Revisiting Moon Rituals

Menstrual Cycles and the Moon go way, waaay back

Though the scientific community is still hmm’ing about the potential synchrony of the moon and menstrual cycles, it is irrefutable that there are cultural and spiritual connections spanning human history that link the moon cycle to the menstrual cycle, making more meaning of the monthly(ish) bleeding experienced by more than half the human population.

Beyond Biology

It isn’t hard to imagine why a menstruating person from long ago would naturally feel a bond with the moon, moving as we do through our own phases, not too dissimilar from the lunar cycle. With all the distractions of modern day that find us doing more navel-gazing than moon-gazing, we look to human ancestors for their astute observations from long ago, that still have us pondering today.

The Wiccan community has observed these four associations of the menstrual and lunar phases:

  1. Menstrual – New Moon
  2. Follicular – Waxing Moon
  3. Ovular – Full Moon
  4. Pre-menstrual – Waning Moon

Ancient Greek physicians believed that the moon and the menstrual cycle were connected, and that the menstrual period was one of great spiritual and mental power. And in fact, the word itself, “menstruation” has Latin and Greek roots, sharing the same word for moon, “mene”. In Hindu and Buddhist tradition, blood, or rakta in Sanskrit, is believed to be governed by Chandra, the moon.

This theme runs true across continents and cultures. In the Yurok tribe of California it has been the belief that moon time is a source of great strength. Menstruators would often remove themselves from the company of family members during menstruation, and sometimes visited “a moon time pond” for a spiritual bathing ritual. It was a tribal belief that in ancient times, people who menstruated were all synced with the moon, and that someone could return to synchronicity by sitting in the moonlight, and asking the moon to restore balance.*

The list goes on and on throughout anthropological history, linking the lunar cycle to the menstrual cycle and finding spiritual meaning in that connection.

Howling at the Moon

With such powerful beliefs in the moon and menstrual connection, it’s easy to feel the pull to create rituals that reaffirm that connection. Regardless of whether the science is there to support a cyclical connection, creating one’s own moon rituals for honoring their menstrual cycle can be a great source of self care. A moon and menstrual cycle ritual is a means to tune inward, to bond with one’s own body and the greater cosmic space that our bodies move through. A time for pause, a time for reflection, a time for listening, and, if you’re feelin’ it, a time for howling and dancing in the moonlight!

Moon Rituals and You

You may already have a moon ritual and not even realize it. Do you pause when your gaze catches the full moon on the horizon, just to take it in with appreciation? Maybe that’s enough. Or if something inside you feels the tug of ancestral awakening, and you want to develop a personal moon ritual to honor and celebrate your cycle, here are a few suggestions:

  • Pay attention to the moon and its phases. If you keep a journal, start noting the lunar phase in your entries, and where you are in your menstrual cycle. We have a few examples below of moon and cycle trackers we love.
  • Move through a moon salutation yoga flow with each new moon and full moon, or as you feel so inspired or connected by your body and mind. Imagine the perceived shape of the moon as you inhale and exhale, noting roundness and fullness, light and dark, and honoring the cycle of change.
  • Tune in to the circadian rhythm, resting when it’s dark, rising when it’s light, and removing digital light from your room while you sleep at night.
  • Talk to the moon. The moon has been witness to all of earth’s time. The people who inhabited this place before us gazed up at the same moon we gaze up at now. Say hello, and let your voice carry up toward the cosmos.
  • Give. In the way that the moon reflects light and interrupts the darkness of light, we can also reflect light, and give of ourselves in ways that interrupt the darkness in our communities. Volunteer, donate, check in on someone … just shine.

Moon & Menstrual Cycle Trackers

Cycle tracking journals from @cyclesjournal

Old Blog Posts by Guest Bloggers About Moon Rituals

How To Sync Your Menstrual Cycle With The Moon

Our Moontime: Reflection + Ritual to Honor our Cycles