What the Moon Can Teach Us About Dying

Jun 02, 2022

With bodies made of 60% water, people are internally governed by the moon in the same way that she rules over the tides. Due to this internal push and pull, the more we know about the moon, the more we know about ourselves. By following monthly lunar phases, we are able to see and experience a relatively quick life-death-rebirth cycle of transformation and renewal that helps us better understand how humans are constantly being governed in small and large ways by this same natural rhythm. 


The Cycles of Life-Death-Rebirth in Nature

Let us first zoom out and look at the moon from afar to understand the basic recurring cycle of life-death-rebirth. On average, there are 29.5 days in a lunar cycle made up of eight phases. Each phase has its own distinct energy or personality lasting for about 3.7 days. This same pattern governs all of nature in varying sizes and degrees of intensity. Whereas the sun’s cycle of life-death-rebirth is daily, it takes one year to cycle through seasons, and a lifetime for humans to cycle through their life stages.


Moon Phases and the First Half of Life

Beginning with the new moon, we can think of this energy as compelling something deep inside of us to seed intentions for something new. We are looking at a blank canvas, immersed in the possibilities of what may fill it. Symbolically, this could be a new activity we begin this month, or it could represent a new life that is consummated in the womb. In the next three phases, called crescent, first quarter, and gibbous, we notice that the moon is birthed and we’re able to watch her grow in brightness and shape. On this side of the moon, achievement is in the air all the way up to the full moon when she reaches her peak. We see it, we feel it. The level of energy is higher on Full Moon than any other time of the month. This phase can symbolize the pinnacle of building our new activity, or if we are looking at a lifetime, it roughly symbolizes age 50.


Moon Phases and the Second Half of Life

At the peak of the full moon there’s a turn, as the moon begins to wane and move through her second half of life into the disseminating, last quarter, and balsamic phases. On this side of the moon, the mysterious nature of darkness is overtaking her light. She is releasing or letting go of something to turn inward, which is similar to the human body as it reaches middle life and begins to wane. At the very end of this cycle, the night sky is dark. We miss the sight of our moon. Although she has died, there is comfort in knowing from experience that death begets life, and we remember the moon will be reborn once again. 


When we are curious about the moon and take the time to observe, track and contemplate her nature, we realize she has much to teach us about the second half of our lifetime when our bodies begin to wane. In the moon’s example, we can see that dying starts sooner than we’d like to admit, but are able to see that dying is a part of the natural order. Instead of getting frustrated that our bodies don’t look as good or function as well anymore, we can open to a deeper meaning behind the gradual process of aging. As we begin to lose physical strength and beauty, nature is letting us know that it’s time for us to shift some of our attention away from human bodies and tangible “stuff” to develop more interest in all things invisible, including putting more focus on the intention and quality of our thoughts and words, sharing our wisdom with others, and pursuing religious or spiritual mysteries.