In November, we explored how to derive meaning from dream fragments. This month we’re going to examine the moon phases and how they influence your dreams. We’re also going to examine how you can integrate moon phases when practicing dream incubation. The ancient Egyptians and Greeks believed dreams were of divine origin and that dreams carried messages from the gods to the dreamer. Supplicants sought out answers to mundane and spiritual questions through the practice of dream incubation. For instance, in ancient Egypt, a supplicant would enter into a temple featuring bedchambers; it was here the individual attempted to receive communications from the divine through dreams. The dreamer would focus on a specific question or desire in hopes he or she would receive guidance or prophetic messages from the gods.
The practice of dream incubation was (and remains) ritualistic, sometimes involving the act of fasting, wearing appropriate attire, and prayer to specific deities before sleeping. If the dreamer was uncertain about dream meaning upon waking, the supplicant would then seek out someone knowledgeable about dreams, like a priest or priestess, for assistance in decoding the meaning behind the messages received. With the understanding the moon influences your sleep quality and the type of dreams you have, you can consider tracking the moon cycle to learn more about your dreams and their meaning. You can also use the current phase of the moon in an effort to induce specific types of dreams. For more information on ancient dream incubation practices, see “The Fabric of Dreams: Dream Lore and Dream Interpretation, Ancient and Modern” by Katherine Taylor Kraig.
The belief the moon has an influence on human behavior is a long held and widespread belief, and you don’t have to be a magickal practitioner or astrologer to believe in the influential power of moon energies. In 1995, the University of New Orleans gave 325 individuals a questionnaire to discover how many people believed in the power of lunar influence on human behavior. Of the 325 people questioned, 43% believed behavior is influenced by the moon; the belief was held by people in the mental health occupation (more strongly than any other occupational group), including LPNs, master’s clinical psychologists, and social workers.**
The influence of the moon on behavior extends into individual sleep patterns and dreaming. Scientists are now discovering the role the moon has on sleep and dreams. In an article appearing on LiveScience it’s revealed the full moon can negatively affect a person’s sleep quality. The findings of the study were released in the July 2013 issue of Current Biology. Sleep researchers from the Switzerland-based Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Basel have found lunar cycles, even when unseen or when one is unaware of the moon’s current phase, influence one’s sleep patterns. The study reveals a person’s brain activity during deep sleep decreases by as much as 30% when the moon is full. A dreamer takes a longer period of time to fall asleep; the individual can lose up to 20 minutes of sleep on a night when the full moon appears. The individuals participating in the study also had lower levels of melatonin when the moon was at its peak.* In addition, a DailyMail article online reveals the findings of a British study conducted by Psychologist Richard Wiseman suggesting dreams are more bizarre right around the week of the full moon.***
The Phase of The Moon And Their Meaning
There are four phases of the moon: waxing, full, waning, and dark. Even when the moon is not visible, you can still work with the moon’s energies. You can document the moon phase in your dream journal and consider what your dream messages mean when compared to the current moon phase. Here are some of the basic meanings of each moon phase, and how they influence dream interpretations/work. You will also find some of the dream archetypes associated with the various moon phases. For more details about dream archetypes, see “The Esoteric Dream Book: Mastering the Magickal Symbolism of the Subconscious Mind” (Schiffer Publishing).
Waxing: The waxing moon is the first phase in the moon cycle and is therefore associated with beginnings of all kinds. When you view the waxing moon in the sky, it is a crescent shape with the two points facing to the left. The waxing moon gradually increases until it reaches the full moon phase. This moon is therefore associated with abundance, growth, increases, expansion, gains, breakthroughs, and epiphanies. When you have questions about situations/relationships related to all of the latter-mentioned concepts, the ideal time to seek dream-time answers to your question is during the waxing moon phase. Archetypes associated with waxing moon energies include the Fool, Hunter/Huntress, Magician, Wanderer, Priest/Priestess, Healer/Wounded Healer, Weavers, Witch/Sorceress, Mentor, and the Prophet/Mystic.
Full: The waxing moon gradually moves into the full moon phase. Practitioners of magick consider the full moon as achieving the height of power and therefore hosting the most powerful energies of any moon phase. This phase of the moon is ideal for any type of question you want answers to in your dreams, whether the question relates to new beginnings or endings. The full moon is great for dream work related to mundane/spiritual growth, protection, healing, inner reflection, and self-empowerment. Bear in mind the findings that the full moon allows for dreams seeing more bizarre, thus such dreams are rich in metaphors and meaningful symbolism for interpretation. Thus, full moon phase is best for dreams where you are seeking deep, reflective, meaningful answers to your questions. Dream archetypes you can work with during this moon phase include the Judge, Critic, Magician, Hunter/Huntress, Superhumans, Priest/Priestess, Shaman, Healer/Wounded Healer, Weavers, Witch/Sorceress, Messengers, Prophet, Mystic, Father/Mother, and Divine Couple.
Waning Moon: The waning moon appears in the sky as a crescent shape with two points facing right. This phase of the moon is associated with endings of all kinds. As the moon diminishes in its power, the waning moon brings energies appropriate for banishings, clearings, and getting rid of bad habits/relationships/conditions. When entering into dream work during the waning moon, pose questions related to closure, maturation, completion, and the eradication of negative energies/conditions. Archetypes associated with the waning moon include the Magician, Ghosts, Weavers, Witch/Sorceress, Martyr, and Crone/Sage.
Dark Moon: The dark moon is not visible in the night sky, nevertheless its energies are still present. This moon is most ideal when you are looking to have dreams related to self or inner reflection. You can pose questions related to how to get rid of undesirable energies or influences in your life, or how you can improve the physical/spiritual self. Archetypes associated with the dark moon phase include the Devil/Trickster, Monsters, Anomalies, Ghosts, Shaman, Weavers, Witch/Sorceress, Messengers, Prophet/Mystic, and Crone/Sage.
Moon Phase Resources
You can often look up at the night sky and easily see what the current moon phase is, but if you are looking to be more precise with your dream/moon phase associations, there are several resources you can use when documenting moon phases in your dream journal.
Moonconnection.com offers a moon phase calendar tool. You can choose the month, year, and hemisphere before generating a calendar. The calendar is generated based on your time zone as well.
Calculatorcat.com features a widget you can add to any website. The tool gives you the current moon phase, the percentage of the moon being full, the current date, and the time based on your time zone.
FarmersAlmanac.com offers a moon phase calendar with images of the phase of the moon on each calendar day. You can also find out the exact times and dates of full moons and the name of each moon.
About Dayna Winters: Dayna Winters is a solitary Witch, author, and artist. She is the co-author of three books written with Patricia Gardner and Angela Kaufman including, “Wicca: What’s The Real Deal? Breaking Through the Misconceptions,” “Sacred Objects, Sacred Space: Everyday Tools for The Modern Day Witch,” and “The Esoteric Dream Book: Mastering the Magickal Symbolism of the Subconscious Mind”, all of which are published by Schiffer Publishing. You can find out more about Dayna and her work at her blog: http://daynawinters.blogspot.com/.