Thursday, March 06, 2008

I'm a Calendar!

Been contemplating the moon a lot lately, learning a little more about her cycles, and how they coincide with mine. H. has been impressed when I told him recently about how women's periods--at least when they live more attuned to nature than we tend to in urbanized areas--coincide with the moon's cycles, and how the word 'menstruation' comes from the Latin words that translate to 'measure of time'. For example, ideally a woman would get her period during the 'dark' moon, and be most fertile during the full moon (ovulation). So we could literally, and people have for generations in the past, track the movement of days and the moon through our bodies, our menstrual cycles. 'We're calendars!' I said with some pride.

The dark moon in particular has been calling to me--the shadow essence of the moon, when her face is hidden from us because no light shines on her surface from the sun, at least from our perspective here on Earth--partially because that's the phase that we're in right now, and mostly because I've been doing body energy therapy lately and been more in touch with the more nuanced, intuitive sensations in my body, which I think are more aligned with the dark moon's energy. Hence, the new black template for my blog, and the moon-widget on the right.

This may seem a bit new-agey to folks out there, and may surprise you that I have an interest in things like this, but nature has always fascinated me, especially as I get older and try to figure out the reasons behind my actions, and how I can become more balanced when I start to feel stressed out or off-kilter. Often, just taking a walk outside, going for a hike in the hills, or sitting and meditating and sensing the earth (or the floor that's in the building that's on the earth) supporting me and holding me brings me back to my center. The more we are out of touch with nature, I feel the less human we are, and the more prone to things like depression, senseless violence, drug addiction, fits of anger, etc.

So back to the moon. I wrote a couple pieces lately, at night, when I was particularly feeling the moon's waning presence strongly. The waning moon, the phases during which the moon is moving from full to dark, and therefore getting 'smaller' to us here on Earth is, according to many, a time of inner reflection, mystery, completion, breaking old ties or patterns. It's a time when things wind down versus start up--that would be the waxing moon time, when the moon is moving from new / dark to full.

I've definitely experienced these energy shifts--getting tired and inward, even moody during the waning moon. Not inconsequentially, if you're a woman and your menstrual cycle coincides with the moon's patterns (and you should count yourself lucky if they do), your so-called PMS symptoms like crankiness and feeling really tired are probably just a sign that you are not listening to what your body needs during this waning, slowing down time: more rest, less stimulating foods like caffeine, having less interaction with others.

So I've been trying to listen to my body and do what it's telling me to do. Of course, since the rest of this country doesn't run on a lunar calendar--although almost every other great civilization in the world has!--it's been challenging to do so and still honor the timelines and needs of my job and other commitments. I am trying to be more conscientious about structuring my life around the moon's patterns--for example, since I have a lot of extra vacation time this year I'm planning on taking one day off per month right around the time of the new moon. I think it will help a lot with my overall sense of well-being and hopefully help me be a more responsive leader, a better friend and partner, and just overall more grounded person.

Try it out yourself, especially if you're a woman, since your cycle if it's regular and corresponds to the moon's cycles gives you an automatic calendar by which you can measure the moon's waxing and waning. Try using your lights at home less often--especially during the full moon, you don't need lights as much as you think, and having your home dark except for the moonlight coming outside, even for a half-hour, can be really soothing and romantic. It can help you become more synchronized with the moon's energies. See what happens to your body, your feelings, your interactions with people after doing this for a while. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

And the new moon officially starts tomorrow, although we've been in a waning period for a while now. Don't forget to slow down!

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