A Full Moon Ritual That Actually Works1.1 Mind over Matter . 1.4 Embracing the Shadow Self . 1.6 The Inner Deities . 2.4 The Force - Balancing Faith and Wisdom . 2.6 Intuition from the Physical World . 3.2 Fear . 3.4 The Architecture of the Soul(s) . 3.5 Feeding the Soul
The Moon strongly influences nature but we know very little about how it influences human nature.
- Could it be linked to our cycles of depression?
- Does the Full Moon really have magickal powers?
- Is the Moon somehow linked to the subconscious mind?
This post, along with it’s companion video, will reveal the spiritual undertones behind the cycle of the Moon and the power it can unlock in our own lives. By the end, you will have two rituals to test them out.
This post is a lot longer than my usual length, but I promise it’s worth it.
I wrote this because, for a long time, I struggled with my emotions because they would change so swiftly, small things could go wrong and ruin a whole day or weeks at a time. It’s like I had a veil over my eyes and would see the world shrouded in grey, red, green, yellow, without realizing the difference between reality and how my mind was coloring it. It was not until early adulthood that I realized life didn’t have to be this way and I could actually control the colors.
To solve these questions in my own life, I spent a long time stumbling through psychology and philosophy; and while these connected me more with the theory of how the mind works, they gave me an academic understanding without a craft that I could put into practice. So, I went further back to study the ways of the ancients and became fascinated by how their spiritual truths came from patterns they observed in nature.
For them, there was no separation between self and surroundings, the universe was an endless microcosm of itself. Everything in nature was reflected internally in the spiritual battle we wage to claim our own identity. In this post, we’ll learn from those mystics to study the ways of our inner, emotional self that we can learn to nurture it. We won’t be able to turn the colors off, but we can learn the secrets of the color wheel, how to exist in harmony with it, and ultimately how to focus and multiply our energies through it.
The Inner World
The moon is often thought of as being connected to our inner, emotional world. Schizophrenics and those plagued with behavioral disorders often become restless during the Full Moon. The word lunacy derives from the Latin lunaticus, meaning “of the moon”. I personally struggle with mood swings, and started paying attention to the Moon once I realized my periods of depression were not so unpredictable, my mental state alternated about every 2-3 weeks and lined up suspiciously close to the waxing and waning periods of the Moon.
I started researching the Moon and the symbolism behind it so I could gain some control over these episodes. The reason I made this was because much of the Full Moon rituals only talk about it as a time of “letting go” and “manifesting”, but these vague terms seem incomplete without context of what takes place during the rest of its cycle. To illustrate a complete picture, we will explore astrology for some deeper meanings behind the moon and what it represents in our psyche. To connect that meaning to our personal growth, we will break down the Moon by its New and Full states and study the parallels in its cycle to our emotional cycle.
By the end of this post, you’ll have some New and Full Moon rituals to test what these secrets can unlock in your own life. And in a later Part II, we will go into more details of the framework and how it can be used to plan your weeks and achieve ultimate productivity and positivity.
Now that we’re ready to dive in, let me present the four sections we’re about to cover.
- The myth and lore around the Moon
- Forces of the Moon and our inner world
- The hidden portals
- Synchronizing our energy to the rhythm of the Moon
1. The Myth and Lore around the Moon
The Moon came to be about 4.5 Billion years ago, shortly after the solar system coalesced. We believe that earth collided with another planet, called Theia, and one of the fragments became what we know today as the moon. The moon is one of earth’s oldest guardians, shielding it from much of the asteroids that would pepper its surface making the possibility of life slim. Perhaps this is why the Native Americans, who celebrated the Full Moon as “Moontime”, called her “grandmother moon”, the protector and provider for “mother nature”.
Many ancient cultures had a goddess associated with the moon, they knew her as feminine, mystical, and nurturing; but also, not without a dark side, as we know our emotional nature to be.
The Two Faces of the Moon
The ancient Chinese have an interesting tale for their moon goddess, Ch’ang-e, who was said to have once walked among us on earth. Her husband was a famous archer and the gods granted him a potion of immortality for his valor. But while her husband was out hunting, Ch’ang-e stole his potion and, fearing his reprisal, fled to the moon for sanctuary. There she still resides, watching over humanity for all eternity.
Maybe from time to time she regrets giving into the temptation – the prize of a lonely immortality falling short of the love and connection she could have experienced on earth. But maybe she has grown beyond her silly mistake – that perhaps that was the necessary fumble for her, so she would be in isolation, able to explore the mysteries of humanity and divinity in solitude.
Ch’ang-e’s story reminds us that out of our mistakes can come our greatest triumphs. She is the adventurous sage, wise from her years. She has compassion for the follies of humanity, the clumsiness which we handle our emotional work, because she once stood where we are now.
The last myth of mention comes from the Egyptians who actually had two gods for the moon, Khonsu and Thoth. Khonsu, benevolent and violent, was known to men as the god of love. Thoth, one of the most important gods in ancient Egypt, was god of writing and wisdom. This two-faced nature to the moon, as we will get into later, is a clue to understanding the peculiar story of Ch’ang-e and reveals the two sides concealed in the feminine mystique of the Moon that go much deeper than simple Full Moon rituals.
Rhythms in Nature
Time keeping was also an important early function of the Moon. Before the Egyptians developed the solar calendar, which they named after Thoth, the ancients noticed the moon completed its cycle approximately every 30 days and that many natural rhythms synchronized with it; including, the tides, feeding and breeding patterns in nature, mood changes and even women’s menstrual cycles.
In fact, the earliest calendars had 28 days in a month corresponding to 4 phases of the moon each lasting about 7 days. These numbers conveniently mirror the 7 days in a week and the 4 seasons in a year. The term “Monday” actually comes from “Moonday”. We’ll pick up on these parallels in Part II.
Gateway to the Soul
In astrology, the moon symbolizes our inner self, the one that hides behind the outer aspects of personality. Think of it as the tiny child inside all of us wanting to be loved, wanting to be nurtured, needing to feel accepted. We come in contact with this inner self through the emotions and instincts, we see it weep, hear it giggle, feel it scream. The better we learn to listen and nurture its cries for help, the more emotionally intelligent and spiritually successful we become.
Sometimes these emotions are fond and easy to experience but other times they are more bitter or come off ugly and offend others. We can’t silence the whisper of our inner monologue but we can choose what we do with its influence and how we manifest it outwardly. In this way, the moon acts as a guide, electrifying everyday situations with emotional pressures to test how we’ll take charge or retreat from them.
The Babylonians who established the science of astrology referred to the Moon god as She Who Would Open the Gateway to Heaven.
It seems in modern times we’ve forgot what knowledge the ancients knew and the powerful, yet subtle influences the Moon has on our psyche and our growth as spiritual beings.
2. Forces of the Moon and our Inner World
To dive deeper into some of those meanings, we’re going to start with a symbolic picture of the moon and dig into it until we can pull out some useful lessons about how it mirrors our inner world.
Picture the New and Full Moon and the oscillating rhythm between its dark and illuminated states. These states have a big impact on nature, tides are strongest at these times and the pattern of black to white, white to black is suspiciously spiritual in its presentation. In fact, it perfectly mirrors the naturalist theories espoused in the Yin and Yang. According to Chinese medicine, the and Yang is constantly flowing in search of equilibrium, a state of perfect balance and peace. Perhaps understanding the Moon’s flows between these states can help us harmonize with it in our mindset and rituals.
Inspiration and Structure
Let’s say an artist has a flash of creativity, his imagination suddenly surging to envision a masterpiece. This is the Inspiring force of the Yang.
His vision is so overwhelming, it carries no mundane details about how to articulate it in common terms. He must then invoke the analytical force of the Yin to consider his materials, his technique, the medium with which to give Structure to his inspiration.
We’re very familiar with voices of inspiration and structure because we hear them all the time as our impulsive inner self and our restrained outer self (the ego) battle for control. If the artist shows no restraint, no one can understand his masterpiece. If they focus too much on the technique, the artform is lost.
Imagine the whiteness of the Full Moon like a block of marble with innumerable possibilities before the creator. Before this point, the possibilities were only concepts in the imagination, but now is the moment of divine inspiration where he sees his end product with perfect clarity. He begins to chip away the white stone, whittling down the possibilities, the negative revealing familiar form, the vessel to carry the artist’s message. By learning this metaphor and translating it to our own inner dialogue, we can perfect the masterpiece of self under the dutiful tutelage of our planetary guide.
Before we look at another example, let’s refer back to our picture to recap the working metaphor. The Waxing Moon is inspiration taking root until it emerges as a structured realization at the Full Moon, the peak of the artist’s powers to convey his vision. As the moon fades so does the artist’s magick and his focus turns from his inspirations to the mundane details of bringing it to life. This rhythm, the opening and closing of inspiration is the portal activated by the Moon.
Let’s look at another example that will help us understand structure and inspiration in more common terms: Let’s say we disagree with a coworker, they think the best way to spend the company’s budget is to increase employee training so customers have a better experience and write more positive reviews, but you think spending money on marketing makes more sense.
Now perhaps they weren’t super clear and only cared about A specific training and therefore don’t need the full budget to be used – so you can still have marketing. Then the root of your disagreement is miscommunication, the root of most useless arguments. You don’t actually disagree on anything, you’re both just making different points about different things.
They might be hearing that you don’t care about training, and they’ll waste time making a point about the value of learning, when something simpler and more direct would have been enough. A specific example of a time where the training would have been useful adds structure to their idea show you that your ideas are still in alignment. In fact, as they prattle on, you’re less and less sure that you’re both on the same page. I see all the time in business communications the damage that adding more words can do – it exponentially increases the likelihood of miscommunication. These are the dangers of runaway inspiration.
Or perhaps no matter how precise you both are in your language you still don’t see eye to eye. Maybe then someone knows something the other doesn’t – like the reason our customers aren’t having a good experience is because they are the wrong customers and bringing the right ones in the door will generate positive reviews. Then the root is misalignment and you actually need to inspire the other to think in a new way.
This might feel like a trivial example, but communication is creation. We create worlds with our ideas and whether we’re trying to share them with someone else or pour them out into some work of art, taking away (the act of structure) and adding to (the act of inspiration) are the fundamental tools in all work of creation.
Communication is like opening a portal to transport the image you see in your head into someone else’s. Inspiration and Structure become the tools to create these bridges, the gestures to open and secure the portal, taking the thought from its nebulous origin to a fully revealed picture. Like we saw with the art example, this doesn’t just apply in a conversation between two people, but even a conversation in our own heads as we pay attention to our thoughts and emotions to construct meaning out of them.
This next section will discuss how these portals into ourselves open and close, and how timing can be a key factor in seizing an opportunity to translate emotion into realization and into a work of art. The masterpiece we produce is ourselves, a more perfect version of self, the evolved being created as we transport the inner wisdom into the outer self.
3. The Hidden Portals
To build the masterpiece, Psychology has provided us the building blocks and Astrology the poetic device to wield them. There are three levels to the person: the ego, which is an illusion and the level we are most familiar with. The subconscious, which is our instinctual, primal self. And the superconscious, our higher self which remains hidden to us and is only revealed in abstract symbols and messages coming through the subconscious.
The ego, by some quirk of human evolution, is “cursed” to fall in love with itself, absorbed in the image of itself emoted from the subconscious. The challenge presented to each of us, through life’s twists and turns, is receiving and integrating the messages from the superconscious that ‘bubble up’ from the subconscious into awareness.
In astrology, the moon and the sun are the central figures acting out this dance. The moon represents the hidden and the sun represents the conscious image of our character salvaged from the ocean of symbols and metaphors nested in our subconscious.
Just like the tides, there are periods when the subconscious currents run more fiercely and these messages come through louder. There are other times, when the subconscious is unavailable to provide us answers, and contact with it may only reveal its darker side. In the same way, if a friend came to you distraught because their dog was hit by a car, you can’t tell them “Sparky was a good boy but.. you’ll get another dog and just get over him!”. That may be the silver-lined realization they come to at the end of their grieving, but we as humans can’t just be given our answers, we need time and space to prepare us so that we’re ready to actually listen.
There are no shortcuts to our emotional growth, we must wait on the Moon to open up the gates of our superconscious so that the answers can surface in their own perfect way. When we act impatiently, out of alignment of this sacred cycle, we feel unsteady and our daily actions do not come from a place of inner confidence. Inspiration can only be received when the heart is open, otherwise its message is unintelligible. In other words, we can’t force our growth, we can only prepare the conditions and await the proper timing for the lightbulb moment to occur on its own.
Plato once said, “We do not learn, and that what we call learning is only a process of recollection.” This recollection, flowing from the subconscious mind to the conscious self, forms the bridge from the everyday to the higher self which we might use to cross over this mortal plane. Every morsel of our potential floats within the ether of our subconscious, and if we can learn the process of the Moon, we understand the portals she opens for us to bring the dark into the light.
4. Synchronizing our energy to the rhythms of the Moon
The moon itself is the gateway to heaven – the opportunity to see through the eyes of our higher self. From this portal flows our feelings, releasing our truth with more clarity than we could construct unaided.
To practice this process, pretend those lower parts of you that stay pent up and hidden are like a little child who refuses to come out of their room; pretend depression is the child keeping the door shut, and joy is him venturing out to go play in the yard. Visualize this by looking into the Full Moon as a mirror, staring into its silvery complexion to see ourselves. It becomes the portal to see our inner child.
You are the parent, patiently waiting for the child to finally venture out of their room and open up to you. The moon can become your object of meditation to sustain this direct line to your inner self.
We find that this analogy of the child and parent is powerful because it characterizes our emotions as something other than us, a mystical force emanating from the sub-conscious, that we are forced to listen to but not necessarily act on.
The Full Moon Portal
So how does the Moon open and close access to this portal for us? Every Full Moon creates what is known in astrology as an opposition, between Sun and Moon. This aspect is about emotions coming to the surface, whether they be pleasant or uncomfortable, to issue a challenge to self.
Through the mirror, we can picture the child waving their arms calling for our attention to make some change in our life. “Hey You! Hey You!”, Ch’ang-e cries, “Don’t drink the potion”; or, “Drink the potion! I don’t give a damn!”. All the moon promises, is to bring what is hidden innerly to light, it is up to us to decide where we go with it.
We can engage with the moon’s timing using the modes of creation we learned about in the Yin Yang.
While the moon is waxing towards becoming full, inspiration is in its crescendo until the Full Moon bathes us in its complete realization.
The waning moon yields its assimilation, committing the vision into physical action as the sub-conscious retracts and mundane life takes over.
The Full Moon sits at the inflection of the hidden being revealed, where the artist is ready to bring inspiration to life.
The New Moon offers us the quiet space to reflect and sow the seeds for the next year’s crop.
Ritual 1: Fertilizing New Moon Intentions
The shadowy New Moon in astrology is sometimes called the Absolute Unmanifested Unity because absolutely anything can come out of it. Remember, this is when the Moon is blocking the Earth from the Sun almost as if the moon were trying to get our attention to tell us, “here it comes”!
This conjunction of Sun and Moon represents the divine union, the planting of seeds from which will birth our next evolution of growth. As the moon grows, these seeds will sprout new emotions and new challenges will rise to the surface, lessons ready to be integrated into the new version of self. These new growth opportunities will be fertilized by the nutrients and intentions you plant into the soil at the New Moon.
This new wave will linger for a while in our subconscious before it sprouts, so take this time to whisper good intentions and project positive growth down into our sub-conscious. The Jewish lunar calendar begins on the New Moon, at a holiday called Rosh Chodesh, where they bless the month by singing songs to revive their relationship with God.
The New Moon is time to let the subconscious rest. Instead of probing our subconscious for answers, we are seeding it with positive thoughts and deeds. Reflect on the blessings in your life, the progress you’ve made with what you’ve been given, and plant seeds of intention for where you want to go next. If you are currently going through something, the New Moon is an invitation to relax and perform soothing tasks to feed the positive mindset.
- Visualize all the possibilities that could come out of this next round of growth, let your imagination open up your dreams and desires. Sit in a quiet space and let your mind wander through these possibilities, don’t force any one direction too hard. If your thoughts come to a particulate interest, write that intention down to hold close for the remainder of the waxing moon.
- Your mantra is “STILL”; go sit in nature, listen to the birds, listen to the air to hear it speak. Close your eyes and become immersed in the sounds, receive them like they’re going to share with you some exciting secret; wait in eagerness, like it’s early Christmas morning before anyone else is awake.
- In the interest of keeping this mental space clean, free from intrusive, anxious, or negative thoughts, it’s best to first clean your space. Think of cold baths (which can wipe away depressive thoughts and remove waste from your cells), a calming cup of tea, soft music, comforting aromas, and fasting.
Things to Do
- Light a candle saying an intention aloud. Commit to practicing your intention every day, something like, “I will speak up for myself more this month”. No doubt, every day will afford you at least one opportunity to do that. Each night, light your candle and affirm your intention until the Moon is Full.
- Start something new – take advantage of the fertile grounds the New Moon provides and breathe life into any areas of stagnation
- Go on a first date – perfect time for experimenting with new things and unexpected encounters
- De-clutter your house, reorganize, set a new ambience – if the Full Moon is the hidden becoming revealed, the New Moon is re-absorbing the fruits of that harvest: the things you do outwardly, like organizing your space, are reflected inwardly.
Things to Avoid
- Make a list – this might seem counterintuitive after you’ve just set intentions for what you want to accomplish. If you’d like to follow up intention-setting with written goals let them be deep and thematic. A to-do list can put too much focus on doing – which can squelch the attitude of being and stillness you want to protect in the new moon.
- Give up on something you love – if something is bothering you, take inventory of it. Consider the pros and cons but don’t make any drastic decisions. Harness the emptiness of the New Moon to step back and see the situation in a new light instead of giving up on it completely, save that for the Full Moon.
Ritual 2: Harvesting Full Moon Answers
At the Full Moon, sometimes called the Fully Manifested Maximum, the emotions which were once hidden are fully illuminated in the milky glow of the Full Moon. Our recognition of them has matured into an understanding of what new lesson faces us and the virtues underneath them waiting to be seized. The Full Moon imbibes us with wisdom, almost as if the moon goddess were standing at our side advising us on these value judgements.
Our culture overemphasizes “doing”, but a night spent collecting the Moon’s wisdom can create for more effectiveness in our actions. Treat your Full Moon ritual as an incantation by which you are eliciting your creativity to provoke intuitive breakthrough. Invoke Khonsu to arouse your spirit – be it her benevolence or violence – to triumph over the issue at hand!
- Get a bowl of water with a clear view of the moon such that you can see its reflection on the surface. Alternatively, you can go to an ocean, river, or lake to use a bigger bowl
- The night before the Full Moon, notice the moon’s path in the place you plan to do your ritual so you can plan when you’ll have visibility of it
- Paper, pen, and your handy dandy clipboard
- Read the whole ritual over once or twice so that you have a rough picture of what it entails so you won’t be interrupted by constantly having to refer back to the instructions. It’s best to picture yourself actually doing each step so it feels natural.
- You can start the breathing meditation by lighting a candle to help you get centered
- After the breathing ritual, you can burn sage or incense to set the atmosphere
1. Calming Breaths to Relax (5 min)
My favorite breathing meditation, called the Four-fold Breath, is based around the count of four: fully breathing in to the count of four, hold the full lungs for four counts, expelling all air from the lungs to the count of four, holding the lungs empty for four counts, and repeat.
When you breath in, expand your belly to feel the oxygen enter your base, then expand your chest and imagine the air traveling into the lungs, and in the final moments of inhale imagine the oxygen going up into your brain.
After the steady breathing becomes natural and you no longer need to count, close your eyes and visualize the skin on your body expanding and contracting with each breath. Consider the millions of pores all over it. Be a sponge, filling up with the soak of the pure moonlit air.
If your thoughts are a fury and it’s impossible to keep your mind still, you might try dancing to get out the jitters. Bumpin’ and grindin’ to your favorite song can not only be a release, but it’s a form of connecting with your body, letting it speak, to contact your sub-consciousness.
2. Open up your Creative Reservoir (15 min)
With you mind now calm, sit in front of your water bowl and study the Moon’s reflection in it. Inspect her elegant curves and defined grooves. Recognize the meteoroid scars on her tattered and plastered surface and appreciate the protection she offers. Even though we only see its pearly luminescence on occasion, we know she is always watching over us. Let the moon speak to you from across the void, thank Ch’ang-e for always being near.
Now, while keeping your gaze fixed, shift your focus from the moon to the spectral image floating on the water’s surface, it’s a subtle difference from studying the object to simply soaking it in. Do not try too hard, simply let the image sink into your mind without labeling it, let your eyes glaze over as the surface becomes completely calm.
Notice how peaceful you are sitting in its company. As your gaze draws you deeper and deeper, realize the thing drawing you in is looking back at you. Only now that the ripples are completely gone, and the surface smooth like glass, can we see what was behind it the whole time.
You begin to imagine personality emerge from the image. You patiently watch as it animates itself before your eyes like an idea taking form from our subconscious.
Bring your Manifestation to Form
While the vision is still fresh in your mind, write down as much of it as you can. The goal is to capture the masterpiece from your mind’s eye to the paper in front of you and identify the things that need to be given up to achieve it. Incorporating both of these things into your drawing will make a sort of sacred seal that can help you recall the peace you feel in the present moment.
You can do something as simple as drawing a circle, inscribing within it the vision and drawing outside of it the things you’re going to give up
Really employ the use of your imagination in what you draw, I like to draw an open eye as the symbol of the open window into the soul. Mine is similar to the eye of Horus but you can command different sacred symbols and geometries into the picture. I draw a tear streaming from the eye to contain the things I’m letting go of.
Once your drawing is complete, take a scissors and sever the drawing in two, snipping off the part of the drawing containing the things you are giving up – visualize your release of those things no longer serving you. Take the scrap and ball it up, toss it out, burn it bury it – whatever you want to do to demonstrate it leaving.
As you cut, you can declare an invocation, something like “I release the thoughts that no longer serve me in reaching my highest potential – I call in abundance and positivity for this new path ahead.
Do What Works for You
With these two Moon rituals, you’re ready to
open up the gates of intuition that can lead you in the inward journey to the
higher self. This article is carefully crafted to give you every bit of foundation and useful practice to help you along your magickal journey.
Leave a comment below or on the YouTube video telling me what worked for you.
If a certain topic stuck out to you, follow its corresponding section in The Manifest linked at the top of this article.
Fact Checking how the Moon affects mood, menstrual cycles, and rhythms in nature
Studies on the Moon’s influence on behavior
How the Moon affects tides
Dive deeper into metaphysics and understand the Yin-Yang through the Kabbalah and Tree of Life
Explore the layers of the self and learn more about how to engage them
Astrological symbolism behind the Moon and other planets in the pantheon
Pursuing Perspective – Manifest
- Chapter I – Purpose
- Chapter II – Wisdom
- Chapter III – Clarity