“Johnny take a walk with your sister the Moon, Let her pale light in to fill up your room. You’ve been living underground, eating from a can. You’ve been running away from what you don’t understand… Love.” – U2
This is what I love about Pulling Down the Moon. On one hand, you can visit our blog for the latest information and science behind holistic fertility techniques like nutrition, yoga, massage and acupuncture – but on any given day you might find an entry like this one about the Moon, her phases and how attuning to the rhythms of nature can help us ground, energize and heal. We’re not afraid to be “woo-woo,” because we’re grounded gals who read the scientific literature. But as great as science is, we feel that overlooking the rich traditional wisdom our elders have passed on to us isn’t, well, a wise thing to do. And we want (some day) to be wise!
In the yoga tradition the two major lights in the sky, the moon and sun, represent the principles of female and male energy respectively. This distinction is also present in the concept of yin and yang that guides Traditional Chinese Medicine. The sun energy (yang principle) is active, warm and represents our logical/conscious mind. Lunar energy (yin principle) is inert, cool and represents our inutition and unconscious. In the traditional systems where these distinctions exist, the goal of health and healing is to bring them into balance. One simple way to establish a greater balance in your world is to simply look outside the door and situate yourself on earth, in this universe.
Following the heavens doesn’t need to be a huge production and you don’t need to believe in astrology. There are a few simple rhythms that we like to observe. The first belongs to the sun, which really isn’t the subject of the article, but it is interesting:
Light/Dark – Obviously, we all know when it’s day and night, but the ratio of light to dark in our 24 hour days changes throughout the year. Marking four dates, the solstices and the equinoxes, help us become more aware of changes in light and day length. The summer solstice is the point when our days are longest, the winter when they are shortest. The autumnal and vernal equinox mark the points in fall and spring when our days are of equal length.
If we go back to that concept of solar and lunar energies, we can understand the meaning that traditional teachings place on these dates. At the winter solstices, we observe and enjoy the quiet of midwinter and consider how we will use the sun’s light as it returns to us. At the summer solstice we celebrate the warmth and wonder of the sun and it’s energizing effect on our lives. The equinoxes are a time to consider balance in our lives.
While the solar energies work on the large scale the Moon has always been a bit more accessible. Unlike the sun, which blinds us if we try to look directly, the Moon is beautiful and cool. She rules the sea tides and is traditionally thought to govern the menstrual cycle and female fertility. Although in the heavens she is always full and perfect, from our earthly perspective, she reveals herself in different forms and these monthly changes are as reliable as a calendar. Learning to observe and honor the phases of the Moon is a wonderful way to reconnect with the natural world and your own innate feminine power. It is in many ways the perfect practice for fertility since it reinforces our awareness of the feminine principle and counterbalances our outward, stressful “solar” existance.
If you’re interested in learning more about the moon, we suggest you start at www.mooncircles.com, a site run by Dana Gerhardt where you can find Dana’s seven secrets to a successful Moon practice . Dana suggests we start by learning what she calls the “four turnings,” or basic phases of the moon’s cycle (new moon, first quarter moon, full moon and last quarter moon), which each last about 7 days. In ancient societies, these turnings served as markers of time and each new phase of the moon was a sabbath of sorts. Later, as more sophistocated calendars were developed, these early sabbaths were replaced by “Sundays” and seven days weeks not linked to the moon.
Reclaiming the lunar weeks is as simple as finding a calendar (or website) that marks the phases of the moon. At the start of each phase, simply taking a few minutes to acknowledge the phase’s particular flavor and invite that energy into the current moment.
In the week following the New Moon, it’s a time to be spontaneous, exciting and adventurous. This is often the light of new inspiration.
First Quarter Moons often make us conscious of conflict or opportunity. In the week following the First Quarter turning, meditate on right action and take steps to move life forward.
The week of the Full Moon brings deep insight and illunination to the initiations and actions of prior weeks and months.
The Last Quarter Moon ushers in a week of weeding and pruning, getting rid of waste and receiving insight into the future.
Another great suggestion from Moon Circles is to schedule activities to honor these turnings. The New Moon is a good time to try a new restaurant or start a new class. First Quarter is a great time to schedule something that takes you out of your comfort zone. At the Full Moon, enjoy at least one quiet and contempletive activity – stop into a beautiful old church or walk through a historic cemetary or contemplate the rising moon. Last Quarter Moon is a great time to regularly clean out the fridge or desk.
We hope you will consider these ancient teachings as yet another way to encourage balance and joy in your life.