American dancer Jenna Dewan who debuted as an actress in the 2006-dance musical Step Up, encouraging others to do a full moon ritual she apparently indulges in: She’d write down what she wanted to let go of and burn the piece of paper, thereby releasing the negative thoughts and energy.
While most of us are aware of the sun’s healing powers, scientific evidence suggests that the moon is also a great healer. According to experts, full moon rituals — an intimate ceremony where individuals can “connect to natural rhythms” — are the calming self-care one needs.
Moon rituals being the key to self-care may have something to do with the moon’s gravity, which has an effect on the tides of the ocean, especially given that all living beings are composed of around 60% water. The objective of full moon therapy is to mark the passage of time, notice the cycles of your physical and emotional body, and to consciously make choices about your life.
The four cycles of the moon can be connected with the mood swings and energies of an individual. According to Inseeya, the four female archetypes of the moon are:
- Maiden period: When the person is high on energy, fully optimistic and in a very pure state of the mind
- Mother period: When the person embodies creativity, becomes more caring, pays attention to others’ needs (a period one needs to connect more with nature and clear any clutter and distractions)
- Wild period: When the person faces a dark and destructive emotion, feels low and down, and displays and irrational emotions
- Wise period: Represents external beauty, knowledge, patience and introspectiveness
According to Inseeya, as the full moon is about a closure or an ending, it has to be more reflective. “Meditation will clear lots of emotions and help letting go of stuck up feelings. Full moon rituals are at their best when they involve evaluation, cleansing and letting go,” she adds.
Here are Inseeya’s suggestions on full moon rituals:
- Sit in your terrace under direct moon rays; nothing should distract you
- Sit with your eyes closed and imagine yourself sitting near the river bank under the moon.
Rituals help in stress and anxiety
According to Kathir Subbiah, Vedic astrologer and author, who’s delivered the most precise predictions from former US President Barack Obama to the current POTUS Joe Biden — as over 60% of the human body is made up of water, human emotions are closely tied with the lunar cycle.
However, those suffering emotional distress during the waning phase are advised to look for pitru dosha in their birth chart,” adds the astrologer.
The moon becomes stronger in Sukla Paksha and is the happiest during a full moon. “As per traditions, any rituals performed during the Shukla Poornima (full moon) gain supplemental positive energies. These rituals apparently help one in releasing stress and anxiety and increasing positive energies,” says Kathir Subbiah.
Here are Kathir’s recommendations of a few full moon rituals:
- Light a lamp
- Pray to the Almighty
- Undertake self-care practises that provide comfort
- Taken on Satyanarayan Vrat
- Do Laxmi Pujan
- Tiruvannamalai Girivalam
- Energise gemstones and crystals
Some common full moon practises anyone can do:
- Take a soothing shower/bath with salt
- Ground oneself on a beach
- Walk in the moonlight
- Express your love and affection
The lunar push and pulls
Mahesh Bang, renowned astrologer reminds us about the water content in our bodies being similar to that on earth, Mahesh Bang points out that the fluidity in our body changes our mind’s balance, which according to him activates our emotions to the extreme.
The astrologer then points out to what the full moon can manifest. “The positivity that moon manifests are sympathy, memory, joy, enthusiasm, peace of mind, care, receptivity and patience, whereas the negativity it manifests include mood swings, worry, tensions, depressions, suicidal tendency and emotional instability,” says Mahesh.
The astrologer then shares tips on how to align with this planet (as the moon is considered in astrological terms). “The best remedy is to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water daily,” he states. “Drink 3 glasses of water as soon as you get up, though you may start with 2 glasses for a few months and then increase it to 3 glasses.”
According to the astrologer, this simple habit will strengthen the water element in one’s body.
Little or no science to back up
Dr Era Dutta, consultant psychiatrist, therapist, wellness expert and founder of Mind Wellness shares that some studies state that a big chunk of mental health professionals believe that full moon and lunar cycles may have impacted their patients’ mental health.
“Even as far back as 400 BC, the pull of the moon was blamed for the behavioural changes and the word ‘lunatic’ was based on the idea that changes in mental state were related to lunar cycles. Even though these ancient beliefs are widely held, there is little science to back up the theory that full moon can cause a significant uptick in mental health admissions or emergency room visits by individuals.”
However, Dr Dutta does think an explanation to be that the full moon does impact the energy cycles, the tides of the sea, and even our sleep cycle (circadian rhythm). “When our circadian rhythms are off track, it can precipitate and result in anxiety, mood disorders and even psychosis,” she adds.
A very popular culture is around self-care near the full moon — the full moon rituals — which apparently help one recharge, reflect, and reconnect with oneself. In the Shamanic culture, there’s even a celebration around the full moon rising. Psychologically, monthly timetabled acts and rituals of self-care can indeed help heal one’s body and mind.
Here are some rituals to try for more balancing and healing:
- Grounding practices: Deep breathing, grounding meditations are a great way to help you slow down, pause and feel rooted to reduce the free-floating worries and anxieties of the day.
- Moon bath and moonlight walk: Tap into the moon’s rays by either simply basking in it or going for a stroll.
- Manifestations and visualizations: Visualise and manifest the “you” you wish to be.
- Cleansing: Try cleaning your physical space, or choose an alternative method for aura cleanse. Some individuals use crystals, incense and water. Showers with bath salts, candles and music can be therapeutic.
- Letting go and embracing forgiveness: This is a good time to let go of and release all the negativity in our lives. Practice loving kindness meditation and say, “I release you!” or “Thank you for your service — you are free to move on!” Watch the weight lift off your chest.
- Journal: Write down your thoughts and feelings. Take a few moments to flip through your past diary entries and notice how far you have come.
- Dancing: Let go of your worries by loosening up. Dance to your favourite beats or just move your body to see your worries melting away and feel more alive.
- Moon circles: If it works for you, get together in a group to perform the above rituals.