Do you ever feel exhausted for no obvious reason? You're not sick, over-stressed or menstruating, but yet you feel exhausted? That happened to me again this week, and the first thing I looked at is the lunar cycle. Sure enough, there's a new moon this week.
I always feel completely drained near the new moon, physically and emotionally.
This may sound familiar to some of you, but for most humans, we don't notice the lunar cycles much. We live in mostly urban areas with so much artificial light that it's hard to even notice the light or presence of the moon most nights. Yet for centuries humans have noticed a connection. After all, the word "lunatic" comes from a Latin word for "moonstruck."
When we learned how the moon affects the tides, the connection was made that the moon could do the same with our bodies on a smaller scale. After all, the human body is mostly made of water. There have been promising studies on a plant whose root growth matches the moon's orbit, but most scientists believe that the gravitational pull on such a small amount of water would have little to no effect.
There have also been studies on how the full moon affects our sleep. It was found in one study that it took longer to fall asleep, and that there was less time spent in deep sleep. However, the results could not be replicated in subsequent studies.
There are some interesting studies on magnetic fields though, and how exposure to magnetic field changes have been shown to lead to a decrease in brain alpha wave activity, which upsets circadian clocks and sleep patterns. For instance, there is a protein in fruit flies that may function as a magnetic sensor, which lead to observable alterations in the timing of their sleep. However, it's unlikely that the same proteins in humans are sensitive to magnetic fields, but there could be other molecules that are.
The moon has been shown to affect other organisms though, like coral, who appears to time their spawning on the moon's cycles. In general though, there just isn't enough evidence to prove that the moon has any affect on us physically or emotionally.
Then why does my experience say otherwise?
"We cannot rule out the possibility of its role among various environmental factors that might affect our sleep, moods and vitality,” - Niall McCrae, author of The Moon and Madness
I tend to be drawn towards more esoteric explanations. Those that recognize the new moon as a time of high vibrational energy that opens us up and leaves us vulnerable. Vulnerable to old hurts and emotions that were hidden in our cells. It purges the old, and leaves us feeling fatigued and unmotivated, scatterbrained and disorganized. My new mantra is "It's OK. It's a time for thinking and feeling, not action."
As a systems thinker, I love looking at the whole cycle of life, including the lunar cycles, and relating them to my life. This awareness brings clarity, hope and connection within myself, and with humans all throughout time. Here's the cycle I choose to follow:
This week, when I started fading into exhaustion, I chose to sit and look at rocks with the children at school. I found hearts, moon shapes, "teeth," fossils, and more. As I dug through the pea gravel, I began to relax and see clearly. I began to connect with the children around me. And the fog began to lift. I began to feel inspired again. Little did I know how important this type of grounding is during the new moon...
I am a night owl living in a world of morning larks. I've grown up hearing all the "morning bird gets the worm" metaphors I can stand. I hate mornings. I'm useless until around 11am. And I'm finally OK with that after reading some encouraging words and scientific proof that I'm not damaged.
I don't believe that my whole day is a waste, or that I'll never be successful if I don't jump on tasks before lunch time.
To be fair, I've tried getting up early for years. Even after having a child, I just can't do it. I lay in bed stressed out about getting to sleep so I can wake up early, and ended up losing more and more sleep and just dragging every. single. day.
I thought there was something wrong with me, and that my low energy was some sort of hormonal issue.
But then COVID hit, and I didn't have to be anywhere early. I could roll out of bed for an early meeting, and then roll right back into bed and still get all my work done later. I was happier and full of more energy than I've been since I was 30 (I'm 44 now). It could have also been that I'm an introvert, and not having to interact with people all day meant that my energy reserves were still high at the end of the day. I fell in love with nights, and was high on my new found energy. Now I'm on a mission to find a job where I can continue to do this for as long as I want to.
Teaching is wonderful, and so fulfilling and fun, but the hours and pay are grueling. There has to be a better way. I'm inspired to revamp my offerings to include more virtual and subscriber content, which also means I can offer more wonder to more people, anywhere in the world. So stay tuned!
My spirit animal has always been a spider, but I think owls are calling me now...
Symbolic meanings for the owl are: