How to observe and use the cycles of the moon

Brenda Rock
13 Feb 2023

How to observe and use the cycles of the moon - and why it is good to do it.

Many cultures have traditions of observing the moon and working with it. Following the moon is a great way to anchor to a cycle and create more inner awareness and connection to our environment. The moon moves through a cycle of new moon, waxing (getting bigger), full moon and waning (getting smaller to dark). The moon is always thought of having the feminine energy which is yin, water, liminal, flow. It is cooling, quiet and receptive. It has soft and introspective, introvert qualities. Compared to the sun which would be more masculine in energy - yang, linear, extroverted, fire, outward focused. (The feminine energy is more associated with “female” and the masculine wit “male” BUT these concepts are always interchangeable. One is not always dominant in the “normal” way of thinking and belief. )

It is common knowledge that the moon affects the tide so it would make complete sense that we will feel it too - we have a lot of water in our make up, we are basically cucumbers with more anxiety!

When it is full we may feel a pull towards it and when in its dark/new phase we may fell calm and relaxed like we are retreating into our cave. 

So, we come a bit closer into ourselves now and consider our hormones and the cycles we experience in these. The up and downs, highs and lows. Always changing and fluctuating. An ‘average’ cycle for some women is 28 to 29 days - the same as the moon cycle from new to full to new again. This cycle will influence a lot in us - emotionally, mentally and physically. FYI - there is usually 13 moon cycles in our calendar year.

During perimenopause (the few years before the cessation of the menstrual cycle) this cycle can sometimes be unpredictable. For me as I had come a bit late to the menstrual cycle awareness party (MCA), only tuning into the crazy days before a bleed, it helped to learn about the moon and the meanings of the different phases. For those times when my cycle was really long and I had no idea of when my period was due, it helped me to feel anchored to something and that was the moon. It would help also if your bleed is very erratic, comes often or has shortened too. When it is hard to begin to sense how you feel in this unsettled time, by tuning into the environment (the moon) it has helped me tune into myself more. This doesn’t mean that it being a full moon I must be filled with energy and want to party - it gives me a chance to maybe check in and explore that if this is not the case then what is it I need to connect back into and take care of myself. So it is like the moon is the catalyst for this awareness of self. 

At the time of your bleed it is more of a quiet, introspective time whereas ovulation has more outward, sunshiny energy. In menopause a little more stability comes back into the emotions (believe it or not! And I can attest to this as my perimenopause was crazy and now nearly 3 years since my last bleed I feel I am coming back to myself a bit more (- with help that I needed).

So back to the moon. The pull on our body and emotions is lessened when in menopause but we can still use that moon energy. It impacts on our outer environment and we are definately part of this enverioment too. 

I will explain a bit now about the energies of the moon and there may be a bit of cross over for those menstruating. For those in menopause this will act as a great guide for getting closer to nature and YOUR nature. 

If you are still getting a period, look into your own cycle first - like your very own lunar cycle. It may or may not synch up with the moon - and this is ok. We are not as in harmony as much as we would like to what goes on around us for a number of different factors - life demands, health, work, family commitments to name but a few. But by aligning with where you are in your own cycle will bring great insight.

Waxing moon - this is the time when the moon moves from dark (new) to getting fuller and brighter. This will often be known as the spring phase of the moon. As the moon gets fuller it is reminding us of the abundant summer energy, a time when we are more outwardly focused. We could also equate this to pre-ovulation in the menstrual cycle time.

This would be the most masculine energy phase of the moon - think more energy, more drive and focus. You are more likely to get things done, organise events and meetings. It is a great time to schedule those meet ups or organise business plans. Because you have this “go for it” attitude you will feel more confidence and assuredness beginning to build. It is a great time to plan ahead ahead, schedule meetings or projects for the month or the year.  Also by planning ahead and putting stuff in order, when the other moon phases come around with their lower energy fizz, you will have yourself covered. 

Then moving into the Full moon, this is that summertime energy - bright, abundant, externally focused. For those menstruating this would be seen as the ovulation time. This is the time when we let the hair down, celebrate, party, meet up with friends, socialise and have fun. We are feeling more energy and alive. Get creative, dance, exercise, volunteer. Whatever makes you feel alive. However, because of this lively energy sleep can often be affected -  I mean there is so much to do and fun to be had! If you find this is the case fore you be sure to get plenty or rest and nourishment in those times after the full moon (the waning and dark moon OR pre menstruation time).

So, that brings us to the Waning moon (getting smaller) and the season associated with this phase is Autumn. The energy is moving downward and inwards more. The focus comes back to ourselves. There is a slowing down and a pace of ease. It is the time of pre menstruation in those who have a cycle. It is very important around this time to rest, get nourishment and take care of YOU. What do you need?

Give yourself space and time for this (you will reap the benefits come the full moon or ovulation time). If the emotions start to get the better of you, (especially the inner critic who loves this time of a cycle) then be sure to talk, journal, draw or do whatever you need to get clarity. These emotions can be useful as a guide so don’t dismiss them either.

And finally the Dark or New moon. We become even more internal focused with what could be viewed as a winter energy. This is the time of menstruation in your own internal cycle. You become more involved with your own inner workings, your internal world. You may be asked to let go of you bigger external world and slow down or rest. Think be-ing rather than do-ing. Quiet, silence, deeper wisdom and intuition are all associated with this time. It is also when we release with gratitude anything that is not serving us - beliefs, ideas, projects. We begin to dream and make space for “being held”. Allowing for the deep insight we all have to come forward. 

And then it begins again. The cycle. The nature of us and that which is around us. 

I hope this gives you a little more knowledge on the greatness of what we have internally and externally. Of which we are all a part of.

If you have questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Once a month I have a Friday Rest Sesh which I try to organise (at the waxing moon!) to happen around the waning meantime so you can take advantage of this inwardly focused phase. . 

Be sure to sign up for the newsletter to keep up to date with happenings and more.

Brenda Rock

Brenda Rock is a Yoga Therapist, Breath and Wellness expert as well as a educator of Restorative, Nidra, Chair and Hatha Yoga. She is a specialist in Rest and Women's Health. Brenda is also co-host of the Wild Women With in Podcast.