Since the beginning of time, it seems that humans have been fascinated by the changing faces of the moon. Shakespeare refers to the effect of the moon on our mental processes in Othello:
“It is the very error of the moon,
She comes closer to the earth than she was wont
And makes men mad” (Act V Sc 2)
The word “lunatic is derived from the Latin word “luna”, meaning “moon” and we are all familiar with the way the waxing and waning of the moon affects the tides of the world’s oceans. It should come as no surprise then, to learn that the phases of the moon exert a similar pull on the fluids within our own bodies.
The 8 Phases
Each of the 8 phases of the moon embodies a different energy and it is useful to know how to work with, rather than against these energies for optimum mental, spiritual and physical well-being.
· New moon
· Waxing crescent
· First quarter
· Waxing gibbous
· Full moon
· Waning gibbous
· Last quarter
· Waning crescent
We do not have space here to look at all 8 phases in detail so let’s look at the most recognisable and discover what the energies symbolise. If you are female you will probably be aware of the full and new moons as they can have quite a dramatic effect on your menstrual cycle with many women reporting that a period experienced during a full moon is often much heavier (and more painful) than its opposite.
Also known as a ”dark moon” the new moon appears as a mere sliver, like a fingernail, in the sky. The key words for the energies of the New Moon relate to new beginnings, letting go of old patterns, setting new intentions and taking time to look after yourself. It also symbolises the merging of masculine and feminine energies and is a good time to work on your own imbalances of Yin and Yang energy.
Rituals for the New Moon
These can be as intricate and complex as you like, or you can keep things simple by indulging in a sea salt bath to symbolically wash away anything that is troubling you or that you feel the need to let go of. Light candles, use warm, not hot, water, play soothing music and allow yourself to relax completely. It is a good time to meditate, to go deep within ad do some soul searching. Ask yourself what you really want to change about your current situation and remember that, no matter what challenges you may be facing due to the behaviour of others, you can only ever change your own thoughts, reactions and behaviour.
Examine any areas of your life that seem to be out of balance. Do you need to work less and relax more? Or do you need to work harder at the moment to achieve your dreams? The moon is traditionally Yin, or feminine in her energies, so allow the Mother to nurture you and to light the way so that you begin new projects with energy and enthusiasm.
Working with the New and the Full moon phases is probably enough if you are just beginning. The full moon is associated with the season of summer, whereas the New Moon corresponds to Winter. The energies of summer are vibrant, dynamic, Yang in nature and also nourishing.
Rituals for Full Moon
The Full Moon also illuminates our shadows, so this is good time to meditate on our deepest emotions and to celebrate our positive attributes as well as addressing those shadows of negativity that are not benefiting us.
It is an excellent time to be with other women so consider hosting a women only full Moon party where you can simply be yourselves, and, if you are in the right place geographically, bathe in the moonlight!
Write down all of things in life that you are grateful for and leave the paper in the moonlight, with a piece of Rose Quartz or Moonstone. Carry the crystal with you for the next few days to remind you of all the good things you appreciate about your life.
Once you are comfortable with these two phases, consider adding two more to your monthly calendar. All humans benefit from ritual, patterns and structure in their lives, so why not make these more pleasurable than the daily/weekly/monthly commute?