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Ah, the moon phases and menstrual chart.
The lunar cycle clearly affects the planet. Just think of the tides! The tides are literally a result of the gravitational pull between the sun and moon (1), and serve as a constant reminder that our planet is controlled by forces over which we are powerless. Since the lunar cycle affects our planet so much, it makes sense that it would also influence the beings that live there. And, in fact, it does! Researchers have found that corals off the coast of Australia spawn with the lunar cycle (2) – usually in the days after the full moon (3) (horny plants!) and oysters close more during the full moon (4) (though it’s still a mystery why!). Oh, the witchy hold of the moon on the natural planet!
So, what about humans? Even though you likely hear talk of our menstrual cycles being linked to the moon, research today shows no correlation (5) between moon phases and menstrual cycles. But, that said, while the direct phases may have no link, it’s still an ongoing cycle we don’t have control over…like our menstrual cycles! Plus, the full lunar cycle is 29.5 days, which is pretty close to the average menstrual cycle length. It thus makes sense that, historically, the moon cycle was used to inform people and their periods. (The word ‘menstruation’ is etymologically connected to the Greek and Latin word for month, which was derived from the word moon!) (6).
Even if there is no direct connection between your menstrual cycle and the lunar cycle, it can be fun to connect your body to the natural world via the moon and its phases by keeping a moon and menstrual chart. We partnered with our friends At the Well, a non-profit that aims to help people around the world through transformative practices inspired by ancient Jewish wisdom, to show you how you can get started!
FIRST, WHAT EXACTLY IS THE LUNAR CYCLE ANYWAY?
- New Moon – In this phase you are unable to see the moon because it is lined up between the Sun and Earth. So you are seeing (or more to the point, not seeing) the side of the moon that is not lit by the sun (7).
- Waxing Crescent – After the New Moon you can begin to see the moon again as it is waxing, aka growing. “Crescent” refers to the shape of the moon that is visible.
- First Quarter Moon – This is when the moon has completed the first quarter of its orbit (8) through the lunar cycle (so this will happen around seven days after the New Moon has occurred). We can see half of the moon.
- Waxing Gibbous – On its way to becoming Full, the moon continues to wax into a gibbous shape, which is somewhere between those of a crescent and full moon.
- Full Moon – When the moon is directly opposite the sun, we are able to see the whole body illuminated from Earth (9)!
- Waning Gibbous – A gibbous shape that again approaches invisibility (aka the new moon); its visibility decreases, or wanes.
- Third Quarter Moon – This is when the moon is in the third quarter of its lunar cycle, generally around day 22. The opposite half is illuminated as that in the First Quarter (10).
- Waning Crescent – Now that you’re a moon phase expert, we’ll letcha figure this one out!
A COUPLE OF FUN LUNAR CYCLE FACTS
- Each phase of the moon technically only lasts an instant, with the phases gradually developing from one into the next. To the naked eye, though, each phase can last for days (11).
- Everyone on Earth will see the same moon phase, no matter if you live in New Zealand or New York. This said, people in the Northern and Southern hemispheres see the moon upside down (12) to each other, as the opposite half is lit for them.
As we started spelling those phases and their cyclical nature out for ya, maybe you even started to see the metaphors abound and how it could be interesting to keep a moon and menstrual chart. So now that you’ve gotten the Earth Science down, let’s get spiritual.
THE WHITE MOON CYCLE
This is when you menstruate around the new moon and ovulate around the full moon.
The Full Moon is believed to make the earth more fertile, a principle used in biodynamic farming, where seeds (13, 14) are planted during this time because they are able to hold more water (15). Ovulation is fertility (also, the full moon resembles a pregnant belly!) so when these are aligned, this fertile energy is thought to be magnified and it’s an especially good time for creativity. Because menstruation is happening when the moon is invisible, for these bleeders, it’s a prime time to go inward and for introspection to replenish their own emotional, mental, and spiritual energies.
THE RED MOON CYCLE
This is when you menstruate during the full moon and ovulate during the new moon.
As we mentioned, Full Moon energy is one of growth and external energy (16), primed toward movement and action. Because these bleeders have the full moon energy during their menses, they can channel their creative energy outward instead of inward, empowering others.
THE PINK MOON CYCLE
This is when you menstruate when the moon is waxing.
A waxing moon goes from darkness to light. So if you’re on a pink moon cycle this could indicate a transition phase of your life (17, 18), specifically one of growth or expansion.
THE PURPLE MOON CYCLE
This is when you menstruate when the moon is waning (18).
This is also a transitional phase, but in the opposite direction, going from light to dark. This may be an indication that rest and reflection (19) are needed.
MENSTRUAL CHARTS AND YOUR MOON CYCLE
Not sure about your menstrual cycle and moon phases? Get tracking! Our friends, At The Well, have created a Moon Phase and Menstrual Chart to let you track BOTH your cycle AND the lunar cycle.
How To Use It
- Check the internet to see where in the lunar cycle the moon is on the day you begin tracking.
- Mark on the chart where you are in your menstrual cycle.
- Track your food and moods to see if the aforementioned moon cycles resonate with you.
- Feel free to use the inner rings to track anything else that you want to see may follow a lunar pattern. You can also use them to track other menstrual cycle indicators, like cervical fluid, temperature, cervical position, etc. (Go here to learn how to track your cycle).
- After a full lunar cycle, reflect! What patterns do you see? What did you learn? We recommend you keep this moon and menstrual chart for at least three cycles to get a more complete picture.
Thanks, At the Well!
Written By: Martha Michaud
All content found on this Website, including: text, images, audio, or other formats, was created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
(1) “How Does the Moon Affect the Earth?,” July 25, 2020. https://beta.iop.org/how-does-moon-affect-earth.
(2) Poppick, Laura. “6 Wild Ways the Moon Affects Animals.” LiveScience. Purch, July 2, 2013. https://www.livescience.com/37928-ways-the-moon-affects-animals.html.
(3) Crew, Bec. “The Full Moon Just Triggered One of The Largest Mass Spawning Events of 2016.” ScienceAlert. Accessed August 12, 2020. https://www.sciencealert.com/the-full-moon-just-triggered-one-of-the-largest-mass-spawning-events-of-2016.
(4) Arndt, Photograph by Ingo. “Why Oysters Close on the Full Moon-and More Odd Lunar Effects on Animals.” National Geographic, April 17, 2019. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2019/04/lunar-cycles-full-moon-effects-on-wildlife/.
(5) Ilias , I, F Spanoudi , E Koukkou , D A Adamopoulos , and S C Nikopoulou . “Do Lunar Phases Influence Menstruation? A Year-Long Retrospective Study.” Endocrine regulations. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Accessed August 12, 2020. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23889481/.
(6) “Menstruation (n.).” Index. Accessed August 12, 2020. https://www.etymonline.com/word/menstruation.
(7) “What Are the Phases of the Moon?” NASA. NASA. Accessed August 12, 2020. https://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/questions/question3.html.
(8) “The First Quarter Moon.” timeanddate.com. Accessed August 12, 2020. https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/moon/first-quarter.html.
(9) “August Full Moon Comes on Monday, August 3.” EarthSky. Accessed August 12, 2020. https://earthsky.org/moon-phases/full-moon.
(10) “The Third Quarter Moon.” timeanddate.com. Accessed August 12, 2020. https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/moon/third-quarter.html.
(11) Fish, Tom. “Full Moon 2019: How Long Does a Full Moon Last?” Express.co.uk. Express.co.uk, October 13, 2019. https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1190156/full-moon-2019-how-long-does-full-moon-last-october-hunters-moon.
(12) “Do We All See the Same Moon Phase?” EarthSky. Accessed August 12, 2020. https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/do-we-all-see-the-same-moon-phase.
(13) “Planting By the Moon.” EcoFarming Daily. Accessed August 12, 2020. https://www.ecofarmingdaily.com/eco-farming-index/planting-by-the-moon/.
(14) Storey, Lottie. “Moon Planting: Biodynamic Gardening.” The Simple Things. The Simple Things, June 5, 2017. http://www.thesimplethings.com/blog/2017/6/5/moon-planting-biodynamic-gardening.
(15) “Why Do We Garden By The Moon? Farmers’ Almanac.” Farmers’ Almanac, April 23, 2020. https://www.farmersalmanac.com/why-garden-by-the-moon-20824.
(16) “Lunar Sadhana: Why Women Need to Align with the Moon.” Gaia. Accessed August 12, 2020. https://www.gaia.com/article/lunar-sadhana-why-women-need-align-moon.
(17) Fitts, Emma. “The Moon Cycles of Your Menstrual Cycle – Which One Are You?” Align with Mother Earth, the Cosmos and Your True Natural Wild Self, March 20, 2019. https://wholesomelivingayurveda.com.au/2019/03/18/the-moon-cycles-of-your-menstrual-cycle-which-one-are-you/.
(18) Jay, Shani. “Sacred Bleeding: White Moon & Red Moon Cycles Explained: She Rose.” She Rose Revolution, June 16, 2020. https://sheroserevolution.com/shanijay/052020-white-moon-and-red-moon-cycles/.
(19) ღ, Inés Kelly. “Pink Moon Cycle vs. Purple Moon Cycle.” inés kelly, June 2, 2020. https://www.ineskelly.com/post/pink-moon-cycle-vs-purple-moon-cycle.
(19) “What Is the Psychological Impact of Miscarriage?” FIGO, November 14, 2016. https://www.figo.org/news/what-psychological-impact-miscarriage-0015410.