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working with the moon cycle

I like to try a lot of witchy woo stuff. Falling somewhere between skeptic and true believer, I love me a good ritual, and I'll try just about anything once. But for something to make its way into my regular practice, it's gotta have some substantive use here in this earthly realm.

Enter the moon cycle.

Nothing has blown my mind quite like working with the moon cycle. For the last year or so, I've been practicing aligning my energy and efforts in my personal life, in my creative work, and in my business with the phases of the moon. And it has been a freaking revelation to discover the ease with which things seem to flow when I'm working with the energy of each phase instead of pushing against it.

It has been a practice ripe in lessons that only seems to get richer as time goes on.

So I want to share with you here a little about each phase and its energy, some ways of aligning your actions with that energy, and some of my biggest lessons and takeaways from the practice.

  

THE NEW MOON

The lunar cycle begins with the new moon, that lovely liminal space as one cycle closes and a new one begins. A deeply mystical time, the external world seems to recede and your energy is drawn inward. It is said that this is the time when we are most psychically connected to the subtler realms. We may feel more acutely both our biggest inspirations and our deepest fears. A time of introspection and contemplation. It's fertile ground, an opportune moment to plant new seeds and to set new intentions.

Aligning actions:

Be still, rest, meditate, reflect on the lessons of the last moon cycle, journal, set intentions, write a list of what you want to manifest, how you want to feel, visualize yourself achieving your goals or embodying a new energy, contemplate new projects, adopt a mantra.

My practice, at this stage, is to slow down and rest. I schedule as little as I can during this time. Plenty of free space on the calendar means I have room to follow my intuition. Sometimes I nap. Sometimes I journal. Sometimes I write down intentions and goals. I usually veer toward usually general themes and mantras, though sometimes I get into specific, detailed goals.

Every new moon I do a tarot spread and review my spread from the previous cycle (you can read more about this practice and my favorite resources here). I reflect on how it all manifested. This is where the real magic happens for me. Rarely does it play out how I think it will. I pull my cards and record them, not putting too much thought into them at the time. And I rarely think of them throughout the month. When I revisit them on the next new moon, lo and behold, the wisdom and revelation that’s there very nearly blows my damn mind.

I am fluid with my new moon practice. I allow it to shift and evolve. I hold it loosely, but treat it as sacred time.

No other phase has taught me more than this one. As one who is prone to doing over being, this new moon phase has given me permission to slow down, to set aside the to-do list and my compulsive need to feel productive. It has taught me that rest is a spiritual practice. It reminds me that there is value, real deep meaningful value, in being still. And over time, I've come to see that the more mindful I am in this phase, the more beautifully things tend to unfold in the following phases.

 

THE WAXING MOON

The two weeks between the new moon and the full moon is the waxing moon phase and it is all about attracting and creating. As the illuminated moon builds in brightness, so, too, will your ideas and energy. This is an exciting time of growth, creativity, and action. You may find yourself awash in a dazzling array of ideas and inspiration, as well as the energy and courage to follow through. You may encounter obstacles that require you to shift and reevaluate, but if you've rested well in the previous phase, you'll find yourself resourced with plenty of energy to meet any challenge with gusto.

Aligning actions:

Gather information, forward movement on goals, set plans in motion, reach out to others for support, collaborate and enlist help, revisit your goals and intentions, reevaluate and course correct as needed.

My practice, at this stage, is to start slowly and let my actions and energy build. My tendency is to want to go all out right away, but I've found that the easing in usually yields better results. I'm often challenged at this stage with so many creative ideas, it can be overwhelming. It helps me to write them all down to get them out of my head and on to paper, then choose a few to work on and save the rest for another time. And I make and I make and I make. I find this stage exhilarating, bringing ideas into being. This is right in my let's-get-shit-done wheelhouse.

The lesson for me has been to start slower than I want to, and trust that it will all get done in time. I'm learning to focus my energy so I don't get *too* caught up in shiny object syndrome.

  

THE FULL MOON

The full moon brings with it outward expansive energy and can be felt for a few days before and after. This is culmination energy. You begin to see the fruits of your labor. Consciousness expands and new perspectives may open up, bringing about breakthroughs and revelations. This high vibe energy can be electric. A beautiful opportunity to put yourself out there, allow yourself to be seen, and shine bright. A time of brilliant clarity, it can be a good time, too, to release anything that no longer serves.

Aligning actions:

Pause to bask in the glow of your accomplishments, thank yourself for planting and cultivating those seeds of intention, thank the universe for supporting your efforts, allow yourself and your work to be seen, put your creative work into the world, put your crystals in the moonlight to charge, release anything - habits, mindsets, relationships - that no longer serves.

My practice at this phase is to put my creative work out there. Every full moon, I update my shop with fresh, new offerings. I love that this gives a structure and cadence to my work that feels good and energetically aligned, a *deadline* I look forward to with a sense of joy and enthusiasm. I put it out there and *try* to release my expectations of how it will be received.

Sometimes it's a vulnerable blog post.

Sometimes something that has been rattling around in the back of my head finally clicks into place.

I have, at times, found myself so entranced in the electric energy of the full moon that I've stayed up all night creating. In that time-warpy flow state. It can feel and look a bit like a manic frenzy for me.

It's not always that intense. But no matter what, I do always try to have a moment of gratitude for all the blessings and richness in my life.

This phase has taught me to be seen. A natural wallflower introvert, allowing myself to be seen has been a lifelong challenge. The full moon teaches me that it's ok to shine bright, to let others see your light. That it's a natural part of the cycle. It's taught me to put my work out there, that there's value in the beauty that I create, that to not let it be seen would be an incomplete cycle. It's also taught me to pause and take in the work that I've done, before moving on to the next.

 

THE WANING MOON 

The two weeks following the full moon, as it diminishes is brightness, is called the waning moon and it's all about releasing and letting go. It's a time to tie up loose ends, to finish up those pesky little tasks. It's a time of processing. A time to assess what you want to carry forward into the next cycle and what you are ready to let go of, and let it go. As the next new moon approaches, energy draws more inward once again, and the cycle both completes and begins again.

Aligning actions:

Assess what worked and what didn't, let go of the extraneous/obsolete/ineffective/misaligned, process the experience, tie up loose ends, clear the new moon calendar, prepare for rest.

My practice in this phase looks like small, practical steps. I pack and ship orders. I evaluate how the shop update went. What worked well? What could be improved? What could be let go of? I check in with how my workflow felt. I check in the intentions I set. I organize my space. I take care of odds and ends around the house, pass through email to see if there's anything that needs to be addressed. I look to the new moon and try to clear as much space as I can on my calendar. I prepare for rest and turning inward once more.

This phase has taught me to value the less glamorous, but equally important work of taking care of the mundane details that set the stage for the magic to unfold. And it teaches me to let go. My pattern is to hold on tightly to things, though once quite effective, are no longer working. I challenge myself every waning moon to find something to let go of. And then I try very hard to actually let it go.

So there you have it. That's my practice of working with the moon phases. I have to say that it has felt so, so good to approach life and work in this more feminine, cyclic way. I will also say that I started off slow with this work. Instead of trying all the stuff all at once, each cycle I would try something new. And slowly, phase by phase, cycle by cycle, I'm learning a way of being that feels aligned and free.

Let me know if you try it and how it feels for you.