Recently this past week, I felt off this month more than ever. Sleep two days in a row was not happening and last night I looked at the night sky and saw the biggest and brightest yellow moon beaming down on me. This made me wonder if the monthly moon phases can affect us as I never realized. So oi dug a bit into how the moon could affect up.
The moon has held the human mind in its thrall since the dawn of time. Throughout the ages, peoples across the world have worshipped it as an important deity, believing it held real power to influence their lives — and their health.
“The moon had been observing the earth close-up longer than anyone. It must have witnessed all of the phenomena occurring — and all of the acts carried out — on this earth,” writes Haruki Murakami
The earth’s natural satellite has always fascinated human minds. Throughout the ages, humans have worshipped the moon, studied it, and referred to it to predict the direction of their lives… and their state of health.
The moon influences life on Earth and natural mechanisms in a way that must have seemed natural hundreds and thousands of years ago. At full moon, corals release eggs and gametes in a reproductive frenzy.
And the gravitational attraction between the moon and the Earth causes sea tides — the rising and
Falling of the sea.
Since the moon influences such mechanisms of life on Earth, people have also believed that it can affect various aspects of physical and mental health.
There are phases each month that the moon goes through and it can oddly have an effect on all of us unknowingly. Some months are more effecting then others and I could most definitely feel the effects of the phases this past week with the sleepless nights.
lets First understand the Lunar Cycles
the moon can serve as a kind of natural calendar, allowing you to become more aware of the change in the seasons and the flow of time.
The lunar month begins with a new moon and ends with the full moon. The first two weeks are called the waxing moon (which gets bigger each night), while the last two weeks are called the waning moon when it gets smaller each night.
Some traditions say that the first two weeks are best for creative work like planting seeds (physical or metaphorical) and making art; while the last two weeks are better for letting go of things that no longer serve you.
The term “moon cycle”, or “lunar cycle”, refers to the moon’s continuous orbit around Earth. As the moon orbits Earth, its appearance changes, known as “phases”.
1) New moon – This is the beginning portion of the moon’s phases. A new moon happens when the moon is located between the sun and the Earth. We typically cannot see a new moon since the dark side of the moon is facing the Earth.
2) Waxing Crescent – The waxing crescent phase of the moon begins once we can see a tiny sliver of the moon a few days after a new moon. There may be times when you can see the whole moon outlined even when it’s dark. This is a phenomenon called “earthshine” in which Earth reflects sunlight to the moon.
3) First Quarter – During this phase you can see half of the moon illuminated. At this stage, the lunar cycle is 1/4 of the way completed, hence the name.
4) Waxing Gibbous – Waxing gibbous translates into “growing shape”. This phase covers the time between the first quarter and full moon phases. The moon will get more illuminated until the moon is fully illuminated, which starts the next phase.
5) Full moon – Two weeks after the new moon, it becomes wholly illuminated by the sun. Hence, we have a full moon, and its orbit is halfway completed.
6) Waning Gibbous – If waxing means increasing, then waning stands for decreasing. A week after a full moon, it appears smaller since the amount of the moon that is visible decreases.
7) Third Quarter – During this phase the lunar cycle is ¾ completed. This is when the moon is half-lit up in the sky.
8) Waning Crescent – This signals the final lunar phase where the moon appears to be just a tiny sliver in the sky. This phase starts when the sun illuminates less than half of the moon and continues until the New Moon phase. During this phase, we can also see the effect of “Earthshine”, just like during the new moon phase. It occurs four weeks after a new moon and concludes when the sun and moon rise at the same time.
Monthly Moon Names
In addition to the eight phases of the moon, the full moons of each month of the year have their own unique name. These come from Native American, Colonial American, or other traditional North American sources passed down through generations. These names were usually related to agriculture or the weather. For example, the Harvest Moon occurs when the moon is closest to the autumnal equinox — this is usually in September when the full moon’s brightness allowed farmers to work late that month, harvesting crops planted earlier in the year.
Here is a list of the common names used in North America although these varied :
January — Wolf Moon
February — Snow Moon
March — Sap Moon
April — Grass Moon
May — Planting Moon
June — Honey Moon
July — Thunder Moon
August — Grain Moon
September — Fruit Moon (or Harvest Moon)
October — Hunter’s Moon (or Harvest Moon)
November — Frosty Moon
December — Moon before Yule
Now onto the effects, The moon phases can have on our Health:
The moon’s gravitational pull has long been considered among the most powerful forces in our universe. The moon’s gravitational pull creates tides, but there is also a theory that we feel the moon’s gravitational pull inside our bodies, dictating our moods and energy.
Here are a few ways the moon may affect health:
Heart health -As it turns out, the Moon’s cycles could have an effect on your heart. A study in the Indian Journal of Basic and Applied Medical Research found that when exercising, your heart is at its peak performance during a full and new Moon.
Brain – The moon’s gravitational pull may have an effect on our bodies and brains since both are composed of mostly water. It makes sense that this pull could cause our minds to act erratically. Other studies by British scientists reveal that a full Moon may help to decrease seizure activity in epileptics. When the Moon was bright, participants had fewer epileptic seizures which suggests it may be due to the brightness of the Moon rather than its phases. They attribute this to the hormone melatonin, which is naturally secreted in your brain when the Sun goes down, hence signaling the time to sleep. It is believed that the brightness of the full Moon counters this release, thus decreasing seizures.
Kidneys – A 2011 study published in the Journal of Urology found that kidney stone pain increased significantly during a full Moon.
Sleep – Studies have found that in the days close to a full moon, people take longer to doze off, sleep less deeply, and sleep for a shorter time, even if the moon isn’t shining in their windows. Popular belief has it that the full moon disrupts sleep, making people more prone to insomnia. There is something attractive about the notion that the moon could influence such intimate aspects of our lives. A study published in Sleep Medicine in 2014 assessed the sleep quality of 319 participants during different moon phases. This study found that during a full moon, participants had lower sleep efficiency. This means that they remained awake or in a state of light sleep for most of the time they spent in bed overnight. In 2013, Cajochen and his team conducted an a posteriori analysisTrusted Source of data they had collected some years prior as part of an experiment conducted in laboratory conditions. This experiment involved 17 healthy volunteers aged 20–31 and 16 healthy volunteers aged 57–74. The volunteers agreed to sleep in windowless, dark rooms over a study period of 3.5 days. During this time, the researchers measured changes in sleep structure, and brain activity during sleep, as well as in melatonin and cortisol levels. The team got the idea to look at any correlations with moon phases only later. “We just thought of it after a drink in a local bar one evening at full moon, years after the study was completed,” they write in their paper. The analysis the investigators then conducted suggested that immediately before and after a full moon, participants took about 5 minutes longer, on average, to fall asleep, and their sleep duration fell by about 20 minutes. Their sleep was also lighter than usual, and melatonin levels also dropped close to the full moon, the researchers note. The researchers could not explain these changes by exposure to bright moonlight since the participants slept in fully dark, controlled environments.“The lunar cycle seems to influence human sleep, even when one does not ‘see’ the moon and is not aware of the actual moon phase,” Cajochen said.
Menstrual Cycles – The moon has been gazed upon and revered for centuries by women who recognize it as a mystical force that connects our spiritual feminine selves. For many people Indigenous to North America, the moon represents divine feminine energy and is known as the Grandmother moon. The moon cycle—which is roughly the same length of time as a woman’s menstrual cycle—is seen as a sacred gift to women, often referred to as their moon time. Chinese researchers believe that this may be more than a coincidence. They discovered that almost 30% of all the women monitored ovulated at the full Moon, and menstruated during the new Moon.
Injuries – In 2011, doctors and nurses were surveyed about the “Full Moon Effect.” They reported that over 40% believe in it; emergency calls were studied and found to increase by 3% whenever there was a full moon, and then drop by 6% during a new Moon.
Birthrates -Japanese researchers have discovered that there is a relationship between the strength of the gravitational pull of the Moon and the number of births in any given month. Scientists are unsure how or why this connection exists, but its existence could lead to advances in healthcare for pregnant women.
Mental Health- Another widely held notion has it that the moon influences mood and psychiatric health, and that the full moon, in particular, can make people more aggressive.In folklore, the full moon triggers the metamorphosis from human to wolf of the werewolf, a mythical creature that reflects our ongoing fascination with the “bestial” potential of humans.
English words denoting madness or eccentricity, such as “moony,” “lunatic,” or “lunacy,” all have Old English or Latin roots meaning “moon.”
One study from 1984Trusted Source suggested that the rate of criminality was likely to increase on nights with a full moon. Its authors said this might be because of “‘human tidal waves’ caused by the gravitational pull of the moon.”
And more recent research, published in 2009, suggested that psychiatric facilities admitted more people during the full moon than usual. This small study, which looked at the records of 91 patients “with violent and acute behavioral disturbance,” found that 23% of these admissions took place during the full moon.
This “was approximately double the number for other lunar phases,” the researchers write in their study paper.
However, other research has contradicted the notion that the full moon makes people more likely to harm themselves and others. A study published in the journal PsychiatryTrusted Source in 1998 found “no significant relationship” between any phase of the moon and a rise in violent behavior.
And, in 2019, researchers from Switzerland and the United States analyzed the data of 17,966 individuals treated at 15 different psychiatric wards over 10 years. This study also found no evidence of a rise in aggression during the full moon phase.
“[Beliefs that the moon influences human behavior] seem largely impervious to the fact that a great deal of research, including the present study, has failed to support them,” the researchers warn in the study paper.
“The reasons for the persistence of such beliefs may not be found in a rational understanding but more in a primal, emotional desire to believe that we are not solely responsible for our own behaviors,” they write. They emphasize that in the future, we may all find it more helpful to look to our own biology and human context, rather than to celestial bodies, for answers.
Now yes the moon can have an effect on our health and well-being and we can turn that into negative energy towards such, but I challenged the aspect of that and asked How can we embrace the energy of each phase and how can we 'Harness' the energy of the moon and each phase?
How to Harness the Energy
1) New moon – New Moons are a great time to set intentions for what you want to bring into your life and achieve during the upcoming month.
2) Waxing Crescent – We’ve decided which intentions to add to our lives, and now it’s time to move toward those goals. The Waxing Crescent Moon offers a boost of positivity as we embark on our goals for the cycle. Embrace the dreams you imagined for yourself during the Waxing Crescent Moon. During this phase, meditate on your desires.
3) First Quarter – The first quarter moon is a time for taking stock, being critical of your approach up to this point, and then setting out to finish your goals. Please note that while the first quarter moon is a time of energy and action, there will be opportunities to rest in the future. However, that time is not now.
4) Waxing Gibbous –As the Full Moon approaches, we are focusing on our internal lives, and figuring out how we can make needed changes. Reciting positive affirmations will help us gain confidence so that we can evolve and grow into something stronger.
5) Full moon – The light of the full moon illuminates our world, allowing us to see the situations in our lives and in our relationships with other people more clearly. It allows us to see things we have ignored or repressed, but also allows us to let go of things or people we have outgrown. Full Moons are a good time to start a new ritual or project.
6) Waning Gibbous – The Waning Gibbous Moon is a time to take stock—including revisiting those earlier intentions. Expressing gratitude is essential now. Try writing a list of all the things you are grateful for or starting a gratitude journal.
7) Third Quarter – During this last quarter moon, it’s time to clean out that which no longer serves us. Make a list of what you want to purge from your life. Are there old projects? Toxic relationships? Unused clothing? During this time period, we come to realize that we must let go in order to move forward. As you clean your home, cut cords to bad habits that need to be left behind.
8) Waning Crescent – The last lunar phase before a new cycle begins is a time to rest. We shouldn’t push ourselves. Instead, we should still, focus and reflect. We can find peace by resting before the next phase begins.
The starting point for any type of connection with the moon is to simply begin tracking it yourself. Keeping a journal and taking notes of the phases and how you feel at each stage is the best introduction.
Let's embrace each month as the moon takes its place in our lives and live another night.
Be Kind Do fearless!