To begin change, watch cycles
The moon is my wingman...
At this time of the year, change is in the air. The new year is just past, and the reality of winter, if you're in such a climate, puts the previous and coming years in spotlight. Well, now it is February, the moon is in its waning crescent phase, soon to be new again on February 15.
We are entering close to the dark moon, a time of emptying out, letting go, finishing up, tying up loose ends.
So whether you are a resolutionist, or scoff at such notions, there is precedent for paying attention to the timing of your changes, and moods. The new year is one time to reflect—the winter solstice. The new moon of each month also brings an opportunity to again start fresh, to come up with and carry out plans, to adapt, to review, and to recuperate between active times.
If we forget the last three, which we often do, then we can go off half-cocked, mid-idea, mid-story, mid-month perpetually.
So, most important is that we begin by simply watching existing cycles, not as through a peephole but surveying all that we do and take interest in with great interest and curiosity—
and with realism. A sticky thing about life seems to dictate you know (see, accept) exactly where you are before you can go anywhere else.
I have always had a bit of a challenge as to pacing and keeping up in my life with the tide of popular busyness. I ignored smaller cycles and focused on long arcs. Months flew by like weeks to me.
So for me, the moon has been helpful, along with gardening (seed to harvest) to set me straight on the small cycles I live through, making them more manageable, or at least more predictable.
Different people may feel actually affected by the moon, but no doubt, we are all in varying levels of engagement "in touch" with the moon as a changeful yet regular symbol in our imaginations.
So it is a useful tool of regulation.
What is to be done? Once you start noticing moon phases, then you start noting more. Notice if you move through all the steps of growth change and decay in your life. That's it. In yoga (as in all contemplative disciplines) awareness is key to changing your life.
Recent and upcoming moons are:
1/31 Full Moon with full lunar eclipse...for astro-nerds, a biggie (also a Blue Moon, the second full moon of the month)
2/15 New Moon with Partial Solar Eclipse
Other New Moons this year
March 17, April 15, May 15, June 12 (solar eclipse), July 12, August 11 (solar eclipse), September 9, October 8, November 7, and December 7.
Other Full Moons this year
March 1, March 23, April 29, May 29, June 27, July 27 with lunar eclipse), August 26, September 24, October 24, November 22, December 22.
How eclipses affect humans is up for lively debate. Though no physical impacts are known, every civilization has had a visceral and psychological response to eclipses.
Animals at least start behaving as if it is nighttime. Songbirds go quiet, spiders dismantle webs, crickets chirp, chickens roost. It may cause a tiny blip in the circadian clock.
For most, though, the more interesting effects are psychological, or how we make meanings of unusual phenomena.
The moon and awareness of cycles
If you pay attention to the moon, it highlights a natural calendar or progression of cycles that helps you complete projects more efficiently. You’ll also start to notice the moon phase more naturally as well. For women, there’s a natural pacing with the 28-day cycle, as our fertility moves along that calendar.
But there are also old folkways relating to hunting, and to farming, when to plant new seeds and when to harvest, to the optimal moon in which to get a haircut (waxing), to when to get pregnant—women’s ovulation either follow the new moon or full moon (white cycle and red cycle).
Not all of this is to be considered theoretical or symbolic knowledge.
The moon certainly controls some aspects of the female cycle. For instance, a dark sky can trigger ovulation because our forebearers could hide more easily when the moon was dark. Hence, new moon ovulation (with full moon bleeding).
Regardless, start following some kind of calendar, understanding the moods and vibes you yourself go through each month, and soon, life lines up a little more intelligently.
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour” (Wm Blake)
To know the year, know the cycles of the month, the day, the hour, the moment.
In the beginning there was light, in other words, seeing/knowledge comes first. More on that soon.
Moon phases of 2018: