Ahh, the moon. She rules over us with her gentle glow, ever present (except for those few days a month), and yet so many of us go about our earthly routines unaware of her influence. The moon runs through a natural cycle, waxing and waning, an ebb and a flow, each and every month. Each and every month she has the chance to start anew, to grow to her fullest potential and magic, and then to release and let go as she shrinks back to darkness.
Over the last year, I’ve become more acutely aware of the moon’s presence. For me, the idea of living by the moon came gradually - first a friend recommending a book, then the occasional new moon and full moon workshops I attended. It wasn’t until last summer that I decided to dedicate myself to studying the phases of the moon and how they are meant to help guide our lives and assist in manifesting our desires.
First things first:
Feminine vs. Masculine Energies
There are so many representations of the moon throughout various cultures. Most often, the moon is represented as a feminine energy, while the sun is associated with masculine energy. This does not mean working with the moon is only for women - we each have both masculine and feminine energies in our makeup.
In this case, the feminine energy is associated with yin energy. Being, feeling, receiving, surrender, ease, flow. Feminine represents the softer, cooler, darker energies that allow us to flow with cycles, to receive, and to surrender.
Masculine energy is associated with yang energy. Doing, thinking, action, effort, forward motion. Masculine represents the harder, hotter, and firey energies that allow us to push forward, to persevere, to actively create and make things happen.
The entire universe needs a balance of masculine and feminine energies in order to thrive in harmony, as do each of us. However, we live in a masculine society that for thousands of years has valued masculine energies over the feminine. We believe the way to success is in hard work, in pushing, fighting, the struggle, overcoming obstacles. Too much masculine energy has led to excess violence, aggression, and destruction of the planet. In our day to day lives, an excess of masculine energy has caused burnout, anxiety, stress, and their resulting health problems.
Working with the moon is one way to restore the energetic balance. Whether you are male or female, working in harmony with the cycles of nature can help to bring a greater connection to the divine feminine and allow your life to naturally flow the way it should - downstream, with ease.
The Moon as Triple Goddess
Of the various representations of the moon, the one that personally resonates with me is the symbolism of the triple goddess. This is symbolized by the waxing, full, and waning moons, which represents the three phases of the goddess - maiden, mother, and crone. There have been countless representations of these three women - young, middle-aged, and old - in the arts around the world. This is the triple goddess.
The maiden represents the waxing moon, growing larger in the sky. The maiden represents the early phases of life, a phase that is full of potential. Think new beginnings, expansion, youth, and excitement. The world at your fingertips.
The mother represents the full moon. Mother energy is full of creativity and is nurturing, and represents the mid point in life, the peak of the cycle. She is fertility, power, stability, and fulfillment. Whether you are creating and caring for a child or a loved one, or tending to a project or a business - when you are standing in this stable power, you are in your mother energy.
The crone represents the waning moon, growing smaller in the sky. The crone represents the last phase of life, one where we have gathered wisdom from living through the previous cycles and we can surrender knowing that we’ve done all we can. We let go and allow the cycle to come toward its end. She is the elder, the teacher, the keeper of wisdom, and holder of compassion.
The beauty of working with the moon in this way is that we can flow through each of these energies each and every month. Each month you have the opportunity to harness the excitement and potential of the maiden, the power and fulfillment of the mother, and the wisdom and intuition of the crone. And in that way, our life follows a spiral of growth, creativity, and surrender. Learning to live in accordance with these waxing and waning energies will truly change how you see the world and your own life.
Concrete ways this can change your world
For me, working with the energies of the moon changes my life in profound ways. Here are some of the ways that this practice has guided me, and I highlight specific ways that I personally choose to work with the moon.
It reminds me to live life with a clear direction and intention, each and every month.
One step to working with the moon is tracking the date of the new moon each month. The new moon represents the time right after the dark moon that the first bit of light from the crescent begins to show. The moon now begins its waxing journey as it grows toward full. (Note that some use new moon interchangeably with the dark moon - when the moon is invisible to us. However, I personally find that the dark moon has a different energy from when the first crescent of light appears. I tend to find the dark moon as a time for shadow work and alone time.)
The new moon is a time to set new intentions for your life. The world is your oyster! What do you want to call into your life? What are your goals, your intentions, for the next moon cycle, the next 6 months, the next year? The new moon gives us an opportunity each and every month to get clear about what we desire. And even if you don’t believe in the energy of the moon, anyone can stand behind the fact that when you get clear about what you want, and when you write it down, you are more likely to achieve it. This is proven. Thus, setting new moon intentions improves your ability to manifest your dreams and desires.
It gives me a guideline for reflection.
Paying attention to the phases of the moon, and their associated energies, gives me a structure for reflecting upon my life. The moon’s cycle of waxing and waning is often broken into 8 distinct phases based on the shape of the moon, each with their own unique energies and things to focus on. You can read more about each of these phases in the recommended reading below.
I also love tracking the daily moon through the astrological houses to see what the current energy is for that day. Just as the sun passes through all 12 signs of the zodiac in a year, the moon also passes through these signs. However, since an entire moon cycle is just 29.5 days, we are in a new sign of the zodiac every 2-2.5 days.
This means the energy of our inner world (remember the moon governs feelings) is shifting all the time. I am a person who likes to journal my thoughts, feelings, and what I’m going through at least several times per week, sometimes daily. When I’m feeling stuck, blocked, or uncertain, I look up the daily moon and it’s zodiac sign and it will give me topics to explore in my own life that might help me glean some clarity.
It reminds me to release and forgive, each and every month.
Working with the moon is also a great opportunity to take advantage of the full moon. The full moon is said to be a time of heightened intuition and magic. This is a time to get quiet and listen to yourself! It’s also a perfect time to think about what you need to release.
Just before the moon starts to wane, and get smaller, we can set intentions for all that we would like to release. It’s a perfect time to write a list of everything still burdening you, to acknowledge limiting beliefs or thought patterns, and to make a list of everyone you need to forgive (including yourself). Read more about full moon forgiveness in this post.
By thinking about this each month, I give myself a chance to consciously acknowledge the things, thoughts, and energies that no longer serve me in my life, and to let them fall away.
It helps me to create sacred space for myself, as well as ritual and connection with others.
Working with the moon gives me a time for ritual. What is ritual? It’s defined as an established form for a ceremony, or a series of acts regularly repeated in a precise manner. What does this mean in the context of the moon? It gives a sacred and healthy habit or routine for reflecting, taking care of yourself, and connecting with others.
For me, my ritual typically involves journaling (whether my intentions, my progress, or things I am releasing or forgiving). It sometimes includes fire; when I really feel the need to symbolically release something, I will burn it. Sometimes it just includes sacred alone time, including creative time. For the November new moon, I felt compelled to turn off my phone, blast some music, and paint for hours. It was a sacred time for me to be with myself and nurture my body, mind, and soul with what was calling to me. There is no right or wrong here. It simply creates the space for you to listen to yourself and honor your needs.
With others, ritual often includes a ceremony of discussion, yoga, meditation, fire, drumming, sound healing, art, and any combination of the above. It’s a way to connect with yourself and with others in a like-minded community. Transformation is often even more powerful when amplified by other supportive beings holding space for you.
It brings compassion and love for my journey.
Finally, recognizing the repeating, spiral energies of the moon has helped me find more self-compassion on this journey. Life is not meant to be lived in a straight line, as we are often made to believe. We are taught to push forward, that with clear direction, strength, and perseverance we will move consistently in the direction of our goals, always improving, never falling back. This simply isn’t the case.
Life moves us in all sorts of directions. Sometimes we are flying high and we feel we can move mountains. We push forward in the direction of our goals and it seems nothing can stand in our way. Other times we feel blocked, stunted, or that we need to take time out to go within. When we accept that life moves in a circular path, we can more easily accept where we are in any given moment. We can accept that the journey is designed this way. That everything is unfolding as it should for our learning and development.
Being kind to yourself is always a work in progress. Just remember that life is not meant to always be sunshine and rainbows, though those are amazing. It’s also filled with moonglow and shadows. And those are just as beautiful.
How to begin working with the Moon
While it may seem that there is a lot to learn, working with the energy of the moon does not have to be an overwhelming task. Let it be fun, beautiful, and exciting to learn to harness additional energy for your own self-discovery, growth, and manifestation of your desires.
Start small. Begin by becoming aware of the moon. When you’re outside, look up. Notice when the moon is waxing (getting bigger), full, waning (getting smaller), or dark. You’ll start to realize the rhythm and cycle and this will help you as you start to work with these phases.
Get a moon cycle app, planner, or calendar. This will also help you see when the major shifts in the moon phases are going to occur. Often standard calendars will include the new moon, first quarter moon, full moon, and third quarter moon. Contact me if you’d like suggestions.
Create your own routines, rituals, ceremonies, or habits that you do around the time of the new moon and the full moon. These are great ways to start small (only twice a month) with working with this energy. I love the recommendations from Yasmin Boland in Moonology, but there are so many great resources.
Find events near you. Check your local yoga studio to see if they have any moon related yoga classes or meditations. Search women’s groups and moon circles in your area. This is becoming more and more popular. If not in your area, there are plenty of online communities that offer free and paid membership moon planning, meditations, rituals, etc. Contact me for some of my favorites.
Read, read, read. If you really want to learn more, start to dive into the information that’s out there. I found some really wonderful beginner books this summer, and I’ve listed them at the bottom of this post. There are so many more I am looking forward to exploring.
Aligning with the cycles of the moon has certainly brought more awareness, more focus, and more targeted reflection into my life, and sharing the beauty of this practice is something I am so passionate about. It’s a lovely way for us to come together and celebrate the beauty of our cyclical life.
We live in a spiral. We ebb, we flow, we stumble, and we run. Life is not meant to be linear. When we embrace the energies of the moon, we learn to embrace the beauty in the spirals of life, and ultimately learn to appreciate each part of our journey.