Although we may not recognize it, mainstream popular culture is highly moon-centric. For one, some among us like to host Super Moon parties, which are basically an excuse to gather with friends and perhaps connect to the tribal parts of ourselves. We also have frightening werewolf legends, boys who howl at us to signal they like us, and yes, even Presidents who step outside the White House to look straight into a lunar eclipse. \_(ツ)_/
Yet, for all this male energy just listed, the power of the moon has always truly been a feminine force. Since ancient times her female representation has been personified in the likes of the Greek goddess Selene, and through female moon ceremonies celebrated by indigenous tribes throughout the Americas since early times. The Native Americans were aware of the She Moon, naming the menses period as a woman’s “moon time,” given that a menstrual cycle has about the same length as the moon’s cycle, which is roughly a 29.5-day cycle.
“A woman’s body and her menstrual cycle are connected to the moon and the Earth. By way of this feminine cycle she moves through the moon’s different energy phases (crescent, gibbous, waxing, and waning) as well,” says Natalia Meroño Campillo, a sociologist and Primal Dance teacher who divides her time between Spain and Peru. Having worked in Human Resources departments in Europe in the past, today she hosts workshops and ceremonies specializing in transformational leadership experiences set in nature throughout Europe and South America. In other words, she helps people who feel they are disconnected from themselves and nature to incorporate ancestral wisdom into their modern world through dance, chant and rituals.
Out all of these phases, the full moon is an ideal time for reinforcing, balancing, healing our energies and for giving thanks she notes. “If we connect with nature during a full moon we can be more fertile in all aspects of our lives. From work and creative projects, to our personal lives. Our self-esteem, self-love and love for others also grows.”
Full Moon over the Americas
Meroño Campillo explains that during her studies in Latin America, working with Shamans in the Amazon, she has seen that these phases are still given importance and that during the full moon women still come together to sing and recite words from their hearts under the influence of the full moon. This path to understanding nature’s feminine cycle, along with the celebration of these phases and energies through ceremonial circles, is allowing women of all ages to promote their self-awareness, their femininity and their happiness, she adds. These lessons are incorporated into her workshops and ceremonies to honor their wisdom and our own femininity which she says is so good for us during these times.
So if you feel like today’s political climate along with your work and love life have converted you into a lunatic of sorts, you’re not alone. At a moment like this in your life a full moon cleansing ritual is just what the Shaman ordered. There are several practices in moon ceremonies that help to harness the energy of the full moon to bring you tranquility. Just how to have your own full moon ritual at home, even if you don’t live in the woods or have access to nature so easily, we will get to further down. But first let’s understand the power of the moon on our bodies and how a ceremony during a full moon can liberate us from our troubles.
The Lunatic Reports: Why Does the Full Moon Affect us This Way?
To be a lunatic is natural. In fact the word lunatic is derived from lunaticus, which is Latin for feeling moonstruck, which describes a temporary insanity that is connected to the changes in the lunar cycle. There are often reports of a rise in dog biting incidents on full moon days, homicides, and women going into labor. Though many would like to dismiss these myths concerning the influence of the moon, science has shown certain proof that there’s a connection.
In fact, a U.S. study entitled “Lunar Effect: Biological Tides and Human Emotion,” conducted by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, indicated that “the repression of the moon’s gravitational influence brings about social tension, disharmony and bizarre results.” According to this report there is evidence of “a circa monthly biological rhythm of human aggression that corresponds with the lunar cycle.” They hope by properly applying knowledge of the lunar effect on people, medical and police personnel can prepare for fluctuation of crime and psychiatric admissions.
Let’s start with the fact that our bodies are made up of about 60% of water. Now consider that the Earth’s tides, the oceans, and that everything follows the moon’s gravitational pull. So it’s impossible that the moon can’t be affecting us, pulling us, so to speak, in some subtle to strong way. Water connects us to our emotions, our instinct, our female intuition. By having a moon ceremony, you’re coming into a more emotionally intuitive headspace and through this one can control the necessary release of tension and return to the desired zen state.
Your Full Moon Ritual Checklist
Political turmoil, racism, career stress, financial anxiety, family pressures, romantic letdowns…yes, we live in a toxic world. And for the multitasking working girl, who has little time to focus on herself, it can all seem overwhelming. Many look to detox themselves through exercise, yoga, and a diet of organic food, but even this might not feel like enough sometimes.
As multi-tasking women who never stop, sometimes we need hard lessons, something otherworldly, and a full moon ritual forces us to pay attention and focus to our inner voice. A ritual like this gives a safe space to tap into your inner savage and more primal sides of our nature, and release the anger in a constructive way so it can move and not stay in our heads and block us mentally and spiritually. For your ritual you can use some of the following depending on you and your circle of friends’ preferences:
- A Sacred Space. This should be a safe and isolated space to perform the ceremony, preferably at night and outdoors, in the moonlight.
- Fire. A box of matches or a lighter will do. These represent the fire element.
- A fire-proof cauldron or cooking pot. Especially useful if you are indoors.
- Any personal altar items that align with your intention, such as photographs, jewelry, books, clothing, or mementos.
- Some smudging herbs for cleansing such as sage, Palo Santo or dried herbs of your choice.
- Items from natureI like flowers, stones, shells, crystals, etc. Selenite crystal is ideal since it is named after the Greek goddess of the moon, Selene.
- An Abalone shell. This is meant to hold and burn the herbs. The shell represents the water element and is rumored to have powers of sensual and imaginative clarity and Native Americans believe that when used with sage, it provides access to the divine realm.
- An additional seashell, cup or glass can also be used to hold water.
- Some paper and a pen.
- A feather. This represents the air element.
- A drum. Perfect for ritual dancing and it represents the beat of the heart.
Full moon rituals are also about remembering our dead, our ancestors, as well as purging the things in our lives that only weigh us down. It can be done in many different ways. The idea is that each person focus on the thing that no longer serves them such as a hurtful relationship, an addiction to something or someone so that they expel this physical and emotional pain.
Types of Rituals You Can Do:
Here, an altar in the middle of a circle is set up for everyone to contribute their personal mementos. If you are alone, you can set one up as you wish. Then each can take a moment to say what they are commemorating or else they can remain silent. (You can also write down on a piece of paper all the things that no longer serve you in your life and what you are ready to let go of if you don’t wish to speak. Then roll up the paper and place it on your altar). You can also have each person place different herbs into the center of the shell so that they can be burned later on.
Have you ever seen movies of people throwing personal items into a fire pit? For instance, if you’re getting divorced, tossing your wedding dress or wedding photos into a bonfire may be just the thing you need for your full moon ceremony. Give it a try. It’s very freeing and can rid you of that heavy weight of the past.
Paper Moon Rituals
Each person in the circle takes her turn throwing in scraps of paper into a fire or a cauldron or pot, that is then watched turn into ashes. The scraps of paper have words written down on them of those things you’d like to release or change in your lives.
Key Steps for a Full Moon Ceremony
Locate a Sacred Place
Find a quiet place inside your home or in nature where you can be comfortable. While sitting in a lotus style position, calm your body with deep breaths, chanting or meditation, and bring awareness to your intention.
Create an Altar
Place your shells, flowers, crystals, rocks, candles, and any other ritual items in the center of you circle and place your nature items in the four cardinal directions. You’ll need a source of water, so put either put it into a cup or in a seashell. You can put a crystal in the water as well.
Smudge Away the Negative
Native Americans will first smudge toward the East where the sun rises, then to the South in honor of our creativity, then to the West where the sun goes down, then to the North where our rest awaits us. They use a feather to fan the sacred smoke in each direction. In an interview with The Chopra Center, website, the Native American healer and singer Grandmother Wapajea Walks on Water said that the goal of smudging “is to make a place clear of lingering energy that is different from what you may be intending for that space. You want to prepare the space for the ceremony, the way you would clean your house, cook, and decorate when your family comes for a holiday. We are welcoming Great Spirit, angels, and ancestors to come and share clean space with us as well.” Be sure to also smudge yourself and everyone around you. Fan the smoke over the front and back of the body and over your altar.
Mind Clear and Meditate
Sit in meditation, preferably in lotus position, for some time again to connect with your breath. Be aware of your body and your emotions. What or who is weighing you down in your life? Say goodbye to them.
Each person should drink a sip of the water from the altar. As you drink that water you’re taking in the blessed water into the own waters of your body.
Sing and Dance
If there’s a drum beat going, let yourself go under the moonlight and dance (or bring your own meditative music to let loose to). There’s so much power created when women gather to dance and sing together.
Some people also like to draw or paint or craft something under the moonlight.
Honor and Praise Yourself
Don’t forget to tell yourself that you are full of love and light and that you come from a line of powerful ancestors. Be aware of who and what you want to let in and out of your life.
Give Thanks and Close the Ritual
Observe how you feel, then close up your sacred space by honoring the four directions again. Be sure to thank your spirit guides, ancestors, and teachers. Take your objects back from the altar and blow out the candles. Make sure to offer kind words to the others around you. If you’re alone, remind yourself that you are there to take the best care of yourself that you can and smile. For more information on international workshops and ceremonies hosted by Natalia Meroño Campillo visit www.intro.pe or visit her Instagram page: danzanatura.