Moon rituals are gaining popularity around the world, but they are by no means a new phenomenon. In fact, their history can be traced back the to cultures of ancient Egypt and China. Here’s a look at what moon rituals involve, and how you can benefit from them.
Of course, we now know much more about the moon than they did in ancient times, when its ghostly emerging at twilight must have seemed genuinely magical and mysterious. Nonetheless, the celestial body still holds a fascination over us today.
Interesting facts about the moon
The moon is the earth’s only natural satellite, and the largest planetary satellite when considered in relation to the size of the planet that it orbits, the Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG) website explains. It is thought to have been created when a huge rock hit the Earth, about 4.5 billion years ago.
The tides are moved partly by the gravitational influence of the moon, which is a well-known fact. However, the RMG explains that the moon exerts a pull on the solid surface of the Earth as well, causing it to rise and fall by several centimetres! In turn, the Earth causes the moon to have moonquakes, which can go on for half an hour.
Some areas of the moon which never face the sun have permanent layers of ice which lie beneath the dusty surface. It is not thought that the moon has any natural water sources, so astronomists believe the water reached the moon via comets.
The phases of the moon
These facts are interesting, but it is the phases of the moon as it makes its rotation around the Earth which form the basis of moon rituals. A full cycle takes 29.5 days, and is divided into eight distinct phases, where the moon will appear at a slightly different angle on each day.
A new moon occurs when the moon is directly between the Earth and the sun, and it cannot be seen because the dark side of the moon is facing Earth. The next phase is the waxing crescent moon, sometimes called a fingernail moon.
The size of the crescent increases as over the next few days, until it reaches the half moon (also known as first quarter moon) stage.
From here, the size will gradually increase as more of the lit surface of the moon faces the Earth. This is known as the waxing gibbous phase. We then see the full moon, which will appear as a full disc in the sky for two consecutive nights, rising as the sun sets. (Technically, this is a half moon, because we only see the side illuminated by the sun).
The moon then moves into the waning gibbous phase, where it appears gradually smaller and rises later each night. The Last quarter of the moon (also known as a third quarter) appears around midnight, and sets at noon.
Finally, a waning crescent moon is almost back in the position directly facing the sun, meaning that all but a silver sliver of a fingernail will be visible from Earth.
How to use Moon rituals
The moon rituals are most commonly practiced when the moon is in alignment with the sun, either at the full or new phases. Some people believe this is because the feminine energy of the moon is at is most powerful when it is joined with the masculine energy of the sun. It is a good time to make positive changes, or have a fresh start in life.
There are no fixed rules for performing a moon ritual. Some people simply meditate or perform a mindfulness routine during certain phases of the moon. Others like to include some form of self-care, such as using aromatherapy candles, bathing with sea salt or herbs, or channelling their energy points with crystals for the moon.
Don’t worry if the weather is overcast and the moon isn’t visible. It’s very easy to look up lunar phases, as they are included on most calendars, and are also easy enough to find online. As the moon moves in 29.5-day cycles, you can expect there to be a new moon or a full moon about every two weeks.
New moons are thought to be best for manifesting your goals, to help you clarify what you want to achieve in your life. Full moons are often used as a more celebratory or reflective time, to process where your life is at, and allow yourself to take credit for what you have achieved so far.