How to Harness the Power of the Moon + Your Menstrual Cycle to Reach Your Goals
Today marks September’s New Moon, a time that can empower great change and help us manifest our goals. The fact that the moon reliably completes a cycle each month is also a strategic tool that we can harness, with just a little bit of self-reflection and paying attention.
The moon goes through four phases each month, and the female menstrual cycle aligns nearly perfectly with those phases, says Jennifer Racioppi, astrologer and success coach. “Why wouldn’t we pay attention to it?” she says. “It’s a sacred recipe that helps us move forward to better health. Embedded in both the moon and menstrual cycle rhythms is a prescription for health.”
The four phases of the moon correspond with four phases in a woman’s menstrual cycle—but Jennifer is quick to say that if you’re not lined up with the lunar phases, there’s no need to try to reset yourself. “Some people are opposite the moon, and that’s okay. Wherever your cycle is, is exactly where it needs to be,” she says.
But whether you’re synced up with the New Moon (you’ll be starting to menstruate this week if you are) or not, you can still utilize the power of the phases to create a better life. Here’s how.
Phase 1: New Moon/Menstrual Cycle
This first phase, which we’re entering now, is about a purification process. You’re literally shedding the lining of your uterus, and the moon is entering a symbolic phase called the “dark moon.” It’s when the moon’s light is absent from the nighttime sky, because it’s obscured by the sun. “The moon is actually reflecting back the sun’s light to us,” says Jennifer. “There’s no distance between the moon and sun.”
This is the time to set an intention, to have a goal that you want to focus on for the month. “In terms of self-care,” says Jennifer, “this is the time to begin manifestations, to use positive thinking. It’s about self-ownership, and getting clear on what you want to create.”
It’s also a great time to hear from your body. “Be receptive to listening and formulating an intention,” Jennifer says.
Phase 2: Waxing/Follicular
Phase 2 is all about action and excitement, says Jennifer. For the moon, it’s starting to make its way back to a Full Moon, moving towards that bright night sky. In the female cycle, hormones are rising, being boosted from the purification process of your period. “Estrogen spikes,” says Jennifer, “and that causes a rebound in this follicular phase.”
It’s also known as Venus Week, a term coined by Dr. Rebecca Booth, to signify the time of the month when women have the most energy and greatest capacity. “This is the week to be more assertive in choosing to go after your dreams,” says Jennifer. “Have those tough interviews and meetings, go on that date, work out and call your mom. You can do it all this week.”
Estrogen spiking also drives our need for connection, to build our tribe, says Jennifer. “You might feel more social this week, ready to have lots of outings and conversations. Estrogen propels relationships and communication as part of a drive to survive.”
You’re also a little buffered in this week: You don’t feel pain in the same way because estrogen levels are higher. So you might physically feel better too.
The lunar cycle is adding energy to our intentions this week too, says Jennifer, so it’s a time to act out those goals. “What practical things are you doing to reach that intention you set during menstruation?” she asks. “Now is the time to prioritize goals and move towards them.”
Be aware that obstacles might arise during this phase too—but Jennifer says that’s completely normal. “It’s inherent in the moon cycle, a challenge,” she says. “It’s meant to show us where our upper limits are, where we need to learn humility, where we need to acknowledge that our ego isn’t ready.”
But don’t get discouraged, she says. “You haven’t done anything wrong! It’s just a check-in point. We have to reconcile obstacles on the way to our goals. It’s about a resilience mindset—setbacks are part of our growth journey, so don’t lose hope! Pay attention to what you need to develop a workaround for.”
Phase 3: Full Moon/Ovulatory
This is the peak moment of a woman’s cycle, says Jennifer. “Whether you’re trying to get pregnant or not, your body is trying to win sperm and get that pregnancy.” For all women, this power can be harnessed and funneled into other outlets. “Prioritize those super competitive workout classes,” she says. “Spin, run, exert yourself!” This time of the month is about high impact and high energy.
And don’t be upset when these types of classes don’t appeal to you at other times of the month. “It’s not about finding ‘your exercise,'” Jennifer says. “Your body doesn’t need the same exercise over and over. Apply skillful means to determine what you need depending on the time of your cycle.”
Jennifer says that Full Moon week is the week to have a little more fun, stay out a little later, work a little longer. “Go all out in the direction of your goals. It’s an easier, more harmonious time,” she says. “We’re basking in the glow of ovulation and the Full Moon.”
Phase 4: Waning/Luteal
The last phase is when your body is preparing for that menstrual shedding. That means it’s a good time to actively let go of that habit that isn’t helping you create the life you want, says Jennifer. “Think through, ‘What are the obstacles blocking me that I should shed or release?'” she says.
It’s also a time for rest and sleep because you’re losing hormones and recovering from a potential pregnancy. “You might not want to talk to anyone,” says Jennifer, “or you might be cursing your Venus Week self, the one who scheduled happy hours and baby showers with the need for connection. “Estrogen is lower this week, so your need for connection is lower,” Jennifer says. “You don’t care about people-pleasing, being right or fitting in.”
Instead, take ownership of that need for down time and skillfully craft a plan or goal for your next cycle. “Ask yourself, ‘Knowing what I know now, how do I intend for the next cycle to go?'” says Jennifer.
It’s also a time when your intuition gets turned way up. “Any symptoms that you’re experiencing during this time are a wake-up call,” Jennifer says. “Listen to those symptoms, whether they be headaches or sleepiness or pain. Tune into, ‘what is behind this symptom?’ and prioritize understanding. Figure out what habits you’ve been living in that aren’t creating your best life.”
This might look like food sensitivities coming to light, or communication styles that aren’t serving you. Pay attention, Jennifer says, because to understand where you’re going, you have to understand where you’ve been. “In our masculine world, we’re taught to abandon ourselves by masking our symptoms,” she says. “We’re taught to bulldoze subtlety and nuance, but the female cycle is all about the study of nuance, the study of self.”
Harnessing the power of that study can not only inform you of your needs but it can also help you manifest your best life. “The moon is as consistent as anything—it operates on this cycle every month like clockwork!” says Jennifer. “And our bodies are cyclical and predictable like that too, if we can pay attention and draw understanding from them.”
It’s also a study in resilience, to understand the rhythms our bodies go through. “It’s easier to anticipate and cope with setbacks when we realize they relate to our rhythms,” Jennifer says. “When things feel harder, when we’re paying attention to curveballs, we can see how they fit into the bigger picture and understand how we can bounce back.”
“It’s not a curse,” she says. “It’s an extremely intelligent system that helps you understand yourself better—how to incorporate self-care rituals, how to overcome obstacles. It’s an investment in yourself to learn more about your body and take ownership of yourself.”
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