A friend of mine says that every bus driver in New York City knows when it’s a full moon because all of “the crazies” come out. And there are plenty of police officers, doctors, and others who swear by this statement too. But, the reason the full moon is thought to “make us crazy” is because our culture no longer understands or honors the entire lunar cycle.
As humans we have spent thousands of years describing the effect the moon has on us. The idea that the phases of the moon affect our emotions is woven into our culture, from our language — words such as “lunatic,” and “lunacy,” and phrases such as “howling at the moon” — to classic literature, science fiction, legends (think werewolves!) poetry, art, music, and even religion. In the Christian faith, the Virgin Mary is often depicted standing on the crescent moon.
The truth is, everything in our environment has an effect on and within us — whether it’s the sun, our food, the places we frequent, or our thoughts. Environmental cues from the moon and the tides play a documented role in regulating our bodies, including our menstrual cycles.
How The Moon Affects Your Feminine Body
The most obvious way our bodies are influenced by the moon is seen in our menstrual cycles. It’s no coincidence that the length of the average menstrual cycle is around 28-29.5 days. In fact, since ancient times, many cultures have referred to women having their menstrual periods as being “on their moon.”
The menstrual cycle governs the flow not only of fluids, but also information and creativity. Many women find that they are at peak expression in the outer world during the first half of their cycles (which coincides with the waxing of the moon until it’s full) until ovulation. At this time our bodies secrete hormones that are associated with sexual attractiveness to others. We are naturally more receptive during this time, and more receptive to new ideas.
In the last days of the waning moon leading up to the new moon is a time for reflection and identifying what needs to be changed in our lives.
During this phase the veils between the worlds of the seen and unseen, the conscious and the unconscious are at their thinnest. That is why during menstruation (as well as pregnancy and menopause) our emotions and perceptions are heightened, and we are most in tune with our inner knowing. This is the time that we receive the messages we need to hear from our Souls.
In fact, since ancient times, many cultures have referred to women having their menstrual periods as being “on their moon.”
It’s our Divine wisdom crying out. During this time, many women prefer to stick with mundane tasks and not take on projects that require much output. It’s a time to listen and heal.
One of the most interesting things about the moon and the menstrual cycle is that, even in modern times where many women are not connected to the lunar cycles, they still experience the effect of the moon to some degree. For example, when women live together, their ovulations and menstruation tend to be in sync. This is why women living in the same household or dormitory will often menstruate at the same time. It’s like a modern day moon lodge. Women who work together often experience this as well.
6 Ways The Moon Regulates Your Body
As women our biology and our deepest emotions and mental states are heavily influenced by lunar cycles. Scientific research has documented that the moon rules the flow of fluids — ocean tides as well as individual body fluids. The moon and tides interact with the electromagnetic fields of our bodies, subsequently affecting our internal physiological processes. In addition, further evidence suggests our dreams and emotional rhythms are keyed into the moon and tides as well as the planets.
Here some additional ways different lunar phases influence your body:
- May help regulate your menstrual cycle. When you are tuned into your lunar nature and in sync with the phases of the moon, you will typically start your period around the new moon and be at peak ovulation at the full moon. Studies have shown that peak rates of conception and ovulation appear to occur at the full moon or the day before. However, during the new moon, ovulation and conception rates decrease overall, and an increased number of women start their menstrual bleeding.
- May improve surgery outcomes. According to a 2013 study in the journal Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, patients who had heart surgery surgery during a full moon stayed in the hospital 4 fewer days than patients who had surgery during other lunar cycles.
- May explain your emotions. You may cry or feel stressed during the new moon. Our solar culture tries to minimize our “new moon emotions” with PMS medications and antidepressants. But, many women today realize that, despite their best efforts to suppress their symptoms, this phase is not just about cramps, headaches and fatigue. It’s premenstrual truth telling! You need to acknowledge the strong feelings and intuitions that arise during the new moon phase. This can be the key to eliminating PMS.
- Could influence your energy level. Practitioners of Ashtanga yoga have long taken “moon days” off. They believe that people exhibit too much energy on full moon days, which could lead to injury. During the new moon, Ashtangis participate in activities that calm the mind, such as meditation. You may want to tune into your own energy levels during the full and new moons and see what exercises your body best responds to.
- Could help you conceive. As with menstruation, the timing of the fertility cycle, and labor also follows the moon.
- May explain Insomnia. One Swiss study reported in Current Biology, showed that participants who spent three and a half days in a sleep lab where they were allowed to fall asleep and wake up as they normally would and where there was no access to sunlight or clocks, slept 20 minutes less overall during the full moon. It also took them longer to fall asleep and they had 30% less deep sleep. In addition, the participants had lower levels of the sleep-regulating hormone, melatonin.
How To Use The Moon To Improve Your Health
Given our “solar,” on-the-go culture, it is no wonder that women have learned to view their menstrual cycles as a “curse.” Lunar information is reflective and intuitive. It comes to us in our dreams and our emotions. Since our culture generally appreciates only what we can understand rationally, many women tend to block the flow of unconscious “lunar” information that comes to them premenstrually or during their menstrual cycle. Taking a week off to go to a moon lodge is far from standard practice today.
But there are ways to honor your lunar nature and improve your health. For example, you can take a “moon day” (or hour) where you retreat from the stresses of your daily life and reflect. If you are still menstruating, you can do this either just before your bleeding starts or at its peak — around the second day. Women who are able to do this a short time during the new moon are often are able to prevent or eliminate painful PMS symptoms.
Here are four more ways you can honor your lunar nature for better health:
- Start by observing the waning moon. During the last days of the waning moon leading up to the new moon is the time to look inward, honor your body and assess what’s working and what’s not in your life. It’s a good time to rest and to plan.
- Rest when you body needs to; take breaks from work and get enough sleep.
- Use a journal or calendar to set intentions.
- Take time to meditate or sit quietly and consciously take notice of your breath.
- Listen to what your intuition tells you and write down any thoughts or patterns
- Repeat this for several lunar cycles
- Take action during the waxing moon. The time between the new moon and full moon represents the maturation of the ovum. This is the time that all of the intentions you set during the new moon can put into action. This is the time to pursue your greatest joy and give it meaning in your life.
- Choose one intention.
- Take one step each day toward putting that intention into action.
- Record your progress in a journal until the full moon.
- If you have not completed what you set out to achieve (maybe it’s a long term project) continue during the next lunar cycle.
- Be assertive during the full moon. The full moon is the culmination of outward expression. Ayurveda teaches that the full moon is when a woman is her strongest. This is the perfect time to release anything that is not working in your life — whether it be a relationship, a job, or something in your daily routine. It’s also the best time to initiate a new project, take on a new work out routine, or go out and have fun with friends.
- Take “moon baths.” During the entire lunar cycle, step outside for 15 minutes each night, look at the moon and bask in its glow, dance under its light. Tune into its energy and notice how your body feels.
- Participate in a moon ritual. If participating in a moon ritual appeals to you, you may want to try a modern day moon lodge (new moon) or a women’s circle (full moon.) You can also do something as simple as taking a dance, drumming or art class with several of your female friends during the appropriate moon phase.
How do you honor your lunar nature? Please leave me a message in the comments section below.