Moon Rituals and Water Fasting – Ways to mark the Cancer New Moon
In several cultures, mythologies and ancient societies, the energy that the Moon reflects holds a feminine vibration, that of Shakti, containing qualities such as receptivity, emotion and intuition. The gravitational pull of the moon also governs the element water, (also a feminine principle) in the way that she dictates the ocean’s tides.
While modern living may have pulled so many of us from the rhythms of nature, they do exist within us when we connect more closely to the source – the 24-hour circadian rhythm of the sun governing our days, the four seasons and quarterly solstices signalling the start of something new (Spring) and then instinctive draw towards hibernation (Winter) – and the 28-day lunar cycle, giving women, in particular, the additional sense of rhythm that connects us to the cycles of the moon, through its alignment with the menstrual cycle; further reinforcing the moon’s connection to the feminine.
Water Fasting as a Spiritual Practice
As you know my approach to health and ‘diet’ is a holistic one – more about connecting to source, rather than weight-loss, so I choose to ‘diet’ in accordance with the moon from a spiritual point of view, and to retain the divine feminine 28-day rhythm. For me, the phase of the moon governs the moments when I am supposed to be living with more energy, in a yang-like manner – i.e. when the moon is full, and when I am supposed to be tuning in to the internal world, in a more yin like state – i.e. when the moon is new.
It is during these cycles, that I instigate a 24 to 72-hour water fast, permitting myself to drink only water, pink hymalian salt and a bone broth on the third day. I do that every month with each New Moon – I start my fast on the day of the New Moon.
As mentioned, I fast for spiritual reasons; so also setting apart my New Moon ritual days is that I meditate for much longer than I would in my usual daily practices. Fasting is also actually the best time to meditate as the body is not busy digesting.
I also find the New Moon to be the best time to try a digital detox, to be less connected to the phone and more connected to your body. Fasting is a practice that allows us to fully listen to your body – which really wants to be heard.
On the night of the New Moon itself, I am in a habit of taking time to lay under and look up at the dark sky to take more time for myself. I use the New Moon – and fasting – to be very reflective, so I am probably less outgoing than usual, and less visible among my social circle, spending more time deepening my meditation practices and self-care rituals.
After stargazing on the first night on the New Moon I will go lay down one hand on my heart, one hand on my belly and connect to my breath, nothing else until sleep comes. The next important routine that follows is my “date” with the Sun.
This is something I have learned from Taoist mysticism and practices according to which during long or prolonged fasting the spiritual practice of “eating” the sun is recommended – let me explain – through Sun exposure, the warmth on the body and the directly increases your levels of Vitamin D. The human body benefits from the energy of the (as long as the Sun exposure is reasonable of course I keep it under 30 minutes).
I fully connect with the warmth of the sun and sit in a meditative posture fully soaking up the rays of sunshine and awakening all my senses to “feel” that energetic warmth entering my body.
I believe any moon ritual has to be done in conjunction with a sun ritual as per the Tantric principle of finding unity in duality – balancing the cool feminine energy of the moon with the warm masculine energy of the sun.
The Cancer New Moon this Month…
Both the full moon and the new moon are perfect times for setting intentions and manifesting. This week sees us welcome in the Cancer New Moon – and seeing as the sign of Cancer is both ruled by the Moon, and a Water sign, it seemed the best time to share a little knowledge on lunar water-fasting – particularly as a time for deep listening in, and planting seeds (new moons ask us to sit in the dark as she isn’t lighting up the sky) for growth…
Is a Total Eclipse of the Heart…
That said, you may have to brace yourself for a little more self-love and inner-work this time round, as the upcoming New Moon in Cancer (my sign) may affect you a little more than usual as its not only a New Moon, but a Solar Eclipse, set against the backdrop of a Mercury Retrograde (also in Cancer).
Cancer is the sign of the home, the mother and nurturing. Retrogrades ask us to ‘look back’ or revisit something that we may not have healed and any kind of darkness in the sky (like an eclipse) asks us to look within and face our shadows. It sounds daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Self-care, love and development are self-work after all – and work isn’t always easy. This is a really good time to sit with yourself, nurture any old wounds, memories or feelings of sadness and love on yourself to work through it.
If you’re interested in using the Cancer New Moon to start either water fasting or your first moon ritual, here are my Top Ten Tips to get you started:
1. How to start fasting? Start with a 24 hour fast as a first challenge. Only build up to a longer fasting period once you can go through 24 hours without “starving” (that’s when you know your body is adapted and can sustain a longer period) – always check in with your doctors or physician first before starting a fast.
2. How to best prepare for a fast? set yourself up for success! For that day or these days make sure you have no big dinner or social events involving food and get all the water/high-quality salt/herbal tea you will need during your fast. I personally love nothing more but the smell of my 10-hour slow-cooking bone broth on the last day of my fast as I know slowly drinking it will be the reward for a successful fast!
3. What you can drink? You can drink herbal tea, black coffee (don’t abuse it too much – I would say no more than 2 a day), and plenty of mineral water.
4. Which are the best herbal teas to drink? My go-to favourite is Rosella as it looks beautiful (turns into ruby red colour) and is filled with Vitamin C. Peppermint tea and a little bit of ginger tea are also a great fasting ally.
5. When to cut the fast short (if not feeling well) versus when to persevere? Feeling a little bit of light-headedness is normal and just remember that nothing is permanent – don’t get too attached to the momentary feeling of “hunger” or slight dizziness – it is just temporary and will pass. As previously mentioned though check-in with a medical care professional before starting a fast especially if you are on current medication.
6. How do I connect with Nature during this special time Rituals for self-care in accordance with the moon are deeply connected to being in Nature and connecting with it, spend as much time in nature as possible.
7. How much rest should you expect to take? Rest yes, but move too! A gentle swim is great fasting exercise! Being in bed or seated all day is not what I advocate during a fast – do take a walk, move your body but be gentle. Try to go to bed a bit earlier on the days you fast and to sleep at least 8 to 9 hours.
8. What about bedtime? Bedtime rituals during the fasting period – digital detox after night falls and try to avoid artificial lights or digital stimulation as much as possible
9. What are the best moves and flows? Starting or adopting a Yin Yoga practice or a very gentle/restorative type of Yoga is also ideal during a fast as Yin Yoga is about patience, surrendering and stillness of the body and the mind.
10. What else can I do to strengthen my willpower muscles during a fast? Mantra, positive affirmation, meditation and breathwork also great practise to support your fast on an emotional, psychological and spiritual level.
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