Where new moons are times for introspection, full moons are times of energy, abundance, and power. With Earth balanced between the moon and the sun, the moon is fully illuminated in its striking splendor.
If you’ve been feeling tired and worn down, full moons are an opportunity to summon a little magic. In this post, I’ll share a guide to conduct your own full moon ritual to restore your strength and send some extra power out into the universe to manifest the intentions you set at the new moon.
In certain traditions of witchcraft, full moons are the time for a special ritual called drawing down the moon. An experienced witch would invoke the goddess, represented by the moon, into herself and it was believed she could speak to her coven as the goddess.
My ritual is a bit more modest, and whether or not the moon holds any spiritual significance to you, you can use this guide as an opportunity for self-care that restores and reenergizes you for the rest of the lunar cycle.
The best time and place to do a full moon ritual is at night and someplace where you can bathe yourself in the moonlight. If this isn’t possible for you, then try to find a private moment where you can perform this ritual while facing towards the moon, even if it’s obscured from view.
Create Sacred Space
Where new moons rituals are for finding peace and serenity, full moon rituals are like a party.
Music and dancing are warmly encouraged and these are perfect times to raise a lot of energy.
Elevate the mood and prepare your sacred space. Do this in any way that feels good to you. Some examples could be:
- Put some music on. It can be anything you like that lifts your spirits and makes you want to move.
- Light some candles around your room, as many as you can light safely, mirroring the luminescent glow of the full moon itself. If you’re doing this outdoors, use jar candles so that you won’t accidentally kick one over and set your garden on fire. Please follow advice for staying fire-safe.
- Burn some incense. Although white sage and palo santo are popular choices for ritual smoke cleansing, please make sure you’re buying them from Native American and Indigenous sellers. Smudging is considered sacred medicine to many Native American nations and had been outlawed in the United States up until 1978. Commercially produced ‘smudging kits’ popular in Neopagan and New Age cultures have also led to the over-harvesting of wild sage in the United States. In 2018, Sephora had to withdraw a “Starter Witch Kit” from sale after attracting criticisms for including a bundle of sage along with tarot cards, crystals, and perfume.
- A smoke-free alternative to incense and other forms of smoke cleansing is to spray an Agua de Florida cologne. Again, this is an Indigenous shamanic medicine that should be purchased from an Indigenous seller.
- Set up your altar or just bring together some items with symbolic significance to you, like a picture of a loved one, souvenirs or trinkets that recall happy memories, or just lay down some cozy cushions and blankets.
- If you’ve set intentions at the new moon, bring the folded paper or journal that you wrote your intentions in. If you haven’t set intentions yet and you would like to use this full moon to set some big, powerful intentions out into the universe, then get some paper and pens and follow the guide in my new moon ritual.
- Prepare something to eat or drink after the ritual. It’s normal to feel in need of a little grounding after a ritual and something like a small bowl of fruit, nuts, or a cup of tea can be very soothing.
Prepare Your Intentions
I believe that intentions are best set during the new moon as the start of the lunar cycle is full of the promise of manifestation. I have a new moon ritual that takes you through how to set intentions with a more introspective and meditative ritual.
If you’ve performed a new moon ritual and had your intentions kept in a safe space for the period of the waxing moon, or you’ve written intentions before, bring them out. You’ll want to lay them out in front of you for the ritual, ideally under the light of the full moon.
Otherwise, if you’ve just stumbled across this ritual and you’d like to set intentions anyway, please take a look at the intentions section of my new moon ritual guide and come back here to continue this ritual once you have set your intentions.
Prepare Your Body and Mind
Take a shower or bath before the ritual.
To elevate the experience, put around 10 drops of an essential oil of your choice into your bathwater. (Some essential oils are very strong so adjust accordingly). Peppermint, spearmint, rosemary, lemon or sweet orange essential oils are perfect for the full moon. All these oils have refreshing scents that will help you feel energized, uplifted, and focused.
Place your intentions out in front of you. If they’re written inside a folded sheet, unfold it and lay the paper out. If they’re written inside a journal, open up to the page. If it was just a word or image you conjured in your mind, recall it back in your mind and focus on it.
You can meditate if you feel in need of some centering, but the main purpose of the full moon is to raise energy and direct power towards your intentions.
There are many ways to raise energy.
If you’re so inclined, you can start free dancing in your sacred space. Put on music that inspires you to move. This is a time to let go of inhibitions and just start feeling the energies draw up from the earth through your body. Move in any way you can and any way that feels good for you.
You can also make your own music. Drumming, for example, is an incredible way to enter a more meditative state and raise power at the same time.
You can also focus your attention on your intentions. Chant them or just say them in your mind. Gradually build up speed and volume until you’re shouting them (vocally or non-vocally).
This is a really powerful ritual to do with friends or a coven. You can each place your intentions on an altar and raise energy together.
Whether you’re dancing, drumming, chanting, or visualizing, raise the energy to a point where it feels like it’s filled you up. You’ll know when it happens. It’s like sparks and fireworks are all around you. You feel like you could burst with energy and let down a shower of lightning in your sacred space.
When you’re at that point, direct all the energy through your mind through your body and towards your intentions.
When doing this ritual in a group, you’ll all know when you’ve reached that peak. I’ve raised power with one other person and I’ve done it on a hilltop under the full moon with a party of over 120 people. Without fail you’ll know when you’ve charged all the power you can — the air around you will be positively electric — and the magic when you release them at the same time can only be experienced firsthand.
When you feel all the energy you’ve charged released into your intentions, sit or better still, lay down. Give thanks for the abundance you have and the abundance you will receive. Feel safe and held by the universe in this moment.
When you’re ready to get back to ‘the real world’, ground yourself by eating and drinking what you prepared earlier.
If you’re with your friends, celebrate with a big feast.
Invoke More Magic
If the ritual felt nourishing and restorative, you might want to consider making it a regular practice as part of your self-care.
Although I hold astrological beliefs lightly, I can sometimes feel spiritually starved unless I habitually take the time to intentionally connect with the natural world and appreciate something larger than myself. Observing the moon’s cycles is a meaningful and rewarding way for me to put my troubles into perspective and mark the milestones of my life.
In the next section, I have listed the dates for the full moon for 2021. You can mark these in your calendar and come back to this ritual (or any variation of it that feels good for you) whenever you’re in need of a powerful spiritual recharge.
To keep a little feeling of the sacred in your every day, consider setting up a table, shelf, or mantlepiece in your home as an altar. It can be as elaborate or simple as you’d like. Please see my post walking you through the steps to build your own altar.
Those are the same stars, and that is the same moon, that look down upon your brothers and sisters, and which they see as they look up to them, though they are ever so far away from us, and each other.Sojourner Truth
When Are the Full Moons for 2021?
There are 12 full moons in 2021. Their dates are:
- January 28
- February 27
- March 28
- April 27
- May 26
- June 24
- July 24
- August 22
- September 21
- October 20
- November 19
- December 19
You can visit Moon Info to check the current phase of the moon.
Sign up for Moon Rites, my newsletter sent on the new moon, and receive a self-care checklist as a gift.
Margot Adler (2006) Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America (revised edition).
To read more about white cultural appropriation of First Nations cultures in New Age practices, see these two amazing journal articles:
Lisa Aldred (2000). Plastic shamans and astroturf sundances: New Age commercialization of Native American spirituality. American Indian Quarterly, 24(3), 329–352.
Linda E. Donaldson (1999). On medicine women and white shame-ans: New Age Native Americanism and commodity fetishism as pop culture feminism. Signs, 24(3), 677–696.
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Featured image by Ingmar