It’s about two and a half weeks until I take part in the London Moonwalk 2014, so how about a look at Man in Moon Passage today? As with so many of the more delightful of London street names, the name of this little alley off Piccadilly probably comes from an inn sign.
People all over the world have been looking at the man in the moon for a very long time, and on the inn signs he was often depicted with a bundle of sticks, a lantern, and a dog.
There are various theories about the identity of this particular man in the moon. One is that he is the man, mentioned in the bible, who was discovered gathering sticks on the sabbath.
The Old Testament God, not being the forgiving type, told Moses that the man should be stoned to death – a punishment, lamentably, which was readily meted out to him by his neighbours. As if that wasn’t enough, the legend later had him banished to the moon. (But there is no mention of his dog.)
Another nominee is Cain; in his case the dog is the ‘evil spirit’ and the sticks are a thorn bush symbolic of his fall.
More poetic is that the man in the moon is Endymion, a handsome shepherd, who was carried off to the moon by Diana. Perhaps the dog was a sheep dog and the sticks representative of a shepherd’s crook.
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