It's Not Brujeria: Why Latinxs Should Use the Moon Phases to Their Advantage

Unsplash/Ganapathy Kumar

Despite our knee-jerk reaction to call everything that's not Catholicism or western religion, brujeria, it's really not. Nine times out of ten what someone identifies as "brujeria" or "evil" just happens to be the harnessing of natural elements and energies, which has nothing to do with witchcraft and everything to do with our biological need to attune to the cycles and rhythms of our planet. In astrology, the moon represents the parts of ourselves that we feel like we can't share with others. Your moon sign is the placement the moon was in when you were born. It's essentially how we feel on a deep, soulful level that dictates our inner needs. It's divine feminine energy, the tides, and the natural ebb and flow of bodies of water on earth. Seeing as our bodies are 60 percent water, it's no wonder that many of us are definitely able to feel the effects of the moon via headaches, irritability, synced periods, increased intuition, or vivid dreams. Following the rhythm of the seasons is typically not something we consciously do in western society; in fact, we are taught to view observing energetic holidays and astrology as primitive, outdated, and silly.

The only problem with that is that every society has observed major seasonal and astrological events with specific parties, foods, dances, and rituals aimed at fostering anything from prosperity and health to fertility and crop success. And there are still ways we celebrate today. The Muslim celebration of Eid starts on the new moon; and the Jewish calendar coincides with seasons, moon phases, and astrology, as does the Chinese calendar. Pretty much everyone who isn't using the Gregorian calendar is at some point syncing their religious and secular celebrations to the moon phases and positioning of the earth. In fact, the Gregorian calendar is at the root of why many of us can't seem to get into a groove energetically since instead of coinciding with the natural world, it's based on the time the Vatican arbitrarily estimates Jesus was resurrected. Moon phases have been historically used to determine when crops should be planted as well as when women would be at their peak fertility. Maybe you've heard menstruation be referred to as "having your moon."

There are Four Moon Phases:

New Moon

The New Moon is the dark phase of the moon when the earth blocks the light from the sun. This energy is perfect for intention setting and opening up possibilities. It's a great time for abundance work, positive affirmations, and setting up healthy new routines, because the moon is essentially "restarting." The start of the new moon phase is the time for you to start with whatever your goals are as well.

First Quarter

At this phase, the right side of the Moon is 50 percent lit, which is a great time for you to explore how your intentions are being illuminated. What are you learning? What patterns or behaviors are you witnessing? And how are you getting closer to your goals?

Full Moon

When the Moon is full, the Sun is fully illuminating the Moon. It's a great time for you to access your intentions since the new Moon. What parts did you work on and feel through, and what things do you still need to work on? This point of the lunation is great for transmuting the energy and letting go of anything that has already been worked through, as well as reaffirming the things you want to continue to work on. This is what makes it such a great time to do a limpia — we get to piggyback off of the energy that is already naturally occurring and apply it to our own magic.

Last Quarter

The Last Quarter or Third Quarter of the Moon is in the phase where we are still in the process of letting go. This is a good time to cry, since crying lets go of a lot of emotions, energies, and toxins held by the body. You can write things down that you're still working on, burn the paper, and bury it outside to help with the transmutation process.

How to Get Yourself on a Moon Rhythm

It can be as simple as burning a candle and writing down your intentions or creating an affirmation to say for the rest of the lunation. Use the moon as an energetic entry point for you to check in with yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. New moons are times to set goals and intentions. Full moons are for checking back in and assessing what can stay and what needs to go. Working with the moon gives you a tangible way to track your progress while harnessing the energies that already exist in the world. It's also a powerful productivity tool to be able to understand how your body, mood, and attention respond to different moon phases and astrology. Finding those patterns will give you insight into how you can best apply your energy and excel at whatever you put your mind to.

New Moon Bay Leaf Ritual

Write your goals for the next two weeks on a piece of paper, and make sure it is very detailed and specific. Then write each goal on a bay leaf, one goal per leaf. Then speak your intentions out loud, burn the bay leaves, and then bury them outside in the dirt.