This December Lunar Cycle, featuring the “Cold Moon” at its peak on the 18th, will bring us through Christmas, leaving us right in the middle of America’s big holiday week of the year, exactly halfway between Christmas and New Year’s Day. What a perfect time to consider how we can bring gratitude into our lives, our family gatherings, and even to the craziness of the holiday bustle. 

Considering this time also comes with lots of excess, indulgences, and a whole lot of waste, let’s take a look at how we can harness the energy of gratitude as we move through Mama Moon’s magic to bring more balance, compassion, and slowness into our lives during this season of many celebrations and dark skies lit up in color. 



Balsamic Moon 11/30 – 12/3  |  DIVINATION 

We start our cycle with the Balsamic Moon because this is our time of deepest intuition and Akashic insight. When Luna is but a sliver in the sky above, with her horns open to the right, she is pulling us deep within ourselves where we can “see in the Dark.” We see beneath ego here, and beneath the whims of the moment. And so we harness this time to divine our direction and intentions for the coming cycle. 

To harness the energy of divination through the lens of gratitude, let’s set the intention to ground in gratitude daily as our commitment for the cycle. What this means can be different depending on who is practicing. Maybe for you it is listing out three things you’re grateful for every morning. Or maybe you only need to say them in your head, or call yourself to notice them throughout your day. Or maybe you decide to create an altar to gratitude, and you light incense every day, or offer chocolate or money. Let your heart speak here; the goal is to find ways to call in that gratitude energy each day! 

Remember that the Balsamic Moon intention sets your focus for the entire cycle to come. Therefore, this is a commitment you will want to see through all the way to the next Balsamic Moon on December 29th. What can you realistically commit to daily? What will effectively bring in that good thankful juju that magically magnetically brings to us anything upon which we focus along with it? 

Set some time aside during the days of 11/30 – 12/3 to harness this sacred lunar energy that helps us plug into that deep aware-most part of our senses. Read on for ideas to help you ride out your commitment to gratitude all cycle long. Download Your Blood Around the Moon for a fillable worksheet to help you plan out your intention for the cycle.


Dark Moon 12/4 – 12/6  |  PREPARATION

Once you have your intention set, the Dark Moon swoops in and brings our bodies to life in drama and expression and demands! This moon represents the Bleeding Time in a woman’s cycle, and it is a time when we are most in tune with our bodies, when our bodies are the loudest, and we are still riding that deep intuition power. For those who work medicinally with their Moon Blood, this is a time to prepare your medicine by collecting and preserving it. Therefore, we harness the energy of the Dark Moon to prepare any materials we need to carry out the intention we divined during the previous moon. If you are not working with your Moon Blood, for you, this may mean gathering supplies, materials, or information you need to carry out your intention. 

In this case, it is a time to reflect upon your commitment to calling in and anchoring into gratitude each day of the cycle. Now is the time to consider what you need to carry out your commitment. Do you want to find a special journal for your list of things you’re grateful for? Do you need to unbury a pen or two? Do you need to clear space for an altar? Or collect materials to display on your altar? Do you need to research the proper offering to make? The Dark Moon is the time for all these things.


Crescent Moon 12/7 – 12/9  |  DECLARATION

The Crescent Moon brings us a sense of renewed energy that begins to call us out of the inward phase of our cycle. With the growing light, so too grows our energy, motivation, ambition, and desire to “get out there.” This is also a time when we are especially mentally clear and can focus most easily, making this an ideal time to spell out the specifics of our plan, outlining any details necessary to transform the dream into a reality. Maybe this means writing out specific goals, measuring points, or just simply stating the intention to yourself in your mind, on paper, to others, or in more public environments, like social media! This moon brings the magic of speaking a thing into existence to make it physical, both literally and metaphorically. 

This is a great time to harness witness power, by announcing our intention to a loved one, or solidifying it by writing it in your selected journal, for example. Allow your own ways of harnessing expression as a seed for manifestation to find their way into your awareness. Sing and be free


First Quarter Moon 12/10 – 12/12  |  CAST 

The First Quarter Moon fills us with energy and inspiration! We are ready to do the thing, get out there, get started, and therefore, this is the proverbial “Day One” of our commitment. Today is the day we begin our commitment however we’ve spelled it out and prepared. 

Mark December 10th on your calendar to have everything sorted and decided to be ready to start your daily gratitude commitment on this day. 



Gibbous Moon – 12/13 – 12/17  |  ACTS OF FAITH

The Gibbous Moon, or Miss Gibby, as I like to call her, brings a smooth and gentle, yet high-vibe energy. This is a great time to be social and to pamper yourself, to honor your feminine aspect. There’s an “it’s all good” vibe to this moon, as we’ve done all the work to prepare for our commitment, we’ve just gotten started and we’re still feeling energized and excited for what’s to come. This moon is for chillin and enjoying the ride, but all the while staying fiercely devoted to our commitment, in full trust that as we act, the results shall inevitably come. 

For our gratitude moon, this means just keep doing what you’re doing, enjoying the process along the way. Keep journaling, keep noticing, keep being thankful, keep seeing all the things you’re grateful for. 


Full moon – 12/18 – 12/20  |  SACRIFICE 

The Full Moon, energetically speaking, is about letting go of anything extra or no longer needed to make room to receive our new intention. This is an act of faith as well; as we give out in trust, we know we will receive and always be supported in return. This is a time of peak energy, of fullness; this is when we are ovulating and when pregnancy would begin, were the moon a woman. We are in our best physical shine, our womanly gifts highlighted for all to see, and as we have a healthy sense of self, this is when we will really be feelin ourselves, as if no one can stop us from enjoying anything we want! 

To bring gratitude into the holiday season, consider offering (sacrificing) some of your holiday budget to people with fewer resources, or organizations that serve them. Here are some groups doing great work, vetted by the 13Moons team: 

Women at Risk International: WAR Chest Boutique

“Our mission is two-fold. We seek to market and sell handcrafted items made by at-risk and rescued men and women from around the world, supporting culturally sensitive, value-added intervention projects, while educating our shoppers about the risks the vulnerable face in our world. We invite you to shop with a purpose at the WAR Chest Boutique!”



National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center

“Providing national leadership to end violence against American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian women by lifting up the collective voices of grassroots advocates and offering culturally grounded resources, technical assistance and training, and policy development to strengthen tribal sovereignty.”



Disseminating Moon 12/21 – 12/25  |  LIVING IT

Now that we’re past our energetic peak, we begin to grow back inward as we move into the Dark Half of the Lunar Cycle. This moon is a mirror of the Gibbous Moon, with a waning vibe instead of a waxing one. In other words, our energy is moving inward and slower as compared with the Gibbous Moon which leads us into our energetic peak. And like the Gibbous Moon, these days are for just keepin on keepin on with our commitment and living as if our intention has already manifested. This is when you may ask yourself how you would think and do differently if what you wanted was already here. Then do that. 

In the context of our commitment to gratitude, and seeing that this phase brings us from Yule to Christmas Day, our cultural traditions of gifting can be a perfect way to harness this lunar energy. Bring mindfulness into your holiday giving by recognizing the sacredness of the energy exchange happening. As Americans, we can easily forget the deeper aspects of holiday gifting in the rush and stress and consumption of it all, and find ourselves in a weird place where even giving can be infiltrated by competition. Instead, take the time to gift from your heart and to receive from your heart, recognizing the ritual as a feeding, a pouring of love from one to another. Say a blessing as you gift. Sing out to the universe that the gift represents just a tiny token of all the abundance (or freedom, love, gratitude) to come for the person you are gifting!

Looking for thoughtful gift ideas? Shop our small business holiday shopping guide! This, too, is a wonderful pouring in. The weight of your investment in family-owned small business compared with a super-conglomerate corporation is exponential!    COMING SOON!


Last Quarter Moon 12/26 – 12/28  |  TENDING

After Christmas, the moon is going to wind us right on down into the new year. We’ll find our energy quieting as we move into the Third Quarter Moon, and with the bustle of Christmas behind us, this may mean your body especially wants to curl up, cuddle up, and shut down! This moon ushers in an inward, reflective energy, and is a great time for assessing your commitment, process, progress, and to make any tweaks necessary to stay on track with your goal. For now, as we approach the new cycle, it is especially important to call your attention to that which you want to continue to create and pour into, and to pinch off, or detract your attention from, those things you wish to affirm as a part of your past. 

For our gratitude commitment, in honor of this reflective time, these few, hopefully quieter days, would be well-spent indulging in a pampering self-care process to thank yourself, your body, your soul, your heart for all you’ve invested in your loved ones this holiday season. Maybe you write some of your gratitudes on your body before a long, relaxing bath. Maybe you treat yourself to a massage, or trade in a gift card you received over the week for something nice, just for yourself. This moon is a great time for focusing your gratitude energy inward, and filling yourself up. Tomorrow, the cycle begins again.


Download the free workbook, Your Blood Around the Moon: How to honor your Moon Blood all cycle long PLUS work out your gratitude commitment moonface by moonface – it’s all inside:

Did you find this helpful?

Let us know and be sure to subscribe to catch the Lunar Forecast with Astara in every issue of 13Moons: Stories & Art! 

To learn more about the Lunar Magic Wheel for riding your feminine energy into your best life, check out the Lunar Living Lifestyle Stream on Patreon. Subscribe to follow along all cycle long!






ABOUT ASTARA |  Editor & Creator of 13Moons: Stories & Art

My creative nature is not restricted to “making” art. I live and breathe as an Artist, see as the Artist sees, and weave my personal, professional, and creative life just as I please, in true Artist form. I live to sip inspiration and hunger to feed it.

I am a Creature of the Night, a consort of Nut and liaison of the Stars and the Trees. Luna breathes through my Blood that I may remember the secrets of the Mother from my Bones and whisper them across the winds like dandelion seeds for NTR to gestate at Her whim to bloom within the wombs of my Sisters.

I am We.

Published by Astara Solae

I created 13MOONS Magazine to resurrect the sacred feminine in Stories and Art. As a Seeress who'd worked directly with Oshun, Yemaya, Oya, and other earlier Goddesses, I noticed a stark difference in these energies and those of later iterations, such as Venus and Aphrodite. It is like parts of these beings were stripped away. Whether to fit the fashion of culture or men, I'll leave for you to decide, but this just didn't sit right with my spirit. And so I dreamed of a platform which would amplify the real voice of the feminine - Stories and Art created by actual women from our perspective, without apology. And here we are.I am called Astara, a name I received during meditation, meaning Little Sirius. I am here to draw down the energy of Ast, also known as Auset, Isis, and the latest: Mother Mary, truly just a hint of the Original anymore. I am here to Remember and to help Remind us of who we are as women, who we are beneath patriarchal whitewashing and power politics as religion. I am here to Remind us of the wisdom we hold within each of our cells which we have mistakenly (and blasphemously) called our meat suit. I am a Sensual Fluency Educator and Tranceworker, offering tools I've channeled from my own body to help you connect with yours. Reach out anytime if you'd like to hear more.

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