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Planetary Productivity 101; Moon Cycles

Organization via the Orb in the Sky

Oreo Cookie Lunar Phases
Oreo Cookie Lunar Phases - unknown

Everyone wants to know about the lunar cycles. This refers to the eight phases of the Moon.

There is plenty of content out there, detailing various rituals and ways to work with the big shiny round thing. So, I’m going to keep this simple and direct as to make this the easiest guide (ever) to manifest with the Moon.

And throw in some yoga titbits.

After all, hatha yoga (physical yoga) can be broken down into ha (Sun) and tha (Moon).

But first, a brief history and ode.

People have gazed longingly upon the celestial ball of the night since time immemorial.

Although the science appears mixed in opinions, we still tend to generally agree that the Earth and its inhabitants are all influenced by its pull: - most obviously women, tides, moths, turtles, wolves.

It’s mystery and gravity has inspired the world’s oldest, enduring spiritual practices and time keeping tools.

Palaeolithic paintings depict markings next to various animals, indicating the number of lunar cycles since the Spring until that animal would give birth. For instance, four marks is equal to four moons.

This holds true for cave paintings all over the world. These findings push back our estimations of how long people have been tracking the Moon by 15,000 years.

Lascaux, Megaloceros w/ lunar calendar markings (replicated image)
Lascaux, Megaloceros w/ lunar calendar markings (replicated image) - Wikimedia Commons

Although we may not be as in tune as our ancient ancestors, switching things up for the Gregorian calendar, there is still evidence of working with lunar cycles on a national scale.

China traditionally uses Lunar calendars, resulting in their own zodiacal system. Koreans also use a lunisolar calendar, closely related to the Chinese one.

Of course, there are the fellow witchy folks that hold steadfast to the natural rhythms of the Earth and its satellites. They light candles, pull cards, charge crystals. Some of us summon deities. Others embark on elaborate month-long ceremonies.

Adhering to the Moon in our contemporary world has led to a plethora of self-care rituals. These circulate on wellness websites of all varieties.

In defence of New Age hippy crap, not everything they do is garbage. I understand much of the criticism and scrutiny of toxic wellness culture - I am a healthy sceptic - but there is inherent value in the desire to improve or excel in certain areas of your life.

I’ll outline a couple of basic, thoughtful rituals and yoga practices as a suggestion of what you can do to engage with the Moon.

lunar phases
image credit to Griffith Observatory -

The Waxing Phase: New Moons = New Beginnings

New Moons are not visible.

This is because the Moon has reached a point in its orbit where it is situated between the Sun and the Earth. Therefore, the illuminated side is facing away from us.

The best timing for welcoming newness into your life is the day after the New Moon, when the light is increasing, and it becomes a Waxing Crescent.

It then moves into a stage known as the First Quarter, followed by a Waxing Gibbous.

The New Moon is great for:

  • Sankalpa setting & mala meditation

  • Pulling a tarot or oracle card

  • Slow-flow asana practice / yin yoga / restorative yoga

  • Adopting an abundance mindset

The Waxing Crescent is great for:

  • Hip opening exercises / strength building

  • Pranayama practice to invigorate the sankalpa

  • Ashtanga yoga

  • Repeated rounds of Simhasana

The First Quarter is great for:

  • Back bending / heart opening exercises

  • Vinyasa yoga

  • Working with Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles

  • Active participation in your sankalpa

The Waxing Gibbous is great for:

  • Creative, free Vinyasa flow with intuitive transitions

  • Standing / balancing poses and backbends

  • Chandra Namaskara

  • Doing something that scares you (a healthy risk)

Some useful questions that promote a change in character or lifestyle during this phase:
  • What rituals and habits am I practicing?

  • Is there anything specific about the sort of person I would like to become?

  • What area of my life seems to be turning or changing?

  • What is transpiring this lunation?

meditation by full moon
a vague pic of a yoga babe meditating by moonlight

The Waning Phase: Full Moons = Culmination

This is when the Moon is at full shine.

It often represents a unique time of harmony as both the lunar and solar energies are in balance. Full Moons are associated with reflection for this reason.

They are also synonymous with cord-cutting rituals, tying up loose ends and dropping any baggage you’re carrying around. The optimal timing for cutting these cords and completing projects is the day before the Full Moon, when the light is still increasing.

The Full Moon is great for:

  • Nadi Shodhana pranayama

  • Yoga Nidra and reviewing your sankalpa

  • Releasing projects to the world

  • Adopting a mindset of constructive cord-cutting

The Waning Gibbous is great for:

  • Yin yoga

  • Kapalabhati kriya

  • Pulling tarot or oracle cards

  • Writing / journaling

The Third or Last Quarter is great for:

  • Slow-flow Vinyasa / Yin yoga

  • Meditating with apana mudra

  • Sithali pranayama

  • Creative work using automatism techniques

The Waning Crescent is great for:

  • Restorative yoga

  • Leisurely walks in nature

  • Reading or researching your interests

  • Mala meditation

Some useful questions that promote introspection and an understanding of self during this phase:
Is this a new beginning or a chapter ending?
  • In what area of my life is this ending occurring?

  • Is there anything different about me after this past month?

  • What am I grateful for in this moment?


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