A full moon can be very powerful.

Historically, full moons have been connected to a variety of cultural and spiritual beliefs, says Karen Comen, an astrologer and wellness coach for the astrology site ZodiacSign.com. "Some people think the full moon can affect our emotions and behavior," she notes. "For instance, some believe that the full moon might make people feel more strongly, make it difficult to sleep, or alter their menstrual cycle."

During a full moon, we tend to have greater emotional epiphanies because it's a potent time to process and release our emotions, according to Rachael Cohen, the author of Everyday Plant Magic and a spiritual life coach who shares full moon expertise on her site Infinite Succulent. "The moon represents our emotional selves, and full moons are about illumination and release."

"The moon’s energy affects us specifically because the moon is in control of the gravitational pull, which includes the tides of the ocean," says Yah’ki (also known as Alexander Hickman), a master herbalist, reiki healer, and founder of the holistic health and wellness company Yah’ki Awakened. As the moon pulls and moves the ocean to make waves, some believe it can impact our bodies, as well. "The moon is able to move us on a cellular level, due to the water inside of us," explains Yah’ki, adding that the human body is about 60% water on average.

While there are some studies that have shown that full moons can affect everything from sleep patterns to cardiovascular conditions, anecdotes of how the moon can influence our feelings, instincts, and desires are widespread — and many believe that you can harness all that spiritual energy through full moon rituals. Looking to try your own full moon ceremony? Here's everything you need to know.

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What is a full moon?

The moon revolves around the Earth in about 30 days, which is one lunar cycle. Each cycle features eight phases.A full moon occurs when the moon is opposite the sun in its rotation around the Earth, causing the moon's surface to reflect the sun's light. During this time, you'll see the moon appear as a perfect, fully lit circle. You can find the dates and times of each one listed in The Old Farmer's Almanac. "The full moon is a stunning and breathtaking natural phenomenon that may be appreciated by everyone, regardless of any potential influence on our emotions or behavior," says Comen.

What is a full moon ritual?

"A full moon ritual is a rhythmic, ceremonial practice to align yourself with the frequencies of the universe," says Yah’ki. "In general, rituals are a great practice, as long as they are for positive outcomes with righteous and good intentions."

Stacee Magee, a master healer, medical intuitive, and the creator behind the popular TikTok account Spirit Fluent, says that full moon rituals aim to use the power of the full moon to help you manifest your dreams by setting your intentions and goals for the future, and may also help you cleanse, release, and heal. "A full moon ritual can include anything from lighting candles, writing yourself out of a bad situation, or even burning things that don’t serve you anymore," she says.

No matter what you try, though, the most important aspect of any ritual is your intention behind it, so you'll want to approach your full moon ritual with care. "As long as you approach your ritual with an open heart and a clear intention, it can be a powerful and transformative experience," Comen says.

What are the benefits of a full moon ritual?

While there isn't much solid scientific proof to back up these claims, some holistic health experts believe that full moon rituals can give us greater access to our inner depths and help us feel more connected to nature, which can open spiritual pathways. "When you practice full moon rituals, you are allowing the moon to cleanse your body and you then start fresh and bring great energy into your life," says Yah'ki.

Other claimed benefits include:

  • The full moon can force you to reckon with your inner self (including your needs, pains, and weaknesses), ultimately opening up your perspectives.
  • The full moon can bring your imbalances and challenges to the surface, so you can address them and heal.
  • The full moon can bridge the gaps between your conscious mind, the language of the universe, and your soul and if you’re willing to listen, it can tell you what you need to know.
  • The full moon can help you strengthen your intuition and recognize imbalances.
  • The full moon can help you think clearly and bring your desires to light with its reflective energy.

Can a full moon affect us in a negative way?

According to Yah’ki, when a moon is fully illuminated, that energy affects us whether we want it to or not. This goes back to the idea that the gravitational pull the moon has on the Earth can represent karma.

"If you look at the moon through a folklore perspective, a full moon is the time when karma is coming back to the Earth," he says. "Whatever you put out into the universe, you receive that karma back." So if you’re being unkind to people and radiating negative energy during a full moon, beware of that bad karma coming back to you.

Full moon rituals to try at home

full moon
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According to the experts we spoke to, these are some of the best ways for beginners to harness the positive aspects of a full moon.

  1. Explore deep breathing. Magee stresses the positive benefits of breathwork, and suggests that practicing it under a full moon is ideal. "The full moon provides a special opportunity to tap into your own inner power and gain insight into your own energy centers," she explains. "It allows us to connect with the universe’s energy around us and breathe in that energy." This practice can put you in a trance-like state, amplifying your sensations and leading you to more heightened awareness. The result? You’ll feel more vibrant, positive, and open than before.
  2. Meditate. Comen recommends meditating during a full moon. "Finding a calm, serene spot to sit, concentrating on your breath, and allowing yourself to become present in the here and now can all help with this," Comen says. "Additionally, you can use this time to make resolutions for the following month or to let go of any unhelpful feelings or bad thoughts."
  3. Charge your crystals. Yah’ki suggests "charging up" your crystals under the full moon, which he claims can recreate pressure inside of the magnetites. "To put it simply, it puts good energy back inside of your crystals," he says.
  4. Sleep under the full moon. Magee says sleeping under a full moon is one of the best cleansing rituals you can do for your body. In this process, the full moon helps release excess elements and brings your body back to balance, including your circadian rhythm. Find a safe place outside where you can take a nap for at least one hour with no disruptions. Take off your shoes, lie down, look up at the moon and breathe. Just be sure to stay away from your electronic devices — not only do they keep you from focusing and relaxing, the blue light can disturb your circadian rhythm.
  5. Take a full moon bath. Bathing in the light of a full moon will connect you with its energy and wash away any bad energy, suggests Magee. Find a beach, river, or lake with little to no distractions, get in the water, and let go of anything that's stressing you out.
  6. Make some moon water. Place a bottle of spring water somewhere outside or in your home where the moonlight can shine on it. Magee likes to write positive affirmations and intentions on the bottle, too. Then, use the "moon water" in cooking, when making tea, as a base in herbal remedies, or in your baths.
  7. Do a smoke cleanse. If you're feeling the need for an emotional detox, you may benefit from a smoke cleanse to clear any emotional baggage you may be experiencing. Restore a sense of calm by burning sage, rosemary, or cedar and letting the smoke waft over your body, house, or car. Then, release any lingering negativity and let go of things in your life no longer serving you. (Just make sure you have a window or door open to let the smoke and negative energy out!)
  8. Do your favorite self-care activity under the full moon. Cohen suggests journaling, dancing, or otherwise spending intentional time under the light of the full moon. If you're journaling, try making a list of things you are releasing and then (safely!) burn the page as part of your ritual. You can also burn a candle as a way to release what's no longer serving you.
  9. Partake in a drum circle. "Joining others who are interested in the full moon in a drum circle is a more social way to do a full moon ritual," says Comen. "This can entail everyone coming together with their own drum or percussion instrument in a park or other outdoor setting. The ensemble can then play collectively, generating a rhythm that captures the full moon's energy and fosters a sense of belonging."
  10. Create your own full moon ritual. This is your journey, after all. Once you know the date and time of the next full moon, Cohen suggests finding out the zodiac sign for each moon, too. This will help you identify the things you may want to release or gain clarity around. "Remember that full moons help us illuminate and release," she says. "So think about practices that help you let go. Any of those practices can be made into a full moon ritual!"
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    Ysolt Usigan

    Ysolt Usigan is a lifestyle writer and editor with 15+ years of experience working in digital media. She has created share-worthy content for publishers Shape, What To Expect, Cafe Mom, TODAY, CBS News, HuffPo, The Bump, Health, Ask Men, and Best Gifts. A working mom of two, her editorial expertise in parenting, shopping, and home are rooted in her everyday life.