The Power of the Moon: First Full Moon Feels in 2024
Happy first full moon of the year!
Energies are on steroids around this time, and for many, they look forward to the full moon for blessings and gratitude. There were stories told around the moon in our mythology. Amongst of which are stories about Bakunawa.
37 weeks into my pregnancy with my second child, I’m in anticipation of the radiant glow of the full moon and remember the stories of elders and chosen families within Indigenous communities in the Philippines that I’ve encountered about their connection with astrological elements, especially the moon. Throughout many histories of these communities, the full moon has held a special place in their souls using them not just as a light in the dark but also a guiding element to their lives related to their harvests, well-being and a vessel of communication with their ancestors. I actually named my eldest "Luna" because during labor, the full moon decided to beam in 2020 and I took that as a sign that she will be the moon that both me and her father was gifted with.
In many communities in the Philippines, the full moon has long been respected as a symbol of abundance, renewal and strong spiritual energy. The lunar cycle is used to determine many phases of their lives, with each phase of the moon holding a unique meaning and purpose. It serves as a timestamp within a year, determining cycles within months where decisions are made within specific phases.
As I work on nesting my home in preparation for a new life, I took some time to connect with some of the culture bearers we work with to ask about some of their moon related practices. I’ve only participated in one, and I’m hoping that part of my future journeys would include many more. Here are some of the things I learned:
Sama Full Moon Ritual: Pagigal Jin
In the community of the Sama Bajau, Pag-Igaljin or in short, they call it jin is still being practiced. This ritual links the living with the ancestors. The ritual is performed during full moon (usually once a year) performed by a spirit bearer, family members and village communities. It involved rice offerings, Igal/Pangalay dancing and kulintangan music.
In Sitangkai, Tawi Tawi, there is a small island called Sikulan where most of the community members go to perform jinn where they offer food and perform chants and play instruments. They let performers and community members go on trance to get healed with any physiological, mental or spiritual conditions.
Sama Bajau are classified into four sama Dilaut, Sama Bihing, Sama daleya and Sama Talun
Source: Al-Raffy Harun
T'boli Full Moon Ritual: Demsu
During Demsu, the community gathers around the lake to do the ritual. They call the spirits through singing, chanting and playing music with some of their flutes and hegalong. After prayers, they celebrate by gathering the community. Every Demsu ritual has a specific theme or intention. It could be for healing, renewal of self, or blessings for a pregnant woman.
Source: Myrna Pula, T'boli Culture Bearer, Storyteller and community leader
Talaandig Full Moon Ritual: Pangapug
Pangapug is performed by spiritual leaders and elders of the community by offering betel nut and prayers to the caretakers of the land, which include major elements of earth, wind, fire, and water. Historically, the Talaandig community in Sungco, Bukidnon, used to perform this ritual in a ritual house only specific to Pangapug practice.
Source: Datu Waway Saway, Talaandig Master Artist, Leader and Culture Bearer
Ifugao Moon Ritual: Huwah ti Ihapo
Although not specific to the full moon, Ifugaos use the phases of the moon for rituals related to their harvest. A common one is Huwah Ti Ihapo, usually done after harvest of Pagay/Palay (rice) and is scheduled right before the full moon. This is a thanksgiving ritual to the gods after a good harvest and usually includes hog offering and other food offerings, dances, and prayers with the mumbaki and music.
Source: Ruel Bimuyag, Ifugao Culture Bearer
The full moon serves as a poignant symbol of unity, reminding us of the universal truths that bind humanity to the earth and the cosmos. Through the wisdom of Indigenous communities in the Philippines on moon rituals, we can glean valuable insights into our relationship with nature and the significance of embracing the cycles that are related to our existence. Working on this blog is one of my favorites as I enter my 4th trimester. I am filled with a renewed appreciation for the timeless traditions related to the moon.
In our modern day, the full moon manifests many things within the lifestyle we are in. For whatever the full moon means to you, I hope that it brings you gracious blessings for good health, well-being, and a deeper connection with your ancestors.
Founder / Creative Director