Sacred Bleeding: White Moon & Red Moon Cycles Explained

red moon and white moon cycle
Photo by Ava Sol on Unsplash

What are the white moon and red moon cycles, and what do they symbolise for you?

For starters, it’s called a moon cycle because a woman’s menstrual cycle is said to be in sync with the moon.

The moon represents the feminine, while the sun represents the masculine; and together, they create harmony.

An average moon cycle lasts around 29 days, just like the average time it takes a woman to complete a whole cycle.

There are four main phases of each, which correspond to one another. This is what a typical menstrual cycle looks like, and how it links to the phases of the moon:

  • Bleeding phase (New moon)
  • Pre-ovulation / follicular phase (Waxing moon)
  • Ovulation phase (Full moon)
  • Pre-menstrual phase (Waning moon)

In ancient times, a woman’s cycle was honoured and celebrated, while her bleeding phase was ritualised. Women of all ages came together in sacred circles and moon lodges. Getting your moon (period) was seen as a beautiful gift.

Bleeding would be a time for resting, journeying inwards and tuning in to your intuition. Letting go of anything that didn’t serve you, resetting and starting anew again.

But the Patriarchy felt threatened by the power and magic that these women held within, which only magnified when they came together. So what was once seen as beautiful and pure, became stigmatised and seen as taboo.

Women around the world today see their period as a hassle, a burden, and sometimes even a curse. Our sacred cycle has been belittled to no more than a means to reproduce.

But I can feel the energy beginning to shift. She is rising. And we’re starting to fully awaken to the fierce power of our body, and reclaim the magic of our moon.

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White Moon & Red Moon Cycles Explained

The terms white moon and red moon symbolise the different ways a woman’s cycle is currently flowing with the moon. And this will often change throughout a woman’s life, as she enters different phases.

You can figure out where your cycle currently is by starting to track it. Either use a traditional diary method, or one of the many apps available, like Natural Cycles, Clue, or Flo. If you have a fairly regular cycle, then a pattern will emerge for you after a couple of months.

The White Moon Cycle

The white moon cycle is the most common cycle, and is linked to the new moon. This means that if you’re on a white moon cycle, then you bleed around the new moon, and ovulate around the full moon.

Because this cycle mirrors the traditional cycle of the moon, and mother earth; a woman with a white moon cycle is said to be in the Mother phase of her life. Either she wants to get pregnant and start a family, or she’s focused on nurturing and raising her children.

This is because the full moon is considered to be the earth’s most fertile time. So when a woman goes through the most fertile stage of her cycle simultaneously, both energies align and are magnified.

Women on a white moon cycle pull energy inward towards them, and harness this to replenish and deepen their emotional, mental, and spiritual energies.

These women were often favoured by the Patriarchy, because all their energy was solely focused on the men and children in their life.

The Red Moon Cycle

The red moon cycle is less common than the white moon cycle, and is linked to the full moon. If you’re a woman with a red moon cycle, then you bleed during the full moon, and you ovulate during new moon.

The red moon cycle is often known as the wise woman’s cycle, because in ancient times these women were the priestesses, the healers, and the medicine women. In contrast to the white moon, these women are focused on channelling their creative energy outward.

These women may also be mothers and raising children, but they are focused on and passionate about being in sacred circle with their community, and teaching and leading others.

Women with a red moon cycle have a deep desire for self-actualisation, self-growth, creativity, business, mentorship and development. Everything they learn and experience helps to empower them from within, and this then enables them to empower the women around them.

The red moon cycle is also said to offer a deep connection to a woman’s sexual energy – a powerfully potent energy that the Patriarchy have tried (and continue to try) to disconnect us from.

A woman on a red moon cycle is a woman of great power, and so it was these women who were labelled witches; and punished, vilified, and ostracised from society.

Is one cycle better than the other?

No! There is no better or worse when it comes to your sacred cycle. There is simply one, or the other.

There’s a common misconception that a red moon cycle is inferior, because it doesn’t align with the natural phases of the moon. But I promise, it’s not.

There’s also the worry that your energy will be higher and lower at the wrong time of your cycle. More expansive at new moon – traditionally a time to journey inward and rest. And more internal at full moon – a time to expand, flourish and celebrate.

But this isn’t a problem.

It’s how you choose to work with your energy and the energy of the moon that matters.

I have been on a red moon cycle for the past three years – ever since I began tracking my cycle.

When I first found this out, I wanted to know how to “fix” it, and get my cycle back in sync with the moon. What I didn’t realise was, it didn’t need fixing, and I was already very much in sync with her.

But then I started to read more about white moon and red moon cycles. I began to deepen my understanding of my own cycle, as well as the moon’s.

I realised that being on a red moon cycle made complete sense for where I was (and still am) in my life today. My focus is on continual self-learning and inner growth. I’m deeply in communion with creativity. I’ve been growing and nourishing a business that centres on empowering women.

Can I see kids in my future? Maybe someday. But right now, my attention and energy is elsewhere. And that’s beautiful. The same way desiring to be a mother, and devoting your energy to nurturing your children is.

When my energy is low during the light of full moon, I draw my attention to illuminating and expanding internally. And when my energy is high during the darkness of new moon, I channel that into shedding whatever needs to go, resetting, and creating new, supportive intentions for this cycle.

What if your cycle doesn’t follow the white moon or red moon cycles?

If you don’t follow the white moon or red moon cycles, there are a couple of other possibilities.

The Pink Moon Cycle

This means you bleed when the moon is waxing (transitioning from new moon to full moon).

A pink moon cycle may represent a transitional phase in your life. When the moon waxes, it’s going from darkness and reflection, to light and expansion. So, this may mean you’re leaving a period of rest or shadow, and coming into your strength and your power.

The Purple Moon Cycle

This means you bleed when the moon is waning (transitioning from full moon to new moon).

A purple moon cycle also represents a transitional phase, but in the opposite direction. When the moon wanes, it’s going from fullness and strength into reflection and rest. So this might symbolise you entering a quieter stage of your life, or exploring your shadow self.

It could be a time to get clear on what’s no longer serving you and needs to be released, or a time to retreat into your cocoon. And this is vital before you can emerge again, revitalised, and ready to spread your wings and soar.

Honour your bleeding

Regardless of what cycle you’re in, I invite you to reclaim your moon and the days when you bleed. Give your body what it needs during this time – particularly the first two or three days which are the most intense.

For a long time, we’ve been taught we need to be like men if we want to be treated as equals, but our real strength can be found in what makes us different. Not weaker or stronger, just different.

So don’t try and “power” through, and carry on functioning as normal if you’re experiencing discomfort or resistance. This is your body speaking to you.

Give yourself permission to do what feels good for you. That might mean working from home, being on your own, have a space day or two, cancelling plans with friends, and slowing right down.

You may find you crave alone time, or company with your girlfriends. You might really want to move and stretch, or you might want to curl up into a ball and sleep. Chocolate might be what you have for breakfast, or you might not have an appetite at all. And you might want your boyfriend not to touch you, or you might be really hungry for sex.

It’s all okay. Bleeding is both beautiful and sacred. It’s emotional and liberating. It’s power and it’s magic.

And it’s time we reclaimed it.

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  1. Avatarsays: kristina

    Hi all!
    I’m looking for help… I’ve always been in touch with my spirituality growing up, I’m 18 now. My period keeps changing from Red to White cycle. What does this mean?
    I come from a long line of witches and healers, could this have anything to do with it?

    1. Shani Jaysays: Shani Jay

      Hi Kristina,

      Hope you’re well and thanks for reading ♥

      This is completely normal for some women. I cannot say for certain what this means for you, as every woman has her own experiences and journey that she’s on. But this alternation between a white moon and red moon cycle is known as a “Wise Woman Cycle”.

      There isn’t a lot of information on it out there, and it can be a little disorientating continually shifting this way.

      But if you’re open to working with this and what comes up for you, you’ll experience new insights into your own sacred cycle as well as the moon cycle, and the subtleties of the different combinations we can experience.

      It’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Embrace it. Immerse yourself in it. Open yourself to the wisdom that awaits you.

      Love,
      Shani ♥

  2. Avatarsays: Nikita

    This is brilliant~ thank you so much for this explanation Shani.
    I’m in a feminine healing course right now and have been struggling with the fact my cycle falls on the full moon instead of the new moon. I was going to use Ovarian breathing to focus on shifting my cycle to fall on the new moon instead but your description here of the associated life phase and ‘healer’/outward energy is so spot on. I am not currently in relationship but I would like to one day have another child. Right now I’m working on healing myself, self healing and actualization so perhaps this is exactly where I am supposed to be at this phase in my life.
    Thank you for helping me feel like I wasn’t alone or ‘off’ in some way. This guidance was perfect finding for me today. I’ll use the full moon tomorrow charge my crystals and yoni egg instead while I go within. ~namaste

    1. Shani Jaysays: Shani Jay

      Hi Nikita!

      Hope this message finds you well ♥

      Thanks so much for reading and for sharing your story with me. I’m so happy this has helped you realize that where you are with your cycle today is exactly where you’re meant to be. Every woman’s moon/menstrual cycle is completely unique and constantly evolving (as we are) – trust that your cycle is a reflection of who and where you are right now 🙂

      It makes a lot of sense to me that you bleed on the full moon with what you’ve shared with me about your life, and a red moon cycle has its own powerful gifts, just as the white moon cycle does ♥

      Embrace your beautiful cycle – we have spent far too long feeling shame, pain, and fear around something that is so natural and sacred and our birth-given right as women.

      Sending you much love & happy full moon!

      Shani ♥

    1. Shani Jaysays: Shani Jay

      Hi Jami,

      Thanks so much for your question!

      Do you mean you’re bleeding twice a moon cycle (roughly every 14 days), or do you mean your bleed is changing each cycle and coming around the new moon, then the full moon, and alternating like this (approx. every 44 days)?

      Love,
      Shani x

  3. Avatarsays: Jenna

    I found this to be so true for me. I was always on a red moon cycle in my 20s and in a healing/medical profession.

    Around the time when I meant my current partner in my early 30s, my cycle shifted to the white moon cycle and I got pregnant soon after. Now after 2 pregnancies and breastfeeding for 5.5 years, I just got my period back and guess what, it came back right on the new moon!! (17 months postpartum). So cool!

    1. Shani Jaysays: Shani Jay

      Hi Jenna!

      Hope you’re well and thanks so much for reading and sharing your story ♥
      It sounds like your rhythm is very in tune with Mumma Moon. And yes, you’re right, it is such a magical thing when you realize the synchronicity!

      Sending you much love ♥

  4. Avatarsays: Shannon Holmes

    Do these moon cycles affect fertility? I was once on a new moon cycle, but the last few months I’ve been on the red moon cycle. I have two children, but may want more. I am concerned this change means my fertility isn’t as strong. Thanks!

    1. Shani Jaysays: Shani Jay

      Hi Shannon 🙂

      Hope you’re well and thanks for reading and for your question!

      The moon cycle you’re currently following can be an indication of where you are fertility-wise right now, but not necessarily.

      Traditionally, a woman following a red cycle is focusing her maternal energy outward rather than inward; while a woman following a white moon cycle is said to be aligned with the mother archetype. That being said, so many women will have experienced getting pregnant on a red moon cycle, and struggling to conceive while on a white moon cycle.

      The change in your moon cycle isn’t necessarily an indication of fertility, it’s more an indication of where your energy is currently being focused. Maybe there are some projects that you’re ready to start or grow right now. Enjoy this new phase that you’ve entered. When the time is right and you want to have more kids, chances are your cycle will begin to gravitate back towards a white moon 🙂 And of course, this may not always happen – you can get pregnant anytime, it’s more an indication of where your heart is, and the phase of life you’re in today.

      I hope that makes sense and puts your mind at ease ❤

      Love,
      Shani x

    1. Shani Jaysays: Shani Jay

      Hi Kathy 🙂

      You’re welcome! I hope this has helped you understand your sacred cycle a little more, and if you have any questions just reach out!

      Happy belated full moon!

      Love,
      Shani x

    1. Shani Jaysays: Shani Jay

      Hi Eliza,

      Thanks for reading!

      If you’re looking for scientific evidence of the moon & menstrual cycle, I’d recommend checking out a book called The Great Cosmic Mother – there’s a ton of research in there as well as a big list of other sources and references 🙂

      Love,
      Shani x