The Moon and Your Cycle - Are They Connected?
Can the moon affect your menstrual cycle? It may sound a bit strange, but there’s long been theories that a woman’s menstrual cycle and the moon are synced up, aligning with the moon’s 29.5 day cycle. That’s why so many cultures associate the moon with fertility. And if you’ve been watching the sky with any interest these days, you may know that something special is on the horizon: A Supermoon. And not just any Supermoon. A Strawberry Supermoon. 🍓
What is a Supermoon?
A supermoon is a full moon that orbits really closely to Earth, so it looks enormous and magical. On the evening of Tuesday, June 14th, just after sunset, you’ll see the next Supermoon and it will appear with a golden colour!
The names alone may lead you to believe there is a connection between moon phase and menstrual cycle. Naming these moon phases come from a lot of different places including Native American, Colonial American and European sources. June’s full moon, which is typically the last full moon of spring or the first of summer, has traditionally been called the Strawberry Moon. It’s also known by lots of other names like the Blooming Moon, the Birth Moon, The Egg Hatching Moon and the Honey Moon.
All you need to know is that it’s going to be a spectacular sight, so make a night of it. Get outside and enjoy an early summer evening under the glow of the Strawberry Supermoon.
How Does the Moon Affect Our Menstrual Cycle? 🌝
The research is split.
The moon’s influence on our menstrual cycle has largely been dismissed as a myth, but interestingly, some studies have linked lunar phases with sleep and moods. We know there is a link between our cycle and sleep (we wrote about it here) so it’s interesting to wonder whether the moon cycle and our menstrual cycles are working in sync. In a study published in Science Advances, researchers looked at long-term data from women and found that for some, their periods actually synced up with lunar cycles at certain times of their lives.
The study also showed that with age and exposure to artificial nocturnal light, their cycles shortened and stopped aligning with the moon. The researchers behind this study think that this is because in ancient times, human reproductive behaviour was aligned with the moon but artificial light (from lights and screens) and our modern lifestyles have actually changed reproductive physiology and behaviour.
It would be easy to dismiss this as a coincidence. After all, the data only studied 22 women over the course of 32 years. There were bound to be some instances where things aligned purely out of chance.
And this is exactly what more recent research from Clue demonstrated rather definitively. Their conclusion? The moon cycle and menstrual cycle do not sync up. The study was based on the 7.5 million cycles so it’s hard to argue with. The lunar cycle and the average menstrual cycle are basically equal in length so these cycles will inevitably correlate at certain points for some people. They’ve also noted that the terms “menstruation” and “menses” come from Latin and Greek words meaning month (mensis) and the moon (mene) so the association is understandable.
So before you go howling at the moon in a primal attempt to regulate your cycle, you may want to read through their full findings here.
The cultural significance
While the science is somewhat inconclusive, many cultures believe that the menstrual cycle is related to the moon. For example, in the Ojibwe tradition, menstruation is known as “moon time.” (Cute, right?) Traditionally, women take refuge in their homes while they have their period to rest and reflect. Maybe we could learn a thing or two here!
Similarly, many Hindu and Buddhist traditions also say there is a link between the lunar cycle and menstruation. According to Ayurveda, blood is believed to be governed by Chandra, the moon. Women were believed to be healthier when their cycles were in sync with the moon.
According to Vasishta Samhita, medieval yogic text, women were considered to be lunar in nature while men were thought to be solar. It was therefore believed that the moon cycle affected the various stages of menstruation.
Alicia Meek, founder of Wild Moon Sacred Cycles, practices Wicca, a modern Pagan religion. She leads women in ceremonies designed to “preserve and carry forward ancient feminine practices while restoring cyclical consciousness on Earth.” What does this mean exactly? Well, she clearly believes that your menstrual cycle is related to the moon. In fact, even though there is limited scientific evidence to support it, Meek firmly believes that the four main moon phases correlate perfectly to your menstrual cycle:
- Menstrual Phase = New Moon
- Follicular Phase = Waxing Moon
- Ovulation Phase = Full Moon
- Pre-Menstrual Phase = Waning Moon
In her book, Meek also talks about the different types of moon cycles and their relationship with our menstrual cycles. She believes that if you have your period at certain times in the lunar cycle, it can bring out certain attributes. Here are a few examples:
White Moon Cycle
If you start your period with the new moon and ovulate with the full moon, you are said to be on a white moon cycle. Some believe this type of cycle occurs when you are “most fertile” or most ready to become a parent. It’s also said to bring out a reflective quality – probably a good thing if you’re thinking about having a baby!
Red Moon Cycle
If you get your period on the full moon, you are said to be on a red moon cycle. According to Meek, if this is case, then it’s an opportunity to embrace your passionate, outgoing and sexual side.
Pink Moon Cycle
If you start your period on the waxing moon, then you’re on a pink moon cycle. This is associated with a time of transition.
The Purple Moon Cycle
When you start your period on the waning moon, you are on a purple moon cycle. This cycle is associated with healing.
We think there’s something really magical about the idea that the moon and a woman’s menstrual cycle could be working in sync. Despite the fact that many studies refute the idea of a connection, there are countless cultures that have found meaning in the link between menstruation and the phases of the moon. So, is there a way to actually sync your menstrual cycle with the moon?
Not really. But if you want to use an app or good old’ fashioned pen and paper and track your cycle, you can start to see if there is a relationship with the moon. If you want to experiment with by using an app, check out our blog post on the best period tracking apps.
Take note of what moon phase your cycle aligns with and then work with your natural flow to feel your best, every day of the month. For example, take time to rest and reflect during your menstrual phase and use your ovulation phase to do a tough workout or crack on with your to-do list.
And, if nothing else, it might be a way for you to feel more connected to your body and the universe.
Will you be checking out the Supermoon on June 14th?