Through yoga and my shamanic reiki work, I’ve often been asked or contemplated how my own mind and body syncs with the rhythms and phases of our natural world. Some people are really affected by the seasons while others are affected by the Equinoxes and Solstices. I’ve always been someone who is moved by the moon and lately, that effect has been pretty strong so there really was no surprise when I woke up this morning, just two days before the full moon, with severe cramps and achiness.
Now guys, before you dismiss this blog as just a rant by a woman with the menstrual blues, I want to say that working with the phases and transitions of the moon can be extremely powerful, especially if you feel yourself naturally gravitating, pun indeed, to its pull. There are eight phases of the moon, each with its symbolic meaning and if you feel connected to the moon, or simply want to explore this impressive natural satellite, consider working with these transitions in your own life.
The first phase, the New Moon, is a time of new beginnings. Sometimes we don’t even notice the moon at this time as it is not visible to us. But trust that it is there as you wipe the slate clean and turn the book to a new blank page. I find that the New Moon is a great time to meditate and ground myself as I enter into the new lunar cycle.
The Waxing Crescent Moon is the second phase, where a small sliver of the moon is lit up, less than half of the moon. During this phase, it is a great time to set intentions and goals for our lives. I find it quite powerful to reset at the New Moon so that when I set intentions during the Waxing Crescent Moon there are no disturbances or unsettled business lingering from a previous moon cycle. It’s just about the intentions I am setting for this phase of the moon, and my life.
The First Quarter Moon, the third phase, is when one half of the moon is lit up in the sky as the moon appears to be getting bigger. This is a time of challenges and decisions as our intentions are heard and things must shift in order for them to manifest. Trust me, I have definitely felt the strength of the First Quarter Moon, and I believe its easy for us to get stuck in this phase, feeling sorry for ourselves, or cursing the moon altogether. But we need our intentions to be challenged so we can affirm them and face them with action. There’s great power in facing challenges, especially when we know what we want.
Phase 4 of the Lunar Cycle, is the Waxing Gibbous Moon when the moon appears bigger than half but not quite full. After facing challenges and making decisions to help guide our intentions forward, this is a time for edits and refinements. Were you clear on what you hope to manifest? What obstacles may be in the way of your intentions unfolding? Are there things in your life you have to let go and release in order to move forward? This is the phase we are in right now as we await the approach Full Moon Saturday evening so ask yourself, have I refined and edited my intentions for this upcoming Full Moon?
Which brings me to phase 5, the Full Moon, when the side of the moon that is illuminated by the sun is facing the Earth. It is a time of clarity and heightened intent. I often share in my yoga classes a reminder of the power of the full moon. During a full moon, the ocean tides rise to four times their height because the full moon has such a strong gravitational pull on water. Well, our bodies our made up of 70-80% water so when someone says, “Ugh, everyone is acting crazy, it must be the full moon,” there’s definitely something to be said for that. The full moon amplifies whatever energy we are feeling without discrimination so if you are feeling angry or confused the moon will bring you more anger and confusion. So be sure to adjust your energy dial to love, gratitude, joy, and peace on Saturday and let the moon ramp that energy up for you.
The 6th phase following the Full Moon is the Waning Gibbous Moon when the moon appears to shrink a bit, not quite full but more than half of it is illuminated. It’s important to begin to slow down our own lives as the moon begins to slow down during this phase. The Waning Gibbous Moon is an ideal time to be filled with gratitude, gratitude for these awe-inspiring natural cycles to which we sync our own lives, gratitude for the power and beauty of the moon, gratitude for the ability to set and manifest intentions.
During the Last Quarter Moon the moon is back to being half illuminated, similar to the First Quarter Moon, yet we know it is growing smaller as it nears completion of the cycle, preparing for another new beginning. This is a time of trust as we release and let go of what no longer serves us as well as releasing our intentions, trusting they have been heard and will unfold exactly as they were meant to. I’ve had a hard time with this transition in the past because it requires detachment and often when we set goals and intentions, we make rigid plans, mapping out every step as to how the intention will manifest. Not here. We must trust and let go.
The final phase is the Waning Crescent Moon where just a small slit of the moon, once again, is visible in the sky. During this time, it is important to rest and recuperate before the New Moon and new beginnings, are on our doorstep once more. It’s a time of non-doing, rather than doing, which seems to be difficult in a society that tends to memorialize the act of being busy. See how things change for you when we actually take time to slow down and rest during the Waning Crescent Moon as opposed to “gearing up” for the next cycle.
“The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished.” ― Deng Ming-Dao, Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony
(Picture: Two summers ago, out on my paddle board during a full moon)