Twenty-five years ago, I lived in a quaint fishing village down the coast from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for six months each year. At the time it didn’t have electricity, phones, roads, or cars—you could only get there by boat.
Each morning I’d wake with the sun, watching the light rise over the mountains, casting a pale yellow light onto the dark beach below me. After years of urban living, with its noise and cars and busy schedules, this pace of life felt like a revelation to me. It felt like I was rebooting every cell in my body.
I discovered that each season my being—body, mind, and soul—was gradually adapting to the rhythms of nature. Like downloading my music into an iPod, I synched the natural world into my being. I started to flow with the rhythms of light and dark, moon and sun, wind and tides. Changes without became reflected within. I needed only to become aware that the two were connected. When I took the time to be still and quiet, this awareness downloaded into my mind, emotions, and being and I realized just how much nature was part of my internal rhythms and cycles.
Rhythms of the Moon
One of the most obvious ways I saw this was in how my moontime and menstrual rhythms started to sync with the moon’s phases. When I’d lived in the city, my cycle was regular, but I didn’t have much awareness of its rhythms—I just knew it would return every 28 days, more or less. It was uncomfortable at times, but not extremely painful. It just kinda happened and I never know there was some way to connect to it more deeply.
But when I slowed down in Mexico, I saw how my moontime came in harmony with the new moon cycle. My bleeding would begin around the new moon, and then there were recognizable energetic shifts that imitated the different lunar phases. The more I paid attention to the outer lunar phases, the more I became familiar with my internal ones. Around the time of the new moon darkness, I would observe an emotional need to “take cover,” going within and being still as if in a womb. The full moon brightness, meanwhile, stimulated ease with an outer, more social flow.
I realized that my body was my physical and emotional compass, guiding me to wellness or reflecting dis-ease. When we don’t care for our bodies with love and attention, pain often replaces pleasure and upheaval replaces harmony, and often these reflections are intensified during our moontime.
When I heard the moontime teachings of Brooke Medicine Eagle, it confirmed the discovery I was deepening into: that moontime can carry sacred wisdom. As I became more familiar with my re-occurring monthly patterns, I decided to keep track of them, to better harness this wisdom. Knowing that my changes were predictable allowed for preparation, acceptance, and familiarity. Honoring this created harmony. I found I even started to look forward to my moontime, cherishing it as a “coming home” to the divine feminine self and her wisdom. This newfound understanding inspired me to write “The Moontime Harmony Workbook,” to help other women more easily honor their own natural rhythms.
Charting and Coding
If you aren’t familiar with charting and coding, it’s very simple. Basically it's a way to document your phases, physical and emotional changes, and needs that re-occur each month. A calendar is the most useful way to do this, but a notebook or journal works too. (These days there are also many apps that can aid you in your tracking.)
First make (or download) a chart. List the changes and experiences you would like to follow each month. Then create a code for each change. Your code can be a color, a letter, or even a symbol like an emoji. Bloating can be blue, B, or a blue thumb pointing down.
Every month write down your codes on the days you experience them in your calendar or journal. Keep track of the corresponding lunar phase and the days you bleed as well. Say May 25 you feel bloated and it is two weeks before your moontime. Now you may start to see that every two weeks before your moontime you get bloated. This is a recurring pattern that is part of your rhythm. Can you do anything about it? What if you try avoiding certain foods? Does that help? Maybe if you include ginger in your diet you eliminate the discomfort?
Once you know what to expect and find a solution, you may be able to avoid the problematic or uncomfortable situations—or at least have more awareness and compassion around them. You are taking charge and creating harmony.
Over the course of a year you will see how these situations occur at similar times of the month, at similar phases of the moon, and at similar times in relation to your moontime.
The value of knowing yourself and your needs is that you can be prepared, plan ahead, do what you need to do, and take steps to be on top of your rhythms. You will be in harmony with you. And don’t forget to follow these changes during the seasons. Winter might vary from summer.
From the Curse to the Sacred
Once I began to follow my phases, I discovered that there were four changes of moontime energies I could identify. Eventually I could slip into them effortlessly. When I did, pain disappeared and a sacred flow of energy replaced it. Like four seasons in the outer world, each moontime passed through four distinct phases and changes.
Before my blood would flow I often seemed to have a more frenetic internal energy. A quickening, sometimes sexual energy, sometimes a scramble to get things done.
I might bleed onto the earth if possible, create a ritual, take a walk in nature, write in my journal, bathe in sweet-scented essential oils, or cuddle up in bed and watch a movie. There was always a pull to listen to what my body was wanting to do or not do.
Often there would be a still point where my internal world surfaced and answers to situations gripping my life would become clear. This third phase, which I called “being in the garden of the Goddess,” felt like a psychic and sacred component to my moontime—one I cherished and looked forward to—when I felt wisdom flowing into my consciousness.
And then, in the last phase, it seemed that once I heard or felt what was needed, I could move out of that third phase and my body would feel healed, energized, stronger, renewed, and ready to go back into the world and resume my life. Like a snake, I had shed my old skin and the new one was ready to be worn.
Becoming Moontime Empowered
Most women live hectic lives these days, and to honor your entire moontime in a moonlodge is probably inconceivable. But there is still value in taking some time to honor and focus. Is it possible to plan an hour to honor your moontime? Plan for child care, don't make appointments, set yourself up ahead of time so you can devote some time to caring for yourself and listening to what you need. Even a 15-minute focused break will have benefits. Fifteen minutes each day of your flow would be even better. Whatever you can do, start to do it. It will likely grow in time because you will feel how important it is to do this.
We all know that moving through life can be smooth and/or bumpy. But when a woman honors, listens, and learns from her moontime, harmony begins to flow within her. She becomes the mistress of her being and not a victim. She creates balance and harmony within herself, her body, and her emotions. This essence is the blessing of a woman’s moontime. It is a gift to be honored and cherished. When you understand how to navigate your moontime compass, you find a path to your divine feminine self who will gift you with wisdom and knowledge. This is the soul of the moontime and the beauty of the sacred wisdom that has been gifted to women each month.
Feature image by Jaz Meier; other images via Unsplash