This may sound hokey, but ever since I started paying attention to lunar cycles, my life has changed significantly.
We all know that the moon moves around the Earth, as well as the sun; we know that the moon controls the tides, triggers changes in body chemistry (werewolves, anyone?), and can even prompt people to act in strange ways depending on how full it is in the sky. Many people (myself included) point to the moon and its effects when we talk about physical bodies and even mental health.
I’ve worked with moon cycle workbooks before and struggled, largely because of how spell-focused they were. My magical practice, while it does contain rituals, is not wholly dependent upon them. I have a hard time, with my work schedule and other commitments, doing certain spells at certain times.
Lunar Abundance is different. Centered on Spencer’s own experiences working with the moon and learning to follow its cycles in order to improve her relationship with her body, with nature, and with that ever-elusive work/life balance, the book explores how she works with the moon to achieve a state of “abundance”, which allows her to live her fullest life, give back what she can, and not stress about the things that make so many of us — myself included — incredibly anxious.
When Running Press’ senior publicist emailed me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing a copy on The Verbal Thing, I jumped at the opportunity. They also offered me the chance to host a giveaway for readers — so if you’re interested, keep reading!
Lunar Abundance encourages you to ask questions of yourself, like:
Who are you, really? What do you desire? What do you need?
Lunar Abundance presents chapters on each of the eight moon phases, encouraging readers to explore how to be as well as how to do according to which phase they are in. Spencer suggests setting intentions around the time of the new moon, then checking in on those intentions and revising as needed throughout the following moon phases. She reminds readers that the moon is always cycling, which means there is always opportunity to try again, to reset our intentions, and to move forward with purpose.
In being and doing, it’s possible to find a flow that works for you, allows you to get in touch with yourself and the world around you (often in an entirely new way), and accomplish your goals without running yourself ragged.
Spencer acknowledges that this process has helped her, and has been useful for women she’s worked with through one-on-one coaching sessions, but that it may not work for everyone. She acknowledges that she experiences the intersection of gender, class, and race in a way that’s beneficial to her, and although she uses women-centric language throughout Lunar Abundance, the practices she outlines are adjustable for the individual reading the book.
There are moments where her language trips. As a cisgender, white woman who tracks the moon as a means of dealing with period cramps and anxiety, I noticed those moments and wanted to call them out in this review. At times, although she clearly aims to speak to as many people as possible and assert that Lunar Abundance is based on her own practices, Spencer can seem to rely a little too heavily on the power of the moon for leading a better, more fulfilling life.
However, early in the book, she also acknowledges that systemic oppression cannot be overcome merely by practicing the steps she lays out. I appreciate this honesty. A huge turn-off to self-help books or workbooks, for me, is that many of them refuse to take into account the fact that because of the way our society is structured, some people will never experience the same “abundance” as others — whether that’s financial, physical, mental, or emotional.
But tracking the moon can still have positive effects, and Spencer’s book offers the tools to practice that cyclical work.
For my part, I’ve been tracking moon cycles since I read Inga Muscio’s Cunt right after graduating college. Reading that book changed how I interacted with my menstrual cycle in a big way, and part of that change included looking to the moon in order to more fully understand my body. When Shanicka Anderson asked me how I deal with my period for a piece on period hacks for The Tempest, I told her that I time my cycle with the moon. It helps me navigate my internal clock, stay grounded in my body, and know what’s going on in nature as well as within myself.
For example: I bleed when the moon wanes, which means that when the moon is full, my PMDD kicks in hard. For almost a year, I’ve been on medication to help my anxiety, especially during that time, and it’s helped significantly. But I wouldn’t have even noticed the difference if not for how closely I pay attention to the moon, the changes in my body, and how the two coincide.
Lunar Abundance, as I said above, goes beyond just tracking the physical effects of the moon. It also suggests means of working without running yourself into the ground, deepening your relationships with yourself and your loved ones, letting go of toxicity, setting intentions and goals, and understanding the importance of rest and restoration. It’s admirable to want to succeed, but you cannot allow the desire for success to destroy your mind, body, and soul.
In our society, which is rampant with “bootstraps” rhetoric and absolutely ridiculous challenges to even earn a living wage, it can be especially hard to feel like we deserve time to ourselves. We work on our days off, sacrifice important recharge time, and change plans with friends and partners in order to earn an extra few bucks. And while hustling isn’t bad, we must also practice self care.
Spencer’s book serves as a guide for balancing those things, and learning how to listen to our bodies and our minds. It isn’t condescending, the way many self-help books can be, and it gives you the space — both mentally and literally on its pages — to focus your thoughts and consider what’s best for you and your life.
Plus, there are free tools available on the Lunar Abundance website, like a fillable moon phase tracker and more.
Overall rating: ★★★★½
Recommended for: People who want help balancing their lives
Lunar Abundance is available March 6, 2018 through Running Press Books. I received an advanced copy through Running Press Books for review purposes. You can pre-order the book now, or enter the giveaway below! Entries are open through Friday, March 2, at 11:59 p.m. EST.