Grieving With the Moon: A Cycling Ritual


Grieving With the Moon: A Cycling Ritual

Getty/Syuzanna Guseynova

Grief is a sacred cycle, just like that of the moon. Utilize this powerful but simple month-long ritual to honor your grief in tune with the moon.

Grief isn’t linear, as much as we’d like it to be. We want to know when it will end; that it will continue to get easier until the pain is gone. The truth is, grief is cyclic. It ebbs and flows, arising around anniversaries, seasons, holidays, and other triggers.

When we’re grieving, we’re also walking the moon path. We’re walking in the dark, lit by a strange light most others aren’t aware of. Let the moon help you walk this path with a cycling grief ritual following the moon.

This ritual is meant to be done for an entire lunar month. All you need is a candle, a journal, and some space and time to yourself about once a week. Depending on where you are with your grief, you can do this ritual cycle once, for a whole calendar year, or just until your candle is completely burned down. You may want to get a special candle for this ritual, as well as a fresh journal. See what feels right for you.

New Moon: Reflection and Contemplation

The new moon is a dark, quiet time. The energy is lower, and the invitation is to slow down and feel. Grief needs us to do this. We need time and space to feel our feelings and, ideally, to share them with someone safe. Around this time (the day before, the day of, or the day after the new moon), take some time for this ritual.

Light a candle. Close your eyes, acknowledging the land you live on. Imagine a protective circle around you, filtering out anything but that which contributes to your highest good.

Take some time to consider the person, thing, or time you’re grieving. Write a letter to them (or to a past version of yourself). Remember that this is a time for simply feeling, not for figuring anything out. When feelings come up, see if you can simply breathe and let them flow. When this feels complete, blow out the candle and say thank you to the space, the fire, the earth, and anything else you want to honor.

Waxing Moon: Growing and Moving On

The waxing moon is a time when energy grows. We can move more easily towards our intentions and goals. This is a good time to get out there and work on yourself. In the first few days of the waxing moon (three to five days after the new moon), light your candle. Acknowledge the land and set your protective circle.

Spend some time contemplating your goals, plans, intentions, or wishes for the future. Depending on where you are with your grieving, your goals might start small, like getting to bed around the same time every night, or you may pursue larger life goals. Keep in mind that grieving can interfere with our plans. You may not be ready to think too far into the future, so focusing on the health of your body may be the right place to start.

Write down some actions that you could reasonably take during this moon cycle to move towards those goals. Then blow out your candle and say your thanks.

Full Moon: Harvest and Letting Go

The full moon is all about harvest. It’s a time to consider what we have gained and also to let go of what’s not working for us anymore. Take some time out around the full moon (the day before, the day of, or the day after) and practice this ritual.

Light your candle. Honor the land and set your protective circle. Write on the following questions.

  • What did you gain from being with the person (or time of your life) that you lost? What did you learn? What do you keep even though things have changed?

  • Is there anything you’re holding onto—a habit, a pattern, a negative thought—that you’re ready to let go of now? Keep in mind that letting go is not to be rushed. If you don’t feel ready to let something go, simply don’t. The time will come.

Blow out your candle and say thank you.

Waning Moon: Integrating

The waning moon is a time for integration. We contemplate what we’ve learned and put it into action. Anytime during this cycle (from the day after the full moon to the day before the new moon), sit down and light your candle. Acknowledge the land and set your circle of protection. In your journal, answer the following questions:

  • How have things changed (or not) since the last new moon?

  • How has it felt to sit with your grief every week this month?

  • What have you learned about your grief, your loss, or the world this month?

  • How do you feel in your body right now as you reflect?

Blow out the candle and honor the earth, the fire, your circle, yourself. If you’d like to finish your ritual cycle here, that’s just fine. You can also continue on through the next moon cycle instead, working until your candle has burnt itself out, or continue until you feel complete with it. Just like grief, it has no true ending, but cycles instead.

Try this powerful practice for the waning moon.


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Grieving With the Moon A Cycling Ritual

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