The Lunar Cycle Excerpt from “Natural Fertility – The Complete Guide to Avoiding or Achieving Conception” by Francesca Naish Throughout the ages the moon has symbolized two things. First, Woman, her femininity and her special characteristics, distinctive from, and contrasting with, those of Man: second, fertility, reproduction in the animal world and growth in the kingdom of plants. The roots of these beliefs about the moon are deep in many cultures and religions, and or connected invariably with an appreciation of the special powers of women.

The very word menstruation is derived from Latin and Greek words for month and moon. From Ancient Greece to modern times, beliefs and evidence have connected the hormonal cycle with the lunar month and its phases of waxing and waning. As well as the lunar orbit, which takes 28 days and is the time taken for the moon to travel around the earth, and the lunar month, which is the time (approximately 29.5 days) from one full moon to another, there is also a woman’s personal lunar cycle.

The repetition of the phase of the moon at which you were born has a strong influence on your fertility. This bio-rhythmic cycle commences at birth, becomes effective at puberty and will continue to influence fertility throughout a woman’s fertile life. The lunar cycle was discovered (or re-discovered) by a Czech psychiatrist, Dr Eugen Jonas in the 1950’s. He was working with Catholic women who were using the rhythm method with little success. Concerned about the harmful effects of abortion he became interested in why the rhythm method had such a low success rate. His interest in astrology led him to study, calculate and research the patterns connecting the dates of conception of his many patients which frequently fell well outside their expected mid-cycle ovulation times. According to Jonas, a woman is fertile when the sun and moon are at the same relative angle as they were at the exact time of her birth, whether or not this coincides with her mid-cycle ovulation.

He conducted two studies (one of 1,600 women and one of 1,252 women) where abstinence at the lunar “fertile” time was coupled with the rhythm method and the success rates were 98.5% and 97.7 % respectively – a very different result from that usually achieved by the rhythm method alone. Whilst Dr Jonas’ findings have been tested and evaluated over the years. The fact that the lunar cycle is connected to, and has an effect on fertility is well established, but questions remain regarding how this happens. Spontaneous ovulation ‘Spontaneous” ovulation has always been the rogue in the pack when we try to identify our fertile times, especially for purposes of contraception. Certain of the smaller mammals such as the cat, the rabbit and the hare, do not have a fertility cycle as such.

Mature follicles are always present in the ovaries of these animals, ready to burst. This happens during copulation, resulting in conception virtually whenever intercourse takes place. If this happened with humans, natural birth control would be synonymous with celibacy. In humans, the egg is usually released mid-cycle. There is a capacity, however, for this to occur at other times. Modern research shows that intercourse (particularly at times of high stress) is most often the trigger for this event. Dr. Rechnitz, a researcher and gynecologist, speculated that perhaps the effects of the moon pre-disposed women to this reaction: ‘Biologically there is a possibility that tension, due to the effect of certain moon phases, builds up in the woman’s nervous and hormonal systems, which in the event of sexual intercourse, leads to the rupture of the follicle and thus conception.’ Over and over again in clinical use of the lunar phase cycle, instances have occurred where it seems to explain otherwise puzzling phenomena. Conceptions frequently have been known to occur when, according to orthodox medical models of fertility, they are totally or virtually impossible.

They have occurred during menstruation, during pregnancy and while on the contraceptive pill, amongst other instances.

• Many women feel sure that they know when they have conceived, only to be told by doctors that they are mistaken.

• Ultrasound tests often give results that show the pregnancy to be one or two weeks at variance with the expectations of the doctor.

• Many women feel sure that they know when they ovulate, have regular cycles, and yet have conceived against their wishes, even though they felt quite sure that they were ‘safe’. Doctors are often all too ready to assume that the woman has made a mistake, and although some doubtless do so, it’s also possible that the lunar cycle may be responsible.

• Conception often occurs during menstruation where there has been no history of short cycles, and no reason to expect one.

• Menstruation, often avoided by those trying to conceive as unlikely, unaesthetic or taboo (for religious reasons) has been used with great success by those aware that it coincides with their lunar return.

• There is a suggestion that ‘failures’ or conceptions on the contraceptive pill are ‘nearly always’ due to lunar fertility.

• Further conceptions have been known to occur during an existing pregnancy, when hormonal states should preclude an ovulation.

Is spontaneous ovulation detectable? Certainly – if you have instruments to record surges in electrical potential. Otherwise, this is no warning in the body as with a mid-cycle ovulation, of mucus changes and so forth, as the body is taken by surprise. However, many women, experienced at detecting mid-cycle ovulation, having had intercourse at a lunar time (either protected or for purposes of conception) report symptoms of ovulation pains and increased mucus following the sex act. It is possible, of course, to mistaken semen for mucus, though most experienced observers would not make this mistake, and temperature changes are also often noted. Further studies are needed to verify the clinical data. If spontaneous ovulation does change the hormonal situation, it would explain how sperm survive in an apparently hostile situation and eggs implant in an apparently unsuitably prepared endometrium. More research is needed – but it’s perhaps foolhardy, if you desire to be as effective as possible in your attempts to understand and control your fertility, not to take seriously the impressive proven evidence. Synchronising Cycles All users of the lunar cycle, from Jonas onwards, agree that if mid-cycle coincides with the natal lunar phase recurrence, this provides optimum conditions for conception. Fertility is greatest if you experience your mid-cycle ovulation at your lunar fertile time. The combination of menstruation and the lunar phase comes a close second. Although one would expect that a time when both cycles indicate fertility would be most highly fertile, it’s not so easy to see how a seemingly unsuitable time such as menstruation should also provide such a fertile combination with the natal lunar phase.

From Jonas onwards, however, practitioners and clients alike have found it to be so. Menstruation, far from being infertile, is a likely time for conception to occur, if it coincides with the natal lunar phase. This is important news for those trying to avoid or achieve pregnancy. There is a marked tendency for the two cycles to synchronise. A much higher than probable rate of synchronization occurs in certain types of cases.

• In women who are trying to conceive, especially when efforts have been ongoing for at least six months. Conception is often successful when the synchronisation finally occurs.

• In women who are in touch or in tune with their bodies (especially those practicing natural fertility awareness methods), are unstressed, in good health and have ‘rhythmic’ hassle free lifestyles. (There are still people like this!)

• In women who are aware of their lunar cycle – where this awareness can affect the menstrual clock ( in the hypothalamus) in the same way as another woman’s pheromones, or a significant observance of new / full moon cycles. How to use the lunar cycle for contraception This is very simple. You avoid unprotected intercourse when the moon is at the same phase as it was at your birth. For example, if your were born three days before a full moon, then you will be potentially fertile three days before each full moon. When you have your natal lunar phase calculated, safety margins will be added for sperm and egg life, giving a total of four days each lunar month. These can be calculated in advance and marked on a calendar chart.

Then all you have to remember is to avoid unprotected intercourse on your lunar fertile days whether or not they coincide with your mid-cycle ovulation. Since most conceptions will occur at the mid-cycle ovulation, it is essential that this is combined with observance of mucus and temperature symptoms to identify these fertile times. How to use the lunar cycle for conception This is also very simple. If your lunar time does not coincide with your mid-cycle ovulation, you have two chances in a month. If it does, you have on super chance!

Men have lunar cycles too Ongoing fertility has often been used to explain why some men might be less discriminating in their sexuality than women, who are only fertile at certain times in the month, during which they definitely seem to experience heightened sexuality. Male sexuality does not appear to ‘peak’ in this way, and men’s fertility is not thought of as cyclical, either, although it’s acknowledged that it changes – sperm count goes up and down according to many factors. It does appear, however, that there is a cyclical aspect to male fertility, and that it is connected to the moon.

With a woman, of course, either she is fertile or she isn’t. And much of the time, she isn’t. With a man, it seems that there are degrees of fertility. Evidence (patchy so far, its true) shows that the sperm count can be up to ten times as high during the man’s lunar return. Now when the aim is contraception, this is not really of concern. But when the issue is infertility, it may be. Calculations You may be able to make the calculations for the lunar cycle for yourself. You will probably find it easier (and safer and more accurate) to have them done for you by a consultant trained in Natural Fertility Management.