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Herbalism by the Moon: Full Moon

We see only
the moon’s fixed face,
as you know. It never turns aside
in pain, in anger or disgust. It is thus
the good parent, holding the earth
at arm’s length, gripping its shoulders
with cool white hands, turning
and turning around as if it were
saying goodbye, as if it were taking
one last look. But the moon
with its homely, familiar face,
has been wishing that we fare well
every evening for millions of years,
fully knowing that we would be back
in the morning, ready to try.

~Unknown

This month, we explore the Moon in what one could argue is its most prominent form, the form in which it arrives most often in our oldest folklore, and in the form it is most likely to take our breath away. We celebrate the Moon in the fullest form, where the energy is most vibrant and abundant. 

 

Image of a person holding a glowing full moon
Photo by Drew Tilk on Unsplash

The Full Moon

The Full Moon can be thought of as the culmination point in the moon’s cycle. Throughout the month, from the New/Dark Moon to the Full, energy has been growing as we take steps towards achieving our goals. 

As the Full Moon glows with abundance, radiating brightly in all of her glory, we can sit atop the mountain of our efforts, and bask in the glow of all that we have achieved. And it is at this point where we should be intentional about expressing our gratitude – particularly for those that helped us along the way, and for the path that led us here

It is often a time in which we may feel most sensitive; energetically, spiritually, and psychically speaking. The Full moon is the epitome of spiritual energy, and the time in which being clear in our intentions has the most power. Where the New Moon marks a beginning, the Full Moon represents the peak of the mountain we have been climbing. At this point, we can step unapologetically into that which most serves our highest potential, and fully embrace what we have been working towards. At this time, the path toward our goals is the most crystal clear. 

Some practices to align with the energy of the Full Moon include: 

  1. Charging Your Tools. Think of the Full Moon energy as an activator. It can literally ignite the energy that can help progress your path forward, using your tools as a mechanism. The Full Moon energy can charge, or reset/cleanse, the vibrational energies of crystals, or other types of tools you may use for personal insight or energetic influences. Perhaps your tools look like the pen you use to write down your goals or to write your book. Perhaps it is your yoga mat, where you sit to meditate. Placing these objects under the Full Moon can help them to embody this activational energy. 
  2. Moon Water. Water is an ultimate ally in capturing vibrational energy. It has been demonstrated that water reacts differently to different types of music – calm, relaxing music produces beautiful geometric patterns, whereas harsh music created chaotic, disturbed patterns. Water can be used to capture the very essence of the Full Moon. To do this, simply place a glass bowl or jar of water outside (or below an open window where the Full Moon shines through) overnight to allow the water to absorb the energy of the moon. Moon water can then be incorporated into your bath, drank, incorporated in the kitchen, or any other way you would typically work with water. Another fun way to incorporate moon water into your medicinal practice is to create a flower essence and instead of placing the essence under the sun, place it under the moon! 
  3. Journey or Dream Work. As aforementioned, during the Full Moon, we are more open psychically. This is a good time to pay attention to your dreams or sit in deep meditation, especially if there is something you may be stuck on or struggling with that is preventing you from moving forward. The energy of the Full Moon is very supportive for helping oneself look deep within to uncover the answers within us.
  4. Let Out Extra Energy. It is likely that you may be feeling an abundance of energy during this time. Many traditional tales of folklore are full of adventures or wacky things happening during the full moon. If you feel extra charged during this time, find an outlet to release some of the energy – dance under the full moon, go for an evening run or swim outside, or whatever other physical activity feels good in your body 
Photo of a person reaching for the full moon in the sky
Photo by Mohammad Reza Razmpour on Unsplash

Gardening by the Moon

As we have explored previously, the Moon is highly influential in our natural world, and in addition to having an effect on water, is strongly connected to our plant friends. Utilizing the lunar energy for gardening is as ancient a practice in many cultures as is sharing stories and tales about the Moon.

According to Caren Catterall, who is the creator of the Gardening by the Moon calendar, which was originally developed in 1997, there is very much a scientific perspective behind moon phase gardening. She states: 

“The Earth is in a large gravitational field, influenced by both the sun and the moon. The tides are highest at the time of the new and the full moon, when the sun and moon are lined up with earth. Just as the moon pulls the tides in the oceans, it also pulls upon the subtle bodies of water, causing moisture to rise in the earth, which encourages growth. The highest amount of moisture is in the soil at this time, and tests have proven that seeds will absorb the most water at the time of the full moon. Planting by the phases of the moon will keep in rhythm with the alternating gravitational pull.”

When considering an astrological perspective, the Moon is a key player, and a combination of the Moon and its place in a lunar astrological cycle can help guide us in our gardens – or the place in which we can connect most intimately with our plant allies. 

Unlike a solar cycle in which we move between astrological signs each month, the Moon moves through all of the signs within the lunar cycle, or in 28 days. Dependent upon the astrological energy that the Moon is passing through, this can have an influence on the success of our gardening strategies. Examples of these include: 

  • When the Moon is in Fire Signs, such as Aries, Leo, or Sagittarius, the energy of these times tend to be dry, barren, and lacking moisture. It is during these times that it is not recommended to plant, but instead is a time in which it is encouraged to tend to the garden such as weeding or maintenance. 
  • When the Moon is in Water signs, such as Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces, these tend to be times in which our plant friends will much more effectively absorb water. Irrigation around this time will be more efficient, and additionally, making a point to provide plants with the gifts of water while being held in this energy will help plants withstand dryer days that may occur later in the season. 
  • When the Moon is in Earth Signs such as Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn, this is the most ideal time for planting and harvesting from our gardens. Seeds sown at this time will grow into stronger, more prolific plants, and harvesting during this time ensures vegetables packed with more nutrients, and herbs will embody more potent medicine. 
  • When the Moon is in Air Signs, such as Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra, this is a time where preparation of the garden is ideal, including adornment of the garden with art, or turning over soil to prepare your beds for sowing seeds.

The energy of the full moon in the garden is associated with high gravitational pull, and subsequently, this increases the moisture content of the soil. The full moon energy puts an emphasis on the roots, as energy starts being drawn downward, especially following the full moon as we move into the waning phase. To connect with full moon energy in the garden, one can focus on sowing root vegetables and plants. 

The full moon is also associated with release, letting go of barriers that hinder one’s metaphorical growth. In the garden, the full moon is an excellent time for pruning plants, allowing their growth to flourish. 

Gardening by the moon allows us to return to our roots, and our ancestral lineage. It also brings us closer to the natural cycles and rhythms of nature and gives us yet another way to celebrate the moon throughout the month! 

 

Image of a pink colored full moon with a tree in front of it
Photo by Tsvetelin Todorov on Unsplash

Herbal Allies of the Full Moon 

As we move into one of the final phases of learning about the moon and its connection to herbalism, here are some plant allies for aligning with the Full Moon: 

  1. Mugwort. This special herb has a true affinity for the Moon, as well as yin energy. In Greek Mythology, Mugwort  (whose latin name is Artemesia) was a particular ally of the goddess Artemis, who was the goddess of divine feminine energy, as well as the goddess of the moon. Mugwort can really help us to energetically align with the Moon in its fullest form, as well as serve as a guide for all other phases. We especially recommend using Mugwort in a dream pillow during this time of the month.
  2. Spearmint. This herb has a way of making us feel bright and awake. This can help us lean into finding the clarity the energy of this time supports, while additionally giving our brains a boost to act upon this insight. 
  3. Lemon balm. If during the Full Moon you are experiencing heightened energetic sensitivity, it could be possible that this could almost feel like the energy is too much, and result in a lack of groundedness. Lemonbalm can be a really supportive ally to help us feel calm, and help us again turn inward to help alleviate overwhelm. 

The Full Moon truly is a magical time. Look to your calendar and find when the next full moon falls and plan out some activities to embody this phase. If you choose to try to work in your garden along with the Moon, great practices for this time include getting your hands in the dirt and doing a good old-fashioned weeding. This helps to ensure our bounty can continue to flourish, and the energy of this time helps to ensure that metaphorical boundaries stay away for good!

Thank you for joining us as we explore the beauty of the Full Moon. We hope that in a few weeks you choose to go outside and dance beneath her, seeing her in yet another new way! 

Resources:

  • Catterall, Caren. “Planting by the Phases of the Moon.” Gardening by the Moon. 2020. Retrieved from: https://www.gardeningbythemoon.com/moon-phase-gardening/#
  • Horvath, Timmie. “Full Moon Energy.” The Sacred Wellness School of Healing Arts. 2021. Retrieved from: https://www.sacredwellness.co/full-moon-energy/
  • Patterson, Leah. “Aries Full Moon Messages and Herbs.” Moon Herbalist. 14 October 2019. Retrieved from: https://moonherbalist.home.blog/category/full-moon-herbs/