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Full Moons: A Time for Drama, Chaos, and Seeing the Truth

Photo-Illustration: by Preeti Kinha; Photos: Getty Images

A full moon is obvious. Unless the sky is swamped in smog or cloud cover, it’s impossible to ignore. In the depths of a jungle unpolluted by electricity, a full moon bathes flora and fauna in a night light so bright the leaves glow.

If the full moon were a house party, it would be totally out of control. Girls would be puking on the lawn outside. The music would bump so loud the walls would shake and the neighbors would threaten to call the cops. The mood lighting would sink every stray bottle and balloon into oversaturated Suspiria hues. Each room would be overstuffed with heated fights, volcanic breakups, and hysterical confessions. Someone would smash an heirloom urn. Cleaning up the mess the next morning would suck.

In astrology, the moon rules our gut feelings. It charges across the sky far faster than more distant celestial bodies, and it activates our emotional ego. Sometimes lunar energy translates to softer, maternal, self-protective instincts. Left untamed, it can trigger our most feral inner child. When the moon is full, her qualities are magnified and our feelings intensify. Things that were shrouded in darkness and shadow reveal themselves, and conflicts come to a head. The full moon doesn’t just force us to act unhinged — she exposes secrets and reveals hidden agendas.

The moon is a tidal force, forever wedded to the element of water, and she’s at her most passionate and personal when she enters one of the three water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces). Drama, tears, and childhood traumas thrive in the shine of a watery full moon. The earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn) have practicable, palpable connections to the moon, and under an earth full moon, we can get shit done or expect obvious changes to our material world. Air obscures our perception of the Moon, sometimes completely, so when the full moon is in an air sign (Gemini, Libra, or Aquarius), energy becomes confusing or fleeting, and gossip flowers. When the Moon heads to a fire sign (Aries, Leo, or Sagittarius), things don’t flow — they crackle. Impulse rules fire signs, setting the stage for risky, erratic fire full moons.

If you want to do some woo-woo, New Agey shit, know that you can’t really manifest under a full moon. That’s because the full moon is manifestation itself: The power is too potent to harness. Instead, initiate these rituals in the week preceding the full moon’s total exposure. If you’re lighting a candle or performing some sort of complicated ceremony in Stevie Nicks velvet, you should try to schedule this spell so that it concludes as close as possible to the exact moment the full moon perfects but no later. (There are many tools that will tell you the exact time the moon blares the brightest every month, sometimes with fun names and good advice for growing vegetable gardens. I defer to a no-frills app like The Moon when I’m quickly checking lunar phases, and the old-school paperback Farmers’ Almanac for everything else.)

Under a full moon, things are bold and out of control; it’s a mayhem we can’t avoid and can barely plan around: When the truth is fully illuminated, it’s rarely it as we imagine it to be. I’ve spent many full moons at surreal, hedonistic bacchanals, fêtes that gave Caligula a run for his money and left me exhausted, overloaded, and empty. But I recommend gentle baths over untamed ragers. Submerge yourself in the pull of the full moon. Allow secrets to unfurl without reacting. Be soft. Don’t go looking for trouble before it finds you. Don’t call your mother.

In astrology, the sky is conceived of as a sphere with the Earth at the center. This sphere is divided into 12 sections, one for each zodiac sign, and every celestial body moves through at its own rate. The moon cycles through the signs quickly, staying in each for about two and a half days, and transiting the full zodiac roughly every month.
Full Moons: A Time for Drama, Chaos, and Seeing the Truth