Don’t miss tonight’s full moon (clouds permitting). All things lunar have become a hot wellness trend – said to promote health and aid sleep. So is it magic or moonshine? Karen Yossman investigates.
When Victoria Beckham decamped to a luxury German health spa earlier this year, she naturally shared every lavish detail with her 26.9 million Instagram followers – from unpacking in the stylish ensuite bathroom, to her spinach and salmon dinner. But it was a short video of her £8 bottle of ‘moon water’ that really caught everyone’s attention. The beverage, comprising H2O collected from an artesian well beneath the glow of a full moon, is supposedly enriched with myriad lunar-derived health benefits. ‘Apparently this is very healthy water, an incredible water, and great for the skin,’ Victoria trilled.
Although she didn’t expound on the drink’s miraculous properties, according to Witchipedia, ‘the online encyclopedia of magick, folklore and the occult’, the moon’s mystical light and energy – particularly when it is at its fullest – is said to promote healing (especially of the lymphatic and endocrine systems). Meanwhile, ‘lunar herbs’, planted and harvested according to the lunar cycle, are said to aid sleep, provide pain relief and treat hormonal imbalance. In short, the moon is apparently a miracle worker.
Of course, the fashion world has gone loony for this trend. Online lifestyle shop Not On The High Street reported a 32 per cent increase in searches for lunar-related accessories this year and predicts it will be an even bigger trend in 2020. Actresses Jodie Comer and Naomi Watts have been spotted wearing Los Angeles-based jeweller Andrea Fohrman’s Phases of the Moon collection, which features a range of gold and diamond designs modelled on different stages of the lunar cycle. Even Net-a-Porter has started selling moonstone pendants, including a £1,180 necklace that brings ‘healing, calming energy and good fortune to the wearer’.
Wellness warriors are making the moon a staple of their everyday routines with an array of tinctures that claim to offer a celestial glow. As well as moon water, Victoria is reportedly a fan of £30 Moon Mist, an ‘aura spray’ from Belgravia-based reflexologist Paolo Lai, made with crystal water bathed in moonlight, which, it promises, ensures ‘maximum healing, emotional clarity and purification’. And the Duchess of Sussex’s close friend, wellness guru Taryn Toomey – lauded by Meghan for her ‘amazing work for mental health’ – sells Full Moon Rose body oil for around £39 on her website. It contains ‘handpicked organic rose petals infused in organic sesame and safflower oils on the full moon’ and claims to help with everything from acne to depression.
Increasing numbers of women are organising their everyday lives around the moon’s four main phases as it orbits the earth: the new moon, waxing (growing into a full moon, using energy), the full moon and waning (fading, using less energy). It’s this ‘energy’ that they are attempting to harness.
Women, of course, have traditionally been linked to the moon via their periods; the etymology of menses has the same root as the word for the moon, with both the lunar and menstrual cycle lasting approximately 28 days and mirroring each other. Some celestial devotees believe it’s possible to harness the moon’s energy directly by wearing moonstone jewellery – which can be ‘charged’ by being left out under a full moon – that is said to amp up our own energy levels (some women reportedly find it difficult to sleep at a full moon) and magnify our emotions.
Alice Bamford, the 43-year-old daughter of JCB chairman Lord Bamford and his wife Carole – the founder of the pioneering Daylesford Organic farm shops – also turns to the moon ‘as a timeline to make decisions or take actions by’. The new moon is a great opportunity ‘to start afresh and renew’ while ‘the energy of the full moon is very strong, so it’s the perfect time to harness that for inner peace’. And she’s channelling this energy into her work: Alice, who took her mother’s passion for sustainability with her when she moved to California just over a decade ago, owns a biodynamic ranch in Malibu, where she plants, harvests and eats crops in accordance with the lunar cycle.
‘Biodynamic farming is all about being in harmony with the rhythms of nature,’ she explains. ‘That means growing according to the cycles of the moon, not using any pesticides, focusing on soil health and treating it in the most beneficial way.’ The result, she says, is organic food crammed with nutrients and flavour.
Yorkshire-based Gem Tetley also grows crops in accordance with the moon’s trajectory. ‘Just after a full moon is the best time to harvest herbs,’ the 38-year-old says, ‘because the energy of the moon actually brings the sap up.’ So convinced was Gem of the moon’s health-boosting properties that just over two years ago she left her job as a healthcare adviser to launch her own tea company, Tarn & Moon. Gem now sells a variety of lunar inspired herbal beverages, which she hand-blends with the aid of an energising moon-charged rose quartz in her converted caravan headquarters.
For some women, lunar gazing offers more than just a health boost – it can be life-altering. A few years ago, British artist Jo Cauldrick was homeless. Today, the 39-year-old credits the moon with turning her life around. ‘I needed something to get me through my situation, because it was really stressful,’ she remembers. To keep herself occupied she created a set of ten illustrated ‘moon cards’, each representing a phase of the lunar cycle, aimed at invoking focus and inspiration. A friend convinced her to start selling them and they proved to be a hit online. Today, Jo runs @themoon_journal, one of the most popular lunar pages on Instagram, boasting 350,000 followers, and has published her first book, Muse with the Moon, which aims to help readers boost their ‘creativity and self-reflection’ via the lunar cycle.
Predictably, moon gazing is massive online, with a plethora of Instagram accounts and apps that issue instructions to their followers according to the lunar cycle. Moon Club (@wearemoonclub) suggests mantras to follow during waning and waxing moons, while you can keep up to date on the moon’s movements (moonments?) with a Moon Phase app.
But not everyone is convinced by the promise of a lunar-laced health boost. ‘The idea that the moon affects anything apart from tides is pure nonsense,’ maintains Professor David Colquhoun, a pharmacologist at University College London who runs a site called Improbable Science. Colquhoun dismisses products supposedly imbued with lunar goodness as simply the ‘cynical exploitation of the gullible’. No doubt many will agree with him.
Questionable health benefits aside, for many people, following the moon – as it waxes and wanes each month – simply provides a much needed sense of rhythm and structure to their lives, in a world that often feels unpredictable and out of control. But maybe we’ll leave the £8 moon water to Victoria Beckham.
How the moon affects us
According to author Jo Cauldrick of @themoon_journal
A NEW MOON marks the first day of the lunar cycle, and just as the moon is beginning to grow in luminosity, so your energy is starting to build up. it’s the perfect time to forge plans and focus on how you want the next month to go – during this phase i often ask people to write down their wishes or goals.
A WAXING MOON is growing in light and energy, which means you are, too. During this part of the cycle your physical energy is building and you’re able to focus on getting things done. i call this the ‘act-and-commit’ stage, when you look at the list you’ve made and decide what you want to start.
A FULL MOON is a time for reaping what you’ve been sowing and taking time out for yourself to enjoy the moment. with the moon fully illuminated, it can amplify the good and the bad, which is why people have mixed feelings about it. women in particular get an energy spike; being unable to sleep is common.
A WANING MOON is decreasing in luminosity and signals the start of the self-care phase: think introspection rather than action as your physical energy lessens and your emotional energy takes over. it’s a time to change things – just as gardeners prune during this phase, it’s a good time to get a haircut or rearrange the house.