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The Spirit of the Moon

Updated: Dec 29, 2020

In many cultures, the moon is a significant source of spiritual inspiration. Like many earth-based traditions, the moon is a focal point in measuring time in the Hindu calendar. The Hindu calendar is broken into two 14 day moon cycles called Paksha. Shukla Paksha is the 14 days where the moon is growing brighter. Krishna Paksha is the fortnight after the full moon, where the nights are getting darker.

Pūrṇimā पूर्णिमा (poor-ni-ma) is the Sanskrit word for 'full moon.' There are twelve to thirteen Pūrṇimā per year, with some Pūrṇimā being considered more auspicious than others. In tantra, we identify all that is manifest as being an aspect of the Goddess. Therefore since Pūrṇimā is the fullest and most manifest experience we can have with the moon, it is most associated with the Goddess.

Amāvásyā अमावस्या (amaa-vos-ya) is used to refer to the new or dark moon can be translated to mean 'to dwell together.' In tantra, the dark moon is associated with Shiva's emptiness, which is why this day is also sometimes referred to as Shivaratri, 'the night of Shiva.' Therefore, this dwelling is not something we do outwardly but inwardly. It is not done 'together' outwardly with other people but inwardly between the Atman (Self) and the Jīvātman (Soul).

Sādhana & Puja

If you are a Sādhak or spiritual practitioner, you may want to learn to align your spiritual practices with the moon. They can also be a great time to cleanse and reset, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Here is a loose schedule for you to follow on Pūrṇimā and Amāvásyā days:

1. Fasting during these days can be a great way to amplify the benefits of your practice

  • Fast from sunset the day before until you see the full moon or until sunrise the next day

  • This fast can be with no food at all or with herbal teas and fresh fruit

2. Early morning bath and prayers

  • Preferably at dawn and in a river or other natural body of water

  • Say a prayer or set a Sankalpa/intention for the next fortnight or month

3. Cleanse and clean your home and altar

  • Also, be sure to bless and cleanse your murti-s (deity statues)

4. Offer flowers, incense, and light to your altar & murti-s

  • You can also use this time to do Abhishek or Aarti to your Altar & Murti-s

  • Pay specific attention to your Goddess Murti-s on Full moon and your Shivalingam or Shiva Murti-s on New Moon

5. Meditation

  • Preferably 1 hour of Mantra or Silent

  • Self-inquiry can be quite powerful on Amāvásyā

6. Participate in a homa or yajna (fire ceremony)

7. Invite friends over and make a nice meal to break your fast

  • Traditional rice pudding (kheer) and other sweets are made

  • Before breaking your fast, offer the food to the moon and your altar

8. Spend time with the moon

  • Take a walk in the moonlight or practice Trataka with the Moon

A Mantra we would like to share with you:


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