the personification of the moon, is connected to several lovers but most notably to Endymion whose claim to fame and curse is his beauty.

Selene and Endymion’s affair comes to a close with the mortal Endymion in a state of eternal sleep and perpetual youth, pushing off death so that Selene can watch over him for all of time. How he ended up in this state of never-ending slumber depends on the storyteller. Some say Zeus gave him a choice between sleep and death while others say Selene selfishly put him in that state to preserve their love forever.

The lovers’ eclipse.

Mawu and Lisa are the goddess and god of creation in the Dahomean religion originating from west Africa. It is said that Mawu and Lisa spent four days creating the earth, life, and humanity. The earth became so heavy and chaotic with their creation that Mawu left for the moon and sent Lisa to the sun. The two are separated for eternity but the appearance of an eclipse signifies the occasional meeting of Mawu and Lisa, the moon and the sun.

The accidental goddess of the moon.

Chinese legend tells the tale of Chang’e who would become the goddess of the moon. Hou Yi, husband of Chang’e, shot down nine of the Jade Emperor’s sons from the sky, leaving only one.

For his actions, Hou Yi and his wife were banished from the heavens and made into mortals. Hou Yi wanted to give Chang’e’s a happier life than the one she had as a mortal on earth. He found a potion that would grant eternal life. He intended for them to each have half, allowing them to live together forever in love.

In different versions of the story, Chang’e either took the whole bottle for herself in temptation or was forced to drink the bottle to protect it from a robber. Drinking the whole potion made her immortal again, causing her to float up to the sky and land on the moon. She is now the resident goddess of the moon who lives there with a rabbit for a companion instead of her beloved husband.


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