Since ancient times, the moon has come to symbolically embody the realm of the subconscious, emotions, intuition, and the cycles of life and death.
You don’t necessarily need to identify as a pagan or practice other earth-centered spiritual paths to benefit from the power of full moon rituals.
When viewed through a symbolic, psychospiritual, archetypal, or even purely energetic lens, the moon is a very real presence in our lives that can help orient us on the spiritual path. No matter where you live in the world, the moon is an omnipresent force in your life. Why not use it in your spiritual practice?
There are numerous instructions out there for creating a full moon ritual – but the main problem with using someone else’s instructions is that they don’t have the same ‘oomph’ or impact as the rituals you create yourself. While there’s nothing wrong with following a full moon ritual another person has detailed (especially if you’re lacking ideas), I do recommend trying to craft one of your own. Then, compare the two and see which you benefit the most from. In other words, don’t take my word for it – try it out yourself!
But first, let’s get down to basics …
Table of contents
What is a Full Moon Ritual?
A full moon ritual is essentially an intentional ceremony or symbolic action you take on the night of a full moon. Full moon rituals are created in order to imbue your life with the symbolic and energetic qualities of the full moon – these include the elements of power, amplification, action, and an increase in subconscious activity which produces enhanced intuition and insight.
The Symbolic Meaning of the Full Moon
In order to create a dynamic full moon ritual that deeply resonates with your unconscious mind, you’ll need to learn about the symbolism of the full moon.
The full moon has been spoken and written about for millennia across many cultures. The Chinese, for example, associate the full moon with the essence of yin (female energy). Buddhists, on the other hand, see the full moon as symbolizing spiritual power (as Buddha supposedly gained his enlightenment on a night of the full moon) and many sacred festivals are held during the full moon.
In secular folklore, the full moon has been associated with lunacy (madness), insomnia, and psychological disturbances – hence the term “lunatic” (which derives from the Latin word ‘lunaticus’ which means moon-struck).
In astrology, the full moon is a peak of energy that highlights opposing polarities and forces in your life. It is also a time of harvest (or reaping what you have sown).
In paganism, the full moon is a time where one’s psychic energy increases, and powerful intentions, spells, and rituals can be practiced. The full moon also represents the mother aspect of the divine feminine.
When we boil down the symbolic meaning of the full moon, however, the themes of amplification, subconscious power, and illumination continually arise. So these are the meanings subscribed to within this article.
Why Should I Bother Creating a Full Moon Ritual?
This is a fair question, and my answer is that if you genuinely don’t feel called to do a full moon ritual, don’t! The world isn’t going to end. Your life isn’t going to blow up. Creating a full moon ritual is simply one of many empowering practices you can add to your spiritual toolkit and it’s not necessarily for everyone.
With that being said, I do feel that it’s important to experiment with a full moon ritual at least once. Who knows what potentially life-changing and paradigm shifting benefits you may receive from this practice?
The most important thing you need to know about the power of the full moon ritual is that it utilizes four essential elements of any transformative spiritual practice: willpower, intention, symbolism, and ritual. These four elements have a truly electric and intense impact on the unconscious mind. The whole point of a full moon ritual is to generate deep change within the nether regions of your mind, aka. your unconscious.
As you may or may not have gathered so far (from previous articles on this website), the unconscious mind is the realm of potential, the space in which your soul emerges, and the doorway to Spirit (or the Collective Unconscious). By doing a full moon ritual, you are stepping into your personal power and actively petitioning and preparing your unconscious mind for transformation. In other words, there is so much more to full moon rituals than pretty candles or crystals – it’s ultimate purpose is genuine spiritual and psychological change.
How to Keep Track of the Full Moon?
If you’re like most people, you will be pretty out-of-touch with the moon cycles. You might occasionally glance up at the sky but not give much thought to the phase of the moon and its significance.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be an avid goggly-eyed sky-gazer to track the position of the moon thanks to this wonderful thing called the internet.
There are many websites out there (particularly those to do with astrology, witchcraft, and paganism) which keep a tracker of the current moon phase. You can purchase a yearly moon phase calendar from places like Amazon and hang it up in your house. There are also many interesting phone apps out there that track the moon phases such as Simple Moon Phase Calendar, My Moon Phase, Phases of the Moon, etc.
Just keep in mind that if you live in the southern hemisphere, you will need to find a calendar, website or app that accurately records the phases of the moon according to your country as most moon phase resources are created by northern hemispherians.
How to Create Your Own Authentic Full Moon Ritual
The best thing about making your own 100% tailored-to-you full moon ritual is that it works around your needs, daily schedule, interests, and the current objects you have on hand.
You don’t need to go out and buy a load of metaphysical paraphernalia to enact a powerful full moon ritual nor do you need to make it Instagram-worthy. In fact, I encourage you to try and leave social media out of your full moon ritual altogether as it will dilute your focus and intent.
You also don’t need to make your full moon ritual overly flowery, poetic, long, multi-layered, or esoteric – unless of course that works for you.
Essentially, there are no rules, only suggestions. Don’t feel pressured to make your rituals look like those you see in books, online, or among your friends. Your rituals have YOUR style and essence, so don’t feel the need to make them look or feel like anyone else’s.
Now that we’ve gone through these precautions, here are some tips that will help you create your own authentic full moon ritual:
1. Find out when the next full moon is
Check your moon app, your calendar or even the local weather website (which usually lists what phase the moon currently is in). The full moon occurs on average once every 29.5 days, so you’ll experience it about once a month.
2. Think about what you would like amplified or illuminated within you
What are you struggling with at the moment? What shadows need to come to light? What archetypes would you like to embody? What do you need to let go of? What skills, inner or spiritual resources do you need to draw on? Reflect on these questions or journal about them.
Learn more about how to journal.
3. Shape your intention
Once you have completed the previous step (which hopefully won’t take too long), it’s time to set an intention which basically means a goal or objective. What do you want to achieve? What will be the purpose of your full moon ritual? Write out your full moon intention in your journal or a piece of paper that you can store in your sacred space/altar.
4. Prepare some symbolic objects
Whether on the day/night of the full moon or beforehand, select some symbolic objects that could represent your issue, desire, yourself as a whole, your current place in life, what you need to let go of, your strengths, weaknesses, what needs to be illuminated … you get the picture. Basically, choose any object currently in your house that represents the part of you or your situation that needs to be amplified or illuminated. Examples of symbolic objects could include rocks, feathers, flowers, dolls, crystals, cards, figurines, herbs, stamps, old jewelry – literally anything that you feel represents your issue or desire accurately.
5. Create a sacred space
On the day/night of the full moon, dedicate a space specifically to your ritual that is undisturbed. You may already have an altar somewhere in your house, and if so, that is perfect. If you don’t have an altar or sacred space, you can set up a temporary one on a window sill, balcony, or even the corner of your bedroom, kitchen or bathroom. You can choose to ‘cleanse’ this space of energetic debris by clapping your hands, using a smudge stick, singing bowl, visualizing a purified circle around you, or anything that speaks to you. Whatever the case, it’s important that your unconscious mind symbolically registers that the space you’re preparing is sacred and important.
6. Perform your new moon ritual
You don’t need to spend hours doing an elaborate ritual. Even just a couple of minutes can be enough to create and evoke a strong message within your unconscious.
With your symbolic objects at hand, arrange them in a way that feels powerful to you. You could arrange them according to your desires, e.g. you could place two symbolic objects together symbolizing a unison. You could arrange your objects according to a symbol, e.g. a circle representing wholeness or completing. You could burn one of the objects or submerge it in a bowl of water representing letting go. You could place an object on your body and symbolically ‘breathe’ it in. You could consume one of the objects (if it’s edible and non-toxic) to symbolize empowerment, strength, and renewal. The sky is the limit.
I recommend listening to your instincts and doing what feels the most significant to you. Feel free to be totally unconventional, this is your ritual after all.
7. Symbolically close your ritual
No matter how you choose to design your ritual, always symbolically close/end it. Your unconscious mind needs to understand that the ritual is over (think of closing your ritual as hitting the “send” button). Leaving the ritual open without intentionally closing it sends confusing signals to your unconscious mind. Closing your ritual is simple. Once again, close it however you intuitively feel is the right way. Examples may include ringing a bell, saying a prayer of thanks, visualizing an “X,” saying a phrase like “so may it be,” and so forth.
As you see, there are no concrete rules here, only a basic structure that you may wish to follow if it suits you.
5 Full Moon Rituals (For Inspiration)
I understand that creating a full moon ritual can seem daunting or confusing at first. So I’ll provide a few simple examples below that you’re free to use or treat as a springboard for your own designs:
Ritual #1 – Power Words
What you will need:
- A mantra or affirmation of your creation
- A candle
- A lighter
- Access to outdoors
Formulate an healing, enriching or empowering affirmation (e.g. “I open my heart a little more each day,” “I am brave, capable, and strong,” “I love my body as it is” etc.). On the night of the full moon, go outside, bring a candle and lighter, and sit down somewhere comfortable and safe. Light the candle to begin the ritual. Then repeat your power words out loud (or in your head) ten times. Ten is the number of completion. As you repeat your power words, look up at the moon and allow its luminescence to amplify your words. When you are done, blow out the candle.
Ritual #2 – Candle Flame Release
What you will need:
- A pen
- A piece of paper
- Matches or a lighter
- A fireproof container, bowl or cauldron
On the night of the full moon write down an aspect of yourself or your life that you need to surrender on a piece of paper. For example, you might write “I let go of my shame,” “I let go of my perfectionism,” “I let go of the friends that do not support my highest good,” “I let go of my past,” “I let go of my self-destructive tendencies,” etc.
Prepare a fireproof bowl, container or cauldron and place it in your sacred space. Open your full moon ritual by visualizing the light of the moon encircling you. When you are ready, begin to burn your piece of paper over your fireproof container. Watch as the paper curls up into ash. You may like to say within your mind or out loud “I release this, so may it be,” or simply “goodbye.” When the paper has turned completely to ash, go outside and scatter the ash to the wind. Alternatively, you can bury the ash. When you are finished, say within or out loud “it is done.”
(Note: if you are burning paper indoors, please ensure you practice caution and common-sense.)
Ritual #3 – Moon Bath
What you will need:
- An object that symbolizes you
- An object that symbolizes your intention
- A dish or plate
This full moon ritual is good if you want to empower yourself in some way. What you will need are two basic objects – one that represents you and one that represents your intention. For example, you might choose a strand of hair from your hairbrush, a photo of yourself, a piece of your jewelry or anything that represents you in some way for your first item.
For your second item, choose an object that symbolizes your goal, desire or intention. For instance, you might choose a certain gemstone (e.g. rose quartz for self-love, hematite for grounding, lapis lazuli for authenticity), a picture you have found in a magazine, even a piece of cutlery (like a knife if you want to have a sharper mind). If you can’t find a symbolic object in your house, write down your intention on a piece of paper.
On the night of the full moon, place both of your objects on a dish. Put the object that represents you on the left and the object that represents your intention on the right. (Left is symbolically a passive position and right is symbolically an active position – so your intention will ideally be placed on the right side of the dish facing you.) Go outside and put your dish in a place where the moon’s light touches the earth. You can skip this part if you like and simply place your dish in a part of your house where the moon’s light spills through the window. As you place the dish in the moonlight say, “may the moon amplify [insert your intention] So may it be.” For example, you may say, “may the moon amplify my ability to love myself – so may it be,” “may the moon amplify my desire to see with clarity” and so forth.
Ritual #4 – Herbal Tea Brew
What you will need:
- A symbolic herb (in tea form) of your choice that represents your need, desire or goal
- A cup
- A spoon
- Boiled water
In this full moon ritual, you will be ingesting your intention so that it symbolically becomes a living part of you. This is a basic but powerful ritual that can be quite relaxing, enjoyable, and discreet. If you don’t have a lot of time on your hands and are constantly surrounded by others, why not try this full moon ritual? All you will need is to purchase/gather a herb that represents your need, desire or goal. You can find many herbal correspondences online, but to save you time, here are a few:
Chamomile (for meeting life with calmness and gentleness)
Holy Basil (for emotional resilience)
Calendula (for passion and creativity)
Dandelion (for achieving your wishes and goals)
Peppermint (for purification)
Rose (for self-love and compassion)
Lemongrass (for optimism and open communication)
Ginger (for getting in touch with your personal power)
Ginkgo Biloba (for integration)
Jasmine (for sensuality and sexual confidence)
Mugwort (for increased intuition and visionary abilities)
I can’t list all the herbs out there, but many of the above herbs you can find in your local supermarket or health food store. For your convenience, I’ve also linked each herb above to a store that sells organic tea which I’ve tried and recommend.
When you have chosen your herb, find a quiet place indoors on the night of the full moon. Begin your ritual by boiling water in your kettle and pouring it mindfully into your cup. Let the tea bag (or tea leaves) steep for a few minutes. While you wait, focus on your intention. When the tea is ready, get your spoon and stir in a clockwise motion thinking about your intention. When you are ready, drink your tea slowly. Feel your intention descend into the depths of your body as it simultaneously descends into the depths of your unconscious mind to take root. Once you have finished your tea, the ritual is complete.
Ritual #5 – Art journaling
What you will need:
- A pen or pencil
- Colored texters, watercolors, acrylics or pastels
- A piece of paper
If you enjoy artistic self-expression you will like this full moon ritual. Essentially, you will need a space where you can draw or doodle. Set your piece of paper out in front of you on the day/night of the full moon, and write or draw what you are struggling with. You don’t need to make it elaborate or pretty – in fact, it’s better not to as you’ll be drawing all over it!
Next, choose some colors that evoke the feelings in you that you’d like to experience. For example, you may wish to step into your personal sovereignty and choose reds and oranges or you may wish to find more inner peace and choose blues and violets.
Once you have written/drawn out your issue, state out loud (or in your mind) “may the full moon help to release/transform this.” Then, draw or paint over the words/scene in front of you with your intention. For example, you may have originally depicted a scene of yourself curled up on the ground in a fetal position that symbolizes sadness and setback. On top, you may choose to paint a picture of yourself smiling or standing on top of a mountain feeling victorious. Make sure you completely cover the words or pictures beneath. Once you are done, end your full moon ritual by placing your picture in the moonlight to symbolically release/transform/amplify your intentions.
I hope you’re feeling all bubbly with ideas right now!
Do you have a favorite full moon ritual that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it below. Let’s cross-pollinate and gain some creative ideas to shape our own unique rituals!