Were you able to see the supermoon earlier this month? The way it was set in the sky, we happened to have a view of it from our bedroom window around the time we were going to sleep and it was pretty magical to lay down with the glow shining in between dark branches in the yard.
Moving to Ojai, also known as the “Valley of the Moon” (it was originally called Awhay by the native Chumash, meaning “moon”) we’ve felt so much more connected to the sky than when we lived in LA. It’s actually one of the reasons we moved here, reminded by our time abroad of how important being in nature is to us after so many years of living in the city.
In Nicaragua we had a daily ritual of spending each evening in the balmy windy roof, watching the sunset, trying to see the first star come up, and then later, watching the moon rise and observing its phase while stargazing and talking late into the night.
I don’t think either of us had ever paid so much attention to the sky before- as in, literally looking up at it for several hours each day- and it felt so instinctual to feel close to it in this way. Disconnection from nature is a huge contributing factor to feelings of sadness and loss of direction, and being attuned to the moon is one small way to bridge that gap.
Despite that Western culture for the most part disregards it, our moods, cycles, and rhythms of life are naturally timed with the moon. So even though our calendars are timed to the work week and Christian holidays, Ben doesn’t sleep so well when the moon is full. Che is far more energetic and begs for night walks. Emotions seem more intense than other times of the month.
Typically I’ll be reactive, noticing the behavior and then thinking “oh it must be because the moon is full” and making adjustments from there. But wouldn’t it make more sense to try and be proactive instead? Like making sure to provide Che with extra exercise during the full moon days, or putting Ben down a little later than usual while mentally preparing for a few nights of not-great sleep. It just seems natural that if we know in advance what states of energy to be prepared for, we can be more receptive and flexible to what comes up, making our daily life flow that much more easily.
How else would our lives feel different if our schedules were consciously synced to moon energy? Below, a guide to the lunar cycle- what each of the moon phases are called, what they indicate, and how to be most aligned with them.
NEW MOON | The New Moon is a time for dreaming, for exploration with unlimited potential. Create freely using your intuition; don’t let past experiences influence what you believe possible. Because there’s still more information to be revealed, refrain from making commitments or promises. Instead, focus on your intentions and coming up with new ideas. A great time to celebrate beginnings, start a new project or focus on personal growth, consider this your time of germination.
- Journal, reflecting on the past month or the month ahead. List your goals and intentions.
- Attend or host your own new moon circle with like-minded friends.
- Focus on low-energy activities, even trying a day of fasting. “Be” rather than “do”.
WAXING CRESCENT | Sprouting through the earth, so to speak, the Waxing Crescent moon is a time of breakthrough. Use your fresh, light, excited energy to declare your intentions to others, make contacts, gather information and build on your ideas. From the big picture to the details, you want your plans to be well thought out and fortified against inevitable ups and downs to come.
- Map out your new workout / monthly budget/ healthy eating/ new project plan.
- Share your intention with a friend or on social media for accountability and support.
- Focus your energy on research, using not just the internet and books but personal connections and your broader network as well. Who could be a good resource for you?
FIRST QUARTER | As your work gains momentum, plans may begin to solidify and initial visions take shape. Good news of course brings excitement and enthusiasm, but see how even challenges can stimulate. How can you become more efficient and productive? Now is the time to move forward. In this time of push and pull, look for ways you can steady and ground yourself by sending down roots. Halfway between the new and full moons, this is not a resting place, not a time for reflection. Your attention is required– take action.
- Be prepared to go with the flow and see potential setbacks as opportunities. “Hope for the best and plan for the worst”.
- Stay active, and remember to hydrate, eat nourishing foods and take moments for yourself throughout the day to support stamina and mood regulation.
- Avoid swinging too far in any direction- aim for subtlety, balance and an even keel instead. “Slow and steady wins the race”.
WAXING GIBBOUS | While efforts may begin to shine, this is actually a time of gestation. Practice patience, tie up loose ends, streamline, and take care of what you have. It’s a positive period of powerful growth, of shifts and changes. Put your energy inward, and focus on blooming.
- Avoid scheduling too many meetings during this phase, you’ll want some quiet time to focus on all that’s on your plate.
- Take care of what you have- pick up the house, walk the dog, prep food for the week, reply to outstanding emails. If you’re feeling restless, look around to see what other types of busywork could improve your immediate surroundings.
- Extend this care to others, being helpful and of service where you can.
FULL MOON | This time of the month is when energy is amplified and at its peak. Use this powerful time to recharge not only your crystals, but your own body’s energy as well. With so much illuminating power, new information has now been revealed. The time is ripe to honestly assess your efforts since the new moon, and either celebrate what you created or acknowledge what didn’t work. Your intuition is strong during this phase, trust it and allow your new perspective to emerge. The flower has become the fruit.
- Create a gratitude list and speak your thanks aloud.
- Take a hot, salty detoxifying bath, releasing behavior and thought patterns that do not serve you.
- Try a high-intensity workout, harnessing your strong energy to sweat and wring your body out.
- Camp or hike under the full moon, soaking up its creative and energizing light.
WANING GIBBOUS | Where the waxing moons represent action, giving, doing, the waning moon represents releasing, undoing, receiving. In this way, the Waxing Gibbous moon is like the harvest. Also known as the “disseminating” moon, which means “to disperse”, now is the time to put your energy outward. Phone calls, emails, friend dates, thank you notes, donating old clothes, sharing foods from your garden, inviting friends over for a meal- give back and let go.
- Volunteer, donate or give back to your community in a way that feels good to you.
- Create something (food, craft or otherwise) that you plan to give away.
- Share your knowledge for free- taking a coffee date with a person who wants to ‘pick your brain’ for example, or otherwise pay it forward.
LAST QUARTER | This is the late Fall of the lunar cycle, when everything is in breakdown, beginning to decompose and transitioning into compost to nourish new life later on. Not an ideal time to begin something new, use what you’ve already created to make adjustments or correct your path- or decide to let go of it completely. Similar to the First Quarter moon, this phase marks the other side of a halfway point. Use it to reflect and identify your next direction. An excellent for tying up loose ends or marking the end of projects come to a close, your work is done.
- Prioritize completing lingering items on your to-do list.
- Take a hard look at past mistakes and find the silver lining of the lessons they have offered.
- Find one area in your life you can completely close out- anything from paying off the last of a debt, submitting a project that’s due, or finishing the leftovers in your fridge.
WANING CRESCENT | The Waxing Crescent moon is sometimes called the “Balsamic” moon, a word that means a restorative time for healing. Turn off. Replenish. Mediate. Look inward. Ask yourself questions, recognize accomplishment, and reflect on what is next. See if you can avoid making plans during this time, and focus on self care. This will put you in the best possible position to flow into new intention setting with a clear mind in the coming days of the next new moon.
- Try a 1-3 day technology detox.
- Surrender to the hand you have been dealt in this moment.
- Find one thing to release in your life- a habit, a person, an object, a grudge, a responsibility- in order to make more room for new possibility and opportunity.
How might you apply these concepts to your own life? To creative pursuits? To parenting? To caring for our bodies? Keep in mind that the time between a new and full moon is around 2 weeks, so try consider these suggestions on both a micro and macro level: some intentions may be able to bring to fruition within the 2-4 week timeframe, others will be a longer work in progress. Experiment don’t worry about align your life perfectly with the moon– we do live in a modern world afterall. But see if you can stay aware for a full lunar cycle and let me know if you notice a difference!
For an easy reminder of the current moon phases, there are tons of beautiful calendars out there, here are a few of my favorites:
You can also add the moon phases to digitally to your google calendar here (click the button in the bottom right)