Many believe its powers can make us healthier, happier, even richer. Crazy? Or just what we need right now? YOU investigates.
Have you ever woken up feeling overly emotional? Found yourself obsessing – out of nowhere – over certain areas of your life? Are there days when your gut feelings are so loud they can’t be ignored? Or other days when everything falls into place? The frequently changing cycles of the moon may be to blame.
Our ancestors had calendars determined by the moon. It was the marker of the passage of time and they used its phases for gathering, sharing and ritual. We also know that its gravitational pull causes the daily tides of oceans and seas and stabilises the earth’s axis, creating the seasons.
So it’s understandable that many believe it can affect our bodies and minds, too. Given that humans are made up of approximately 60 per cent water, the moon can exert the same gravitational pull on us. Just as it pulls the tides, the moon pulls our emotions and intuition to the surface. It exposes all the feelings that hide beneath our awareness. It can also help show us where we need to make changes in our lives.
We seem to have forgotten this ancient wisdom. But we can take back control. The moon is an immensely powerful tool that we can all learn to work with. Here renowned moon mentor Kirsty Gallagher shows us how powerful living in tune with the moon can be…
The true power of the moon
As the earth moves around the sun, the moon moves around the earth, like a natural satellite.
The moon itself does not produce any light – instead we see a reflection of the sun on the moon’s surface. This makes it appear to change shape in the sky on a nightly basis, when, in fact, the moon is always whole. Every night we see a different portion of the moon lit by sunlight. This creates the phases of the moon and lunar months. A lunar month is the time it takes the moon to go from new (when it is aligned with the sun) back to new again (this is after it has made one complete orbit of the earth, which takes on average 29 days, 12 hours and 44 minutes).
The significance of the moon is evident all around us in nature. Once a year, between October and December, there is a mass spawning of the corals on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, triggered by the full moon. Meanwhile, the seabirds barau’s petrels all meet at the full moon to mate. The Ephedra foeminea, a small flowerless plant, produces pollen every full moon, which attracts flies and moths – they navigate their way to the plant using the light of the moon.
Humans are the only species that moves out of alignment with nature and seasons.
The dark moon: Time to recharge
The dark moon begins ten to 11 days after the full moon and leads us to the new moon.
The last few days of the waning moon are known as the dark moon – when it is barely visible in the sky, yet still hasn’t quite lined up with the sun, so isn’t yet new. While this is a time of endings – of completing the moon’s cycle – it is also about preparing for the next one. It’s an opportunity to unwind and restart as it is the most deeply healing part of the lunar cycle. It also helps to set the tone for the rest of the lunar month ahead, which is why we are starting at this phase.
Since this is the lowest energy point of the month, don’t be surprised if you find yourself exhausted and craving time alone, especially if you have been pushing too hard or giving away too much of your time and energy. You may feel extremely emotional and ‘dark’.
During these few days, give yourself permission to do the same – to withdraw into yourself and take care of your own needs. Think of the moon as your own internal compass, showing you where you are travelling in the wrong direction. If you ignore the signals from your body to slow down, you may find the month ahead filled with challenges, exhaustion, burnout and a feeling of disconnection.
So ask yourself what your emotions are trying to tell you. Take time to see what areas of your life need both change and your attention over the coming month, so that you can start over or alter course slightly on things that need extra focus or energy. This is not the time for ‘doing’; instead focus on tuning in to your intuition.
The new moon: Your cue to dream big
The new moon is the start of the lunar cycle and lasts around three days. It’s two weeks to the full moon from here.
Probably the most recognisable phase after a full moon, that sliver of a crescent in the sky is the day the moon catches up with the sun, so that the sun, the moon and the earth are all aligned in the sky. It is the very beginning of a brand-new lunar cycle, and with it the darkness from the previous phase starts to lift and the way forward becomes much clearer. The arrival of the new moon is like a breath of fresh air and life once more feels filled with possibilities and opportunities.
It’s the perfect time to take the discoveries you’ve made about what you don’t want and turn them into what you do want, acting on the intuitive knowing that came to you in the dark-moon phase.
You should treat the new moon like a blank canvas. It allows you to visualise, imagine and let all of your goals and dreams come to the surface. It’s at this time that you can get the most clarity on what you want in life and, most importantly, how you can get there.
However, this is still not a ‘doing’ phase, but rather it’s a time for making plans, preparing the ground and planting the seeds.
At this time you will find that your intuition and self-awareness are still heightened at a new moon and you are able to be clear and focused on what you want and need.
Waxing crescent moon: Be productive
This begins three days after the new moon and lasts around four days.
This is the part of the cycle that begins to take us from the new moon to the full moon. As the moon gets bigger and brighter, we see the first sliver in the sky. Just as the moon is beginning to grow and take shape, so are your new-moon intentions. It’s your ‘get-things-done’ time.
Our energy levels grow with the waxing moon, along with our motivation. Focus on doing and putting into action all that you can to make your new-moon goals come true.
However, this moon phase can be a little tricky because, just as the moon in the sky is still only a sliver and far from full, your visions and goals may seem a long way from completion. It may feel like there is a lot of ‘doing’ without seeing much in return. Because of this it can be tempting to give up at the crescent moon phase: be aware of excuses and inner doubts that can stand in your way.
Also, take care of yourself and your energy at this growing phase of the month; you’re only at the very beginning. Keep reminding yourself of your new-moon intentions and what they will bring into your life – and stay true to yourself.
Waxing first quarter moon: Harness the energy boost
This starts seven days after the new moon and lasts around four days. It’s about a week until the full moon.
The moon is halfway towards being full during the waxing first quarter phase and, as the name suggests, we are a quarter of the way through the lunar cycle. As the moon grows bigger in the sky, she brings energy, inspiration and everything you need to make your hopes come to fruition: it’s like the energy of the entire universe is on your side.
This is the time when you need to say yes more, notice every nudge from the universe and follow signposts that will seem to appear daily – for example, you think about someone and they call you. Be receptive to everything coming your way, hear every conversation, keep your eyes peeled and be aware of the doors opening.
You may find the voice of doubt – the not-good-enough and impostor syndrome – begin to creep in around this phase of the lunar journey. These doubts arrive for a reason: to check how much you want your new moon vision.
Waxing gibbous moon: Don’t panic if you feel frantic
This phase begins ten to 11 days after the new moon and takes us up to the full moon.
Over the next few nights it will be hard to tell whether the moon is full or not, as just a little edge will be missing. This phase holds all the potential and power of your hopes and dreams.
You are almost, but not quite there – and, just like the almost-full moon, you may feel that it’s just that one little edge, that little something, that is missing. There can be impatience around this time of the lunar journey – a frantic feeling of wanting to get things done but not being quite sure what or how.
Many people find that they don’t sleep well in the nights before the full moon. Now is the time to write through the night or dedicate all your attention to finishing a project. Tune in deeply to what is happening in your life and see what is still left for you to do. This phase brings the last big lunar push of energy to get things done.
As the moon illuminates more in the sky, you may also begin to see where you are trying to open a door that isn’t yours to open, or where you are still holding on to outdated dreams. Notice if you’ve been procrastinating or if things may feel difficult. Challenges can come along with this peaking energy to show you where adjustments need to be made, or perhaps where something needs a little more time.
Full moon: Beware of procrastinating
This arrives 14 to 15 days after the new moon and lasts three days. It is two weeks to the next new moon from here.
The moon is full in the sky. Once again, she and the sun have aligned, but this time on opposite sides of the earth, bringing opposing forces into play. This is the peak energy time of the month and it can also bring a lot of emotion as the moon draws our feelings to the surface.
This halfway point is for either celebrating a goal that has been reached or seeing very clearly what has stood in the way of you getting to where you wanted. Look at all the little nudges you may have received and things that seemed difficult during the waxing-moon phase. Notice where you strayed from your new-moon intentions, or where you let self-doubt, fear or procrastination get in the way. Under the light of the moon you will be able to see things very clearly. This is a wonderful time to evaluate.
You may feel frustration or anger – usually at lost opportunities. This is your moonlit chance to be clear on what you must do to move forward, so that this doesn’t happen again.
Waning gibbous moon: A time to plan meetings
This moon phase begins three to four days after the full moon and lasts around three days.
This phase marks the beginning of the waning part of the cycle, as the moon gets smaller and darker in the sky each night.
Initially, after a busy and high-energy period in the run-up to the full moon, you may feel a slight dip in your get-up-and-go during this phase. It can be tempting to give up: but don’t fall into this trap! This is where you begin to finally understand all that has stood in your way and why – the fears and doubts that hold you back – and also what you need to do to change this. It can be a time of great insight.
This is also the phase for communication. If there are difficult conversations to be had, now is the time. It is a wonderful period to be seen and heard. This can also apply if you have a business (or an idea for one) and you still need to get your message out there into the world, so that your services can become known.
Waning last quarter: Let go of problems
This moon is around seven days after the full moon and lasts four days. It’s about a week to the new moon.
The moon is halfway towards being new during the waning last quarter, and we’re three quarters of the way through the lunar cycle. As the moon wanes and gets smaller, it shows that to make room for new beginnings you need to let go of the old. There may be a sense of unease as you realise things are ‘slipping away’ and changing.
As this is the crossroads in the cycle, where the moon is once again half-lit in the sky, look back on your journey thus far and forward to where you still want to go. At this halfway point between the full and new moon, you may find things finally coming together. This is a pivotal moment so take responsibility, face up to things and, if necessary, decide to let go of certain goals for good, or find a new approach that you can implement during the next lunar cycle.
This is an edited extract from Lunar Living: Working with the Magic of the Moon Cycles by Kirsty Gallagher (Yellow Kite, price £14.99)
Why the moon is a she
For as long as we can remember, the moon has been referred to as feminine – the Greek poet Sappho depicted it as a ‘she’ in a song, while the poet Emily Dickinson noted ‘her perfect face upon the world below’. During the Renaissance, it was accepted that women should pray to the moon mother if they wanted anything.
In some pagan religions, goddesses are linked to the moon: many feminist Wiccan groups honour the Roman deity Diana, a lunar goddess, while Cerridwen is the Celtic goddess of the moon. It likely stems from the belief that women are linked to the moon through their fertility. Just as the tide is affected by the moon, it has long been thought that menstrual cycles are, too. Some women claim that ovulation happens around the full moon, while a period arrives near the new moon. Even the word ‘menstruation’ is derived from the Greek word for moon.
Our moon mentor Kirsty Gallagher refers to the moon as a she ‘because the moon is the feminine energy of the universe, linking us to our inner world, our intuition, our dreams. After working with her for ten years, I feel that I know her well enough to be that familiar with her.’
‘My first moon ritual’
Can casting spells and ringing bells during a supermoon reduce stress? YOU’s frazzled Miranda Thompson found out.
I’m sitting on a cushion in a darkened room in a fancy member’s club in East London. Sheepskin throws are strewn with fake rose stems and huge crystals and foil-wrapped chocolate hearts are dotted around us. Candles flicker and a fire roars in a grate, while bright light from the giant moon outside streams in through the window.
It’s a Tuesday night, and some friends and I are attending a ritual to ‘cleanse and manifest’ under the first supermoon of the year. We’ve been told this is a good time to harness the moon’s energy so we can amp up our own and also magnify our emotions. Apparently, this is a good time to reap what we’ve been sowing and also to take time out for ourselves.
We are all in our early 30s and have found ourselves here for a variety of reasons. One friend, who was recently made redundant, wants to ‘manifest a new job’, while another said ‘there’s no harm in trying to bring more positivity into your life’. As someone who finds city life stressful, I’m hoping this evening might be calming – even mood-boosting.
Our hosts, therapist Loretta Gold and Organic Pharmacy founder Margo Marrone, both with experience in shamanism and healing, explain that over the hour-long session we’ll learn how to cleanse our space and energy, let go of negative feelings and manifest new beginnings using rituals and spells.
The room is full of about 30 people, mainly women, and we begin by giving our names in turn – which is slightly unnerving as the room repeats it back. Then white sage – said to banish bad energy – is lit and its strong woody scent wafts around. Our hosts pass around jars of Himalayan salt that have been mixed with essential oils. As we each take in a deep breath of the salt’s delicious aroma, we’re told to imagine that we’re inhaling gold and pink light – new, positive energy – and exhaling our negative energy, which I visualise as being grey and musty. I immediately start to feel my shoulders relaxing and tension seeping out.
Next, some bells and cymbals are produced. We’re supposed to chime them gently and move them around the body; absorbing the vibrations is supposed to be relaxing. The sound thrums through me – while I’m sure what we are doing looks bizarre, it feels great. Then we do three ‘Om’s – the traditional yoga chant – with the aim to lower blood pressure. The room fills with sound. It’s strangely relaxing.
The final part of the session is given over to a ‘protection spell’, to help manifest new beginnings. As instructed, we gather in groups of five and arrange garlic cloves in a star shape around a black candle. As it’s lit, we’re told to focus on the flame and channel any negativity into the light as it burns and seeps into the garlic. Looking at the flame and thinking about how anxious and tired I’ve been feeling is wonderfully meditative.
We’re then given paper on which to write three things we want to let go of – such as sadness or anger – before tossing it into the fire (fire rituals are said to aid the ability to let go). One neighbour, who is feeling heartbroken, flings her paper into the flames. Then our hosts bring us heart-shaped seeded paper, on which to write three wishes – I put ‘to stress less’ – and a foil-wrapped chocolate heart. As the session draws to a close, we’re told to take the garlic, paper and chocolate and bury them that night. The heart and chocolate should be together – somewhere special to see your wishes grow – while the garlic should be in a different place, under the ground so that ‘Mother Earth can reclaim the feelings’. We’re also given palo santo, a sweet-smelling stick of wood that’s supposed to attract positive energy, to burn at home.
We finish by going around the circle and each attendee is invited to say anything they want. Most give thanks for the evening and for having been given the chance to pause and reflect. The overwhelming feeling is positive. One woman even says she feels ‘tingly’.
Later, while walking past my local park, I furtively stuff the garlic bulb into the soil (all lit by the moon, which feels spooky). A hundred feet or so on, in goes the seeded heart paper. I feel great, soothed, even high on life – but maybe that’s because I’ve also just eaten the chocolate heart. I sleep like a log that night.
At work the next day, a colleague says I seem calmer. And just two days later, there’s even proof that a moon ritual might just work after all – my job-hunting friend has got through to the next round of interviews.
The A-list love the moon (of course)
Lunar tunes: Ariana Grande performing in front of a huge moon at last year’s Coachella.
Out of this world: actress Lily Collins reveals her fairy sitting on a crescent moon tattoo.
I’d like to order a… £8-a-bottle moon water: Victoria Beckham did at a spa last year.
‘I asked the moon to make me richer’
Blogger Biba Tanya reveals how she has harnessed lunar power to help her conceive, boost her moods – and even pay her bills!
I’ve always felt governed by the moon. As a teenager if I felt anxious, I knew that a full moon was due – it’s my response to the energy it gives off. But it wasn’t until I had my son Sebastian, now 15, in my 20s that I really began to understand how influential the moon is.
I’d been wandering around a charity shop and was drawn to a book called Cycles of the Moon. It explained that all humans are governed by water and, as the moon has the power to control tides, it makes sense that the moon has an incredible power over us, too.
Increasingly, I started to notice the changes in my mood that tallied with the lunar cycle. If there was a full moon on its way I’d be snappy, and could guarantee that I’d start my period on the morning of the full moon, whether the lunar cycle was 28 or 32 days. Similarly, if there was a new moon approaching I’d feel full of energy and want to crack on with spring cleaning and organising my life.
It’s why I feng shui [a Chinese concept of arranging your home in order to create harmony with your surroundings] my house every six months under a new moon – it’s the best time to clear the home’s old energy and let in the new energy to establish more routine.
When my husband Kevin and I decided to start trying for children, I knew instinctively that I could conceive on a new moon. I downloaded an ovulation app and a lunar cycle app, which tracks the moon’s phases – I’ve always trusted the lunar app over the ovulation one. We conceived at first attempt with each child (Tabitha, now five, and Lola, two). Kevin now even downloads the lunar app for his own phone so he can be warned about the coming of a full moon and prepare for my foul mood. I honestly can’t explain why she (as I refer to the moon) has that effect on me. People may scoff but I feel a real affinity with her. I don’t like organised religion but the moon, for me, is like faith. It’s tangible and I sense when it’s affecting me and those around me.
But it’s not just the lunar calendar I live by. The moon governs me in other ways, too. She helps me when I’m feeling low or lost. When I left Sebastian’s father in my 20s, I did one of my first moon rituals in my back garden. I lit some candles and wrote a letter, describing all my hurt and anger over the relationship, and then I buried it under a full moon. At that point, it was as if I was ‘giving over’ my anger to the moon, and I felt completely liberated.
I now do other moon rituals regularly, either ‘talking’ to the moon, or burying or burning letters filled with my emotions. It gives me such a sense of freedom. It’s almost like casting a spell, but it’s not what I’d call magic. The moon has a mystical property that we’re all drawn to and that’s why we often admire a full moon or a new moon at night. You can’t ignore her. She’s been there long before any of our civilisations began and she’ll be there after we’ve gone.
Doing a moon ritual is like a meditation. I’ll go outside, light some candles and ask her a question or tell her something I’d like. I tend to do these rituals on my own but thankfully, I’ve got friends who don’t think I’m nuts. They do their own moon rituals themselves.
Supermoons make me feel superhuman – I have much more clarity of thought than at any other time and feel I can conquer anything. Not long ago, we were struggling financially because we’d had a large bill for the car and we had fallen behind on childcare bills. In January 2018, during the ‘super blue blood moon’, so called because it combined a supermoon, blue moon (a rare second full moon in a calendar month), blood moon (when it briefly collides with a lunar eclipse) and total lunar eclipse, I went outside and asked the moon for £2,000. I then wrote a letter as if I’d already got the money, saying ‘thank you’ 25 times and that I was so grateful for the money, and that we’d spent it on the car and on the childcare fees. Within 48 hours £2,000 had landed in my account from HMRC due to tax credits I’d been owed. I’d had no idea that I was due this money, it just appeared.
At the next supermoon on 8 April, I’m going to ask her for an acre of land. I want somewhere to be able to plant fruit and vegetables and I know that if I ask her, one day it will happen…
How to harness the power of the supermoon
Occurring when a full moon coincides with the moon’s closest position to the earth, a supermoon appears larger and brighter than normal. There are typically a couple of supermoons a year, and from sunset on 7 April until sunrise on 8 April, the most impressive supermoon of 2020 will light up the sky and its healing powers will be on supercharge.
‘A supermoon is a perfect time to surrender and heal any emotional toxicity,’ says Emma Lucy Knowles, a clairvoyant, healer and ‘crystal whisperer’ whose client list includes Victoria Beckham. ‘The closer the moon is to us, the easier it is for us to tap into her healing graces.’ To harness its powers, try writing down what you would like to feel, achieve or leave behind and place that piece of paper outside under the full moon.
For Emma Lucy, a supermoon night starts by her making sure her crystals are out, ‘so they can harvest and hold as much of the supermoon energy as possible’. Alongside the crystals, she also ‘cleanses’ herself. Depending on where her energies are being pulled to by the moon, she will either hunker down and stay in or go for a walk and spend time with friends: ‘I take the time to listen and check in with myself.’ Putting herself under the full moon’s telescope, especially when it is at a heightened level, can make her feel a bit wobbly at times, she says, so ‘it’s important to go out into nature. Walking, sitting or meditating on grass literally grounds me back to earth as the moon lifts my energy to the heavens. Food from the earth is grounding, so I will eat something, too.’
Mad about the moon
All things lunar are having a moment – here are our most wanted
Up your connection to the moon’s energy during its four phases by adding these plant-based goodies to warm bathwater.
Stay on top of the moon’s phases with this wall tapestry featuring this year’s lunar cycles mapped out for each month.
Spritz this soothing infusion of camomile water, lavender and thyme oil, combined with calming crystals including amethyst and moonstone, to aid rest and relaxation.
Pep up the power of your drinking water – this glass bottle boasts a removable dome full of precious moonstones to enhance your intuition, empathy and femininity.
This candle’s calming blend of neroli and coconut husk, set with a moonstone, will help cleanse your mind and dispel anxiety and stress.
This four-step skincare regime follows the moon’s cycle to brighten the complexion and even out skin tone – though with a hefty price tag.
With its daily, weekly and monthly astrological guidance, plus affirmations, rituals and written exercises, this notebook is a must for those serious about self-reflection.
Perfect for those who are trying to get in tune with the moon, this planner includes an astrological reference guide, personal birth charts and menstrual-cycle tracker.
An essential for moon-ritual beginners, this set includes a moonstone and incense ropes to create the ideal environment for new beginnings.
Forget diamonds… moonstones are a girl’s best friend
Compiled by Charlotte Vossen