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Full Moon Rituals Around the World

Soon it is that time of the month again – when the moon shines for us in its fullest and brightest expression. From some celebrated for its divine powers, from others frowned upon and held responsible for sleepless nights and terrible mood swings, the full moon sure has a magical influence on us. A full moon occurs when the sun and the moon are opposing each other, and this opposition can be full of energetic and emotional tension and leave us feel confused or frustrated. 

In ancient indigenous cultures, the moon has always held a special place and was worshipped for its rhythms of life and the universe. Just as we move through different phases in life, so does the moon – every month. No matter if the moon can be seen or not, it is always with us.

In astrology the moon possesses is a divine feminine energy, a yin energy, and is responsible for our innermost emotional state. Yin energies are cooling, soft and align with darkness and water. They are the “being“ part of ourselves, and observe, contrary to the yang part of ourselves which is the “doing“ state. During a full moon, the yang energies are amplified as the sun shines upon the moon. This creates an interesting dualistic nature of sun and moon. 

In Native American cultures, the moon is often referred to as ‘grandmother moon‘, emphasizing its deeply feminine nature.

Why is the full moon celebrated?

Every month, the moon starts a new cycle around the earth. A moon cycle begins with the new moon, when the moon stands between the earth and the sun and is therefore invisible for the human eye. It then goes into a waxing phase until it reaches the full moon – the pinnacle of the moon cycle. After the full moon the moon retreats into its waning phase until it all starts again with the new moon.

The full moon is celebrated since thousands of years in ancient cultures for its magic, mystery and special energy. It represents a time to gather with community, release unwanted energies and honor what we have created since the new moon. 

Full moons are great gateways to create change in our life, they are powerful tools for letting go of unwanted energy, cleansing and releasing what doesn’t serve us anymore. The full moon amplifies. Just as the moon is shone upon my the sun, our emotions and energies are brought to light so that we are able to work with them. 

Astrologically, full moons are a time to take action. When the moon is its brightest and most active, we get inspired to do the necessary work that is needed to manifest dreams into action. The light of the full moon serves as guidance where we need to focus and shift our energy. 

To harness the beautiful power of the full moon, moon rituals and ceremonies can be used as a powerful tool to self-reflect and create necessary change in your life. Moon ceremonies, dances and rituals have been around for many centuries. Evidence of moon worship has been uncovered at archaeological digs all over the world, from the ancient Celts to the Egyptians. The most common symbol was the lunar disc – a flat, shiny figure worn as a medallion or as part of a crown, meant to symbolize the moon and associated things. But some full moon rituals are still alive today.

The following rituals of ancient cultures around the globe can provide you with an idea and inspiration for your own moon ceremony, to use the magical power of the moon.  

Moon Dance in Mexico

The moon dance is an ancient indigenous practice of Native Americans that comes in addition to the sun dance. Both dances involve the gathering of a community and focus on praying and dancing for the sake of healing. The moon dance also worships the feminine energy and Mother Earth. It aims at reuniting women, men and children with the Earth and the essence of the moon. It is a three day ceremonial dance taking place on the full moon. During the night, the community gathers together to dance, sing and share sacred teachings under the moon. The days are for resting and recharging. 

Hindu Full Moon Ritual

Hindus believe that the moon in its fullest state has a great influence on human anatomy, just so as it affects the water bodies on earth like the cycle of tides. If we think about it, it makes sense, as our human bodies are made up of roughly 65% water. During a full moon, people might become restless, irritable and even ‘lunatic‘, a term derived from the Latin word for moon “luna“. Hindus have specific rituals for full moons.  

In Hindu, the full moon day is called ‘Purnima‘. It’s a very felicitous day in the Hindu calendar promising prosperity and happiness. Therefore, it is celebrated with a strict hast from sunrise to sunset and praying to the presiding deity, Lord Vishnu. After the whole day of fasting, praying and reflecting, they take a dip in the river and consume some light food at dusk. 

Pagan rituals

Our ancestors have been living with the seasons and the cycles of the moon for centuries and have worshipped the moon to receive good luck and fortune for their harvest and fertility. In ancient times, the moon was a reliable source to connect to one’s inner state as well as the world surrounding us. Unfortunately, in the last century through a rise of digital technology, we have come to forgot some of the magic of the this ancient celestial object. 

Pagan wiccan (witchcraft) moon rituals worship the moon as a Goddess, associated with fertility and reflect back on the moon’s importance in nature and the cycles of life. Ceremonies and rituals include cleansing the energy by burning sage, making music, singing and dancing in sacred circles looking at the moon and burning and releasing what does not serve anymore, physically and emotionally. 

Create your own ritual…

Hopefully the rituals and ceremonies from above have given you some inspiration for your own full moon ritual. Celebrating the full moon can be a very powerful way for your own self-development. We learn to put our own life into context with the cycles of nature. The full moon always marks a time of death, change and re-birth. It is a perfect time to let go of the things that are holding you back from living your best life and reaching your fullest potential. 

In the 48-hour window surrounding a full moon, you can express gratitude, meditate, pray and work on your manifestations. Create a sacred space for yourself by taking a candle-lit bath and do some journaling or celebrate with others, creating a sharing circle, moving, meditating and manifesting together.

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