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The moon is the brightest object visible in the night sky. The moon and the stars are a reminder of how vast the cosmos is! Moreover, the moon has been associated with many rituals, legends, and beliefs in many cultures, followed by many people around the world.
1. Some interesting facts about the moon
Moon has had a special place in history, culture, religions, mythology, and folklore worldwide. It has been an object of wonder for poets and a muse for artists. Love stories have glorified the moonlight, and the moon and stars in the night sky are often seen as symbols of love itself.
It is fascinating to see how the moon has been understood in mythology and culture throughout the ages. For instance –
- Did you know that the word lunacy has the same roots as the word lunar (Luna was the Roman Goddess associated with the moon)? Although science now considers it a baseless myth, many people believed, and some still do, that full moons can make a person go crazy! The belief that a full moon can adversely affect patients in a psychiatric hospital has been particularly strong among mental health doctors.
- Ancient civilizations have often seen the moon as a symbol of fertility. It was believed that the moon determined when a woman could get pregnant. Modern science, however, has found little evidence to support such claims.
- In Greek mythology, the goddess Selene is the personification of the moon. She was the sister of the Sun God Apollo. Selene has also been called Hecate, and Artemis, and was seen as one of the most powerful divinities. Despite this, however, there was no dedicated temple site for Selene. This was due to the fact the moon can be seen and worshipped from anywhere. On two occasions, in particular, the new moon and the full moon, she was called upon for guidance and grace.
- While in many cultures, the moon has often been seen as a feminine deity, some cultures have depicted the moon as a masculine figure. For example, in a myth of the Luyia people of Kenya, the sun and moon were brothers. The moon was bigger and brighter, and the sun was jealous of the moon. The two fought and wrestled, and the moon fell into the mud, losing its brightness. God then stepped in and stopped the fight. To keep the two apart, the sun shone during the day, and the moon was allowed to reign at night with the moon marks (from being splattered by mud).
- The Egyptians worshipped a male moon god. They worshipped Khonsu, the personification of the moon. Khonsu was also the deity of time and fertility. The ancient Egyptians believed that Khonsu protected travelers during the night and were often invoked to ask for aid in healing. Khonsu is believed to bless people with increased virility and protect them against wild animals.
- In Hinduism, the moon has been associated with the Vedic deities Soma and Chandra. The moon, for Hindus, is of great significance. It represents creation, life, and mortal existence. It adorns the head of the great Hindu god Shiva as well.
- Interestingly, some cultures did not view the moon as a benevolent deity. The Aztecs of Mexico called it Mictecacuiatl and believed that it traveled the night skies in search of victims to consume. The natives of New Zealand referred to the moon as the ‘man-eater.’
In many of these cultures, the moon was worshipped via various means and rituals. People performed different rituals depending upon the phase of the moon.
2. The lunar cycle and spirituality
The moon goes through an entire cycle called a lunar cycle. It starts as a full moon and it wanes (grows smaller and smaller). The day the moon fully disappears is called the day of the new moon. It is the darkest night of the month. The moon grows again (waxes) until it becomes a full moon and thus the cycle of moon phases goes on.
Many cultures and spiritual doctrines have held the belief that the human body and the human psyche are influenced hugely by the cycles of the moon (and the sun as well) and that the human body is synchronized with the moon’s cyclic nature, just like it is synchronized with others natural rhythms of the cosmos.
As such, it is no surprise that the moon is regarded as a highly powerful force in astrology as well, both Eastern and Western. In astrology and spiritual traditions worldwide, be it Wicca, Tantra, Vastu, and Hermeticism, the different phases of the moon in its cycles have been used as tools of personal and spiritual transformation.
3. The spiritual significance of the moon and the lunar cycle
It is believed by many that just like the moon, with its gravitational pull, can cause tides; it can also influence the water within us (since human bodies are 70% water). In Astrology, the sun often represents our ‘outer world.’ In other words, it represents our personality and our ego. It is seen as the personification of the divine masculine, the yang.
The moon, on the other hand, is the divine feminine, the yin. It represents our inner world of emotions and feelings and our unconscious beliefs. Whereas the sun offers us courage, strength, and intellect, the moon allows us to create and connect with the universe and our intuition.
4. Understanding the Moon’s Phases
4.1 New moon
The new moon is the time to pause and reflect. The new moon phase is often seen as a feminine moon phase. Being fully present, you will find new insights and ideas. You’ll be able to explore sides of yourself that you didn’t know existed because of the fast-moving lives we lead. This is the time to explore your deepest desires and heartfelt wishes.
Reflect, introspect, breathe, and set positive intentions to make the most of it. This is the perfect time to focus on yourself and your aspirations; the new moon’s energy will give you a huge boost. Meditate, practice mindfulness, and take nature walks under the moonless sky to soak up that new moon energy. This is the perfect time to journal and think about what you truly want. These simple rituals will help you plant the seeds of your intentions.
4.2 Waxing moon
The waxing phase is when the moon transitions from a new to a full moon. The seeds are now germinating, and your intentions are gathering momentum. Trust your gut and heart to show you the way during this time. Have faith, and you’ll see magic in the most ordinary things.
Start working on the plans and projects that you undertook during the new moon phase and put in your sincere efforts. Whatever you’re doing, ask yourself if what you’re doing right now will help you reach where you want to be. Ask yourself if it will bring you any closer to your goals.
4.3 Full moon
The full moon marks the mid-point of the entire lunar cycle. During this phase, the moon is sitting opposite the sun. The two are on opposite sides of the zodiac during this phase. The full moon, therefore, symbolizes a harmonic balance between the sun and the moon, the yang and the yin.
The energy of the moon is potent but very different from that of the new moon during this phase.
Full moon energy results in amplified emotions, thought processes, and the overall experience. This is the time to be grateful for all you have and enjoy and savor it.
4.4 Waning moon
When the moon is in the waning phase, the full moon is transitioning into a new moon, and the moon gradually becomes smaller and smaller until it disappears. The light of the moon slowly dims. This is the phase of letting go of all that which no longer serves you. Let go of any fears or shadow beliefs hindering your growth. Wrap up your projects and tasks, and declutter your space.
Do some community work or volunteer, and you’ll see how even a small contribution from you can make a big difference for someone else.
4.5 Avoid Negativity
The new moon is a particularly auspicious occasion. However, negativity of any kind can be a hindrance. During this time, it will be good to keep these things in mind –
- The new moon signifies creation. Letting go of bad habits is a good decision, but avoid quitting something you care about during this moon phase. Focus on the positive and use your energy in a creative endeavor. The full moon, however, is an excellent opportunity to end bad habits and any cycle of negative karma you might want to do away with.
- A new moon can bring about new situations, new people, and a new perspective into your life. It will often be in your favor to embrace the changes instead of resisting them. It’s all about new and positive possibilities. When these things happen, understanding your performance starts working.
- Avoid negativity in every form. Stay away from negative energy and negative thoughts, as well as people who will drain you of your energy. This way, you’ll avoid unnecessary wastage of the new moon’s energy which could otherwise be channeled.
4.6 Harnessing the Power of New Moon
Of course, you can also use the power of the new moon to bring and manifest these things into your life consciously. The new moon is a time of new beginnings and a fresh start. It is the right time to start a new project, meet new people, rethink old ways, and be a new you! To make the best of the opportunity and harness the moon’s energy, you can perform some simple yet powerful.
Throughout the world and the ages, such rituals have been performed and are still performed today. They are a way of getting in touch with your higher self and creating a sacred space in which you can do so. They can be routines of self-care and time for mindfulness. Here are some powerful yet simple rituals that you can start with –
- The importance of intention setting cannot be overstated. Intention setting during this time will be beneficial since the new moon will greatly boost your spiritual energy. New moon intentions are like seeds. You wouldn’t expect a mango after sowing apple seeds. So, set intentions that are clear and specific. Plant new seeds, and with the added energy the new moon provides, they will go forth into the universe and blossom.
- Simply sit quietly and visualize the reality that you want to manifest in your life. Or, if you’re struggling to get your creative juices flowing, let your subconscious bring forth fresh ideas. The moon’s energy is the energy of the divine feminine; let it do the work for you. Let go of hesitation and dream big!
- Ever heard of a vision board? Studies show that those who visualize their success are more likely to be successful in their lifetime than those who do not. Vision boards are a great way to do this. Think about all that you want. A new car? A new house? A new job? Whatever it is, please take a picture of it and pin it onto your vision board. Look at it daily, visualize those things coming true, and surely they will!
- Affirmations are just as powerful as visualization. Use positive affirmations to set new intentions for all that you want to achieve and all that you want to be. You can incorporate them into your visualization practice and see the magic! If you have a pen handy, write all these down, as writing is a powerful way to send a message to both your subconscious and the universe.
- A new moon ritual can be as simple as a cleansing bath. A ritual bath, as it is called, involves taking a bath with salt in the water. Before you begin, set positive intentions. Use sea salt, if available. You are free to use any bath salts or essential oils you may want to use. Dim the lights and burn some candles to set the right ambiance. Burn some incense if you’d like, and add some dried flower petals (such as hibiscus and lavender). During the bath, simply let all the fatigue of the past month and with it, all the negativity, past hurts, and trauma be washed off of you. Let go of all unwanted energy and all that has held you back.
- The new moon is a great time for self-reflection and introspection. You will feel you have a newfound clarity and a new way of looking at matters. With this clarity, detox and cleanse your mind. Ask questions, and you will see that your intuition speaks to you. While your intuition is always trying to reach you, we often cannot hear it because of the mind’s chatter. During this time, you will feel connected to your higher self, the earth, and the universe. You will also find that you can stay focused for longer periods and see the outside world more objectively. Your intuition will not give you wrong answers, so move forward with faith. You will receive all the guidance you need within.
- You can also create your own sacred space or a moon ritual altar. Clear some space and clean it up. It can be a table, a dresser, or even a place on the floor—set your intention before you begin. Use candles and incense. Please write down your affirmations and keep them here. You can also place an image here to help you visualize. Take a few minutes every day and ground yourself into the energy around this space. Now, this sacred space can be used in the future.
- Several ancient traditions use the moon’s energy by harnessing it in water. This is called moon water, which is said to be charged with lunar energy. Moon water has been used for various purposes like spiritual rituals, healing rituals, and manifestation. Although moon water can be made any time of the month, the energy of the new moon (and full moon) is especially potent and effective in making moon water. Fill a glass jar with distilled or spring water. After setting your intentions (by writing them on paper and placing them under the jar), set the bottle out overnight during the new moon lunar phase. Collect the water the next day and seal it. Moon water is powerful and can even be used to enhance the effects. Sip it or spritz it, or use it some other way.
You can even create as long as you understand the principles behind harnessing the new moon’s energy. They can be as simple as journaling. Aromatherapy, incense, bath salts, essential oils, sacred herbs, smudging – mix it up, use whatever you want. You’ll spend this time on yourself, and you’ll be grateful you did.
Last Updated on November 25, 2023 by Namita Soren