Sacred Lunar Rituals for the Full and New Moons
Growing up, I could have only imagined the ways the moon could influence how I felt. There were things I knew to be certain, like the moon was the singular cause for humans to morph into werewolves, and that the debate about it being made of green cheese was still inconclusive. Little did I know, the moon has a very profound impact, not only on nature and our physiology, but also our ability to manifest dreams right into reality.
The lunar cycle is twenty-nine and a half days, and its undeniable potency has kept the moon as a keystone of ceremonies, traditions, and practices within cultures around the world. While there is a fair share of mythical stories and legends surrounding the moon, there is an equal amount of research seeking to find a scientific correlation behind the cycles of the moon and cycles of living things. Depending on your personal rhythms, you may even find that the cycles of the moon affect the balance of your doshas.
From learning the best time to plant or harvest, to having a better understanding of melatonin release, to uncovering more about the timing of the female reproductive cycles, a lot has been discovered about what happens during the waxing and waning phases of the moon. If we can take even a small portion of what we know and apply it to the way we conduct our lives, we can be one step closer to having conscious connection with nature.
We don’t have to believe the moon to be mystical or magical, we only need to recognize how its cycles signal us to pause at times when we might otherwise plunge through.
A New Moon Ritual
The new moon is the first phase of a moon cycle. Within our physiology, it is most commonly the time for female menstruation and the time when melatonin, the hormone regulating circadian rhythm, is at its highest. For those gardening with the moon cycles, this is an optimal time for planting seeds.
As this phase overall represents a time of growth and renewal, it is a wonderful time to dream, wish, and set goals. This new moon ritual is meant for guiding you through such a process.
Create a sacred space. Find a quiet space in your home or within a favorite place outside. Allow it to be clear of clutter and distractions, but to hold some of the sacred things you adore, such as plants, candles, crystals, or photos of loved ones and those who inspire. Consider ringing a bell or chime or to light incense or sage to help clear the space.
Repeat a mantra, affirmation, or prayer associated with creating openness and readiness. Whether aloud, written, or said to yourself, choosing a phrase to help align you with manifesting your dreams will help you in creating intentions for this new moon.
Make a list of five intentions or five things you’d like to manifest. Write your intentions in the form of statements using “I am” or “I will.” It’s important to put the pen to paper. The tactile experience of writing makes this aspect more real and provides you with a physical list you can eventually hold or place in a sacred space.
Meditate. Take at least five to ten minutes to sit comfortably, with your eyes closed, visualizing the actualization of each item on your list. When you are done, place your list on your altar or in place where you will see it often, such as your bedside table. Allow it to serve as a reminder for the things you will manifest with this new moon.
A Full Moon Ritual
The full moon is considered to be a most auspicious time and, within the Ayurvedic tradition, the best time to make ghee. Just as the gravitational pull of the moon can draw upon the ocean tide, the moon at this time is said to do the same things for the essence of plants and medicine. For this reason, it is thought that the essence of the milk used to make ghee is most enhanced during this portion of the lunar period.
This ability of the full moon to “draw out” stands as a good time for us to intentionally release whatever we are holding. This full moon ritual can be used to facilitate the process of letting go.
Create and clear your sacred space. Similar to the space you established with the new moon, you’ll choose either a spot next to your altar or a quiet place in your home or in nature to conduct your full moon ritual. Items you have in this area should feel comforting and supportive. Palo santo or sage can be burned to energetically clear your space.
Repeat a mantra, affirmation, or prayer for forgiveness, release, or letting go. Create a statement or phrase that you can write or say aloud, or to yourself, that invokes a liberating energy. This will help align you with the process of freeing yourself of things that have been hindering you.
Write a list of three things you wish to release. Recognize patterns in your life that are no longer of service or where you may be wasting precious energy or prana. Using these things as a guide, write a statement of release for each, such as “With this full moon I release______ and welcome the ability to_____.”
Place your list on your altar or in a special place. Choose a sacred space to place your written statements. Pause for several deep breaths, feeling the weight being lifted from your chest and shoulders, allowing you to breathe deeper.
Remember that the smallest gesture can offer deep rewards. Carving out whatever amount of time you can find to honor the new moon, full moon, and yourself, will add a time-honored rhythm that will not only benefit you, but your family and community as well.