Feminine Principle

How the Moon was Demonized by the Patriarchal Culture

Terra Soleil Art



Lunar powers have been erroneously associated with the dark arts of witchcraft since the middle ages. Yet, it seems that the moon is not really an evil force to be afraid of, but an archetypal feminine figure that fell into the wrath of the patriarchate.

The lunar culture was already prevalent in the Paleolithic era, where we can see a Lunar calendar on the walls of the Lascaux caves in the Ardèche area of Southern France: the people were using the cycles of the moon to tell time. We learn that from the Paleolithic era until about 10,000 BC when the patriarchal culture took over, society was defined by maternal values, where woman was revered as a giver of life, as the portal of the cycle of life. It was not dominated by a gender, but both males and female worked in a complimentary equality. They honored the cycles of life, and because of that reverence, they could trust in the natural rhythm of life. They knew that after a dark time, light would rise again. After a descent into the dark soil of emotions and events, the natural ebb and flow would revive them. It was part of their worldview and that faith system supported them.
By dropping the lunar cycles from our collective consciousness, we also dropped our unconscious. By turning away from the dark phase of our psyche, we pushed our unconscious further down into our being, leading to the stigmatization of emotions as a weak constituent of the human experience. We dislocated our own shadow from our conscience, precipitating our society into a world of repressed feminine and gratuitous violence.

One of the ways in which the patriarchate disconnected us from living in harmony with natural cycles was by declaring natural rituals evil and idolatrous. When women would turn to herbs, to the power of lunar energy and its cycles, they were accused of witchcraft and evil doing. Their sin? Turning their reverence to our beloved nature, the trees, the animals, the sea, and other creatures of nature. And what is God if she/he/it is not nature itself? Isn’t it the Biblical G-d that created the “Earth’s dimensions”? Yet, when women revere that holy creation, it is evil because it is not under the thumb of religious leaders. It is the Feminine honoring the Feminine, the Great Mother of all life, and that it double the offense for the patriarchate fragile ego.

Working with the moon was a major accusation of witchcraft, but what is wrong with the moon? Working in harmony with its cycles does not necessarily mean that we are going to create a lunar altar, cover our bodies with moon crescents, start a new lunar religion, nor declare the Moon as the new and only God. The Moon is part of creation, and I believe that everything holds a higher purpose in creation. One that was created to support the thriving balance of existence. Fishermen have long known better than to ignore the power of the moon over the bait and fishing success.

“Big fish seem to like to bite for a few days before full and a few days after,” says Nakamura, a fisherman out of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. “I’ve caught the majority of my granders during the full-moon phase,” Fishermen in the likes of Mr. Nakamura can assert the power behind the various phases of the moon, but when women defer to those very same phases for healing purposes, they are turned into superstitious evil-doers.

Our current calendar, the Gregorian calendar evolved out of the ancient Lunar calendar. It was officially instituted by Pope Gregory the VIII in the year 1582 to make changes to the Julian calendar, and readjust its missing days. The Julian calendar itself was a reform of the reigning Roman calendar. Julius brought the calendar in line with the season, having to add a thirteenth month that was about 22 to 23 days because their year often fell short of days at 355 days.

In 45 BCE, Julius Caesar decreed the new solar calendar as he consulted with some Egyptian astronomers to determine the exact numbers of days it took the Sun to go around the Earth. Yes, at the time astronomers operated on a geocentric model, where they believed the Earth was the center of the Universe, and the Suns and other planets orbited around the Earth.

I recently learned that the full moon is the zenith of a perfect alignment of the masculine and feminine in the cosmos: the Sun is aligned in opposite of the Moon, providing a balance of dark and light, the conscious and the unconscious, the male and female polarities working together to honor the natural cycle of existence in the cosmos. And during the new moon, the Sun stands directly behind the Moon, offering yet another expression of the polarity present in every aspect of our existence. The polarities that ultimately bring us back to our original state of wholeness, with all our parts integrated and whole. Not another aspect we need to shame, atrophy because we are afraid of it within ourselves. We need both polarities to return to our original balance: the soul contains both masculine and feminine forces.

Every month, we are reminded to rekindle the balance and loving relationship between our dark side and our light side, our masculine and our feminine, our conscious and our unconscious. We can rely on those phases to bolster the movements of our psyche, and allow the repressed parts of ourselves to rise again, with more love every time it returns into the cycle of healing.

Here are some archetypal Goddesses associated with each cycle of the moon as supporting psychic and emotional constellations you can activate within yourself to support your growth process.


New Moon:
Planting seeds, going within, surrender, hope of new beginnings, reset.

Waxing crescent:
Receptivity, conscious invitation, getting out of your own way, setting clear intentions, taking aligned action, reaching out.

First quarter:
Increase your confidence, faith, seeing obstacles as opportunities.

Waxing gibbous:
Create, surrender, share, express, release, communication, determination, last minute adjustments.

Full Moon:
The Queen
Celebration, action, acknowledge, gratitude, love, moving towards next stage, fearlessness.

Waning gibbous:
Cocooning, inward, let go, surrender into the natural flow, release of guilt.

Last Quarter:
Gratitude, graciousness, acceptance, release pain, release past partners.

Waning crescent:
Goddess Aceso
Healing and curing, rest, rejuvenate, self-care, self-compassion.

To see more of the gorgeous Terra Soleil art, click here.





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