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The Moons

Lady Nerevar

Cosmology describes the moons as:

Small planets, insofar as one infinite mass of infinite size can be smaller than another. Planets do have orbits, or at least lunar orbits are perceived to happen by mortals. Moons are regarded by various cultures as attendant spirits of their god planet, or minor gods, or foreign gods.

Masser and Secunda, the moons of Nirn, are the attendant spirits of the mortal plane. They are like the mortal plane in that they are temporal and subject to the bounds of mortality; in fact of this, the moons are dead and died long ago. The moons used to be pure white and featureless, but today their 'skin' is decaying and withering away. Their planes are likewise dying. Mortals perceive this as the moons being spheres with patches of their 'surfaces' completely eaten away; as the moons spin, they seem to become slivers or ragged crescents. These are not caused by shadows, because you can see stars through the black patches of the lunar spheres.

The Lunar Lorkhan says much the same thing, but with a more spiritual bent:

In short, the Moons were and are the two halves of Lorkhan's 'flesh-divinity'. Like the rest of the Gods, Lorkhan was a plane(t) that participated in the Great Construction... except where the Eight lent portions of their heavenly bodies to create the mortal plane(t), Lorkhan's was cracked asunder and his divine spark fell to Nirn as a shooting star "to impregnate it with the measure of its existence and a reasonable amount of selfishness."

Masser and Secunda therefore are the personifications of the dichotomy-- the "Cloven Duality," according to Artaeum-- that Lorkhan legends often rail against: ideas of the anima/animus, good/evil, being/nothingness, the poetry of the body, throat, and moan/silence-as-the- abortive, and so on -- set in the night sky as Lorkhan's constant reminder to his mortal issue of their duty.

Followers of this theory hold that all other "Heart Stories" are mythical degradations of the true origin of the moons (and it needn't be said that they observe the "hollow crescent theory" as well).

Not everyone agrees with Temple Zero's description of Masser and Secunda as the bodies of Lorkhan. Moon Bishop Hunal, for example, writes that:

“When true cats commune with the moons and their spirits climb the Lunar Lattice, then can a Khajiit see the Dead Moon sailing behind Jone and Jode. This moon is the corpse of Lorkhaj. After he made the world for Nirni’s children to live in, the Darks in the heart of Lorkhaj also made a prison of the world—for he did not know the First Secret. Thus his heart was cut out and buried in the Dark Behind the World, and his body was hurled on high to follow the moons forever.

This sigil appeared in the Maw of Lokhaj in Elder Scrolls Online. It depicts the two moons and their phases.

A Khajiiti rug from Elder Scrolls Online depicting the phases of the moons.

This scematic appears in many Dwemeri ruins in ESO. It seems to depict Nirn, Masser, and Secunda.