As with all beautiful chapters, we invite you to join us as we conclude the final piece of our Herbalism by the Moon series in deep celebration of the waning moon.
The Moon, as with all things in nature, moves through a cyclical rhythm, and following the culmination of the Full Moon, the waning moon is the final stage in the beautiful circle. It is much like what occurs in the natural world, when the seasons are transitioning from autumn into winter, the Moon is transitioning from extending outward production of energy to turning inward, preparing for a state of deep rest and introspection in order to yet again begin anew.
Before we begin our discussion diving deeper into the energetics of and alignment with the waning moon, we wanted to take a moment of reflection, to honor the energetics of turning inward. This series is yet another example of the beautiful ways in which nature so readily offers its gifts to us in the form of wisdom and abundant teaching, if we so choose to simply listen, and be aware. It is incredible to think about the fact that we have something like the Moon, which infallably has offered her teachings of living in cyclical flow consistently every month for millions of years. The Moon pays no mind as to whether or not we are listening, and continues her monthly routine, standing ready to share deep insight into how we can live more in a state of flow, whenever we find ourselves ready. May this be a beautiful reminder to us that whenever we may feel lost, that we have such an ancient teacher there to guide us, and know that even on the nights of the Dark Moon, that she is still there, just in one of her many forms.
We invite you to join us in honoring the conclusion of this series, as well as the seasonal energetics series that too will soon come to an end, by participating in a state of observation. How might you identify the ways in which cycles, or cyclical energy exist in your surroundings? How have you discovered that the energy of the Moon exists, or has influence upon you and your body? Have you observed such plants as Mugwort, and how the Moon causes this plant to dance, or how Mugwort’s silvery underleaves almost seem as though they were painted using moonlight as ink? In what ways might you also be able to live more in alignment with the energies of nature’s cycles, be more present, in a world that often is trying to work in a much more rigid and structured way?
We again thank you for being part of our community, and sharing as we explore these ideas and concepts together. We would love to hear more about what your journey with the Moon has been like, and your thoughts on this series. Please feel free to share your ideas with us on Facebook or Instagram!
We have alluded to it a lot throughout the entirety of this series, but what does it mean when we say that the Moon has an influence on us here on Earth? Well, despite being essentially a giant rock orbiting our planet, the way in which the Moon interacts with gravitational energy actually has a profound impact to us here on Earth, both energetically and physically speaking!
It is likely you are already aware of how the gravitational pull of the Moon is the reason we have tides in our oceans. Each day, this energetic phenomenon is what causes water to retreat far out from the coastlines, or brings the water back in to line the beaches. However, the Moon’s impact on Earth goes much farther. As explained by Dr. Tom White, senior curator of the Natural History Museum in London, “the Moon has been up there for as long as evolution has been taking place, and lunar rhythms have been embedded in the life cycles of many organisms.” The three places in particular in which the Moon has an influence are “time, tides, and light.”
For example, the Moon is responsible for our internal circadian rhythm. And, actually, there are birds and nocturnal species that depend on the phases of the moon to migrate, safely forage at night, or for reproduction. Matter of factly, for example, if we were to somehow lose the Moon, sea turtles would be in grave danger, as they are dependent upon the tides in order to safely make it to sea upon hatching.
Additionally, we actually have the Moon to thank for the stability in Earth’s “wobble.” As explained by the Institute of Physics, the Earth is currently tilted at about 23.4 degrees with respect to the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. If we lost the Moon, this wobble, which normally only moves the Earth’s axis about 2.4 degrees and takes almost 26,000 years for a full rotation, would become completely erratic. This means that such tilts could occur in which the Earth’s axis is a direct 90 degree angle to the Sun at one point, and completely straight up and down at another. This would lead to such drastic climate change as the poles being as hot as the equator, and then freezing again when the Earth re-shifted, which would have catastrophic impacts for life on Earth.
So, while it is easy to think we are disconnected from a silvery orb of light in our sky, we have so much to be thankful to the Moon for!
The Waning Moon is the opposite of the Waxing Moon. As the Waxing Moon grows larger, moving toward the radiant Full Moon, the Waning Moon is when the Moon appears to shrink in the sky, gradually producing less light until we reach the darkness of the New Moon.
Think of the Moon cycle like a bubble or balloon. The Full Moon is synonymous with the bursting, or release of the bubble. All of the energy has been moving toward this culmination point. Following the Full Moon, the Waning Moon takes on the energy of clearing or cleansing. After a period of deep focus, we take a more subtle shift, and find clarity in that which we want to ensure we move away from or clear from our path. It is with this act of intentional cleansing that we can make space for the cycle to begin anew, or continue on with new life breathed into what we are trying to accomplish.
The Waning Moon is synonymous with actions of elimination or even banishment. We can align with this phase by discerning for ourselves what it is we want to let go of fully, or remove from our journey.
At the end of the Waning moon cycle there is a brief period of time when the moon is completely dark, this is often called the Dark, or New moon. This is when the moon is between the Sun and Earth, so all of the sun’s light is shining on the side of the moon we are unable to see, making it appear to be dark in the sky, often lasting between 1-3 nights.
This is the time when the night sky is its darkest when the stars shine their brightest, and we are reminded of the power and beauty of the darkness.
When the moon is dark it offers us a pause, a brief moment at the bottom of an exhale before we begin a new inhale, the ultimate space between.
To better align with the energetics of the Waning Moon, we can also call upon the herbal allies that are reflective of autumnal energy, our turning inward and introspection.
Thank you again for joining us in this series. We have immensely enjoyed gazing at the Moon alongside of you all, and dancing beneath her light. We hope this series helps you live more in alignment and enjoy and celebrate the flow of the lunar cycles.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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!
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:
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!
We return to the Moon this month. (If you missed the first post in this series about the New Moon you can find it here: www.goldenpoppyherbs.com/herbalism-by-the-moon-the-new-moon )
Can we stop for a moment, and just sit in admiration of Earth’s oldest friend? Sit quietly, breathing deeply, and allowing ourselves to feel in awe of the fantastic power that the Moon holds?
It is quite amazing when we think about the incredible ability of the Moon. Not only is it an entity that illuminates some of the darkest of nights, and can always be counted on to rise in the east and set in the west, even on a cloudy day – but one that even causes the tides. If it were not for the power and pull of the Moon, the largest, and mightiest bodies of water on our planet would never dance and we would never experience the crashing of waves caused by the spells spoken softly by the Moon to our oceans.
Perhaps that is no wonder why the Moon has such an effect on us and our bodies. Afterall, we are water beings ourselves, with this element making up most of who we are physically. If the Moon can cause the waves to sway so energetically, of course it also can create a stir within our bodies, emotions, and spirits.
In our previous post we celebrated the Moon as it chooses to rest, turning its face away, and giving the night a break from its light in the New Moon Phase. We invite you to join us in celebrating the next phase of the Moon, as it slowly builds, entering into the Waxing Moon Phase.
Whether it appears as the energy that empowers the Goddesses of Greek and Roman mythology, or is the answer for why humans transform into wolf-like beasts once a month in ancient folklore, or is passed over by cackling, warted, green-faced women on broomsticks each Halloween night as we hear in childhood campfire stories, the Moon is deeply rooted in our oldest stories.
In Celtic traditions, the phases of the Moon are symbolic of our own life cycles. Some may be familiar with the concept of the Moon being synonymous with “the Triple Goddess,” or the different key transitions of life. These include the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone. When the Moon is dark, or a new moon, this is symbolic of rebirth, renewal, or youth. This energy continues into the waxing phase, moving toward a full moon. It is during this phase in which the Moon is an embodiment of the “Maiden.” As the Moon grows large and full, this phase is analogous to the “Mother.” And lastly, of course, as the moon is in the waning stage, nearing the end of its cycle, this phase is connected to the image of the Crone. This energy embodies the wise woman, moving toward rest, before the cycle begins again with rebirth.
The Moon also further accompanies the magical and the mystical in Celtic mythology. For example, it is believed that the Fairies would become much more active within our realm on nights with a full moon. The Fairies on these evenings would emerge from the Otherworld, or the Fairy mounds (places where the Fairies were thought to have “gone into the Earth” after the arrival of humans to Celtic landscapes) to dance and sing upon the earth. However, in true folkloric fashion, it was also a night in which Fairies could engage in their more mischievous deeds. For example, young women were encouraged to stay home to avoid being stolen away to become a bride to the Fairies, or this was also commonly a night in which the Fairies were emboldened to seek vengeance against anyone who had previously wronged them.
While the Moon is very prevalent in many ancient cultures and traditions around the globe, the Moon also shows up more modern tales. We can bet if you have a nurse in your family, you have heard tales of how the hospital he or she works at staffs up on full moon nights due to anticipated increases in unusual cases and patients. It seems that on the nights in which the moon is full, people tend to be more daring, or mischievous, and this may result in accidents or intended injuries. Whether this is true or not, there is no doubt there is a thriving space for healthcare related superstition connected to the Moon!
The Waxing Moon can be thought of as the phase in which the Moon is building momentum, growing ever closer to full illumination. During this phase, we experience the first crescent of the moon, with the edge of the crescent facing the right side of the sky. If the New Moon embodies a new beginning, or is a period in which we set intentions or plant metaphorical seeds, the Waxing Moon is the phase in which we take action. It is during this phase that we nurture and take steps toward fulfilling our goals, and making the decisions, or moving toward creating the reality we want for ourselves.
This is a time in which our mindset has profound power, and where one can really hone in on the energy of manifestation, if this is part of your practice. The Moon reminds us during this period that we have all of the power to grow and expand, and experience abundance in its fullest form, just around the corner, so long as we choose to go for it, for we have all that we need within ourselves. This is a time in which it is strongly encouraged to practice visualization, and see within your mind’s eye the outcome of what goal you hope to achieve.
Identifying abundance in your present moment. While we should always seek to grow and expand, part of growth is also recognizing and honoring what gifts we have been given, and how they contribute to where we are at on our journey. Partaking in a gratitude practice can highly supplement shifting toward an abundance mindset.
Partake in a Challenge. This is a time where we can push ourselves a little. Perhaps this is a physical challenge, where you pursue a fitness goal you’ve always wanted to achieve, or perhaps you finally tackle that thing you have been procrastinating (are you a night owl trying to become a morning person? We know setting that early alarm is hard!). As the Moon expands, it transforms – where might you be able to push beyond self-defined boundaries?
Reach out. This is not only important each lunar cycle, but especially after this year. Are there relationships in your life that can use some maintenance, such as a friend or relative you have not checked in on in a while? Is there a romantic flame that you are nurturing that can take the next step in building a deeper connection? Is there a group hobby you have always wanted to try, but maybe have not stepped in the door yet? Where can you reach out, and where can you connect?
Nourish your Seeds and Intentions. Did you plant seeds, either literally or figuratively during the New Moon? Make sure you are doing things to nourish and support those seeds so that they may grow and flourish
As with the New Moon, there are many plant friends who can accompany us and be our guides to further celebrate and align ourselves with the energy of the Waxing Moon. The waxing moon is a time for building, building energy, building support, creativity, and strengthening. Herbs that build, nourish, and strengthen are particular allies during this time
Raspberry Leaf. As the Moon moves in cycles, we too are cyclical beings. And if you are someone who menstruates, you too go through a period of building, ultimately release, and renewal again each month. Raspberry leaf is an ally that has incredible support for tonifying the uterus and womb space, which can be helpful as we move through our cycle. This can help lay the foundation for supporting future menses. Read more about Raspberry leaf here
Gotu Kola. This is an herb that originates from the Ayurvedic tradition. It is used for strengthening both the mind as well as the connective tissues in the body and is a wonderful ally for anyone looking to strengthen their system. Because of its affinity for the connective tissue it’s especially helpful for supporting your body before, during, and after exercise or injury. It’s use as a brain tonic has also been well documented and can help support quick and supple thinking. Read more about Gotu Kola here
Nettle. As we have continued to emphasize, the Waxing Moon is a period of time in which we are encouraged to invite in abundance and growth into our lives. Along with this, building abundance means fully working to nourish ourselves, mentally and physically. Nettle is an incredibly nourishing herbal ally being rich in minerals, and can significantly support our bodies as we move through the lunar energy of this phase. Read more about Nettle here
Rose Hips. Rich in Vitamin C, rose hips are nourishing to all aspects of your system. Especially supportive for the immune system, which can become run down when we are going full speed ahead, adding in rosehips to a daily infusion (alongside Nettle & Gotu kola) will help support your overall health.
Peppermint. Beloved by many, this herb is full of minerals that support your health; it is also uplifting and stimulating and can be excellent for invigorating your body and mind. It is also soothing to the digestive tract and can help break down foods when drank just after a meal, which can be helpful if you’ve perhaps indulged in a richer, heavier meal. Peppermint Essential Oil can also be found on our website.
A combination of all of these herbs together, made into an herbal infusion, would be a lovely, supportive practice during the waxing phase of the moon. It could be drunk cold during the warmer months of the year, or hot when it’s chilly out.
Thank you for joining us again as we celebrate the phases of the Moon. We invite you to ponder over continual change that happens within you and around you, and ways in which this could be celebrated on your own personal journey. Where might you be able to push forward, and where might you rest? What might you be able to let go of, and where are places in which you can grow and expand?
We owe so much gratitude to the Moon as one of oldest teachers, and we hope you sit in awe of it as much as we do. We look forward to continuing to share in this journey through the phases with you all, and thank you for your continued support as we move and shift in our own transformations at Golden Poppy.
There is almost a sense of mysticism around dreaming.
They come to us in the deepest part of the night, when we are fast asleep. It is this sense of almost vulnerability, and subsequently, surrender, that feels mystical. We do not have a lot of control over the sometimes magnificently vivid theater production our subconscious conducts behind our closed eyes. Sometimes the dreams are simple, while other times they are so specific and tangible we cannot help but wonder upon awakening whether it was not our own subconscious at all that produced it – but perhaps even a message from an energy we cannot yet explain.
Dreams have been one of those phenomena that we have been long fascinated with as humans. Some dreams are even steeped in legends or myths, made famous by the fact that the dream predicted an important historical event. Perhaps the dream even guided the sleeper to develop an invention that changed humanity forever.
Matter of factly, an incredible mind that credits a lot of his knowledge and discoveries to his dreams is Albert Einstein. As a person who often slept above-average hours compared to most, including 10 hours of sleep each night in addition to naps during the day, he spent a lot of time in a dreamstate. However, sleep is crucial to our health, and particularly to our brain function – and it appears that being in this state allowed for many of his great ideas. The most profound vision that appeared to him in his dreams is probably that which Einstein is most well known for: Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity. The dream, while bizarre, (Einstein was dreaming of cows being electrocuted), led to our deeper understanding of the speed of light.
Dreams also play a prominent role in folklore for many ancient cultures around the world, and for some cultures, including that of the ancient Greeks, were represented in their religious figures. The “minor god” Morpheus was one such embodiment and personification of dreams. While the ancient Greeks believed in several gods and goddesses that had the ability to bring visions and images to human minds in their sleep, Morpheus is probably the most well known for this activity. Matter of factly, his name is what contributed to the medical term for morphine.
We all understand the importance of sleep. This information is given to us as a regular reminder, a symptom of a generally fast-moving society that struggles to get enough sleep due to demands for productivity or heightened distractions (i.e. screens at night).
However, were you also aware that dreams themselves have incredible benefits for our health?
According to the Sleep Foundation, dreaming itself is an indication of healthy sleep. This is due to the fact that good quality and restful sleep has a link to increased brain function, as well as improved emotional health. Evidence even suggests that benefits of dreaming include improved memory, and better able to process emotions. The Sleep Foundation also points out that people who dream regularly are said to have sharper thinking skills, tend to have improved moods, and have higher levels of creativity (especially if dreams are incorporated into day to day imaginative endeavors).
When we are asleep and engaged in a dreamstate, this is also an incredible moment, for it is a time when the constraints of the day to day world do not have a grip on our mind. Instead, quite the opposite occurs – all of that falls away, allowing for our subconscious mind to open and expand to other possibilities.
Asia Suler, herbalist and founder of One Willow Apothecaries, describes the phenomenon of dreaming so beautifully in an interview with Vanessa Rodriguez on the Feed Your Wild Podcast:
“To me, dreaming is a remembrance of where our consciousness goes when our body goes to sleep. It’s a remembrance of the fact our consciousness is partially stepping out of our body and exploring other arenas, returning to our wider home, our wider self, our wider guidance, and bringing back knowledge and insight from that place. Dreams are the packaged metaphors that come back to us – the packaged stories that help us understand where we are at right now, and where it is our spirit is asking us to go.”
Asia also describes dreaming as, “the place in which we can communicate with other forms of consciousness” – including plants.
In a previous post on this blog, Connecting Deeper: Plant Spirits & Communication, we explored the concept that plants themselves are living beings that hold within them a spirit, and subsequently consciousness. Plants are beautiful allies that if we take the time to listen, we can truly learn so much more. Dreamstates are another place in which we can become fluent in languages we may not otherwise understand, such as those that plants speak. If you are open and willing to listen, plant beings may very well visit you in your dreams to continue to share lessons or ideas with you.
Has a plant ally appeared to you in your slumber? What did they say?
Allowing our minds to enter a dreamstate frequently, as aforementioned, has incredible benefits. However, we recognize that some may have difficulty dreaming, or perhaps do not frequently remember their dreams. That is okay – it is something that can be encouraged and improved upon! We invite you to try out some of the following practices to encourage increased dreaming:
Turn Off the Screens: This may seem like a given, but avoiding stimulation of our senses before bed is incredibly important for a restful sleep. Our bodies have long been connected to the rhythms of natural light, hardwired to awaken when the sun is rising, and to sleep as the sun goes down. Screens have a way of disrupting these rhythms, and continue to engage our brains when they should be powering down for rest. Additionally, use of screens can also contribute to nightmares, which can be dreams that disrupt our sleep.
Trick Your Mind: This is a practice in which you can lean into setting an intention in order to better increase, or remember your dreams. This can include a routine, such as spritzing an aromatherapy spray on your pillow, and repeating in your mind that when you use this spray, that it will encourage dreams. Additionally, Asia Suler also recommends using a “weird object” to help set an intention to remember dreams. This should be an object that is not typically something you would find on your nightstand – such as a shoe or maybe even a frying pan. The idea is that before you fall asleep, this object is placed to serve as a reminder to remember your dream; when you awaken to the bizarre, out of place object on your nightstand it sparks this connection. By seeing the visual object connected to your intention to remember your dreams, it will help encourage your brain to allow the dreamstate images to resurface more easily upon waking.
Develop a Relaxation Routine: Similar to the aforementioned tip, intention can be integral to helping encourage dreaming. If we set up a routine prior to bed in which we encourage a sense of relaxation, this can help encourage the deeper, fuller sleep that promotes dreams. Set an intention to allow your body to rest, and your routine can really be whatever serves you best. For some it may be doing a restorative, grounding yoga practice. For others, it may be settling down with a book and a warm cup of tea. Perhaps you set some calming essential oils to diffuse or light incense to burn while you meditate. Choose activities that encourage this sense of relaxation for you.
Dream Journal: This one may feel a little cliche, but it has proven effective for those who engage in this practice to better recall their dreams. Upon waking, it is common for many of us to start forgetting the details of our dreams rather quickly, sometimes in a matter of very few minutes. A dream journal can be a great way to document the images of our subconscious as soon as we wake up, and with continued practice, it may actually improve and enhance the ability to remember dreams. Additionally, a journal is a great way to examine whether continued patterns, such as the reappearance of a particular plant ally.
Communication with us in our dreams are not the only way we can connect with plants. Matter of factly, many herbal allies are actually known for their ability to help encourage restful sleep, and furthermore, dreaming itself.
Skullcap: This beautiful herb is aptly named for the nervine effect it has on a racing mind. Literally described as a “cap” for our skulls, this herbal ally can help quiet and calm thoughts, allowing us to feel more grounded and present. For some, this herb can actually have sleep-inducing properties, causing drowsiness. Either way, this herb can help alleviate those unrelenting thoughts that prevent us from being able to enter restful sleep.
Chamomile: This sweet herb is known for its ability to create a sense of calm in the body. Chamomile can be a great ally to help combat insomnia or other types of sleep inhibiting conditions, and encourages deep, restful sleep that paves the way for dreams to better occur. Sipping on a chamomile tea or diffusing chamomile essential oils prior to bedtime can help promote a nourished state of relaxation.
Lavender: This incredible aromatic herb has long been connected with relaxation, sleep, alleviating anxiety, and encouraging an expanded subconscious awareness. This is an herb that can invoke more vivid dreaming, or allow our minds to explore connections with other forms of consciousness and energy around us. A great way to use this herb is by making a “dream pillow” in which a small pouch is filled with lavender and placed under a pillow, or by simply spraying lavender aromatherapy spray on your pillow prior to bedtime.
Rosemary: Rosemary is an herb that can help improve cognitive function and alleviate barriers to recalling memories. This is an herbal ally that can help support and encourage our brain activity, alleviating the sense of “fog” that may occur upon awakening.
Mugwort: This plant ally is an incredibly potent herb to invoke profound, visual, and even lucid dreaming. Mugwort has long been used for this purpose, even tracing back to more ancient times. This is due to the fact that Mugwort is believed to promote psychic ability, even thought to encourage prophetic dreamstates. In addition to being used in tinctures or teas, another effective way in which to use Mugwort is to use it as a loose incense in your bedroom prior to sleep.
Give our Time for Bed tea a try as well to help get a good night’s sleep!
We thank you for sharing in this exploration of dreaming with us. We encourage you to try out some of these practices and herbs to increase more restful sleep and invoke a heightened subconscious mind. We hope that your dreams bring expanded awareness, or at the very least some entertainment. Sweet dreams!
We as humans have long been fascinated with and connected to the moon.
Even if you are not someone who identifies as a night owl, we can bet that you have had an experience where the Moon has brought you a sense of comfort or coziness on a quiet evening. What is beautiful about the Moon is that it is something all of us, no matter where you are on this globe can see, experience, and witness. The Moon has been around long before the evolution of humans, and with that, it has been a constant companion to us and this planet we inhabit.
Perhaps what draws us to the Moon, is that familiarity. The fact that it feels like one of our oldest friends, and we take comfort in knowing that even when we cannot see it, that it still is there in the sky at all times. It is easier to not feel alone, knowing that the Moon has been, and will forever, continue to be around.
There is something enchanting about the energy of the Moon. The silvery shimmer in which it illuminates the night sky has a way of reaching even the deepest parts of our soul. One might even say it feels like a consistent sense of hope – shining brightly despite the darkness. But, at the same time, the Moon also reminds us of the strength that comes with consistent change. While we may evolve and shift, at our core, we are always still who we are meant to be. The Moon serves as one of our oldest teachers, routinely demonstrating this concept each month.
The moon is a reminder that no matter what phase I am in, I am still whole. ~Author Unknown
While the Moon is incredibly ancient, it is not something that has been around since the beginning of time.
There are a couple of theories that scientists have considered as possible origin stories of the silver orb of the night sky.
One of the more recent theories was published in August 2017, is that of the theory that two moons collided to form a singular moon. The speculation behind this theory is due to the fact that the near side of the Moon has a much different face than that of the far side of the Moon. The near side of the Moon is low-lying and flat, compared to the high and mountainous far side. It is thought that perhaps a smaller, second moon also orbited the earth at one time before slamming into the sibling moon, resulting in the vastly different surfaces.
A more widely known theory is the entrapment theory. In this theory, it is thought that the Moon likely formed in another part of our solar system, and the stars aligned (you didn’t think we wouldn’t start 2021 without some sort of pun did you? ;)) in order to create a perfect situation that would allow for the Moon to be captured by Earth’s gravitational pull. The Moon was then brought into orbit around the Earth as a result.
The “Giant Impact Hypothesis” is also another interesting possible explanation for the origin of our Moon. In this hypothesis, it is thought that perhaps the Earth collided with another planet that originally existed in our solar system half of its size around 4.5 billion years ago. This collision may have resulted in debris being thrust into space, some of which may have been pulled into the Earth’s orbit. It is thought that a ball of partly molten rock may have been the beginning shape of the moon, later forming into the solid material it is today.
Other theories and potential explanations for the formation of the Moon include the possibility that a large chunk of material spun off of Earth as it was spinning rapidly during the early formation of the solar system, later becoming the Moon, as well as the “Co-accretion hypothesis” in which it is thought that the Moon and the Earth were created at the same time from a single cloud of material that originally formed the solar system itself.
If you’ve ever wondered why the moon seems to change size and shape in the night sky, appearing as a whole orb at one time and completely dark another, then let us help illuminate you.
Unlike the Sun, the moon does not produce its own light. In fact, the light that seems to come from the moon is a reflection of the sun’s light, and as the moon revolves around the Earth, the amount of light that is reflected towards us from its surface changes depending on its position relative to the sun.
This change in position and reflection is what creates the appearance of the moon’s phases.
🌑 New/Dark Moon is when we cannot see the moon because no light is being reflected back to us.
🌒 🌓 🌔 Waxing Moon is when the moon is appearing larger and larger in the sky each night, moving from a thin crescent opening to the left, all the way to the Full moon.
🌕 Full Moon is when the entire face of the moon is reflecting light towards the earth, allowing us to see it’s fully round shape. This is only one night of the cycle, but often the moon looks very full for 2-3 days,
🌖 🌗 🌘 Waning Moon is when the moon begins to look smaller and smaller each night as it travels away from fullness towards the dark moon. The crescent shape will be open towards the right during this phase.
In addition to the appearance of the moon’s changes in the sky, many phenomena have been noted alongside the changing of the phases, including its effects on the tide, migration habits of birds, pet behavior, and more.
It’s no small matter (another pun, so sorry), and it has a profound impact on our planet and our lives. Those who bleed on a regular basis, un-interfered with by hormonal birth control, may find that they bleed in conjunction with a certain phase of the moon. The moon’s cycle lasts between 27-29 days, with the average menstrual cycle being 28 days in length, it’s entirely possible that a person could always bleed during the new moon or always bleed during the full moon.
Think about the profound effect the moon has on bodies of water, and the fact that humans are 98% water, and it’s not that hard to imagine it could be having an effect on us as well.
In this blog series, we will explore ways in which to connect your herbal practice to the rhythms of the moon cycle. Each post will be dedicated to one of the 4 main phases of the Moon: New, Waxing, Full, and Waning, and will explore other related topics including how the moon impacts our mood and health, the history of human interaction with the Moon, folklore of the Moon, and more!
In serendipitous fashion, in the same time span in which this post will be released, the next closest moon phase will be the New Moon. This is the phase in which we temporarily say goodbye to the physical sight of the Moon in the sky.
The New Moon (also called the Dark Moon) can be thought of as the beginning of the journey. As the Moon retreats into the darkness of the night, we can take this as a reminder of the importance to regularly turn inward ourselves. This time also tends to reflect a period in which there is a sense of a “clean slate,” where we can take time to assess what it is we want to create in our lives, or perhaps what we want our future to look like.
There are many holistic practices, or perhaps even personal rituals, we can engage in to help us connect further with the various phases of the Moon.
The energy of the New Moon is the perfect time for reflecting in, for sitting in the quiet and dark moments, to perhaps see that which cannot be seen in the light.
It is the perfect time to create and set intentions for what you may be seeking to manifest, create, or change in your life.
Intention Setting – This is a very simple practice one can engage in to connect with New Moon Energy. This involves setting intentions for what you want to manifest or change in your life. Think of this as setting a goal that you would like to continue to build on for the remaining duration of the moon cycle. If you are someone who enjoys meditation practice, this can be something to focus on. If meditation is not in your practice, you can write down what your goals or intentions are for this moon cycle. As the Moon shifts, you can return to this intention regularly.
Release Ritual – While the New Moon is about new beginnings and fresh starts, sometimes we have to let go in order to start over or to move forward. A practice that may be of benefit to you at this time is writing down 2 or 3 things that you do not wish to carry with you into the next moon cycle. Sit with these, allowing yourself the time to grieve if needed, or to visualize what your life may look like without carrying these forward. It may help solidify this intention for you to (safely) burn the paper on which these are written or bury them in the ground.
Get Organized – Similar to the previous release ritual we mentioned, a great way to get our journey started and capitalize on New Moon energy is to tidy up our environment. If our home, office space, or place in which we create is in disarray or cluttered, this may create energetic barriers for us to perform at our best. We encourage you to put on some good tunes or a good podcast and get to cleaning up. Additionally, part of getting organized can be resourcing the tools you may need to further encourage your journey – that might be signing up for a class, downloading a new book, or picking up some supplies. Take some time to set yourself up for success.
Plant Seeds – Like the New Moon, a plant too starts in darkness as it sprouts from beneath the earth. Planting seeds of your own, whether literal or symbolically, is an excellent practice to connect with the New Moon.
In her book, The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils and More, author Arin Murphy-Hiscock points out why the deep connection between plants and the moon makes sense. It is fairly common scientific knowledge that the Moon has an influence on the tides of the sea due to the gravitational pull of the Moon. It is this gravitational force that is constantly in effect between the Earth and the Moon that results in the rising and falling rhythms of the ocean.
As pointed out by Murphy-Hiscock, “plants are composed of a large amount of water, which implies that their life cycle would be affected by the Moon’s phases.”
Connecting to the energy of the Moon is yet another opportunity to call upon our herbal allies, deepening our relationship with both this energy and our relationship with plants in general. A great first step in doing this is to develop a better understanding of the energetics of the New Moon.
We should seek herbs that support us in taking the much-needed pause that the new moon offers, herbs that are calming, relaxing, nourishing, and supportive. In order for us to perform our best as we move toward our goals, it is important that we properly nourish and care for our bodies. It is the development of this inner support we create for ourselves that will carry us forward.
We can also choose herbs that are warming, alleviating any cold or stagnation in our system that may be felt or increased with the darkness of the outer world.
Alex J. Cunningfolk, herbalist and author behind the Worts & Cunning Apothecary blog recommends some of the following herbs to promote the energetics of the New Moon:
Milky Oats & Oat Straw – Oats are a nutritive tonic herb (meaning they provide nutritional support to our bodies), with deeply moistening properties. They work most specifically on the nervous system and are considered to be tropho-restorative (tissue restoring) to the nervous system, making this a particularly powerful ally for helping to soothe frayed and over-stimulated nerves, which is what most of us need when we seek to retreat into ourselves. Milky Oats can be found in our Self-Love Potion. Read more about oat here and here
Ginger – In addition to being an herb that helps support our immune system and digestion, Ginger is an herb that can help promote action. This herb encourages the movement of blood and lifeforce throughout our system, is warming, and alleviates stagnant energy in our bodies and our minds. If we are seeking to help ‘digest’ the previous moon cycle, or anything else we want to work through during out retreat, then ginger can aid in that. Read more about ginger here.
Reishi – This lovely mushroom is often referred to as the “Mushroom of Life.” It is an incredibly nutritious fungus, and is a powerful adaptogen, meaning it helps us to adapt to the internal and external stressors of our environment. It is also considered to be a calming adaptogen, helping to nourish the deepest parts of ourselves. Sprinkling a little reishi powder in your morning coffee during the period of a New Moon may be just the oomph you need to help in strengthening your inner reserves. Read more about Reishi here.
Nettle – Much like Reishi, Nettle is an incredibly nourishing herb. Packed with essential vitamins including A, C, E, and K, riboflavin, thiamine, and minerals including calcium, chromium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, silica, iron, and zinc. Nettle truly supports all systems of the body. Read more about nettle here.
Marshmallow – (not the fluffy white sugar puffs in your hot cocoa) the roots of this plant are intensely moistening, bringing much-needed hydration to the cells of the body for those who are prone to dryness. Their affiliation to water in the body places them squarely under the domain of the moon and makes it a perfect ally to add in during this moon phase, especially as a counterbalance to the dryness that can sometimes come with drinking nettles. Read more about marshmallow here
Ashwagandha – If you plan to give your nervous system a rest during this phase, ashwagandha can aid in that goal. Also an adaptogen, this plant can help rebalance your cortisol rhythms and levels when used over a long period of time and is the perfect remedy for our modern, hectic, over-worked bodies. Read more about ashwagandha here.
Mugwort – the herb of Dreamtime, this plant has long been associated with the darker side, but only in-so-much as it tends to work best at night when our waking mind is at rest and our unconscious mind is at play. Mugwort is said to enhance one’s dreams and is perfect for working with when you are seeking to look deeper into yourself. Read more about mugwort here.
Additionally, any herb that falls into the relaxing/calming category would be an excellent ally for helping yourself retreat and restore, just as the moon does when she hides her face from the world.
We hope that this post inspires you to begin to look at the moon with more regularity and to reflect upon how your life ebbs and flows in cycles, perhaps in conjunction with those of the moon, and how you can tap into this rhythm to bring more intention and connection into your life.
We are excited to share in this journey with and deepen into the energy of the Moon along with you, and with the warmest wishes, hope your 2021 is off to a great start!