August 10th’s full moon is 2014’s super moon, as it falls on the same day as perigee, i.e., the moon is closest to the Earth and only 356,896 km away! According to NASA, the moon will be 14% closer and 30% brighter than the other full moons of 2014. Perigee will not be experienced again until the full moon on the 28 September 2015. While we’re discussing August’s nighttime celestial events, the annual Perseid meteor shower also peaks between August 11–13 and should be visible on the night of the full moon. You can view a NASA’s YouTube of both these celestial events.
This makes the August super moon an even more auspicious time for meditation.
How does the full moon impact the meditation process? According to religious-spiritual traditions like Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, the full moon represents an auspicious time for meditation, one in which we can amplify its outcome and that of our prayers and intentions. Consider meditation’s outcome in terms of bringing your mind into the mindfulness of calm abiding, concentrated on and detachedly aware of the object of meditation, i.e., breath, mantra, nature, or a statue of Buddha, etc., fully aware of the Now (the higher self) with markedly fewer arising thoughts. For highly experienced meditators, there is also the possibility of transcending this calm abiding and entering transcendental states of consciousness (non-duality). The impact of the full moon is to enhance these potential meditation outcomes.
For those who like a more rational explanation: at this stage, science can’t yet credibly explain the full moon’s effect. We know that three days before the full moon, the moon passes through the Earth’s magnetosphere’s tail, taking about six days to cross it [i]. In so doing, the moon impacts the Earth’s magnetosphere and ionosphere [ii, iii], and its magnetic field strength (geomagnetic activity)[iv, v]. The field of astrobiology shows how these changes can impact the brain’s biology and function. Such impacts are discussed in simplified and pictorial detail in Chapters 6–8 of Discovering Ritual Meditation, or you can access a series of scientific articles on the library resources page of my website. August’s super moon’s closer proximity, therefore, amplifies its effects on the planet and human biology more than normal—which is good news for the meditator’s brain and gateway meditation processes.
The Full Moon’s Influence on Meditation
The full moon is said to provide an opportunity for spiritual growth and transformation if approached in the right manner. It offers a time for purification and renunciation of the things that no longer serve our lives—addictions, anger, fear, grief, guilt, hatred, shame, judgements, and negative talk. The full moon provides us a moment of enhanced understanding, clarity, insight, guidance, and an opportunity to give and share positive intentions, wishes, and prayers, for the benefit of both our own and other’ lives. Remember, it can increase our positive energy but conversely amplify negative emotions, so we need to ensure we direct it with positive intention.
While not imperative, a full moon meditation should ideally be conducted outside in nature (weather, location, and safety permitting). Sitting on and connecting with Mother Earth and facing magnetic south or north (hemisphere dependent) when the moon is at/near its zenith (highest point in the sky) permit both the Earth’s and moon’s “energies” to best connect with your being. Start contemplating your positive intentions and get yourself into a good mind-space a few days beforehand.
When is the best time to meditate? In my view, the best time to be at peak meditation is halfway between moonrise and moonset when the full moon is at its zenith and peak powers. I have selected Panajachel (Guatemala) and Lima (Peru) as my Northern and Southern Hemisphere locations to exemplify the meditation calendar outputs (see below). In both cases, the time of peak effect would be circa midnight +/– 2 hours. If conducting ritual meditation using entheogens, then I start this 2–3 hours before the full moon’s peak effect, thus giving the entheogens time to access the brain and assist in the mind’s transformation. Continue reading