Full moons are potent spiritual events. Here, we’ll discuss what a full moon ritual is and how you can create one for better mind-body balance
by James Han
The moon is an energetic powerhouse. Though modern-day moon discussions typically focus on astrology — for instance, a person’s moon sign — lunar celebrations and rituals are actually ancient, deep-rooted practices that stretch back thousands of years and span cultures around the world. While many of these observances are rooted in folklore and tradition, you can practice your very own full moon ritual from the comfort of your own home.
A present-day version can be as spiritual or secular as you want. At the end of the day, it’s merely a way to carve out time each month to reflect and invite greater mind-body balance into your future.
Here, we’ll discuss what a full moon ritual is, and share a few ideas to help you build one that’s meaningful to your personal health and wellness goals.
What Is a Full Moon Ritual?
A full moon ritual is a ceremony or symbolic action that you practice during the full moon, which occurs roughly every 29.5 days, or the length of time it takes for the moon to complete a lunar phase. During the full moon, the sun and moon are directly opposite to one another, allowing the sun’s rays to fully illuminate the moon. This positioning holds a lot of spiritual weight, and it’s a time when opposing forces and polarities in your life are brought to the forefront of your attention.
In general, the full moon is believed to signal greater spiritual power, increased psychic energy and amplified intuition and discernment. Since the moon encompasses our inner world — hidden emotions, desires, fears and dreams — the full moon is the perfect time to tap into your inner self and lay the groundwork for transformation from within.
Full Moon Rituals Around the World
Before we offer tips on how to build your own full moon ritual, it might be helpful to understand how different countries have historically honored the moon. For example, the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival — or Moon Festival — is 3,000 years old, and began as a way for emperors to thank the full moon for a bountiful harvest and for farmers to celebrate their hard work. Now it’s the second biggest holiday in China, when families reunite to admire the full moon and eat mooncakes.
In India, Hindu full moon rituals (known as purnima) vary by region. During Gamha Purnima, for instance, pitha and mitha (traditional cakes and sweets) are shared; on Magh Purnima, neighbors give gifts to one another; on Guru Purnima, families celebrate with music and singing.
In the United States, many Native American tribes have also celebrated the moon for many years. For the Anishnawbe Mushkiki, full moon rituals involve prayers for guidance, a smudging ceremony, songs, dances and handshaking.
7 Tips To Build Your Own Full Moon Ritual
You don’t need expensive crystals or an esoteric, unnecessarily complicated setup to start your own full moon ritual. In fact, it can be as simple as you’d like. Here, we’ll offer seven tips on how to build a practice that you’ll look forward to every month.
1. Create a Dedicated Space for Your Ritual
Creating a dedicated space for your ritual separates your full moon routine from your other day-to-day tasks. You can hold your ritual anywhere in your apartment or house: your bathtub, a corner of your room, your patio, even your kitchen. To mark the space for practice, try cleansing it with palo santo (if you can, use sticks harvested sustainably to prevent deforestation), a candle, a singing bowl or a simple visualization. (Imagine yourself drawing a perimeter around the space with a beam of light.) If you have objects you’d like to include in your ritual, lay them out on a piece of cloth or your own makeshift altar.
2. Ease Yourself Into Your Ritual
Entering your ritual with a relaxed and open headspace can allow you to enjoy and receive all the positive energy that a full moon can offer. About 15 to 20 minutes before you sit down, take a dropperful of an Ayurvedic tincture like SLOW, which features a blend of sweet fennel, basil and orange essential oils amplified with hemp-derived CBD. This mix of botanicals can help pacify your mind and body, allowing you to slip into your full moon ritual feeling soothed and even-keeled.
3. Write Your Intentions Down on Paper
Instead of simply mulling over your intentions, jot them down in a journal or on a piece of paper during your full moon ritual. Get creative — if you have crayons, colored pencils, pens or paint, feel free to doodle, draw and express yourself on the page, letting your imagination and intuition guide you. If you’re having trouble setting intentions, consider the following questions:
- In order to achieve my goals, what do I need to let go of?
- What makes me feel alive or helps me to grow?
- What types of relationships do I want to cultivate?
- What do I need to change about my lifestyle to feel healthy and happy about myself and my body?
- What habits do I need to nurture in order to feel like the best version of myself?
4. Imbue Objects With Meaning
After you write down your intentions, it can be helpful to imbue them into personal artifacts. For instance, you can breathe a goal into a ring or stone and set it out in the full moon overnight to charge. As you go through the weeks leading up to the next full moon, keep the object close by to remind you of your intention. Similarly, you can scribble any habits you want to eliminate from your life on scraps of paper that you burn or tear to shreds.
5. Take a Bath
The moon is intimately connected with water, so what better time than the full moon to take a bath? Consider supercharging your plunge with fragrant essential oils and candles as well as by setting crystals along the rim of your bathtub. While you’re relaxing in the water, close your eyes and meditate on your intentions. Think about the changes you want to make in your life and how you can achieve your goals while maintaining mind-body harmony. Inhale the aromatics and visualize your intentions playing out in your day-to-day life. While thinking about habits you want to leave behind, dunk yourself in the water or scoop water over your head to cleanse yourself of them.
6. Have Fun
Remember, a full moon ritual doesn’t have to be overly serious. Use the time to dance to your favorite music, sing, make a special meal or call your friends. While it’s important to tend to your personal development, sharing the night with others can help you bring good energy into your meditation.
7. End With a Closing Action
To seal your full moon ritual, always end with a closing action or acknowledgement, whether it’s blowing out the candle, murmuring a quick affirmative mantra or moonbathing outdoors. Remember — there will be another full moon in just a month, so don’t stress out about living up to all your intentions. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself, and check in with yourself during the next lunar cycle.
James Han is a writer, editor and content strategist based in Los Angeles. When he’s not deep in a Google Doc, you can find him reading, rotoscoping and taking long walks.
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