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March 8, 2016

Aligning our Feminine Rhythm with the Moon.

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“Lovers are patient and know that the moon needs time to become full.” ~Rumi

We as women are intimately connected to the moon through the menstrual cycle. Women have known this rhythm intuitively for many millennia, and now there is science to back up the relationship between the moon and our bodies. Think along the lines of lunar tides and electromagnetic fields or the relationship between light and melatonin.

Just like the moon waxes and wanes, so do our hormones, our moods, our energy levels and so much more. When we begin to tune into this wisdom and the way it is so beautifully reflected for us in the cycle of the moon, we can become more deeply connected to our body. We can also gain insight into the challenges we face at certain times of the month.

What I want to share is guidance around how to recognize changes in our own monthly rhythms as they align with the changes of the moon. If you’re new to this concept, take it slowly, piece by piece. This may seem elusive at first. The good news is that we can easily begin to experience this in our body by simply directing our awareness and attention towards our own cycle.

First, a note on hormonal birth control. If we are on hormonal birth control, we can begin to follow the lunar rhythm to experience each phase of the cycle. Hormonal contraceptives inhibit the fluctuations of hormones, so we most likely will not be feeling hormonal changes on a physical, emotional or mental body level throughout the month. However, we can still structure our month in alignment with lunar wisdom which will leave us feeling more embodied, resourced and healthy.

New moon.

Menstrual Phase Mirror: Menstruation.

This is a time of drawing inward and carving out a sacred space for ourself. With the new moon, the night sky is dark and spacious. The emotional body may reflect this as well.

Menstruation is a natural cleansing process for our body. It can also be a clearing out process for our mind and emotions. What can we let go of that didn’t serve us in the last cycle? What are our intentions moving forward? This is a time to get clear within ourself and plant seeds of intention for the cycle ahead.

Our physical energy may be at its lowest of the month but our intuition will be at its peak. At this time it’s helpful to either rest or focus on more gentle physical exercise, like walking or gentle yoga. Take time for journalling, meditation, being in nature or any other means to connect inward.

Hormonally, progesterone and estrogen are at their lowest levels of the month. Progesterone drops right before menstruation occurs and then estrogen starts to rise a few days after we start bleeding. The cycle starts with day one as the first day of bleeding, which is important to know for charting purposes.

The gift of the new moon is intuition, shedding what we no longer need, resting and visioning for our futures.

Waxing Moon.

Menstrual Phase Mirror: Follicular phase or pre-ovulation.

The waxing moon is growing in its brightness in the night sky. In the body, this is the phase when the brain is communicating with the ovaries to prepare follicles for ovulation. The potential for new life is increasing. The light is increasing.

As estrogen rises, the uterine lining rebuilds and cervical fluid increases. Physically, this is a period of increasing energy overall. This is a good time for more intense exercise or trying something new, or something adventurous like pole dancing. Mentally, we are sharp! This is the time to take exams or engage in problem solving activities.

The follicle like the waxing moon, slowly grows into its fullness as it readies itself to be released for possible conception. Is the seed of intention that we planted during the new moon also growing? This is a time to take action towards our goals, dreams and desires. To make plans, create and stay connected with our vision.

The gift of the waxing moon is hope for the future and for new life. It’s a time to move towards our full inner brightness!

Full Moon.

Menstrual Phase Mirror: Ovulation.

The full moon lights up the night sky as it reflects its most yang, or solar, expression of the lunar rhythm. For women, estrogen continues to rise and increase fertile cervical fluid The most dominant follicle prepares to be released. With this fullness comes the desire to socialize and be seen. This stage is a good time to plan social gatherings or events where we are more out in the world. To be aware of what is working for us and what has been growing into fullness from menstruation {new moon} to ovulation {full moon}.

The full moon is both bold and creative. How are we stepping into our fullness and creative potential? The fertility cycle is about creating life, not just babies! Of course, that potential is there and very palpable when we become present with it. However, it’s also about creating the life we desire and staying connected to the life force that is pulsing through us.

Physically, we may feel an increase in stamina or ability to be more physically active in general. We may also notice a slight decrease in appetite and an increased sense of smell, taste or vision.

The gift of the full moon is heightened awareness of our body on all levels, creative expression, collaboration and co-creation.

Waning Moon.

Menstrual Phase Mirror: Luteal Phase or pre-menstrual phase.

With the waning moon, the brightness begins to fade as moon turns dark again. After ovulation, the remainder of the ruptured follicle develops into the corpus luteum. The corpus lutem secretes progesterone and maintains the uterine lining for possible implantation. Progesterone has an interesting effect on the body and mind. It makes cervical fluid drier or stickier. Since you are past your fertile window, the body becomes protective against sperm entering the uterus. Progesterone is very important for potential pregnancy and also for overall health. It promotes repair of nervous system tissue, essentially calming the nervous system. It’s a natural anti-anxiety hormone.

This is the stage where we can turn our minds inward and are most adept at organizing and “cleaning house” so to speak. Getting organized can be a first step in seeing what needs to fall away. What can be let go of during this time? How can we let that fall away? During this period we can look for moments of release. If you sense any frustration or sadness arising during this time, you can sit with it and use it to inform your next steps? What is the underlying need that is not being met? It’s prime time to dive deeper within! In line with the dimming light of the moon and the hormonal shift, this is a good time to tie up loose ends around current projects in all aspects of life.

Physically, it’s normal for energy to slowly decline leading up to the new moon or menstruation. We should allow for more time for rest and reflection as we prepare for the next cycle. We should shift our embodiment practice to reflect what we need at this time, which can vary for each woman. The tendency is our culture is to live in a perpetual state of full moon energy.

The gift of the waning moon is completion, down regulation and organization.

Should we be synced up with the moon?

I’m all for natural ways of connecting more deeply to the moon and potentially seeing our cycle change as a reflection of that. What I don’t see as beneficial is trying to manipulate the body into a new pattern. If we don’t bleed with the new moon it does not mean that there is something is wrong or to be addressed. We should always respect our own body and the inherent wisdom of our cycle.

I believe that when we understand the connection that we have with nature, in this case the moon, this wisdom will enable us to notice shifts throughout our own cycle and help us to find the answers we need. Phases happen on a continuum, so we have to be mindful of any attachment to a certain point in time when one phase ends and the other begins. We should think of it more as a fading from one to the other, less black and white and more shades of gray. The question we should ask is: “How can we use our cycle or the lunar rhythm to experience the wide range of our femininity?”

What is important to recognize is that we are not designed to feel the same way everyday: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Within a monthly cycle there is room for all realms of experience. When we live out of alignment with our bodies internal clock, things may seem difficult. With an increased awareness around the gifts that each phase of the cycle brings, we can begin to make shifts in our outer and inner worlds to fully receive them.

 

Author: Kristin Hauser 

Apprentice Editor:Vanessa Marjoribanks   / Editor: Travis May

Picture: Flickr/Raul

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