A guide to Lunar Living with Kirsty Gallagher

if the moon is keeping you awake, she’s trying to get your attention

Events | Mindful Living | Well-Being

I have always felt profoundly affected by the moon and tracking the lunar cycle has become an important part of looking after my wellbeing. It helps me to find comfort and feel connected to nature. Last year I discovered the work of Kirsty Gallagher – founder of an online resource called Lunar Living, which teaches you how to weave the ancient wisdom of the moon into modern, everyday life. The significance of the moon is still a mystery to many, so it was a pleasure to speak to Kirsty about how we can all reconnect with these natural cycles, and the benefits to be experienced from living in this way. 

I share your belief that the moon has an ancient wisdom – how would you explain this to someone just starting their lunar journey?

There are a couple of different things I would say. The first is that the moon turns our tides on earth. It’s the moon that gives us seasons, and it’s also said that without the gravitational pull of the moon, a day on earth would only be between six and eight hours long. We therefore have a certain arrogance as humans to say, ‘oh the moon doesn’t affect me’. The moon affects everything in nature and as humans that are made up of 60-80% water, the moon is bound to have a pull on our inner tides and emotions too.

I also like to ask people how often they make new year’s resolutions, and then let the year pass without doing anything about them. When we start to work with lunar cycles, we get at least two moments every month to pause and check in – once with the new moon and once with the full moon. It gives us conscious control over our lives, and a focus whereby we’re asking ‘am I going in the direction I want to go?’. If not, why not, and what do I need to change? Even if you take away the astrological element, those twice monthly check-ins can be life-changing if you stop to honour them. 

When did you first feel the significance of the moon in your life?

I was studying yoga in India in 2009, and the Ashtanga tradition is not to practise on full moon days, so people would hang out in cafés and coffee shops on these days instead. I love observing people, and started to notice that people’s energy would be different during these periods – even in subtle ways. We would all have similar things going on – whether it be relationship issues, self-doubt, or common anxieties. Spotting this pattern got me really hooked. I spent nine months in India really delving into this, then started teaching workshops when I got back to the UK. I have lived by the cycles of the moon ever since.

Which areas of your life does the moon influence most acutely?

It really depends, because the moon works on that watery inner world of our emotions, our hopes and our dreams. In our birth chart, our sun sign represents who we’re here to shine as – our personality and our ego self, whereas our moon represents who we really are when no one else is watching – who we are on the inside. During the dark moon phase, she pulls our emotions in, causing us to look at our shadowy depths; maybe dreams that are left on the shelf or parts of ourselves we are not aligned with. During a full moon all our emotions are pulled to the surface, so we’ve got to take note of them. 

What the moon showed me in the beginning was how we repeat the same patterns of sabotage, for example saying we want something then acting in ways that set us in completely the opposite direction or allowing the same self-doubts to get in the way. Living with the lunar cycle has been a massive tool of self-awareness for me, enabling me to check-in and recognise ‘wow, I’m doing that same thing again’, illuminating what’s already there within me that needs attention. It’s so powerful. 

What is the significance of the new moon – the first stage of the cycle?

tracking the lunar cycle has become an important part of looking after my wellbeing. It helps me to find comfort and feel connected to nature

I always start a couple of days before this with the dark moon – the lowest emotional and energetic point of the cycle when we really need to check-in. If you ask most people what they want, most do not know, or don’t dare to dream or verbalise it in case it sounds silly. Ask people what they don’t want however, and they’ll be able to tell you in detail. The dark moon shows us what we don’t want, so during this time you’re going to find certain things irritating or realise where your boundaries are being crossed. When the new moon comes a couple of days later, it’s asking ‘so what do you want?’, whether it be a job with a shorter commute, or a more supportive partner. The new moon is the moment we set intentions for what we want to create for the next lunar cycle. 

I find it fascinating that even those who don’t track the lunar cycle struggle to sleep during the full moon phase. Why is this and how do you manage this period?

After the dark and the new moon, we have the waxing crescent moon, when we see the first tiny slice in the sky. This is the action phase of the lunar cycle when the moon says ‘right, you’ve set these intentions, what is it we need to do?’. We then get the first quarter moon, when we need to let ourselves be open to receiving everything that we’ve asked for. A few days later is the waxing gibbous part in the cycle – just before the full moon when many of us don’t sleep. This is because the moon is saying ‘Ok listen, about two weeks ago you set these intentions. Have you achieved them?’. This is the last push of lunar energy to get things done before the full moon then starts to wane. It’s almost like the moon saying you haven’t got time to sleep.

Because the moon also works with our subconscious and our dreams, it’s important to notice what is going on in our heads when we’re lying awake. Normally we’re having a conversation we wish we’d had with someone, thinking about something we’re avoiding or replaying a situation we don’t think we handled well. It’s showing us what’s in the way so that we know what we want to release in the waning part of the cycle. It’s important to recognise that this heightened lunar energy is there to give us a push. If the moon is keeping you awake, she’s trying to get your attention.

Do you have a few simple tips for those starting their lunar journey that may help them tune into the moon and their emotions?

Firstly, begin to notice your own emotions and observe the cycle of them, for example are there certain days you feel more emotional than others? Next, start to track the moon. Notice the dark moon a couple of days before the new moon, and gauge how you’re feeling and what is irritating you or making you feel sad around this time. When the new moon comes, think about what you want, and set some intentions around that. Make one or two of them really simple and achievable, like making positive changes to your wellbeing or learning a new skill, and then have a couple of others you can work on over several different moon cycles, such as changing your job or living situation, building self-confidence or communicating better with your partner.

During the subsequent two weeks, do everything you can to make those wishes come true as the moon waxes and builds; notice signs and synchronicities, accept invites, read books and visit websites people recommend to you. Do as much as you can to be seen, heard and say ‘yes’ to life. When the full moon comes have another check-in. A full moon illuminates our life, so we get to look at our intentions from two weeks ago and see if we achieved them. And if the answer is no, is that because you didn’t really believe in yourself? This self-awareness enables us to see what’s in the way and what we need to work on releasing. By the time we come back around to the dark moon, we can check-in again and see what’s not working, start our intentions, and begin the whole cycle all over again. That alone will change your life. It will help you realise the ways in which you get in your own way. It will help you to work on self-belief, self-worth, boundaries and knowing what you truly want from life.

That alone will change your life. It will help you realise the ways in which you get in your own way. It will help you to work on self-belief, self-worth, boundaries and knowing what you truly want from life.

I look forward to welcoming Kirsty to join us for a workshop at Bamford later this year, and if you would like to read more in the meantime, you can find Kirsty’s brilliant book here. I also love following Kirsty on Instagram for regular lunar cycle updates, and advice on how to harness each stage.