Before we had apps and phones and doctors and journals to track our periods and to remind us when we were about to start bleeding, the moon represented a very natural, holistic and grounded reminder of our menstrual cycles and periods.
In today’s society, however, the connection between the moon and its phases is often overlooked and under utilised.
As a society, we are arguably busier than ever before and somewhere along the way, we have become disconnected from the menstrual cycle and moon connection that so many ancient cultures view as sacred and special.
On top of that, it is also believed that our high levels of exposure to blue light and phones, tablets and laptops (think any electronic device) actually has only further disconnected us from the natural light and period cycles that we once historically perhaps felt so aligned to.
In Western Society, our periods are often looked at as annoying, a nuisance or a frustration - but there is a shift happening with the holistic communities that is helping females to return to the root of this beautiful, natural experience. This part of society is asking women to slow down during their bleed and this movement is asking females worldwide to become more connected, in touch with and respectful of our fertility and natural rhythms and what this means as part of a bigger picture.
At Agent, we like to look at our monthly cycles as a way for us to examine our health and our bodies more closely, using our period to ask ourselves not only ‘what is going on inside my body - is all working as it should?’ but also - ‘what bigger piece of life and nature am I connected to?’ and ‘what does my body need right now so I can utilise this period most effectively for me and those around me?’
The connection between our periods & the moon
Many believe that, historically, women ovulated according to their physiological and hormonal response to the amount of light in the night sky (this means, the moon). Most of the time, it was understood that ovulation took place when there was the most light in the night sky (full moon), then leading into bleeding with a new moon (the least light in the sky).
Ok, so, you're saying that the moon is affecting our biology?
Maybe, yes! If you are aware of the difference in masculine and feminine energy, in some Eastern beliefs, the moon is considered to be more ‘feminine’ and the sun more ‘masculine’.
Today, lots of studies and research has started to look into howmen’s hormones turn over in a 24-hour period, while a female’s hormones actually correspond more with the Infradian rhythm(which is associated with the 28 days of the month/menstrual cycle as well as the lunar cycle).
Ok, so you’re saying that our periods sync up with the moon?
Not always - but sometimes, yes. Whilst there is no hard and fast proven scientific research on this, in a study published in Science Advances, scientists and researchers analyzed long-term data from participants in the study and found that for some their periods *did* actually sync with moon and lunar light at certain times in their lives, as well as certain times of their cycles. Crazy!
In fact, the study found that most people got their period either with the onset of the full moon or new moon, but *not* with other parts of the moon or luminance cycle. In ancient cultures, this phenomenon is known as the White Moon and Red Moon Cycles.
Tell me more about these two cycles..
The White Moon cycle is when people bleed on or around The New Moon.
The Full Moon cycle is when people bleed on or around The Red Moon.
Today, however, whilst many people do tie into these two cycles, electricity and light pollution, as well as the physical stresses of modern life, exposure to toxins - and a lot of emotional trauma mean that some women may in fact bleed and ovulate at different times.
Ok, tell me more about the New Moon cycle?
If you have your period on or around a New Moon, ancient wisdom and the spiritual, holistic community firmly believe that you and your body follow the natural cycles of the earth.
What this means is that when the moon goes dark, your body, soul and spirit want to do the same thing - think withdraw into rest and digest mode with an increased inward focus on you, yourself and your body.
Conversely, when the moon is at its biggest, broadest and loudest - so are you! Energy levels up!
This link to the ancient cycles and cycles of the earth is likely why you are hearing of more and more people who are choosing to withdraw from the busy-ness of society during the week of their period, allowing them to focus on themselves, their body and their needs more than ever before.
If this resonates with you and you like to spend some more ‘you-time’ during your period on the New Moon cycle, we also suggest reducing high intensity exercise - in fact perhaps swapping it out for some yin - and really indulging in some slowed-down self care and at-home time.
Ok, and the Full Moon Cycle?
Women who get their period around the full moon are on the Red Moon cycle and historically, the Red Moon cycle are known to be the ancient healers of the world - the healers, the intuits, the medicine women, the midwives and more.
If you bleed with the full moon, it is understood historically that your energy is focused on self-actualization, and on using your own worth, knowledge, spirituality and power to empower other women.
If this is you, think about how you can show up in your community (both friends and family around you, but also online in today’s social media age) - so that you can make real, lasting changes for you and those around you.
Ok, this is interesting - but how would the moon *actually* impact our cycles?
Ok, we understand this may feel a little abstract - and for some people, even a little bit ‘woowoo’, but when you understand the connection between our bodies, light, the amount of it and menstruation, it becomes a little bit more clear cut.
Think, less of a strange phenomenon and more of a beautiful biological symbiotic relationship.
The role of Light and Menstruation
Scientific studies completed over the past 4 decades have shown that moonlight (or the equivalent of a white/blue night light) helps the body shift from preparing the lining of the uterus, instead getting it ready to ovulate.
The pineal gland, found in our brain, is responsible for our perception of light and dark. It also produces melatonin, the hormone that is well-known for helping us maintain healthy wake/sleep cycles, but that also directs other daily rhythmic activities through the hormonal actions of melatonin – including stress levels, appetite, and the onset of puberty.
Interestingly however, it has also been found that melatonin is also produced in the reproductive organs and this exciting new research underlines the importance of stable circadian rhythms, not only to our sleep/wake cycles, but also to our levels of fertility and reproductive health.
In 2015, a PubMed article research study stated that artificial light at night (particularly white and blue light) should be avoided for optimal reproductive health and fertility because exposure to artificial light after the sun goes down at night disrupts the bodies circadian clock and suppresses natural elevated nocturnal melatonin levels.
In Agent language - artificial light can influence the way your body shows up with it’s cycles.
Charlotte Helfrich-Förster, a chronobiologist at Julius-Maximilians University of Würzburg in Germany agrees - she speculates that synchronization of human reproduction with lunar cycles may likely have been stronger in ancient times, but exposure to artificial light in modern life has dulled the moon’s influence and thus de-regulated many of our cycles.
Late night iPhone scrolling, we blame you!
Ok, so I’m into this. How can I lean into these moon cycles a little more?
If you’re looking for a new way to connect back to the infinite wisdom of the planet and the moon, it’s great to understand how your period can align with the moon phases - and what is going on with your body.
Just like there are four phases of the moon, there are also four phases of our period cycle - Follicular, Ovulatory, Luteal, and Menstrual.
Let’s go further into these using one of the most frequently followed cycles - those who get their period on the New Moon:
1/ THE FOLLICULAR PHASE - Waxing Moon
In this phase, the brain (and more specifically the pituitary gland) releases a hormone stimulating the follicle in the body, which is holding an immature egg. Things are about to get moving, growing and shifting so now is a good time to focus on what you want MORE of in your life.
Use this space and time to think about what you want to call into your life..
2/ OVULATION PHASE - The Full Moon
The ovulation phase is when the egg is released from the ovaries and moves into the fallopian tube. Estrogen rises and progesterone fluctuates.
At this point in the ovulation phase, the full moon is known to offer a more on-guard and more alert energy and so we are often able to work hardest here - which is quite the opposite of when our period comes on.
During ovulation, focus on the things you need to DO and what feels good for you. Now is the time to show up as your best self and get most things done.
Life admin? To do lists? Tasks you’ve been putting off. Now is the time.
3/ LUTEAL PHASE - WANING MOON
During the luteal phase, testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen are at their peak levels, working together to rebuild the uterine lining.
As the moon is pulling away and entering into a phase of darkness, our bodies may start to slow down and realise it is time to *calm* for a while as our period is about to come. Now is the time to prepare for rest.
In this period, prepare to slow down. Get things done that might not get done when your period arrives - and also start to prioritise YOU.
Now is the time for long baths, long walks, naps, yoga (particularly we love yin), talking with friends and gentle stretching to slow down and connect inwards.
4/ MENSTRUAL PHASE - NEW MOON
Finally, if your period arrives on a New Moon like many, your body will release and shed the uterine lining at this time. and the key is to honor the body and care for it gently during this phase. It can sometimes be intense on the body - particularly for people who struggle with major PMS and/or cramps.
During menstruation, it is the perfect time to find rest, quiet and stillness. It is also a really beautiful time to journal and work on releasing negative thinking habits and things that have held you back from the same cycle. There can be a very slow, calm, sleepy, almost dreamy feeling associated with a new moon.
Lean into it and enjoy the time at home. Sometimes it is the only peace & quiet in today’s busy society.
The ancient wisdom of the moon is a fascinating topic and deciding to become more deeply connected with the rhythms of our cycles, and the moon, is a step forward on a personal journey to connect more deeply with yourself and the world around you.
Aligning with the moon cycles can help you flow through life a little more easily, understanding that your body may need different things at different parts of the month.
However, remember, that whilst very valuable and quite a special journey - using the moon to guide us in understanding our bodies on a deeper level takes time. Be sure to track your periods alongside the moon to identify any alignment within your cycle and the moon - here are our five favorite apps for you to track your body’s natural rhythms.
Most of all, remain curious about your body and what you are feeling throughout your cycle. That’s where this whole journey starts.
Also, remember, everyone’s cycle is different and might not sync up exactly like the below phases. If your period is particularly irregular, talk with your doctor about potential remedies for regulating your cycle. It’s important to get this working regularly.
And most of all? Keep that blue light down before bed. It may be more impactful on your period and your fertility than you think!
By Louise Rumball / @iamlouiserumball
***THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED OR REGULATED BY THE FDA. WE ARE NOT DOCTORS, THEREFORE ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST.