“With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?” – Oscar Wilde
Make that a “full moon” and you have real soul therapy – not just happiness – overhead for the taking. And it isn’t just Oscar Wilde in the 19th century who saw the link between the lunar and the luminous. Each one of us has both light and dark inside us, says Los Angeles-based astrologer Athena Perrakis, Ph.D. Positive or negative, the full moon takes your strongest qualities and enhances them. In other words, the full moon can bring either or both sides out. What the full moon does, according to astrologers, poets, and a few scientists, is expand and magnify everything.
It’s not surprising then that full moon rituals (religious and otherwise) have been with us since the beginning of time. All rituals go beyond regular routines because they’re usually centered on a specific event, intention, or experience. Rituals can help us live more balanced, focused lives. The full moon ritual is intriguing because says Emma Lowe, co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide to Ancient Self-Care, the night of a full moon is an opportunity to practice releasing negativity and practicing gratitude. And PS — you don’t have to be some ancient pagan-type to benefit.
What’s so magical about a full moon? Its magnetic energy exerts a powerful intensity here on earth. It has historically been regarded as a great time for “releasing” old stuff and calling up feelings and conditions that are in better alignment with your next steps.
Why celebrate a full moon? Out of respect and awe, for starters. Astronomically speaking, the moon is our closest celestial neighbor. Exerting 2-1/2 times the gravitational pull of the sun with 5 oceanic tides that affect the earth’s ability to support life. The moon, which waxes and wanes in predictable cycles, is a symbol for birth, growth, death, and renewal of life. The oceans are electrically conducting because they’re made of salty water, and there is a magnetic field associated with the flow of the tides, according to Robert Wickes, a space weather expert at University College London. But is the moon’s effect on the Earth’s magnetic field strong enough when full to induce biological changes? It’s unclear, says Wickes. But it certainly can produce mental and spiritual changes.
Just getting outside and getting in touch with nature during a full moon has awesome benefits. Why not deepen the experience with a little personal ceremony?
Creating a simple ritual — like prayer or mindfulness meditation– will help you tap lunar energy and bring to the surface any self-sabotaging habits, or limiting thought patterns. These may be preventing you from sensing your true worth and living your authentic self, suggests Kirsty Gallagher, author of Lunar Living: Working with the Magic of the Moon Cycles.
The rewards of doing a simple full moon ceremony include the release of negativity, renewed energy, spiritual recharging, and help in manifesting more of what you need in your life.
How to Create a Full Moon Ritual: 5 steps
Note: Timing isn’t everything: the ritual you create does not need to be at the exact moment of a full moon. 48 hours before and after is acceptable.
What do you need to shine a light on and then release? Full moon rituals are at their best when they involve evaluation, assessment, cleansing, and recharging.
- Think “tail end,” not “head start.” Full moons are about conclusions, not beginnings, so the full moon ceremony you create should feel a little conclusive, a little reflective. A brief meditation or a mindfulness pause can set the tone.
- Focus on what you have done, where you have been, how you have spent your energies over the past lunar cycle, without moving onto the next thing.
- Reflect and reassess. What’s on your latest to-do list that you don’t want to do anymore? What’s on your bucket list that needs to be dumped? Review your intentions and commitments without moving to action; consider any course corrections that might make sense.
- Chill and cleanse. That might mean cleaning up your living space or cleaning up your headspace. What needs to stay put, what habit or possession needs to be sent on its way? Calmly use the energy and emotion that the full moon brings up to process this.
- Allow and appreciate. What is it that is perfect (or near-perfect) about your life right now? What is it that makes you feel blessed? Allow yourself to savor the comforts of where and what you are, of you as you are.
- Affirm, affirm, affirm. Create or review your gratitude list. Read through the list and turn the most important ones into affirmations. For example, Love is all around me. I resolve to love myself unconditionally in this new lunar cycle; I am whole, I will experience myself in every moment as being enough.