Did you know that by tracking the moon and aligning your rhytmn to it, you could improve your productivity by heaps and with no extra effort?
Since time immemorial, farmers have relied on the moon to set their calendars.
According to Farmer’s Almanac, the moon dictates all farming activities and their impact. When the moon is waxing, it’s time to plant aboveground crops. New moon, on the other hand, is the ideal time for sowing and transplanting. Plant tomatoes or pumpkins at a time other than the First Quarter and see them suffer.
In farming, productivity and the moon cycle have remained connected.
But in the switch from the garden to the factory and from the factory to the office, the idea of following the moon cycle has gradually been abandoned.
Time, which was initially measured in cycles, became something that could be broken down. First in hours, then minutes, then seconds, then milli and nanoseconds.
The rhythm of our lives, in turn, has speeded up with each exponential unit, bringing us further and further away from the cycles of the moon, which are also our own.
Could we reclaim the power of the moon to enhance our productivity, in a way that’s more aligned with our rhytmn as women and with the rhytmn of nature?
How productivity became a chore: the slaying of the moon goddess
The start of the shift towards a linear understanding of time, according to Demetra George, can be traced all the way back to the time between 4000 and 2500 BCE.
It is at this time that we see the diffusion of myths protagonized by male heroes, slaying dragons and serpents. Both the former and the latter are symbols of the feminine, reminiscent of the cyclic character of nature, of its mysteriousness and dark, unconscious nature. And both symbols had to be destroyed, to be conquered, by heroes which were all male, and led by the sun. One such myth is that of Perseus, and its slaying of Medusa.
This type of narrative arose at the same time as women goddesses started to get relegated to positions of lesser importance. Athena, in the Greek myths, became “she who was born out of Zeus’ head” (Just like Eve is created out of Adam’s rib). Gaia, meanwhile, lost her role of Mother Goddess, as a male Father, Uranus, took her place. Where the goddesses remain, they became wives, such as Isis, wife of Osiris.
This lead to a psychological polarization, as George suggests: the forces of light and darkness came to signal the forces of good and evil.
Today, light is thought of as being “good”, darkness as “bad”.
This still underpins much of our societal organization nowadays. The creative force, people started to believe, could be nourished by effort only, as per a linear model of productivity). The idea of cycles of productivity and rest, instead, was thoroughly discarded.
Today’s “always on” society is aligned with the sun: unlike the moon, it never rests.
Modern day productivity: the linear sun.
Should we only look forward? Planning and scheduling in the Gregorian calendar.
The current schedule of work, productivity and success is still, by and large, guided by the principles of the sun gods, aligned with male energy.
For example, one could argue that there is a lot of attention on forward-planning in today’s economy (The linear energy of the sun), and little emphasis on paying attention to the cycles (The cyclic energy of the moon).
Even in those societies that have traditionally taken a cyclic approach to life, productivity and planning, as is the case with China, such vision of time has been hijacked (and shortened) by the Gregorian calendar and its linear approach.
In traditional China, the zodiac calendar typically includes 12 years. Traditionally, planning took into account at least a 12-years cyclus (Rather than a 5-years one). Often, however, planning would happen over five cycluses at once, spanning a period of 60 years.
The reason was that planning wasn’t necessarily informed by a desired outcome. Instead, it was informed by the knowldge that life is, by nature, recurrent and patterned.
Time as a commodity, grief as a waste of time
However, as the capitalist system has taken over Western culture, and, gradually, most of the world, time has been compressed into a commodity to be leveraged for production. There’s an imperative to be constantly productive, and constantly forward-looking.
For example, the success of positive psychology could partly be credited to a culturally-sanctioned belief that sadness, grief, and negative emotions in general are a waste of time.
Contrary to a linear approach, a cyclic approach, inspired by the functioning of the moon, builds in space and time for rest, relaxation, happiness and joy, grief, loss, destruction and renewal.
And still, what’s at stake is not the predominance of one force or understanding over the other. Instead, we must reclaim the value of both (Linear and cyclic, sun and moon), cause both are at play at all time.
This is particularly important for the balancing of the masculine and feminine energy, and of relationships between men and women.
From a hormonal perspective, in fact, men operate on a 24-hour-cycle. Hence, why so many men stress the importance of the daily routine for daily success: the morning is their brainstorming time.
For women, the case is different.
In the next chapter, we’ll look at how the moon cycle affects women’s hormonal cycle and what it means for productivity.
Productivity and women: what our hormonal alignment with the moon can teach us about setting our schedule
As we’ve seen, from a hormonal perspective, men are aligned with the 24 hour-cycle of the day. Women, on the other hand, are perfectly aligned with the moon, and its 28-days cycle.
There is compelling evidence, as Kate Northrup writes in “Do Less” that, away from artificial light, women’s cycles automatically sync up with the moon and with each other’s.
In natural conditions, then, bleeding always happens at New Moon. Ovulation, instead, takes place 14 days later, at the same time as the full moon.
Beyond being “nice to know”, this is information which impacts directly men’s and women’s productivity, and therefore how each of the sexes can perform at work.
When to do what according to the moon
A woman’s cycle starts with her bleeding time: a time for rest and evaluation, as we will see below.
Purified and renewed by the change in blood, a woman emerges after her bleeding time as a young maiden, open up to the world, inspired by novelty and discovery, and therefore full of new ideas. This is the time for her to brainstorm, and it corresponds with the waxing moon.
As a woman approaches ovulation or full moon, Demetra Georges argues, her focus increases: she needs less sleep and her night vision becomes sharper. This is the time to make decisions, to give life and energy to the projects that have stood out for her the most, out of all of those ideas that have sprung up during the waxing moon.
And so it is that the second half of the cycle is the one during which her focus is all on nourishing the project(s) she has given life to. Gone is the openness of the waxing moon. In her place, is a level of determination and grit which require the laser focus of a milking mother. This, in other words, is the time for what we usually know as “productivity.”
Finally, there comes a time for rest and evaluation, which corresponds to both the dark moon (Or New moon) and the phase of bleeding. This is the time to draw lessons from the month that has been, much as many people advise drawing lessons from the day. For women working on their own (Or in charge of their own schedule), aligning their work schedule to their cycle can offer tangible benefits (Aka effortless results).
What if businesses also needed time off?
The fast-paced rythm of life today, however, leaves little space for such an approach to work.
When do businesses take their dark moon? Where is the focus on the evaluation and looking not just forward but also at the recurrence of cycles?
Martin Caparros in “Argentina, el país que no fue“ (El Diario), writes:
“First they came for the future, but it didn’t bother me, cause I was worried about next year. Then they took away the month of December, but I didn’t pay attention, because I was worried about next week. Then they stole Tuesday, but I played the fool, cause I was too busy figuring out the afternoon of that day. And in the end, having left me without a future, they also took my present”.Martin Caparros
He speaks to the danger of always running after time, and forgetting to look back.
Yet, it is when the moon is at its darkest that it is also closest to the sun. It is when we are able to stop that we can truly find the balance: between linear and circular time, between the present, the past and the future, and between the light and the darkness.
Possibly, it’s also the time when we can truly appreciate how the diversity of our planet is a strength, never a weakness.
Turning the lens on you
What space are you giving to your dark moon? For yourself and your business?
What space are you giving to analyzing the cycles, that which is recurrent, in your business and your life?
Are you looking to leverage the power of the moon to enhance your productivity and your wellbeing? Check out The Crowned Mountain’s productivity kit, for a collection of tools to help you align with your natural rhythm, take stock of your fears and define your goals so that you can finally reach them—effortlessly.
Let me know in the comments!