Non-Spiritual Full Moon Rituals and Why You Should Do Them
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Since transitioning my diet to plant-based and taking steps to become more environmentally conscious and careful, I have felt deeply connected to the rhythm of life and its patterns.
Throughout nature, you see patterns of movement. The tide ebbs and flows. The trees grow and shed their leaves. And the moon waxes and wanes.
The moon, a reflector of the sun’s rays, is so involved with the movement of water on earth that it has a gravitational pull, which influences the movement of the tides. The human body is about 60% water as a whole, but the heart and the brain are comprised almost entirely of water. The term “lunatic” was originally referring to someone whose mental state was heavily influenced by the moon – and since the moon’s gravitational pull on water is large enough to move the oceans, it’s conceivable that it would shift some things around on a tiny but important organ that is mostly water.
I can tell you I grew up thinking the whole “full moon effect” on people was a load of garbage until I worked in mental health. Any nurse will tell you working a shift on a full moon is going to be a bit…unpredictable.
(I don’t own the rights to this cartoon, but if you click on it, it will go to the website where I found it. I just LOVE this illustration!)
If this is all new information to you, prepare to have your mind blow just a *little* more: Before there were artificial lights, before there were additives and pesticides in our foods and microwaved plastic and wifi and harsh chemical contaminants in our drinking water – a woman’s menstrual cycle was also influenced by the moon.
That’s right, back when humans were purely interacting with nature, a woman’s cycle typically synched with the phases of the moon. The full moon is when estrogen is at the highest, which triggers ovulation. If conception does not occur, then the new moon is when menstruation will happen. There are even resources available for how women can bring their bodies back to cycling with the moon phases.
So if moods and menstrual cycles can be influenced by the full moon, wouldn’t it be at the very core of who we are as humans to pay attention? And wouldn’t it benefit us in some way?
Anyways, once I went more plant based and environmentally intentional, keeping up with the phases of the moon made more sense to me. Several of my friends started posting about their Full Moon Rituals, and I watched and learned. I am naturally cautious around things that have more of a religious or spiritual tilt, and I didn’t want to start practicing something that was basically an earth-based religion.
It wasn’t until I was studying more about the patterns of the menstrual cycle and the way the full moon keeps time with the planting and the harvest of traditional gardens that I decided to start doing my own Full Moon Ritual, and it made such a dramatic difference in my life, I knew I had to blog about it to share it with all of you!
My Non-Spiritual Full Moon Practice
On the night of the full moon (or honestly, sometimes the night after the night of the full moon, because the full moon also seems to influence when my children decide they will finally go to sleep) I gather a few items for my practice: a glass of water, a candle and a lighter, a bundle of sage/rosemary or a stick of palo santo, some essential oils, a pen, a journal, and my phone (to use as a timer and to listen to background music). You definitely don’t need all of these things to practice, but this is what I use right now.
Traditionally, it is encouraged to sit on the floor for this practice, because sitting on the floor is grounding. If you are unable to sit on the floor, no worries. Try sitting on a special pillow or on a different part of the sofa. As you will see with the rest of my items, this practice disrupts your “normal” routine, which calls your brain to attention.
You might have noticed that the other items I use are the elements: fire, water, earth, and air (smoke). You might also notice that all of these items engage the senses. Again, disrupting your normal routine will get the attention of your brain and your conscious, and make this practice so incredibly effective and beneficial for you. Engaging all the senses really drives your work deeply into your body and conscious mind so that you actually think about it often and make the changes necessary to bring your goals to fruition. I cannot tell you how much of a difference I had in the actual movement towards my goals since I started intentionally engaging all my senses in my personal development practice.
Step 1: Intention
I start each Full Moon Ritual with setting an intention for the time. “What do I most want to accomplish in this time?” is what I typically ask myself. Setting an intention is the first step for a reason – why are you doing this practice? What are you hoping to get out of it? If you have no question or thing that you are pondering and trying to figure out, your brain won’t know what to focus on.
So I pull out my journal and I write out my intention for this time, and I light the candle. This signals to me that it is time to focus, the Full Moon Ritual has begun.
Step 2: Calling In
If this sounds a little too spiritual for your taste, hang on with me for a second. “Calling in” is nothing more than intentionally focusing on what you are wanting to change in your life and allowing your mind to think of exactly what is within your power to shift to make it happen. Remember that the moon cycles are about ebbs and flows, bringing good things in and letting go of habits and patterns and other things that do not serve you (or serve the focus of your mission, they are distractions). Think of this as your intentional thought period that you dedicated to answering one question of yourself.
As a society, we are so connected and so busy and so wound up that we often don’t sit and listen to ourselves think. The Full Moon Ritual, and this step specifically, are ways that I carve out specific time where my brain knows that it is time to sit on a topic without distractions. The elements are all around me to fully engage all of my senses around this one topic. It’s like when you use a magnifying glass outside, gathering up all the sun’s rays and directing it all at one particular point.
Drink some water and journal out what you are calling in during your practice. What about your intention for this practice are you going to focus on? What good things are you wanting to bring about in your life? Are you wanting a better financial situation? A more intentional relationship? I honestly use this time to picture what I want my life to look like one, five, ten, twenty years from now. I write out all my hopes and dreams for my family, and no thought is too small or too silly to make the list.
Step 3: Meditation
This is probably my favorite step, because it’s so insanely powerful. The practice of meditation has been shown to help decrease anxiety, lower stress, and even help with blood pressure. Plus, mindfulness helps people adapt to their environment with less frustration.
Here is when I use essential oils. I use them at this stage to engage my sense of smell, which helps me stay focused during meditation. You can apply them anywhere you want, in the diffuser or topically (be careful which oils you apply topically, and always dilute). I typically apply frankincense on my forehead, and during meditation I focus my breathing on reaching from the base of my spine out the top of my head.
This is where I set my timer for about 10 minutes, and I listen to some sort of meditative music I find on YouTube. The entire focus here is on breath work and quieting my mind. I really like to listen to instrumental meditation music or the om mantra meditation music.
Once all my senses are engaged, I know I am able to focus on my intention for the time.
Often, this is when my “moments of brilliance” come through – in the quiet, in the all-senses-on-deck focus on stepping out of my limiting beliefs and solving my road blocks.
Step 4: Reflection
This is where the journal comes in handy. This is the most rewarding and difficult part. See, now that you have engaged your full body in answering a question or finding a solution to something, answers and solutions might come to the front of your mind. They were probably there all along, but you have been so busy and distracted that you couldn’t focus on them. Write everything down that comes to mind.
Step 5: Release
Next, spend some time writing out the things that might need to change in your life as a result of these revelations. Things you are releasing. This is when I light the sage or the rosemary or the palo santo. Fire and smoke are cleansing and can help you signal your body to release its hold on bad habits that you have allowed to keep you limited. Write down the limiting beliefs you now recognize (common examples: “I will never make enough money,” “I just can’t eat healthy no matter how hard I try,” or the constant repeating of “I don’t know what to do”). Write down actionable solutions to these limiting beliefs you might be telling yourself. Seeing the answers to “unsolvable” problems right in front of you is a limiting beliefs-buster and is so powerful for your psyche, and it provides room for your mind to expand to new ways of thinking and personal growth.
Depending on what I am working through each month, this ritual practice might take about 40 minutes or it might take 2 hours. It was a little odd to me at first, and I found it difficult to focus my mind on just one thing for that long. But the more months I practice it, the easier it becomes, and the more transformative the process gets.
I love the Full Moon Ritual because it is a regularly scheduled time where I can check in with myself on a deep level, assess my life with focus and intention, and create an action plan to change what needs to be changed to bring about what I truly want in life. The reason I knew I had to share what I do here on the blog, and why I think it is so important for everyone to practice on the full moon vs a specific day of the month, is because the full moon is a time set in nature that is traditionally reflective and illuminating. Taking the time once a month to check in, reflect, make changes based on what is illuminated in the quiet, and moving forward, is such an impactful form of intentional personal development. Most people do not meet their goals because they either never get around to setting any real goals (a goal without a plan to achieve it is just a wish!), or they never check in to see their progress towards their goals and make the necessary adjustments.
It is about the monthly discipline of focusing this time on a regular pattern. Doing this practice on the full moon is an easy way to disrupt your normal patterns of behavior and learn new ways of thinking. And I love that the timing doesn’t depend on me, so it’s not something I can just keep pushing off over and over.
Do you have a monthly time to go inward and focus on your goals and deep reflective self improvement? Let me know in the comments!
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