Like winds and waves, our vital life force shifts with the lunar cycle. We experience the rising energy of waxing Moon and the downward energy of waning Moon each month. When our bodies and minds are in harmony, we feel balanced and in rhythm with the universe. At those times, it's easier to flow or be resilient during the rise or decline of lunar energy, even on challenging days. For example, when the Moon engages in a square or opposition, our anxiety or stress level may temporarily increase with the conflict or uncertainty, and then naturally return to equilibrium. Sometimes though, we become overwhelmed, blocked, or uninspired, and experience strong emotions that persist. You may burn sage, clean the house, meditate, practice gentle yoga, or manage these fluctuations with other comforting rituals and routines. Essential oils for aromatherapy are another way to boost or release energy and increase feelings of clarity, well-being, and grounding. Families of oils associate with air, water, earth, and fire, and also with portions of the lunar cycle. With your Moon and Sun profile and olfactory preferences in mind, explore essential oils as another resource to support your intentions and rhythms as the Moon waxes and wanes, peaks and shines through each of the signs.
Organic oils are gifts of nature that we humans can use for self-care and mindful transitions. Coming from the plant, they hold the inherent wisdom of nature, so when we use them we are tapping right into the source. The oils found in the bark, roots, seeds, flowers, and peels of trees, fruits, and all sorts of plants have innate antifungal, antimicrobial properties. They protect plants from disease and threats, and they attract pollinators, perpetuating survival and reproduction. When diffused into the air, ingested by mouth or nose, or applied to the skin, many essential oils interact with the human body in beneficial ways. Because their molecules are small and lipid soluble, they cross the blood-brain barrier and create emotional and physical responses. The unique smell of an essential oil may create a positive feeling instantly, yet the influence can be even deeper and affect your body at a cellular level. Some types of oils, such as citrus, herbal, spice, floral, and camphor, sync well with the cycles of the Moon and the four elements of the zodiac. To bring oils into your life, begin by identifying four or five to use on a rotating basis, guided by the Moon's phase and sign. Note any shifts you feel as you breathe or absorb them, and create a set of supportive oils that flow with you daily and through the quarters of the Moon.
Monthly, or from one month to the next, the New and Full Moons grace particular signs, generally the polar opposites. Therefore, a New Moon in Leo leads to a Full Moon in Aquarius. When the cycle begins in Virgo, the Moon peaks in Pisces, and so on throughout the year. Your essential oils may also be based on polarities as you choose oils that align with or contrast your feelings and responses to the natural lunar rhythms. Considering the element the Moon lands in can also guide your choices.
New and waxing Moon times are for clearing the path, growing, warming, developing, progressing, and giving. These weeks correlate with air and fire elements. Citrus and spices nourish and invigorate our experiences during this half of the cycle. Yet, there are times when all of this activity feels overpowering and it makes sense to lean into herbal, floral, and tree-based oils for grounding. During the Full Moon, as we are finalizing, committing, celebrating, or healing, our emotions also reach their potential. Special oils assist in balancing hormones, moods, and how we respond to the intensity and peaks. As the Moon wanes, the energy of releasing, unwinding, adjusting, and disseminating is supported by floral, herbal, mint, and camphor. If you feel relieved or harmonious at this time, notice what oils you're most drawn to. Alternatively, if you feel down or unmotivated, the mints and florals offer gentle uplifting, as do citrus oils, such as bergamot. Finally, the balsamic Moon is for revising and resting, and oils that refresh and cool help prepare us for the upcoming cycle.
Here are some examples of essential oils to try as the Moon moves through each phase and zodiac sign. Also, take into consideration your own Sun, Moon, and rising sign, since your individual profile influences your preferences and tendencies. Let's start with the elements and some suggestions for how to use your oils creatively.When the Moon visits a fire sign—Aries, Leo, or Sagittarius—add a bit of oil to a candle or warm some stones and drop oils on them to inspire your mind and activities. Anoint the chest, collarbones, shoulders, and hands, all of which relate to the heart chakra. During this time of action, creativity, and social energy, choose oils like wild orange, cinnamon, clove, and grapefruit to support your plans.
On earth sign days—when the Moon is in Taurus, Virgo or Capricorn—add a drop or two of oils while cooking, dilute in a carrier oil for hands or full body massage, or have some oil-infused Play-Doh made and stored in an airtight container. Knead the dough for stress release or to exercise tired/sore fingers or wrists. Anoint knees, mastoid bones, and other joints. Think building, prospering, productivity, and also grounding, as you incorporate rosemary, geranium, lavender, cedarwood, and other woodsy and herbal oils.
Diffuse and breathe the oils when the Moon sails through air signs Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. Anoint your forehead, wrists, and ankles. If you're drawing or writing, scent your paper with one drop. Dip a toothpick in frankincense or peppermint or place a drop under your tongue to encourage clear speech. These Moon signs encourage collaboration, communication, inventiveness, and agreements. Citrus such as lemon aligns well with the clear focus needed for such activities, while cedarwood and geranium foster open minds and grounding for working together.
When the Moon is in water signs—Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces—emotions are highlighted. Use oils that instill joy, such as tangerine, or those that support grief, like ylang-ylang or frankincense. Put one to a few drops of mint or lavender in tea or water, and drink your ingestible oils in tiny amounts. Bathe with a few drops of melaleuca (tea tree oil), jasmine, or eucalyptus with a proper dispersant, and allow your skin to absorb the oils through open pores. Anoint your abdomen, heart, and feet as you honor feelings and privacy, nurture others, and detoxify the body and mind.
Oils for Balsamic Moon
Balsamic Moon phase begins about three days before the New Moon when the Moon moves within 45 degrees of the Sun. Balsamic means restorative, and it's a time to replenish, clear energy, create space, and reflect. Essential oils in the mint and camphor families literally clear the air. Eucalyptus, a spa favorite, comes from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree. When diffused into the air, eucalyptus smells fresh and clean, opens the nasal passages, and may help boost the immune system. Though eucalyptus has a relaxing effect on many people, it actually stimulates blood flow to the brain and can help boost energy and alertness. If the dark phase of the Moon tends to pull your energy down a bit too far, diffuse, inhale, or massage diluted eucalyptus oil. Eucalyptus also has antimicrobial, antiseptic qualities that lend well to house cleaning as you prepare for New Moon.
Peppermint is also well suited to balsamic Moon phase. Mildly energizing, peppermint counteracts sluggishness or melancholy feelings characteristic of dark Moon days and cuts through murky energy in the body or the environment. Known to support respiration and digestion, peppermint oil also aligns energetically with processing and digesting experiences before starting the next lunar cycle. Inhale organic, therapeutic-grade peppermint oil from your hands to open the throat chakra and open up communication. Feel peppermint act powerfully to clear your head for decisions or conversations due with the oncoming New Moon.
Oils for New Moon
As New Moon arrives, enjoy the uplifting properties of citrus. New Moon favors initiating, regrouping, and diving into projects and plans. The citrus oils, often cold pressed from the rind, relate to motivation and fresh starts as the lunar cycle begins. They align well with our third chakra, the solar plexus, which is the home of self-esteem and sense of purpose. Lemon and wild orange oils are energy boosters that increase our focus for tasks and decisions. Grapefruit, another citrus, supports dietary changes that begin with New Moon. If you use food-grade quality oils, brighten up your water with a few drops of lemon, orange, or grapefruit, and sip throughout the active hours of your day.
Bergamot oil is reputed to balance moods, so if anxiety comes with the uprising of New and waxing Moon, try this oil to reduce tension and feel grounded. High-quality bergamot is a wonderful addition to black tea. Like the other essential oils, it can be diffused or used in the shower as a steam.
Oils for Waxing Moon
As the Moon increases, warming oils like clove, ginger, and cinnamon can be added to your routine in similar ways. These spices add a fire element, which naturally aligns with the waxing Moon. Related to the heart chakra, our fourth energy center, they have inspirational and passionate qualities aligned with growth, creativity, and openness. Use them sparingly and dilute with carrier oils, like coconut, since they tend to be strong. Spices also blend with citrus and mint oils quite nicely. Awaken your senses and keep your mind alert with blends of clove, cinnamon, and wild orange, or combine ginger and lemon for healthy digestion. Energetically, New and waxing Moon are an uprising, like the tide coming in. For some of us, this resonates and we embrace this time of progress with stronger and spicier blends. For others who tend to feel overpowered by lunar currents, milder choices like lemon or grapefruit soothe the nervous system without dimming or scattering our focus.
Oils for Full Moon
Full Moon is the high tide of the lunar cycle. Whatever you're feeling or involved in is likely to be magnified, and emotions tend to the extremes. Precious oils and specialized selections are appropriate to Full Moon circumstances and states of mind. Frankincense is lovely any time, and is a Full Moon go-to because it blends with or enhances almost any other oil. Historically, frankincense was used in spiritual practices and associates with emotional and physical healing. Good for the skin, the immune system, and cellular health, frankincense also has anti-anxiety and antidepressant qualities. As you seek comfort, peace, the guidance of higher power, or even right speech during Full Moon time, frankincense has much to offer. It can be inhaled, diffused, or taken by mouth as long as you have high-quality, food-grade oil. Clary sage is well known for hormone balance, particularly for the female reproductive cycle. Closely aligned with lunar energy, clary sage can be rubbed on the abdomen or chest, or added to massage oil and bathwater. Women may use clary sage during their menstrual cycle, though this oil should not be used during pregnancy or if you are trying to conceive. Clary sage is also said to encourage restful sleep during this wakeful Moon time.
Copaiba, like frankincense, comes from the resin of a tree. It has a complex, spicy, and woodsy scent that is very unique. Interacting with many systems of the body, including immune, digestive, and respiratory, copaiba is a strong choice when physical issues or ailments are present. Since symptoms may increase during Full Moon, try copaiba for its reputed pain-relieving properties. This oil is also known to reduce feelings of anxiety that may peak at this time in our lunar cycle. Its earthy aroma contributes to a sense of stability and well-being.
Oils for Waning Moon
Trees and flowers offer essential oils aligned with the releasing and receptive natures of waning Moon time. Lavender, ylang-ylang, jasmine, and geranium are florals for relaxation, comfort, and sentimental feelings. The unwinding of waning Moon is similar to preparing for rest in the evening, and lavender on the feet pro-motes both calm and sleep. Jasmine is a richer, more exotic scent that uplights the Moon and is associated with love and romance. Ylang-ylang, also associated with love, has been used traditionally in wedding ceremonies. All of these floral oils are beautifying and often used in hair or skin care products. During waning Moon, add drops to your hair conditioner or a soothing bath.
Cedarwood and sandalwood, two of the tree oils, are sweet and woodsy. Breathe in during meditation to connect to the earth, while freeing your mind of extraneous thoughts once Full Moon has passed and it’s time to let go. Either can be used to steam the face and detoxify the skin, as this phase of the Moon favors release.
Note: Before using any essential oils, read about their properties and safety warnings. Use carrier oils to safely dilute before apply-ing any essential oil to the skin.