We all know that our world is set up to serve the patriarchy, but many of us don’t realize how deep it goes. We live by the circadian rhythm, attempting to perform at the same level day in and day out until the end of time. But menstruators have a second clock that needs attention, too. It’s called the infradian rhythm.
An infradian rhythm is technically any cycle that lasts longer than 24 hours. In this case, we’re talking about the menstrual cycle.
Solar vs. lunar cycles
The cycles of life all intertwine as you’ll see, but we live in a very male-centered way. Men function on a 24-hour cycle, where it’s Groundhog Day for their hormones every day. This corresponds to the solar cycle. The sun rises and sets, you wake up and you go to sleep, repeat every day forever.
Women/menstruators function on a 28-day cycle (roughly), which corresponds to the lunar cycle. There are four phases to our menstrual cycle just as there are four phases of the moon. This means that your hormones fluctuate over the course of four weeks, rather than 24 hours.
If you’re an astrology nerd/witch, you know that moon phases have different energies and we plan accordingly. For example, we set intentions under the new moon and let go of what doesn’t serve us under the full moon.
Why, then, don’t we consider that we should live accordingly for our menstrual phases?
Fitting into a patriarchal box
Society is designed for men’s cycles, so you may never have even realized there were any phases to tend to. It’s not just a few days of bleeding and that’s all there is to it. There are follicular, ovulatory, and luteal phases to think about before the tampons come out. These phases all have different energies and needs, too, just like the moon.
So what ends up happening? We bend and try to fit ourselves into patriarchal expectations of productivity and deplete our energy in the process.
While men can function the same way day in and day out, lunar cycles have longer periods of hormonal fluctuations that influence everything from your energy to your work productivity, creativity, metabolism, immune health, and more.
If your periods are irregular, if you’re having difficult PMS symptoms, if you have a diagnosed hormone imbalance, even if you just want a deeper connection to yourself, paying attention to which phase of your cycle you are in can help you get in balance.
Menstrual phases and their corresponding moon phases
To get started, check the date of your last period. How do you match up with the moon?
Follicular phase = Waxing moon
Ovulatory phase = Full moon
Luteal phase = Waning moon
Menstrual phase = New moon
This is a “white moon cycle” and the most common. If your menstrual phase falls on a full moon, it’s called a “red moon cycle.”
If you’re not quite synced like this, that’s okay. Everyone’s body is different. The moon phase correspondence can help you understand how to honor your cycle regardless if it currently matches up with what’s happening in the sky.
For example, the new moon is a time to rest. The lights are out and we can sit with ourselves and think about our intentions that we want to bring to fruition as the light grows stronger into the full moon (ovulation), when our energy is typically at its highest, and both our bodies and the earth are at their most fertile.
If you’re not menstruating, you can still focus on this cyclical energy to help rebalance your hormones and regulate them to this cycle, or if you are a trans woman this can help you connect to the cyclical nature of your feminine energy.
Honoring the phases of your cycle
Below are some basic tips for how you can honor the different phases of your menstrual cycle, guided by the phases of the moon. As I mentioned, the cycles of life all intertwine, and we can map these to the seasons of the year as well. Focusing on seasons may help you make more sense of how to approach each phase if you don’t sync up with the white moon cycle or if using the moon feels too nebulous.
New moon // winter
A period of low energy, making it a great time for rest, introspection, and intention-setting for the future. For nutrition, you’ll want to enjoy nutrient-dense foods to help replenish what is used during menstruation, especially iron and other minerals, and warming foods as well.
Waxing moon // spring
Energy begins to blossom like flowers in the spring and it’s time to get started on the intentions you’ve set (planting seeds). It’s a good time for sprouted and fermented foods that are easy to digest and feel light and fresh.
Full moon // summer
Ovulation has you glowing from the inside out and you’re feeling bold and passionate in this phase. The full moon illuminates your intentions and sheds light on what’s working and what isn’t, so now is a good time to let go of what doesn’t serve. In terms of nutrition, now is the time for liver-supporting foods like citrus, berries, and cruciferous vegetables.
Waning moon // fall
This is the longest phase of your cycle and is more energetic in the first half, winding down towards menstruation in the second half. It’s time to get your sh*t together! Focus on the essentials. Nourish yourself with foods rich in B vitamins to support energy production in the body, magnesium-rich foods to help relax cramps, and serotonin-boosting foods to help keep mood swings at bay.
Your mileage may vary
Again, everyone is different, but viewing your body and your schedule in terms of menstrual, lunar, and seasonal cycles can be really helpful to managing your energy and just feeling better.
Plan out your next month according to your particular cycle and see how it affects your energy levels, rather than trying to wake up and restart with the same energy every day.
If you want more information on working with your cycle, download Syncing With the Moon for a Better Flow.