I really love the idea of keeping a diary, and admire people who have been recording their life events and non-events on a regular basis since their youth. I’m truly in awe of people who continue to make space for this practice amidst the full schedule of adult life, who have kept their commitment to themselves through writing.
Being very aesthetically driven, I also love the sheer variety of beautiful journals that can be found in the gift or notebooks section at the bookstore. Even better is the selection at stores like Papyrus or The Paper Source, that only sell books of the blank persuasion. I love picking up all the ones that catch my eye, squeezing their covers and softly caressing their creamy pages – mmmmm…
However, the dream of the diary and the romance of writing every night cozy in bed or with a cup of tea is where it ends for me. I just can’t commit to taking time out to write about myself or my day on a regular basis, and thus, I’ve acquired many mostly-empty notebooks over the years. Not until just the last year-and-a-half have I found a way (that works for me) to consistently journal and begin filling up some pages.
What is moon journaling?
Simply put, moon journaling is the practice of using the meanings of the different moon phases as journaling prompts to help you gain greater self awareness and understanding. Coordinating your journal entries with the dates of the phases you choose to work with creates a nice timeframe by which to write and track changes over time.
Why you should give it a try:
Moon journaling can help you get over some of the common hiccups associated with keeping a diary.
If you’re like me, knowing you only have to write in a journal twice a month can really take the pressure off of making time or coming up with something to say day after day after day. I do feel a sense of pride that I’ve been able to keep up on my moon journal for over a year, and I’m so glad that I’m finally filling up a notebook!
Designed by you, for you
Moon journaling is unique to the individual, even if you start out with a generic writing prompt you found online. It can be as quick and simple as you want it to be, just a way to check in with your dreams and habits once or twice a month. Or you can languish in the beautiful, luxurious ritual that you’ve created around your writing practice, using it to connect with yourself for a couple hours or more each time.
Easy to track & compare
If you’re into data tracking and measuring improvement, moon journaling can help with that, too. You can set up your practice so that you’re following the same prompts for specific moon phases, so it’s easy to look back on the same phase last month or last year to compare it to what you’re thinking and feeling now.
How to Start Moon Journaling:
Choose your medium
To get started with your own moon journaling practice, all you need is a notebook and something to write with. Of course, you can totally type your moon journal in a Google Doc on your laptop or use voice notes on your phone. Personally, having a real bound book that I call my Moon Journal just feels more mystical, and that’s a big part of it for me.
If you are getting a special new diary just for this (highly recommend), then do consider where you’ll be doing your writing when choosing. If you’ll be doing it at a table then a softcover works just fine, but if you want to curl up somewhere cozy like in bed or on the couch, a hard bound book might be better.
Also, a nice pen is helpful. There is nothing worse than when you really get your thoughts flowing and the pen keeps dragging on the paper, making spots you have to go back over to make it legible.
Determine your writing schedule
Settling on a light structure before your very first entry can help you know when to write in your moon journal, and also what to write about. Planning this ahead of time is also very helpful for any emotions, goals, or habits you may want to track from phase to phase, as mentioned above.
There is a wonderful guide here that lists the major moon phases with some prompts corresponding to their meanings or effects. I journal with the new moon and full moon only, about once every two weeks. This has helped me keep my commitment to journaling each time these phases occur, and tracking is a breeze since I’m only focusing on two themes.
Get Clear: Defining and Calling In Desires with the New Moon
I don’t remember where I first heard of the concept of Moon Journaling, but this post has been foundational to my practice. Working with the new moon intention of calling in what I really want, but only if it’s best for my highest good has helped me cut through a lot of the noise in my head surrounding the question “what do I want?” I think for a lot of us, sitting down to really think about what we want for our lives and our futures can be stressful – in the sense contemplating and making really big decisions, but also just in carving out time to do so.
I took a little bit of Ashley’s guidance from the post I mentioned, and condensed it into sort of a quick-fire session that helps me cut out mental chatter and connect to my desires more quickly. To accomplish this, I do a shorter journaling session where I just write the first things that come to mind.
I take some time to still myself by slowing down with some deep, even breaths or a meditation of up to 20 minutes if I have more time (I always plan my journaling for when I’m home alone and won’t be interrupted).
When I’m ready, I write the date at the top of the page, followed by Ashley’s line: This, or something better, now manifests for the highest good of all concerned. And then I just go. I try to write the first thing that comes to mind, because for me that gut reaction is more indicative of what I really want to call in, achieve, or receive – regardless of how near or far away it seems in terms of possibility or life timeline.
I only write three or four items at each new moon. I like working on only a few items or goals, but writing out a paragraph that really paints the picture of what having/receiving each one looks like. I write each vision as though it is actively happening or has happened. Most moon journaling instructions and opinions say it’s important to write things from an energetic perspective of having rather than needing, so I’ve just gone with that.
Here’s an example of this format from a recent new moon entry of mine:
“I’ve gotten my morning meditation practice up to a consistent 20 minutes per session, and have been loving how much more easily I receive downloads and observe synchronicities as a result.”
When I’ve completed recording my list of desires, I simply close my journal and put it away until my next session.
Let It Go: Releasing with the Full Moon
All kinds of releasing rituals are associated with the full moon. During my recent KonMari phase (haven’t we all been there?), I was particularly excited to stumble upon the concept of “housewitchery” and learned that cleaning house and getting rid of things you no longer want or use can be made easier if aided by the energy of the full moon.
For moon journaling purposes, the full moon can help you identify behaviors and thoughts that are no longer serving you so that you can release them and make room for all the good things you want to bring into your life.
Again, I don’t really do anything fancy when it comes to journaling at the full moon. I follow the same process as above for quieting my mind; the only difference is in the prompt I write at the top of the page: I release all that which is no longer in alignment with my highest self for the greatest good.
For letting go, write these items down in the past-tense, as though you’ve already stopped the behavior or changed the thought pattern. This helps you connect with how you will feel when you’ve gotten through to the other side. Releasing can be difficult (especially when it’s people we have to say goodbye to or set boundaries with), and this gives you a glimpse of the positive feelings that result from doing the hard thing.
I was inspired by this episode of The Life Coach School podcast, and formatted my most recent full moon journal entries to reflect what I wanted to give up. I think the idea of “giving up” what you’ve already experienced and had enough of is an excellent full moon journaling prompt.
This was one of my entries prompted by Brooke’s concept:
“I am giving up ‘I should be.’ I’ve experience too much of that in my lifetime. Instead, I’m moving into the next phase – working, exercising, playing, relaxing exactly when I’m supposed to be.”
Several of the sources I’ve found online regarding full moon journaling rituals suggest or insist that you burn or otherwise destroy your letting go list, so as to fully release the things that have been holding you back and all the energy surrounding them.
I like to keep mine for a few reasons: I write it in my journal that I don’t particularly want to tear up, and I like that I can look back if I want to see my progress in this area, too. I started my journal with a new moon entry. Setting it off that way means that all of my full moon entries are on the left-hand side of facing pages.
I like that as soon as I’m done writing down all the things I need to let go of, I’m faced with a fresh page that’s full of space – reminding me that there’s plenty of room for all the good stuff that’s coming.