Whether astrology is science or magic, we’re open to most things, if they may be of benefit. ~ Ed.
The medicine wheel is a term used in shamanism to represent the cycles of healing we go through during our lives.
It’s a circle because it continues onward, restarting every time we reach the end, so that it never truly ends.
It traditionally has four points, represented by the four directions and by four animal archetypes. The number four represents stability and structure and is quite masculine—which is incredible in its own way.
But the lunar medicine wheel takes a more feminine approach.
You see, you could take the traditional medicine wheel and stick the moon cycle on top of it and find the four phases that our culture generally recognizes in the moon cycle and align each of them with the four directions—new moon: south, waxing moon: east, full moon: north, and waning moon: west, going back into new moon.
But it’s missing an important part: the dark moon.
As I’ve written about before, the dark moon was honored in ancient cultures, but has been shunned in modern-day culture because we are afraid of darkness and death.
But the dark moon is the ultra-feminine phase of the moon cycle, and its addition brings the moon cycle, and thus the lunar medicine wheel, to five phases.
In numerology, the number five represents change and transformation. What a perfect number for a healing and transformative medicine wheel.
So, we have the lunar medicine wheel—a healing modality that is a beautiful, divine, feminine iteration of a beautiful healing modality developed in ancient shamanic practices around the world.
Let’s first take a deep moment of silence to honor, respect, and give our greatest gratitude to those healers and shamans from the indigenous cultures who we now are learning so much from, and to those healers and witches from the Western world who lead the way before us.
The five phases of the lunar medicine wheel are:
- New Moon
- Waxing Moon
- Full Moon
- Waning Moon
- Dark Moon
The lunar medicine wheel moves from new moon to dark moon, but if you find that you prefer the energetic momentum of moving from full moon to full moon, that totally works as well.
The new moon is when we create, we set an intention, and we make a goal to pursue. We work on gaining clarity on what we are working toward. In the medicine wheel, what do we want to heal? What part of our life needs to change?
The waxing moon is the inner masculine energy, where we are pursuing the light and shining the sun on our wounds, bringing them into the light, and discovering what our wounds are and where they came from. We’re finding the chronological story, the timeline, and the cause and effect that makes sense to us. We begin to look at our childhood and adulthood wounding.
The full moon is the ultimate in energy, emotion, and soul discovery. Here, the moon lights up the darkest corners of our subconscious, helping us identify the most painful stories, what has been hiding, what has been lurking, and where have we shunned, avoided, or outcast our inner selves. Our inner child and shadow work is powerful here.
The waning moon is the inner feminine energy, and this is when we start to look within and begin receiving information, healing, remembering, and guidance. Here is where we discover the wounding that doesn’t have a clear story, that doesn’t make sense, and that may even feel like chaos. We can work on healing the wounds that come from ancestral karma and past lives.
The dark moon is the divine feminine in all her glory. A potent, transformative, and creatively fertile time, it’s often represented by the destructively transformative goddess Kali, who I’ve also written about here.
In this phase, we are allowing death and endings to create the compost that will feed our new beginnings, allowing everything to fall apart so that we can rebuild the very base foundations upon which we can create the life of our dreams. We make space to call in our highest, best future selves. Often, if we can open ourselves up to it, we can receive bursts of inspiration or divine guidance in this time.
And then the cycle starts again, with the new moon birthing through the transformation of the dark moon, and we set new intentions again.
So how do we align with the lunar medicine wheel?
By paying attention to the moon cycles and paying attention to our emotions and energy. By sitting down and meditating on the energy of that moon phase. By listening to guided meditations that lead us through healing and soul discovery.
And on the new moon, by allowing ourselves to begin again.