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How to Use the Moon’s Cycle for a Monthly Time Out

when the moon in the sky looks just like the moon we drew as children, it’s time to STOP
when the moon in the sky looks just like the moon we drew as children, it’s time to STOP

I have to confess I work a lot.  I work a lot of weekends, too (much less often in the spring and summer!) and since my husband and I own separate businesses it is hard to coordinate vacations, so we do not take them as often as we would like to. I know I need a break when:

  1. I  get cranky. People asking me to do things that make perfect sense for me to do annoy the hell out of me (“Can you turn out the light?” “ME?! Why don’t you turn out the light?” – even though the switch is 18 inches from my fingers and 18 feet from his).
  2. I get spacey. I can’t remember the last 10 miles I drove, where I put the car keys I just had in my hand or why I walked into a room.
  3. I get overwhelmed. Getting out of bed requires Herculean efforts, my to-do list is never ending , my bed feels like heaven at the end of the day – I start thinking I need new vitamins. Friends telling me about their amazing vacation makes me want to stick a fork in their eye (but just one of those little appetizer forks, I’m not a savage after all)!

These used to be my time out red flags. I have found the real secret sauce for happiness for me (and others within stabbing distance) is to avoid these red flags in the first place.

This has become much easier for me since I started working with the monthly phases of the moon.

In a never ending circle the moon cycles through her phases every month. We start with the New Moon – this is the time of darkness when the seeds are in the ground – this is the beginning that only feels like the beginning if we are paying attention. Then she waxes (grows larger) – the action is on accumulating and doing; this is the time to get to work. The waxing moon moves through its crescent, half-moon and gibbons stages over the next two weeks. To work with this energy, we just have to work. We plant the seeds, we water the seeds, we weed the garden.

Then the Full Moon shocks us by filling up the entire night sky – this is not an ending time – it is a peak energy time. This is the point where we give it our all – this is the point the waxing moon is building us toward. Then she wanes (grows smaller) – our energy will be receding. This is the time to start wrapping things up and letting go of things. This is the best time to declutter – this is still an action time but the action is on releasing. This is the time to transition from the peak energy of the full moon to the low energy of the new moon.

to be rewarded with creativity at the New Moon, rest during the Balsamic Moon
to be rewarded with creativity at the New Moon, rest during the Balsamic Moon

The Balsamic Moon (the final part of the waning moon – its crescent cycle – this is exactly the moon we drew with crayons as children – the skinny letter C) is the 3 1/2 days each month that I always mark into my calendar for a time out. These are the days just before the new moon when we are allied harmoniously with withdrawing. When I am absolutely forced to work during this period I have noticed an uneasy restlessness to everything I do – nothing flows right. Life is just not as supportive of physical action at this time.

This is an excellent time for reflection and dreaming. We turn our backs on the physical world. We turn inward. We rest.

Ways to use this moon:

1.  Schedule your breaks at least 3 months in advance using the Farmer’s Almanac or Google. The Balsamic Moon is the last phase of the moon’s cycle just before the new moon. For example the next new moon in April is April 29th so I have scheduled my balsamic moon break for April 25-27th.

2. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do if you were on vacation far away from your studio and office.

If you want to manifest anything into form during the approaching New Moon – use the Balsamic Moon days to their best advantage by not thinking or doing too much. You will be rewarded during the next cycle with amazing creativity and energy (and you will not lose any friends to fork injuries).

Do you think this might work for you?

Cat Ivins

Cat Ivins has written 6 posts in this blog.

Cat Ivins is the maker, designer, dumpster diver and wannabe astrologer at Olive Bites Studio at the Jersey Shore. She is passionate about using sustainable and earth friendly materials in new, unique and beautiful ways and committed to helping other makers (people making a business, a life or an actual product) follow their hearts and their stars.



I love this approach to taking breaks. An old friend of mine used to take much of January to “recover” in her job (she was a therapist), and she called it “lying fallow” for the winter. I hadn’t figured out how to translate that idea into a creative practice, but you’ve nailed it. But I especially like the idea of not losing any friends to fork injuries! 🙂

What say you?