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Cancer Full Moon 2023: Insights & Ritual


Birds eye view of ocean waves with a cosmic nebula transparently overlaid. An image of a crab is faint in the background. Title reads: "Cancer Full Moon - Moon 101, Astral Insights, Eco-somatic Ritual"

The Full Moon in CANCER will grace the sky on December 26th reaching peak illumination at 7:33pm EST.


This blog post covers all you need to know about the Cancer Full Moon along with a simple eco-somatic ritual to explore.


In this blog post you will find:


Introduction: Moon 101


The sun and moon are in a cyclical relationship as they weave through the seasons of the zodiac. This celestial dance provides us with an intuitive road map to explore our own inner/outer journey as we too make our way through the ebb and flow of nature's seasons and come into new and ever-changing dimensions of our lives.


While the sun is ruler of the day and influences our "outer" expression in the world, it is to no surprise that as ruler of the tides and queen of the night the moon is also ruler of our emotions and "inner" felt experience. Our emotions have long been associated with representations of water and the sea: fluid, ever-changing, ebbing and flowing. As the moon pulls at the tides, we also experience this influencing force on our emotions, desires, shadow realms, fears/worries, psyche, and dreams.


Self-knowledge arises through a process of uncovering hidden layers of self through revelation and integration. This process is mirrored in the ebb and flow of the moon which is why it's something we learn to observe and track. As the light of the moon waxes, more of what lies hidden becomes revealed - our deeper motivations, mechanisms, and feelings. As the light of the moon wanes, we are given time to integrate these new learnings and discoveries.


This Full Moon falls within the sign of Cancer several days after Winter Solstice as the Sun shifted into Capricorn. Keep reading to learn how you can use this moon portal to explore new dimensions of self seeking expression in the world.


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Full Moon Energy


Since the moon is the closest "planet" to Earth, this satellite zips around the zodiac very quickly, completing its round in less than a month. Actually, the entire trip takes 29.53 days, to be exact, and is measured from one new Moon to the next. We call this a lunation or lunar cycle. The peak or mid-point of every lunation happens on a full Moon.


This Full Moon in Cancer marks the mid-point of the current Libra lunar cycle. During a Full Moon, the Earth is sitting between the Moon and Sun. The Sun's light illuminates the face of the Moon for all to see. From the vantage point of Earth, the Moon and Sun are dwelling in opposite constellations, thus forming an opposition. This can make for a challenging or intense aspect of energy but also full of potential since the polarities (yin & yang) are in natural harmonic balance. In this case, the influencing energies of Sun (Capricorn) and Moon (Cancer) are in a dynamic conversation that we will explore.


You can think of the Full Moon phase as a culmination moment in a particular energetic cycle, where some inner change, new awareness, or intention that was revealed six months ago is reaching maturation, coming into full form, or manifesting in some way. The bright light of the full moon illuminates or brings to the surface something that is ready to be seen, integrated or incorporated more deeply into who you are becoming. Full Moon energy is a time for honoring the journey, celebrating your growth, offering gratitude and being with any grief. It can be an



Cancer Insights


  • SYMBOL | CRAB - associated with home, nurturance, belonging and the parental instinct to protect all vulnerable living things while they are young.

  • PLANET | MOON - the nurturing light of nature, the moon is Queen of Night, ruler of the tides and has strong associations with the feminine.

  • ELEMENT | WATER - element of emotion, feeling, intuition, rhythm, movement, pulse of creation.

  • HOUSE | 10th HOUSE - house of action and deeds rules the drive, discipline, ambition and focus required to manifest a vision or goal.

  • MODALITY | CARDINAL - represents initiation, taking action, and translating formless (thoughts, longings, intuitions) into form (embodiment, service, contribution).


Two weeks ago the Sagittarius new moon set the energetic stage for the current lunar cycle taking us into the final phase of descent, through the Winter Solstice portal, and now into the beginning phase of ascent as we approach a new year. The message was clear: keep your eye on the inner flame of faith and remain steadfast in holding your vision for the world as you await the return of the light. Sagittarius is depicted as a centaur drawing their bow. The archers bullseye is the meaning of life while the flaming arrow is the light of longing that helps us navigate the dark. Our aim must be precise, our commitments unwavering, our faith backed by action. We are being asked to lean in and stay with the discomfort of this moment and not turn away. We must let it transform us.


Now the Sun and Moon stand opposite one another (opposition) with the Sun in Capricorn and the Moon in Cancer. Capricorn is represented by the agile and sure-footed mountain goat who steadily ascends steep cliffs and jagged terrain with focus, determination and fortitude. Capricorn creates stable conditions for growth by taking Sagittarius' flame of faith, meeting it with action, and creating a structure of practice one small step at a time. Such stable conditions arise from a deep rooted commitment and clear sense of direction. From this place, the light of longing is nurtured by Cancer's feminine waters, like the water needed to shape and mold something on a potter's wheel. It's all about finding your home or role within the cyclical nature of life.


This Cancer full Moon is the first full Moon after Winter Solstice and the last full Moon of 2023. The Cancer full Moon always arrives in the beginning phase of nature's ascent. The myths and lore make clear that Cancer therefore represents the emergence of being from the primordial ocean, not just physically in terms of biological evolution but also esoterically in terms of life itself. It represents a parental instinct that incubates and protects all vulnerable living things while they are young. It carries the memory of nest and womb. This Full Moon reveals the necessity of creating structures for manifesting the light of longing, routines that help us stay rooted in the source of our belonging, and practices that give shape to our hearts devotion.



What you need to know about Cancer


THE CARDINAL CROSS

Illustration of the zodiac highlighting the cardinal cross and encircling the sign of Cancer
Cardinal Cross highlighted in red

LIBRA - ARIES AXIS

CAPRICORN - CANCER AXIS


Initiatory energy, pushing forward, beginnings, equinoxes and solstices


Cardinal signs align with the seasonal cross points of light and dark. Aries aligns with Spring Equinox, Cancer with Summer Solstice, Libra with Fall Equinox and Capricorn with Winter solstice. The Cardinal Cross is considered a most important set of axis lines. It's the first sign of each element where things begin.


"Cardinal signs are the initiating aspects of whichever element they represent. Like fire, they reach out and make direct contact with reality. They know where they are going. Geometrically, they correspond to straight line." - Vicki Noble, Motherpeace


Capricorn is the cardinal earth sign (circled in the diagram), opposing it is the cardinal water sign of Cancer which creates one axis of the Cardinal Cross. The two feminine elements (Water and Earth) always create an axis and the two masculine elements (Air and Fire) create the other axis. Each cross contains each of the four elements. In this case the cardinal signs are represented by: Capricorn (Earth), Cancer (Water), Aries (Fire), Libra (Air).



ELEMENT: WATER


WATER: PSYCHE / EMOTION

SCORPIO, CANCER, PISCES


Water is the element of emotions, instinct and the mysterious realm of the psyche. It is the element of the dream world, adaptability, fertility, receiving, healing, fluidity and change.


"We can see water’s unique ability to change form as it ranges from liquid to ice to gas. Water flows and adapts to the space it’s in. Water is also the element of cleansing and purification, and is often used for spiritual purposes to cleanse the soul and other spaces —physical or otherwise. The ‘wave of emotions’ reminds us of the watery realms of our emotions that can transform and change like the element of water." - Kayla White


Water signs feel at home in depths of emotion and have a strong connection to the unseen. They are highly intuitive and have strong ties to the lunar currents, thus dreamscapes may be particularly vivid. As deep feelers they are emotionally moved to action.



RULING PLANET: MOON


Qualities: instincts, survival, subconscious, emotion, fluctuation, feeling, protection, motherhood, moods, reflection, receptivity, cycles, security, home, intuition


"The Moon is the largest satellite in the solar system. The Earth and Moon are gravitationally bound to each other, the period of rotation of the Moon around its axis coincides with its orbital period around the Earth (27.32 days). This means that we always see the same face of the Moon and its opposite side is out of our field of view from Earth.”  



CONSTELLATION

Image of the constellation Cancer
Image via Earth-Sky

Cancer the Crab is a constellation of the zodiac, which means that it lies on the ecliptic, or path of the sun and planets through our sky. In the Northern Hemisphere, Cancer is best seen in the evening sky in late winter and early spring.


According to EarthSky:


"It’s the faintest of the 12 constellations of the zodiac. To see Cancer, you need to look between Gemini's two brightest stars Castor and Pollux , and Leo the Lion’s brightest star Regulus. Once you’ve found Cancer – if your sky is dark – you can see the wonderful open star cluster called the Beehive. It contains some 1,000 stars." (Source)



Ritual Elements


A chart offering elements for the sign of Cancer to be incorporated into the ritual


Cancer Full Moon Ritual


What You'll Need


1. Elements for your altar. Drawing on the ritual elements above, consider what you might want to bring to your altar. Start simple. There is absolutely no need to go out and "buy" altar items. This is something that we encourage you to unlearn. Everything we need is within us and can be found around us. A simple candle will do, or a yellow flower for example.


2. Journal & something to write with for the journaling portion.



Important Considerations & Prep


1. RIGHT RELATIONSHIP: being in right relationship with your spiritual practice means approaching each aspect with humility, curiosity and reverence. This includes checking yourself on the nature of how you relate to "objects" as things and the process itself.

  • For example, if you feel called to stones as part of your ritual, consider WHY first. Then contemplate the impact of whatever action comes next. For example, instead of mindlessly purchasing cheap precious stones from somewhere like amazon (which have more than likely been harmfully mined/extracted and then shipped across the world as part of the consumer machine that's destroying our planet), perhaps part of your spiritual practice is to resist such a prompting and instead take the time to go for a mindful walk in your backyard, or a nearby stream and see if the right stone presents itself to you.


2. CLEANSE & PURIFY YOUR SPACE: Cleansing, also known as purification, is the practice of clearing out and releasing negative energy from your space, as well as energy that’s just old, stale, stagnant, or no longer serving you. Here are a few different methods:

  • Physical cleaning: dusting, vacuuming, opening windows for fresh air

  • Salt: a common element used for purification and protection in many different cultures. To use, simply sprinkle salt along doorways and windowsills to protect them from negative energy entering or just keep a small bowl of salt on your altar or nearby surface.

  • Smoke cleansing: light incense or burn a bundle of dried herbs such as rosemary, cedar, or mugwort. Choose plants that you have grown yourself or that grow abundantly wild nearby, plants that you have ancestral tied to or just those that have been grown and harvested ethically.


NOTE: If you do not have meaningful/authentic relationships to Indigenous culture and customs, "smudging" with white sage cultural appropriation and is dishonoring to Indigenous nations across Turtle island. It is important to understand that smudging is not just about burning sage to purify the negative energy from your space but is a sacred ritual that is culturally specific to tribes such as the Lakota Sioux, Comanche, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Navajo. If you have been gifted sage by an Indigenous friend, use to your discretion in how to engage with this medicine. This sacred plant is being abused, exploited and mass-harvested for commercial and consumer use which perpetuates the violence of white supremacy and settler colonialism. Take some time to locate yourself within a settler-colonial context interwoven with the land you currently occupy. Check out Native Land to learn the name and more about the territories you occupy.


3. CLEANSE & PURIFY YOUR BODY-MIND

  • Take a shower our bath; visualize any negative energy that has accumulated in your auric field to be washed away as the water goes down the drain.

  • Meditate, center and take some time to ground in stillness and embodied presence.

  • Write or speak your intentions for your ritual out loud


4. BE MINDFUL & STRIVE FOR INTEGRITY ALWAYS.



Altar Creation


Creating an altar is optional. Altar tending is a beautiful practice, especially if you have a designated area in your home that you can tend to over the course of each moon and seasonal cycle.


Tending to an altar is an intentional practice that supports your exploration of nature spirituality and carries the potential to deepen your relationship to the energetic archetypes of the unfolding seasonal & moon cycles.


To set up your altar, simply play with any number of the ritual elements offered above in the chart by using symbols, colors, precious gemstones, symbolism, etc.


There is no right or wrong way to go about creating, tending or being with your altar, however we do not condone cultural appropriation or theft of any kind.



Eco-Somatic Practice: Nesting


Cancer’s essence is about nurturing the mother within, creating a structure of safety to feel secure, held, and loved. For this eco-somatic practice, we draw upon one of nature’s embodiments of a home - the nest.


If you can't perform this practice somewhere outside, not worry. You can create the feeling of a nest using blankets and pillows instead.



MATERIALS:

  1. Sticks, logs, branches, etc (alternatively pillows and blankets for inside)

  2. Bowl of water

  3. blanket

  4. Phone with headphones or speaker (optional)


STEPS:

  1. To begin, find a place tucked in a grove of trees where you will feel undisturbed - as secluded as possible. This can be in a forest, or in your yard near a tree, off trail at a park, or somewhere in nature you like to be. Try to choose a place that has branches or sticks nearby. If nature is not available to you, choose a cozy dark place with candle light.

  2. Once you have chosen a location and place, begin to imagine the shape, size and depth of the nest you want to build. This can be as simple or elaborate as you wish.

  3. Then start to gather sticks from around you to create your nest, starting to assemble your shape. You might choose varying sizes, thicknesses of sticks, mossy sticks, or rocks - using any materials that you feel drawn to. And being mindful of your pace and approach as you gather your materials for your nest. You can add nearby foliage, leaves, flowers, ferns or anything else you’d like to decorate your home with to feel nurtured and cared for.

  4. Next, clear out or tend to the inside of your nest in any way that will feel most comfortable for you to be able to sit, stretch, lie down and be. If you brought a blanket, chair, etc you may place that out.

  5. Take a moment to just notice, making any other adjustment before blessing your nest.

  6. Now, reach for your bowl of water and hold it near your heart as you stand or sit in the center of your nest. Begin to inwardly or outwardly reflect and connect to your sense of home - when do you feel most at home in yourself? What practices and ways of being, nurture this inner place of home? What do you need to lean into, let go of to rest more deeply in this place? Begin to set intentions, speaking inwardly or outwardly into the bowl of water.

  7. When you feel complete, take your bowl of water and sprinkle water all along the perimeter of your nest with your fingertips, all the way around, moving slowly, intentionally and with a sense of a bowing.

  8. Then find a comfortable position laying down or sitting and rest in your nest. Here you may want to just soak in the safety of your nest; you might place your hand on your heart and connect to your inner home; you might decide to just notice the dabbling light of the leaves, or the passing clouds, or listen to the birds and take in the nurturing presence of your nest. If you want, listen to this song as you rest: Mother I feel You by Ajeet Kaur

  9. When you feel complete, take a moment to kneel in your nest, thanking this place of rest and home and know that you can return to this place anytime.


INTEGRATE

  • Note what has shifted in your moon or overall energy. Jot down any sensations or feelings that are present for you.

  • Simply be here in presence until you are ready to move into journaling.


Journaling

Birds eye view of ocean waves with a cosmic nebula transparently overlaid. An image of a crab is faint in the background. Title reads: "Cancer Full Moon - Moon 101, Astral Insights, Eco-somatic Ritual"

What came up for you during the eco-somatic practice? Take some time to reflect on anything you'd like to hold onto.


Additional journal prompts for the full moon:


  • What dreams or visions am I needing to nurture right now?

  • In what moments do I feel most at home within myself and the world?

  • What message does the medicine of water want to offer me?


You may also feel called to finishing the following sentences:


  • A habits of thought or behavior that I am releasing is....

  • A new practice that I would like to incorporate into my routine is...

  • Something that I am letting go of is...

  • Something I am welcoming in is...




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