How Do The Moon Cycles Affect Us?

We are all like the bright moon, we still have our darker side.”
― Kahlil Gibran

When you gaze at a bright moon in a clear sky, you may marvel at its beauty, imagining how  someone on the other side of the world is seeing this exact same moon – be it crescent or full.

Have you ever thought about how this celestial body might be affecting your choices and actions in your daily life?

You may have heard that some farmers plant according to the moon cycles, and certainly everyone is familiar with the notion that a fat full moon brings out the crazies.

Police logs can attest to the truth of that fact, with more crime and mayhem erupting on nights when the moon is full. And the word ‘lunatic’ comes from the Latin word for moon – luna.

And it’s not just the crazies – many ordinary people  feel restless, jangled and sleepless on full moon nights.

Good things happen too – midwives and hospital records have long reported more babies born during the full moon, and on clear nights that glowing moon can ignite romance.

People, plants and all earthly beings are deeply affected by the cycles of the moon.

Although some scientific studies debunk this notion, legends and anecdotes persist about the ‘madness’ of the full moon time.

I have a feeling that hospital personnel, cops and mental health workers would snort at the dismissive studies that claim the full moon has no noticeable effect on human behavior.

And it’s not just the full moon that affects our moods, energy levels and actions. Each distinct phase has its own distinct effect.

Aligning Your Energy With The Moon

During the last week I’ve noticed an urge to sift through papers and notes, to organize, to take stock, to reevaluate where I’ve been and where I’m going.

It’s kind of long overdue, but the desire to finally do this more passive activity is stronger this week, and it dawned on me the other day: of course, it’s the waning moon!

Once the crescendo of the full moon is reached around the 28th day in its cycle, its appearance and its energy begins to diminish. Farmers and gardeners consider this period  the ideal time to weed, prune and harvest.

For humans this can mean a natural time to turn within a bit, taking stock of the growth during the past cycle – sifting through the experiences, cleaning up, documenting. As the dark of the moon approaches you might notice a dip in your energy level, more of an inclination to rest, sleep and replenish.

Of course in today’s race-around world, such inclinations are rarely welcome. What the hell? We think to ourselves. I’ve got so much to do today, why am I so tired? Why is it so much hard to push through it this week?

Next time that happens, take a look at where the moon is in her cycle.

While feelings of exhaustion and overwhelm are caused by more than just the phase of the moon, it can help immensely to surrender to what nature intended.

In ancient times before electric lights and all the various accoutrements that separate us from nature, we humans were even more affected by the light of the moon and her distinctly separate phases.

So much so that most women menstruated at the same time – during the dark of the moon. This made it easy for them all to retreat to the ‘moon lodge’ or ‘red tent’ and leave the menfolk to tend to the kids and all the chores!

Wouldn’t it be great if we hadn’t let that one go!

I’m convinced that if women were able to take a couple of days a month (bleeding days) totally off from their responsibilities, than this whole perimenopause/menopause thing wouldn’t arrive like such a storm.

But we don’t have moon lodges anymore (at least most of us don’t), our families and bosses would look askance if we informed them that they were on their own for three days each month, and many of you are moving past these cyclical years anyway.

Yet, we can still take note of the moon’s movements and consider it when planning social activities, creative projects and even for long term strategic planning.

The Cycles Of The Moon

The changes in the moon can be divided up into new (dark), new (crescent), waxing (growing), full, and waning (decreasing).

The dark new moon – when you can’t see it at all – is an ideal day to complete and prepare. There’s a natural lull in energy levels, similar to the waning moon during the previous week, making it an ideal time to organize and take stock to complete the last cycle and prepare for the next.

The slim crescent of a brand new moon means the excitement of new beginnings and fresh new growth.

If you want your hair to grow more quickly this is the ideal day to give it a trim.
It’s also the most auspicious time to start a new health or exercise regimen, make lists of your aspirations for the coming cycle, plant seeds, or start new creative projects.

As the light of the moon grows each night (called the ‘waxing’ moon), energy levels rise, and people often find it easier to stay focused on a creative project or task.

Like the baby crescent moon, this period is all about creating and growing – stretching and reaching.

About halfway through the waxing period – when the moon is half full – there will often be a turning point or shift in a project that is underway.

The few days when the moon is full or close to it are kind of a crescendo as evidenced by all that full moon lore.

On the evening of the full moon it appears on the horizon exactly at the moment  the sun sets on the western horizon.

Full moon is a good time to plan parties and social activities, as well as sales for businesses. Creativity and intuition can feel heightened. Energy is at a peak.

Once the full moon is over, it begins to shrink down again, and this is known as a ‘waning’ moon. As I described above, tasks of wrapping up and completion of a project can flow more easily during this period.

Finalize projects, take care of last details during a waning moon cycle. If you’re wanting to declutter your home, it’s easier to do it during these weeks because you’re naturally more inclined to let go and throw things out.

Waning moon is also a good time to undertake a cleansing diet program or fast. Your body will more naturally accept the cleansing.

Let The Moon Give You Permission

If you’re a seeker or interested in personal growth, I know you’ve heard this idea about how important is to BE and well as to DO.

They don’t call us human beings for nothing! Yet, it is so frowned upon in modern western culture to ever stop DOING.

Who brags to their friends, ‘yesterday I just laid on the couch and contemplated my navel.’?!

That’s a joke, something to sneer at.

Even days spent relaxing at the beach or taking a long walk has to be qualified and explained by describing how hard we’ve been working, how much we’ve been doing and how well-deserved the ‘break’ was.

Even though many of us ‘get’ the importance of slowing down, being present, stopping the incessant produce-produce-produce mentality – it’s not so easy to feel good about ourselves when we’re being still. At least not for most of us.

If this is you. I encourage you to consider the waning of the moon as extra permission to dial down the endless activity.

Invite in the moon’s energy and ask her to guide you in stillness.

Use some of the time normally devoted to work to review, take stock, replenish, and prepare for the coming burst of energy once the light of the moon begins to grow again.

Aligning your energies and planned activities with the cycles of the moon is one way to feel more in touch with nature and the rhythms of a greater whole.

It can be a guideline when making decisions, and also can help to explain why your inclination and energy levels lean in one direction or the other at a particular time.

Yet, remember, considering the moon and her cycles when you make plans is just a guideline.

The idea is to incorporate this into your life when and if it works for you. Don’t fall into the trap – as I did years ago – of making this just one more to-do or stressor in your life!

Let’s say you enjoy gardening. Sure, it’s great to plant and reap with the moon cycles if you can. If it’s not working, I say enjoy your garden and get your hands in the soil when you have that window of time, or the help you need.

New Moon (in Libra) is this Monday, October 15 at 5:02 a.m. PST (You’ll need to convert this to your own time zone.)

If you can, enjoy some time of reaping and replenishing from your hard work. And get ready to blossom outward again in the coming weeks.

“The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished.”
― Deng Ming-Dao, Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony

Have you noticed the moon’s gentle tides affecting your own actions? Do you have some thoughts to share about sister moon? Please jump in below in the comment section below – or over on Facebook!

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Showing 38 comments
  • HIDon

    As a nurseryman, I notice a marked improvement in the percentage of cuttings that “take” when setting them during rising moon phases. Other than that, I have often gazed up at a full moon and said to myself “THAT’S why!” Short of actual howling, I definitely notice energy changes during the full phase. I did not know about the resting tendencies during declining stages, but out here in
    Hawaiian wilderness, I have found an ability to just “be” when I need to…except during the full moon, when I’m dancin around like a banshee…. Great article.

    • saraho

      @HIDon Ah, love that image of dancing around like a Banshee during the Hawai’in full moon! And yes, the islands seem to encourage a little more ‘hang loose’ time. But us Mainlanders need reminders to just stop running and relax. So glad you enjoyed the article!

  • Carol Hess

    I have always wanted to know more about the moon cycles and how to sync up with them, so this post was great, Sarah.  My mother was a psychiatric nurse who pooh-poohed everything that wasn’t strictly scientific, but she said there was no doubt that the full moon affected her patients.  Most of my adult life, including now when I’m menopausal and have been for years, I found/find it very difficult to sleep during the full moon.  I think the fact that my astrological sign is Cancer also means I’m more influenced by the moon. I seem to remember reading that somewhere.  I have a question for you, Sarah.  Are you aware of a good calendar that includes the moon phases?

    • saraho

      @Carol Hess Yes, your mom was in good company – any scientist who works in the mental health field knows there’s something to this moon stuff, even if it does rankle their research-oriented brains! I love the full moon but have to pull the shades when it’s full if I want any sleep. Been that way since way before menopause. And forget about it if I’m camping under the full moon!
      Yes, I think Cancers are very influenced by the moon – it’s a watery sign that feels the pull of tides and moon energy.
      As far as calendars – my favorite is Maynard’s “Celestial Influences” – you can get it as a wall calendar, a datebook, or a little ‘Pocket Astrologer.’ Llewellyn makes a similar assortment of calendars that give you the phases of the moon as well as the the astrological signs it’s traveling through at any given time. Plus, they both have lots of info about it all that goes way more in depth than this post. Oh, and We’moon is another favorite – depicts the moon phases on each little square of the wall calendar – and lots of poetry, art and women’s lore.
      Big bookstores should have any or all of these, and you can find them online too.
      If you just want a visual of the phases, there’s a cool wall poster put out by Celestial Influences I think that shows where the moon is on each given day. Lots of other options too.

      • Carol Hess

         You are a veritable font of moon calendar information, Sarah!  Thank you.

        • saraho

          @Carol Hess That would be me. I guess it makes sense since I had a store called Moonrise Herbs. Just call me Moon Girl

  • Joanna Saunders

    Great Information, Sarah, I did not know this. Now I will take more notice of the moon phases.

    • saraho

      Glad you enjoyed it @Joanna Saunders  . I’ll be curious to hear whether you notice any correlation between the moon and your own energy!

  • BobbiEmel

    Really interesting post, Sarah. I’m one of those mental health professionals who snort when someone says there are no studies supporting how the moon affects us. Ha! Work in a county mental health clinic for awhile and see if you still believe that. And you know me, I love my research. But my experience tells me otherwise.
    I’ll have to pay more attention to my own body rhythms in concert with the moon’s waxing and waning. Thanks for the thorough article!

    • saraho

      Good to hear the confirmation from a bona fide research-oriented mental health professional @BobbiEmel ! And I’m so glad you enjoyed the article. You may be surprised at what you notice now that you’re tuning in. Happy New Moon!

  • LoriLynnSmith

    For many years I have had an excellent relationship with the moon and her cycles.  I use them almost all the time enjoying the ebb and flow!

    • saraho

      I had a feeling you’d be hip to all this moon magic, @LoriLynnSmith !

      • LoriLynnSmith

        @saraho  Totally I did this whole Full moon ritual for the last harvest moon, it was awesome!

  • HappierHuman

    I will give a friendly snarl 🙂
    “Police logs can attest to the truth of that fact, with more crime and mayhem erupting on nights when the moon is full.”
    I offer two alternative explanations –  
    1) Criminals are more likely to commit crime when their is a full-moon because they can actually go outside during the dark and see.
    2) Criminals are more likely to be caught during the full-moon (thus causing us to think there are actually more crimes on full-moons, when only there are only more criminals that are caught), because police can more easily see and catch after them. 
    “More people get sick, etc… during full moons.”
    So again, I prefer statistical over anecdotal evidence, because anecdotal evidence can be biased:
    Humans are pattern-matching machines, that is, we are built to seek out correlation whenever and wherever possible. A possible explanation here is that the full-moon is highly salient (it really stands out), so when people are unusually sick or whatever during a full-moon, that gets tied to the full-moon. On the other hand, when people are unusually sick or whatever during the normal course of days, that gets tied to nothing in particular. So, full-moon = unusually sick / normal = normal.
    Okay, friendly snarl over 🙂

    • saraho

      @HappierHuman  You make some of the points I saw the scientists make Amit – especially about the light. It made more sense back in the days before electricity (when the word lunatic came out) that more crazies were out and about wreaking havoc during the light of the moon. However most modern mental health professionals and hospital workers note a definite correlation with more activity with the full moon. I didn’t actually write that more people are sick – not sure if that has been reported – anectdotally or otherwise.
      And how to you explain all those babies?
      Love a little friendly debate – even if it is snarly! 🙂

    • Annie

      You’re wrong dude. Everyone who has worked in psych facilities, aged care homes etc KNOW that the full moon affects people. Luna. Lunatic. No doubt about it. Also most people find it much harder to sleep during the full moon. If the moon can pull the entire ocean (scientific fact as you would know I’m sure), then, with our water/electro-chemical bodies, it would also affect us.

    • Karen C.

      I have been sleepless on more full moon nights than I care to count, so I really do not care if you believe this information or not. Oh yeah and by the way I had all three of my children either on the full moon or the day after. I have tried everything to sleep through a full moon even medication and still I am awake most of the night if not the entire night.

  • JaneRobinson

    I do believe that life itself is connected through the energy of the Universe so it makes sense to me that the cycle of life is energy.  I have never followed the moon cycles – only appreciated the wonderful view.  I might begin today.  Thanks for the post.

    • saraho

      @JaneRobinson So glad you enjoyed it – and that perhaps it will open a new dimension in your life. It’s fun – and often edifying – to note where the moon is as you go through your month.

  • Dave Rowley

    That was a wonderful post, Sarah.
    i really liked your suggestion to align ourselves with the energy of the moon. If the energy of the moon can effect the the oceans, those great bodies of water, it surely effects us, our bodies being mostly made up of water, too. Makes sense to align with thse forces than to try and work against them.
    I used to live out in a rural area away from city lights,  back in Australia, and remember the thrill of walking home on evenings where the moon and the stars where the only light. It’s a very different kind of light, softer and with a benevolent feel to it. It’s a shame we lose that with our artificially lit up cities.

    • saraho

      @Dave Rowley Yes, I love getting out of the towns and cities to places where I can truly see the stars and the moon. The stars especially are so much brighter and more brilliant when we get away from artificial lights.
      I agree that it seems quite intuitive that the moon would affect the tides in our watery bodies just as she affects the tides of the great oceans.
      So glad you enjoyed the post Dave, and thank you for your lovely comment!

  • acordaamor

    This is interesting information for me, Sarah, particularly because I do tend to have difficulty letting go of frenetic activity.  For the first time this Fall, I have been noticing a desire to pull back a bit from the relentless pace I was setting over the summer.  Maybe doing that will be necessary for me to restore the level of inspiration I had for a while.

    • saraho

      @acordaamor I think you’re on to something there. Aside from the shorter cycles of the moon phases, it’s also helpful to work our energies with the seasonal cycles. Plants and nature tend to slow down and go within during the fall, it’s a good time to replenish and gather for your next burst of inspiration. Best not to fight it, if you can slow down the pace for a bit and see what happens.

  • 2knowmyself

    that’s very interesting
    its the first time i read a post about the effect of the moon on us

  • ZenCaffeine

    Interesting! I’ve definitely noticed a pattern to my monthly cycles, but last time I checked, the cycle didn’t coordinate with the moon. I have the same phases though – heightened creativity and energy, followed by moving inward, etc…Man, it would be SO nice if we still did the hut thing. I’d be so much more pleasant to be around! lol.
    Anyway… I don’t know if my mood cycle/monthly cycle/moon cycle correspond, but I do know that today is a full moon, which you said corresponds with creativity, intuition and energy – and here I am, back in the blogosphere for the first time in a couple months. I definitely feel the energy!
    Love this kinda stuff. Cool post, Sarah. =)

  • Bridget Evenett

    Thank you so much for your article! At 56 I have left my job and started a new career, very scared but excited. Today I’ve been feeling quite down and motivation is low. The last few days I’ve just wanted to sort out clutter etc and not push the business. Then I realised it’s a waning moon and new moon will be tomorrow, your article has explained my mood perfectly. I now realise that my energy and positivity will return! Good luck in all you do and thanks again xx

  • Maddie

    I stumbled upon this page because I’m so fed up every month just before a full moon occurs. It affects me so much, literally draining all of my energy, that even just changing my babe’s nappy makese gasp for air. At first, my heart starts to race, then I get that bloated/tight feeling in my face, accompanied with red eyes and dizziness…then my partner has to take over. It’s so bizarre! Then the next day, my whole body is bloated! My partner stated that it had something to do with the magnetic fields? My response was, “Exactly! It feels just like being in the middle of strong magnets and they’re both draining your energy but at the same time, there’s TOO MUCH energy around and I can’t handle it!” Ugh. With that said, i am highly sensitive to energy enough as it is (empath). I wonder if it affects anyone else to this extreme? I feel weird because of it all but I KNOW it’s because of the full moon. It’s both fascinating and irritating at the same time for me. Thanks for this info!

  • JulieMarie

    Thanks for this post; and Maddie I have major energy problems with the moons too. I get so drained and tired, its a battle (fighting sleep) just to stay awake. My mum has the same problem. I’m now reading the web looking for a solution, because this “time is money world” dosen’t take ‘rest leave’!!!! I’ll research crystals and gems next to see if they can help. Any other ideas Saraho?

  • Jo

    I thought I would leave a post for all those out there suffering from the full moon pull. I thought there must be something wrong with me to feel so out of sync every month. In the days leading up to full I feel very restless, short tempered when driving, unsympathetic to others and generally get out of my way attitude. Then it gets worse when full as I always feel sick really nauseous, no energy at home or at work, dragging my heals behind me sort of thing, achey muscles, headaches. It’s like the life has been sucked right out of me. It’s awful and I definitely suffer. My family are all aware but it doesn’t seem to affect them so much. So glad it’s only 3 days a month of it. There’s no way I’d go the docs as they’d think I was making it up. I’m not really into birth dates relating to personality but for information purposes only I am a cancer and a woman who loves water. Full moons without a long soak in the bath would kill me, try it it works!

  • Stephanie

    Great article. I googled it specifically to try and understand why I always get sick on the new moon.I’m not saying every new moon makes me sick. But I have noticed those occasions when I get knocked down with a “cold” out of the blue, it’s always on a new moon. Hmmm. Insight?

    • sarah

      I wish I had more insight for you on this Stephanie. I can only guess that perhaps your body is wanting you to slow down more, and take more ‘me’ time during the days leading up to the new moon (the final waning moon). This is often hard to do in the modern world where we continue to go go go , despite the natural energies in nature and our bodies. If possible, try to pay attention to the moon cycle and see if you can lighten your schedule during that last week of the moon cycle. Good luck!

  • Elaine

    Hi! Thanks for the great article. I’ve just started looking into the phases of the moon because I’ve noticed that I usually get a GREAT sleep on a full moon. This seems to be the opposite of everyone else!!! Have you heard of this before? My sign is Aries.

    • sarah

      HI Elaine – yes, you’re right it’s the opposite of what happens to a lot of people. but – hey! How awesome that the full moon lulls you into a restful sleep. I think that’s something to celebrate! I doubt it has much to do with your Aries sun sign, so I would just enjoy your full moon sleeps! Thanks for the comment.

  • leah

    I don’t really make a conscious effort to follow the moon cycles but I always know when a full moon is coming because precisely 2 nights prior to one, I lose some of my sanity and bite someone’s head off or feel quite depressed and lost. If I remember to connect the dots I find upon checking that a full moon is coming in 2 nights. If I don’t connect the dots straight away, I soon do when I see the full moon 2 nights later. I’ve noticed this pattern for years, so often that there is not a seed of doubt the behavior is linked to the moon. I wondered if there’s any way of getting more in tune with the moon generally speaking, so it doesn’t affect me in this way. Any advice appreciated.

  • Col

    Great site to find! It’s a waning crescent today and again I find myself low, tired and don’t want to get involved! Depressed mildly.
    Last week and before, as usual, full of energy and talking too much! Getting it all done, at once.
    I recognised finally its the same different behaviour on the same alternate moon cycle!
    I am Male, in case you need to know.

  • Lisa

    This was an amazing article. I love the moon and the stars. But I was sitting up tonight still awake at 3am. I also noticed 4 others of my fb friends who are also unusually restless. The moon is almost full. And we also just had a time change. It has to be affecting us somehow. I’m interested in the others zodiac signs just for my own interest and see if that plays a part. Thank you so much.

  • Erik

    I see this cycle repeat itself over and over working on clients as a bodyworker. When the moon is waining they feel more pain and the tension is very prevelant in there body’s. The real question is how to help them learn to deal with it in a more balanced manner.
    Any thoughts? My only conclusion is to meditate and practice emotional clearing with slow breathing and restorative yoga. The problem with working with people that react so strongly to pain in the body is that they are clueless to the fact that its emotional truamatic pain that manifests itself in the body. Need to find a way to teach them.

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