Nature’s Rhythms: Self-awareness Series
Nature is a powerful force. From delicate flowers to fuming volcanoes Her energy and potential can be seen within and around us. When you align with Her you might find you're in an easier flow with life. Less effort is needed to stay balanced because you're riding the waves of Her energy rather than swimming against it. Her rhythms can be seasonal, circadian, and lunar. In the first part of this series we are going to dive into how to use the moon to reduce dis-ease and discomfort by understanding and accessing your energy at optimal times. The later parts of this series will cover seasons and circadian rhythms and how they align with your health.
There is much to be said about how western cultural perceives menstruation, and the way in which is molds how women treat and view their bodies. As a society, we aren’t typically exposed to the idea we can align with nature and utilize her superpowers for personal wellness in body, mind and heart. We may not have learned, until habits are already deeply embedded, that our environment is always impacting us. That what you take in through the senses and who/what you interact with on a daily basis makes a difference in how good...or not good, you feel.
When you're able to identify places where you're exhausted, or where there is a potential to be, you can work to find balance by increasing intentional self-care, reducing the “push through” mentality and slowly tailoring your schedule to support your best health. Following the cycles of the moon is one way you can begin to find your groove. Lunar cycles have been shown to strongly impact animal and human physiology particularly with women in the areas of reproduction and human behavior. Lunar energy is feminine. This means your mental health, menstrual cycle and fertility can be influenced by its movement. Honoring and adapting to it can result in emotional, physical and energetic benefits.
If you’re anything like me you may want a few more details before jumping into practice. Understanding why and some of the how can help reduce the overwhelm that accompanies change because it allows you to adjust your practice to meet your needs. Remember, what works for one doesn’t always work for another. You're unique, so your practices need to be as well.
Phases of the moon
Let’s get a little science-y so that as we look at the moon tonight we can take an educated guess as to what phase it is in and what that could mean for us. As the moon travels around the earth different portions of it will be illuminated by the sun resulting in us perceiving various types of moons. A lunar phase cycle is 29.5 days, each phase lasting about a week and a half. What is a lunar cycle? It is the journey from new moon to new moon. Do you know what else has a similar cycle??? Your menstrual cycle, ladies. The moon matters to you whether you ignore it, honor it or something in between.
Phases of the menstrual cycle
Your menstrual cycle has a similar timeframe to the lunar cycle of 28- 29.5 days. It can be viewed as four phases; menstruation (3-7 days), follicular (7-10 days), ovulation (3-4 days), and luteal (10-14 days). These phases can indicate what is going on physically, emotionally, and energetically and they vary person to person. Physically we see changes in fluids, and energetically we see varying forms of creativity and output. Due to these needs you may need to adjust your schedules to support your well-being.
During the first half of your cycle you may find you’re more easily able to express yourself in an outward manner, you may also notice you feel more open and receptivity. Alter your practice to support this energetic shift. If more energy is leaving the body, and you are desiring time to yourself please listen and slow down.
You don’t have to have to bleed to be impacted by these cycles, energetic experiences will follow you subtly.
The Lunar & Menstrual Cycle
During a new moon the moon and sun are very close to one another, the part that is illuminated will be facing the sun so the moon will appear shadowed to us.
Activity - Just as the moon looks as as though it is shadow you can withdraw as well. Go inward during this time and reset. Unplug from social media, cancel or don’t make social plans. Journal your dreams. Schedule big work projects to happen at another time. Allow yourself a break. REST.
Menstruation- When aligned with the lunar cycle you may begin your menstrual cycle at this time. During your menstrual cycle your uterus is shedding soft tissue and blood vessels.
Archetype - The Crone
Journal Prompt- Where in your life are you desiring change?
Crescent - Less than half illuminatedWaxing - Illumination expanding
Activity - Intentions. Using the energy gathering during your new moon recharge start direct your energy to creating goals, dreams and desires. Grid your crystals, write in your journal, get clear. Feel into new potentials.
Menstruation - During the waning phase your body enters the follicular phase of your cycle in which follicles are maturing in the ovaries.
Archetype - The VirginJournal Prompt - Visualize your intention as though you have achieved it. What does it look like?
First Quarter to Waxing Gibbous
Quarter moon is when half the moon is lit. It is called a quarter rather half moon because we are ¼ of the way through the lunar cycle.
Waxing - Illumination expanding
Gibbous - More than half illuminated
Activity - Identify and work through barriers and take note of resistance you are experiencing to your intentions. Begin making decisions regarding next steps and taking action.
Archetype - The Maiden
Journal Prompt - Is there anything I can identify that might get in my way? What is one thing I can do today?
During the full moon the moon appears fully illuminated.
Activity: This is a time of peak expression and creativity. You may feel energized and connected. Your emotions and attachments may being running high. Don’t shut down, stay grounded and continue to be open/flexible to what arises. The gift isn’t always what you expect. Take care to nurture and nourish yourself.
Menstruation - When aligned with the moon your body may release the egg that has been maturing during the waxing phase. You may feel an increase in your sexual desire.
Archetype- The Mother
Journal Prompt- Check in with your body, mind and heart. Does your intention still feel aligned? If not, what feels like an appropriate adjustment?
Waning- Illumination reducing
Gibbous- More than half illuminated
Activity - Feel the love, you’ll be full of it during this phase. You may want to share gratitude for the gifts you have received as a result of all the work you have done over the past few weeks.
Menstruation - Before menstruation, the egg released will stay in the fallopian tube for 24 hours and your uterus will thicken to prepare for potential implantation of a fertilized egg.
Archetype- The Wild Woman
Journal Prompt- What else do I need right now? Is there more to be done to help me reach my intention?
Quarter moon we are another ¼ of the way through the lunar cycle.
Activity - Ahhhh, deep release. Clear and cleanse so you can create space for the next cycle. Not everything works out and that is okay, you also don’t need to hold onto it. Time for some internal and external “spring cleaning.”
Archetype - The Wild Woman
Journal Prompt - What can I release to support the change that has occurred?
Waning - Illumination reducingCrescent - Less than half illuminated
Activity - During this time the veil between different layers of consciousness is thinner than any other time so take advantage. You may be very tuned into the subconscious through your dreams. Leading up to the new moon note what needs to change. Deeply reflect and listen for answers from your intuition. Her voice may be a bit louder during this time. Give yourself space to relax. You don’t need to work so hard right now.
Archetype - The Crone
Journal Prompt - Is there more to be seen and explored with this intention?
What you can do to boost your Well-being
>> Chart your cycle: This practice is all about building awareness. Notice where you’re in conflict with the moon’s cycles. We currently live in a culture that celebrates a solar schedule (aka 9-5, M-F) rather than moving with the rhythmic patterns of your body and nature. If you notice you have scripts running that tell you that your period is gross this is important to note. Destigmatizing and understanding your cycle is super important to finding balance again. It isn’t gross or a burden. Befriend her, understand her and you’ll thrive. Check-in: are you noticing symptoms such as cramping, bloating, mood swings, painful or irregular periods? >> Lunar Sadhanas - If your body sometimes feels like a foreign land spend time with it. New Moon: Allow yourself a monthly lunar break, it could be an hour or a day long retreat. Consider creating a ritual for yourself in which you refrain from any stressful activities and create a nesting space for rest and rejuvenation. Journal. Meditate. Go inward. Eat light, ancestral meals. Drink herbal teas such as chamomile, raspberry, peppermint, ginger, or lemon balm.Full Moon: Take an aromatic bath, slather yourself in organic oils, and eat wholesome ancestral foods. >> Bathe in Moonlight- Take a walk in the moonlight or sleep with your shades open, absorb her glow. If you live somewhere private go nude. Bathing in the moon also has cooling properties and can be great for balancing Pitta.
Next time we'll dive into understanding and using wisdom of the seasons and circadian rhythms. Get notified of upcoming segments and articles by signing up for notifications on Facebook or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org to join my newsletter. Instagram will be coming soon! ☽ ☾ ☽ ☾ ☽ ☾ ☽ ☾ ☽ ☾ ☽ ☾ ☽ ☾ ☽ ☾ ☽ ☾ ☽ ☾ ☽ ☾ ☽ ☾ ☽ ☾ There is a lot more to be said about women's health, archetypes, sleep and fertility as they relate to lunar cycles that we don’t have the capacity to cover within the context of this article. Please continue to tune in and explore. Resources & references: Honoring Menstruation by Lara Owens; The Path of Practice by Maya Tiwari; Moon Time by Lucy Pearce; Womancode by Alisa Vitti Moon Phase Image