The terms white moon cycle and red moon cycle refer to the way a woman’s menstrual cycle lines up with the cycle of the Moon. But it’s not quite that simple! So let’s break it down in a little more, and make some sense out of the sacred feminine blood mysteries of the white Moon cycle and red moon cycle (and a couple of others in between…)
Around half of ALL humans on the planet have a menstrual cycle
And ALL humans on the planet came into being as a direct result of a woman’s menstrual cycle…! So why is the subject of menstruation still so taboo?
There are a LOT of reasons for that. Not least that having menstrual wisdom can give women huge amounts of personal power.
In ancient times, the meaning and mystery around the monthly blood cycles of females in any community were revered as something sacred and quite miraculous, if not formidable.
To bleed without physical death was a spiritual, magical, and otherworldly occurrence
The days of bleeding, and the blood itself were believed to contain the archetypes of rebirth and regeneration. Women would gather in protected circles, performing ceremonies and rituals to harness this energy.
But perhaps one of the most significant reasons for the suppression of our sacred blood cycle wisdom (including knowledge around the white moon cycle and red moon cycle) is this:
The meaning and symbolism it holds connect us to a much greater natural cycle.
… And if you know your body is in sync with a higher power, you’d be pretty much unstoppable, right?
What patriarchal control paradigm would allow that?!
The Lunar Cycle + your Period
That greater cycle is, of course, the lunar cycle.
Both the lunar cycle and the female menstrual cycle last, on average, 29.5 days. Both cycles move through four distinct phases, with the earthly, bodily phases, corresponding to the lunar phases.
- New Moon⎜Menstrual / Bleeding Phase
- Waxing Moon⎜Pre-ovulation / follicular Phase
- Full Moon⎜Ovulation Phase
- Waning Moon⎜Luteal / Pre-Menstrual Phase
If you go and look, you will find a hundred research papers stating that there is no connection between menstruation and the Moon.
… And the truth is that for many women today, our hormonal cycles dont’ connect to the sacred cycle of the Moon. Instead, they’re heavily influenced by the toxicity of modern life – by things link:
- Medication + contraception
- Artificial light
- Sleep deprivation + stress
- Diet + food additives
- Ingredients in cosmetics, cleaning products, etc.
Because of these, many of the natural and sacred connections between the Moon and menstrual cycles have been distorted.
So for a LOT of these same women, their periods are painful, emotionally exhausting times. Their monthly periods are perceived as a burden, an inconvenience, something to muscle though and bear. And many women simply (try to) carry on with life as normal, pretending that they’re not losing blood from between their legs…
When I was a teenager, one of my friend’s mothers referred to our periods as “the plague”. Others call it a curse.
Ordinary life simply doesn’t allow space for menstruation, does it?
But there are more and more conscious women who are getting curious about their own blood cycles.
There are many women who are beginning to pull back from the linear model of progress. They’re turning away from the artificial influences on the delicate balance of their hormonal levels. And turning instead to the wisdom of their bodies. THESE are women who will feel the connection that science still denies…
Are you one of them?
OK, let’s talk about the white moon cycle and red moon cycle…
The white moon cycle and red moon cycle are two of the most common forms, or alignments, of the Moon cycle, and the female blood cycle. They’re mirrors of each other – each with its own power and magic, both very different, but no less important.
Remember the four phases of the Moon cycle and the menstrual cycle? How neatly they align, as I described them earlier? Well, THAT is the white Moon cycle. So let’s start there…
The White Moon Cycle
The white Moon cycle is the one most people know about and understand. It’s the menstrual pattern that makes sense in a logical, linear way (but as we know, the feminine is neither of those things!)
The white moon cycle describes when a woman with a 29-ish day cycle bleeds at the New Moon and ovulates at the Full Moon.
(It needn’t be exact – it’s normal for female cycles to fluctuate a little, but the white Moon cycle generally aligns with this form).
How your sacred feminine power moves through you, in a white Moon cycle
This cycle more closely mirrors the archetypal feminine cycle of Maiden – Mother – Wild Woman – Crone.
You can read about these archetypes in more depth here:
If you have a white moon cycle, your creative energy will be at its lowest ebb when the Moon is waning. Here, you’ll be in your luteal, or pre-Menstrual Phase and your wild woman archetype will be emerging. At the Dark Moon, your crone steps forward.
At the New Moon as lunar light returns and the Moon starts waxing, you’ll likely express more of your inner Maiden archetype, becoming more dynamic, inspired, and energized. This is your pre-ovulation, or follicular phase.
And at the Full Moon, you will ovulate. Here you’re most fertile, able to become pregnant, if that’s your wish. You may notice you feel more open, loving, nurturing, and even magnetic during this time. Your libido and yearning for sex and sensuality may increase as your body is calling in eros.
The meaning of a white Moon cycle + what to learn from yours
The white Moon cycle holds the same cyclic resonance as the Moon cycle.
So when YOU are in your pre-ovulation + follicular phase, you are naturally yearning to grow, create, and expand your inner desires.. mirroring the waxing Moon. So THIS is when to take risks, make connections and put yourself out there into the world!
At the Full Moon when you’re ovulating, you’re a match to the magnetic and fertile world around you, so it’s time to summon the world to YOU! For the white Moon cycle woman, that means devoting TO yourself. Creating what you need to feel safe, loved, and cared for.
This may also mean creating a world that is safe, loving, and caring – as a mother would do for her children.
At the waning Moon phase, your inner wild woman archetype is emerging and you’re being called to listen to her. This will often mean retreating, creating space, and preparing to rest. And as the dark Moon rises and your bleeding begins, this is your signal to stop and go within. To enter into the mystery of the Dark Moon phase, to receive the guidance you need in preparation for the new lunar cycle.
You can read more about this particular Moon – menstrual connection HERE.
The Red Moon Cycle
The red Moon cycle is the mirrored opposite of the white moon cycle.
The red moon cycle describes when a woman with a 29-ish day cycle bleeds at the Full Moon, and ovulates at the New Moon.
(Again, this also needn’t be exact – female cycles do fluctuate and adapt to environmental changes and stress, but the red Moon cycle does generally align with this form).
How your sacred feminine power moves through you, in a red Moon cycle
This cycle flips the archetypal feminine cycle of Maiden – Mother – Wild Woman – Crone, so that as the Moon’s light is waning, personal energy is rising, and vice versa.
If you have a red moon cycle, your own creative energy will be rising and starting to peak when the Moon is waning and becoming dark. Here, you’ll be in your pre-ovulation, or follicular phase, and likely sense your inner maiden coming out to play!
As the Moon darkens, you’ll enter your ovulation phase and will likely feel your inner mother archetype rise.
And at the New Moon, as moonlight is returning and la Luna starts waxing, you’ll enter the pre-ovulation or follicular phase of your cycle, and begin to drop into your wild woman archetype.
And at the Full Moon, you will bleed. This is your true menstrual phase, and when your inner crone emerges.
The meaning of a red Moon cycle + what to learn from yours
The energy of the red Moon cycle can feel counterintuitive because it goes against the grain of what most of us have been taught about cyclical wisdom. This is no wonder, when your own body and energetics seem to oppose the resonance of the Moon cycle. But be prepared to unlearn what you think you know.
Women with a red Moon cycle reach the peak of their personal energetic and creative cycle when the Moon is dark.
This means that during this Dark lunar phase, you’ll have an abundance of energy to focus on YOUR own creativity. The gifts arising from the combination of these inner and outer phases are the mystical and transformational tools of dreaming, soul flight, and shadow work. The red cycle woman is able to plunge into the unconscious depths, creating radical change in the world from within.
The dark Moon is a liminal time.
… So the work a woman does here in her creative, ovulatory phase of becoming has a special kind of potency, that doesn’t occur at any other time. It will ripple out into the world in non-ordinary ways.
At the lunar cycle’s zenith, when she’s bleeding, the red Moon cycle woman can call on the illumination of the Full Moon, to light the way through her own inner realms. Here, she can traverse her personal underworld, transmute her shadows, and come back with the gold that the rest of humanity needs.
Women who have the capacity to call down the potency of the Full Moon, and combine that with the mysterious, liminal power of their own bleeding phase were often regarded as the witches, healers, shamans, and medicine women of the ancient worlds.
This capability still exists today, though many have forgotten how… You can click the image below to discover the art of deep feminine shadow work for yourself
How do the white moon cycle and red moon cycle relate to female sexuality?
It’s quite clear that the white Moon cycle tends to be favoured (in an ideological sense) by the patriarchal paradigm.
Where woman and their bodies are perceived as instruments of childbearing and nothing else, female sexuality beyond this has no place. So for a woman to want sex when her womb is fertile – when the Moon is Full and she is ovulating makes sense. Her sexuality is useful.
But what about if a woman is bleeding at the Full Moon? What happens when her inner crone is calling down the Moon and SHE is hungry for sex with a man, but blood flows from between her legs? How does THAT kind of behaviour fit into a patriarchal world?
What happens then, is her sexuality is shunned, shamed, and distorted into something wicked. So over the course of many centuries, the red Moon cycle has become dangerous territory: Something wrong, deviant and definitely taboo.
The lasting repercussions of this cultural programing run very, very deep and have caused much damage to generations of women.
There’s a LOT more to be said about it – I recommend this book The Wise Wound: Menstruation and Everywoman by Penelope Shuttle and Peter Redgrove.
How to track your menstrual cycle alongside the Moon phases
So how do you know if yours is a white moon cycle or a red moon cycle?
And I know this sounds daunting, maybe you’re already conjuring ideas of charts and grids and tiny diagrams of crescent Moons?! But tracking your blood cycle can be SO simple.
The easiest and most efficient method I know, is simply adding the number of your cycle into a diary or journal you already use – either digital or paper.
I use a red pen and write the number 1 for the first day of my cycle (which is the first day of your bleed) all the way through to the last day before my next sacred blood flows.
If your journal already has the Moon phases in it, then great. Otherwise, you only really need to add Full Moon, New Moon, and first and third quarters (get practicing those little Moon diagrams!)
You can also track your cycle using an app. Do some research – I don’t have a recommendation as I don’t use one, but I believe there are plenty out there.
The key is, after two or three lunar cycles, to zoom OUT and have a look at the patterns that are emerging. You should see a basic correlation. Beware though, that very strong Full Moons and eclipses, especially blood Moons (lunar eclipses) will affect your cycle. They may knock it out of sync completely, as can stress or medication.
If you want, you can also track your moods, physical energy levels, emotional state, and creative capacity. Just don’t start with all this – it will soon get overwhelming and you’re likely to throw the towel in. Ahem.
What if you bleed between the white Moon and red Moon cycles?
It’s totally normal for your cycle to move around and change! Maybe your cycle lasts for fewer than 29 days? Or for longer? Or maybe your cycle doesn’t correlate that precisely with either the Full or New Moon?
In that case, here are a couple more cycles that people talk about – the Pink Moon Cycle and the Purple Moon Cycle.
The Pink Moon Cycle
If you bleed during the waxing Moon phase, then you have what’s known as a Pink Moon cycle.
This lunar phase is emergent, growing, building, and becoming. Often women who have had a white Moon cycle will transition to this one, as they’re entering a new phase of their own self-realisation.
Women who are used to giving, providing, and nurturing others, and are moving away from this stage of life (even momentarily) may find themselves in a pink Moon cycle.
Their peak – their ovulation phase – will coincide with the waning Moon, meaning that their most dynamic quota of energy is available when the lunar cycle is encouraging them to tap into their wild and untamed nature.
The Purple Moon Cycle
If you bleed during the waning Moon phase, then you have what’s known as a Purple Moon cycle.
This lunar phase is disseminating, it’s about retreat, introspection, and integration. Often women who have had a red Moon cycle will transition to this one, as they’re ready to release aspects of themselves to make space for something new.
Women who have done a lot of inner work, and become proficient in navigating their inner world may find they are ready to emerge into the world in a new way. But before that happens, a period of release is required.
These women may find themselves in a purple Moon cycle.
Their peak – their ovulation phase – will coincide with the waxing Moon, meaning that their most dynamic quota of energy is available when the lunar cycle is encouraging them to tap into their inner maiden archetype. This can be an inspiring time of discovery and personal growth, but it’s nowhere near completion or resolution, so the purple Moon cycle woman must make tentative steps, not running before she can walk.
What about irregular menstrual cycles?
There is nothing “wrong” with any menstrual cycle. So let’s release that distorted idea straight away.
Your cycle is a method of communication between your body and you. So the first thing to do, whatever the length and rhythm of your cycle, is to listen. WHAT is the message your body is telling you?
- What do you need more of?
- What do you need less of?
An irregular cycle can be an indicator of anything, from a bodily system that is adjusting to your external environment, to your inner landscape, age, health, diet, medication – or withdrawal from medication – EMFs (electromagnetic fields) or any number of other factors.
If you’re worried, then go and see a women’s health coach and dig in a little deeper.
How to work with, honour + celebrate your bleeding times
Your menstruation is sacred.
Your blood is precious.
The idea that it’s a waste product is a myth, perpetuated by a system that perceives the body as a machine and wants to keep your power hidden from you.
If you’re not used to consciously interacting with your body or your blood during your bleeding phase then begin by simply slowing down. Reduce the pace of your life, do a little less for at least the first day of your period, two or three days if you can. Rest more.
Like the dark Moon practices I share HERE, try to harness the alternate state your body and mind are in, by –
- Taking shamanic journeys
- Sleeping more so you can dream more deeply and consciously
- Practicing divination like Tarot or pulling oracle cards
Get familiar with your blood
Try replacing pads and tampons with a menstrual cup, and learn how your blood changes throughout your Moon time.
When you feel more at ease with your blood, begin to honour it.
Collect it in a jar and use it as an offering to the land, to a plant in your home, to a piece of art, or on your altar (be sure to dispose of it after a day or so, as it will begin to spoil)
Some women practice free bleeding, or go outside and sit, bleeding directly on to the Earth.
You could also dry your menstrual blood so that it becomes a kind of powder – yes this works, I do it regularly – and then it can be stored and used for ritual and spell work.
Some women also imbibe their blood – take a dot and place it on your tongue almost as a homeopathic dose. This can be a really potent, regenerative practice.
Go at your own pace.
Entering into the blood mysteries is the work of unfolding the layers of patriarchal conditioning around the sanctity of our bodies and her fluids, And this is slow work. But SO, so rewarding and empowering once you enter in through the veil.
Questions, comments, discussion…?
Talking about your inner Moon cycle can feel edgy. It’s unfamiliar territory for a lot of women and can feel like we’re breaking the rules or even making other uncomfortable.
But part of the work of greeting the rising Divine Feminine is to bring these subjects BACK out into the open.
YOu’re invited to start here… share something with me about YOUR cycle, and your journey into the sacred blood mysteries.
Thank you, Kat.
We need WAY more conversations about all of this. I was aware of the red moon/white moon cycle concept, and your way of expressing it both affirmed my understanding and expanded it.
I especially enjoyed the way you pointed out that a woman who is aware that her body is in sync with a higher power is unstoppable…
I would have hoped to see lots of comments at the bottom of a post like this…
Sisters reading this, we change the world from within, simply by how we care for our sacred menstrual cycle, how aware we become of how the power of the sacred flows through us. We are vessels for the sacred. If this was new to you, please explore it further!
Our menstrual cycles are a great gift, not a curse as we were led to believe, and learning this (which may take time and may be a rocky journey, but don’t give up!) is so empowering and life changing.
Alexandra Pope, Jane Hardwicke Collings, and Miranda Gray are among the teachers sharing this menstrual cycle wisdom and empowerment.
Kat, thank you again for all you do and especially for this powerful post!
What does it mean when your body changes from a red moon to a white moon cycle? This being quick. Like only three cycles. I’m worried I’m not seeing something or missing something that I’m supposed to be putting intention towards.
It could mean so many things – eclipses can have a big effect pulling many women’s cycles into a new rhythm. Or are you entering a new phase of life, or some area of life? Also… how does this change sit with your overall health? Has anything changed for you health-wise, have you taken any medication or vaccines recently?
Its is often called the wise womans cycle because you are able to experience the benefits of both types of cycles. It does require you to change up how you honor your period which may be challenging if you are super set in your ways. But it is honestly a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of both the white and red cycles. Wonderful for learning and well. Mine was also in that weird shifting back and forth phase for about 3 years. Mine would shift within 3-4 cycles, however right now I seem to be a little more steady in red. Well see if it stays that way or is just enjoying a longer stay in red lol hope that helps.
I use the app MyFLO to track my cycles. It’s easy to use and shows all four phases.
The Stardust app tracks your Moon cycle for you, and I’ve found it’s advice on when to rest and reflect so helpful. Highly recommend. This is the best article I’ve read yet on the topic of moon cycles, thank you so much for sharing. Since I’ve begun embracing my moon cycle I’ve felt a lot more connected with myself. I’ve cycled from white to pink to white and now purple. It’s fascinating to track as it connects you more to your inner most self.