This article is part of a four-part mini-series about the different phases of the female cycle (the menstrual cycle or the moon cycle, depending on whether you’re pre-, peri- or post-menopausal). You can find the other three parts here:

Part 1 – Inner Winter (Menstruation / Dark Moon)
Part 2 – Inner Spring (Follicular Phase / Waxing Moon Phase)
Part 4 – Inner Autumn (Luteal-/Premenstrual Phase / Waning Moon Phase)

If you prefer listening to it instead, HERE‘s my podcast episode on the Inner Summer.

Welcome to this little introduction to the four phases of your cycle!

Since very few of us are taught at home or at school what a miracle our body, and especially the menstrual cycle is, I hope this four-part series will help you make sense of and appreciate everything that’s going on inside of you during the different phases over the course of a month.

Because your cycle doesn’t only work you on a physical level. It also influences your emotional, mental and spiritual-energetic experience and well-being.

And especially if you struggle with menstrual problems, such as irregular cycles, painful bleeds, PMS (PreMenstrual Syndrome), PMDD (PreMenstrual Dysphoric Disorder), endometriosis or PCOS, it’s important to first of all understand what’s happening on the different levels during each phase – to help you put your experience into perspective, and also find the words to express what’s going on, so you feel less alone.

Below, I’ll explain what’s happening in each cycle phase – or inner season – on each of these four levels, and provide one practice and one journaling question to connect more deeply with the energetic quality of the respective phase, so you can explore your personal experience with it and the medicine it holds.

Because overall, a cycle is regenerative by nature. And when you consciously make space for each phase and learn to appreciate its respective flavours, you will see your cycle as a source of strength and (inner) power, providing you with all the energy you need to enjoy the fun things in life.

A note on the word “cycle”

Life is inherently cyclical, and every cycle shows the same four phases: A phase of inspiration and new beginnings (spring), a phase of growth and blooming (summer), a phase of harvest and reflection (autumn) and a phase of rest and dying (winter) – which in turn, prepares the ground for new inspiration in spring.

And since we are part of Nature, we humans are cyclical, too, surrounded and influenced by different cycles all the time. (So from a purely logical standpoint, the idea that you should be, feel or show up the same every day is complete BS – and that’s a good thing!)

There’s the menstrual cycle, the moon cycle, the yearly cycle and the pregnancy cycle. Our life and the planets have their own cycles, too, even projects at work. And they all show the same four phases, with very similar characteristics.

In my case, since I mainly work with women and menstruating people, when I talk of “the cycle”, I specifically refer to the menstrual and the moon cycle. Because whether or not you’re still bleeding, and whether or not you have a uterus and/or ovaries – if you are a (cis- or trans-) woman or a non-binary menstruator, you have a cycle. Yes, even in perimenopause and post menopause!

I firmly believe that as women and/or menstruators, what happens during perimenopause is that we transition from the menstrual to the moon cycle. So in post-menopause, your energy flow is probably more in line with the moon’s cycle. As I said, we are all cyclical beings at all times, it’s only the length and basis of the cycle that differ over time.

And of course, if you’re post-menopause or don’t have uterus and/or ovaries, you will not be influenced by the physical aspects of the cycle as much, because the hormonal shifts aren’t as pronounced as if you had a menstrual cycle. But still, when you start paying attention to this, I’m pretty sure you are going to find subtle energetic rhythms in your body.

The Inner Summer: Ovulation or Full Moon

[In the first two parts of this series, I already talked about the Inner Winter (the time of menstruation or Dark Moon) and the Inner Spring (the Follicular Phase or Waxing Moon phase), in great detail. If you want to read them before diving into Inner Summer, you can do that HERE (Inner Winter) and HERE (Inner Spring) – but it’s not a prerequisite to understand today’s episode!
Nonetheless, I strongly recommend reading them at some point, so you get a complete overview of the whole cycle.]

In a menstrual cycle, Inner Summer refers to the phase of ovulation, when an egg (or sometimes two) gets released from its follicle in the ovary to be fertilised. While ovulation itself only happens on one day, energetically speaking the ovulatory phase lasts for 3-6 days, depending on the person and the length of their cycle.

If you don’t menstruate, for example if you’re pregnant, breast-feeding, in peri- or post-menopause or you don’t have a uterus and/or ovaries, Inner Summer is the time of Full Moon, when the moon shines her light fully and brightly from the sky. In this case, the energetic phase lasts for three days: the day before, during and after the exact Full Moon.

[And just because this can be misunderstood: I DON’T mean to say that it’s “ideal” to ovulate during the Full Moon phase, just because they have a similar energetic quality! Some people try to influence their menstrual cycle to sync up with the moon’s cycle, but I don’t subscribe to that. I believe your cycle supports you at all times, and the way it shows up right now is exactly right for you!]

In terms of a life cycle, Inner Summer is the phase of birthing and parenting, bringing something into this world and nurturing it – that can mean a physical child, but it can also be a passion project or a way of being. So themes of this phase are a peak of some kind, and celebration of self, of one’s being, of one’s energy.

What happens during Inner Summer (Ovulation / Full Moon) on a physical level?

As described above, on a physical level, the main event of Inner Summer is ovulation, the release of an egg for fertilisation.

Hormonally speaking, testosterone levels start to rise just before, because yes, female/estrogen-based bodies also produce this sex hormone. It usually just gets converted into estrogen quickly, so there’s much less of it present than in a male/testosterone-based body. The rising testosterone level leads to an increase in your libido, your sex drive, to increase the chances of pregnancy and procreation. Pretty ingenious of your body, isn’t it? ;-)

In addition, the texture of your cervical mucus changes just before ovulation:
Usually, there’s a blob of mucus covering the entrance to the uterus (the cervix), to protect it from germs. Short before ovulation it gets released (that’s why you might find more mucus in your underwear at this time) and the cervical mucus becomes more transparent and slippier, with a texture similar to egg white. This way, it’s much easier for the sperm to get to the egg.

Also, your cervix, the entrance to the uterus becomes softer and the uterus itself straightens a bit – to make it even easier for the sperm.

The last physical marker to track ovulation is your basal temperature, which is your body temperature right upon waking up in the morning, because it jumps a little on ovulation. However, you need a) a special, very fine thermometer to detect this rise of just a few tenths of a degree and b) a certain discipline, as the temperature has to be taken consistently at the same time every morning, even before you get out of bed.

Also, please note that the increase can usually only be detected in hindsight, so this alone is not suitable as a contraceptive method! I just wanted to name that ;-)

On a physical-energetic level, Inner Summer is the opposite of Inner Winter. While during Inner Winter the energy level is usually at its lowest over the course of a cycle, it tends to peak during Inner Summer – and this is by no means a universal statement, just a tendency! You need to observe for yourself what it is like in your personal cycle, in which phase you have the most energy available (I’ll provide more information on how to do that below).

This boost of energy (whether for you it occurs in Inner Summer or a different phase) can feel exhilarating and intoxicating and you might feel like a super-human, ready to tackle everything. And for a few days you are indeed able to “do more”, be more active and action-oriented than normally – just be mindful to catch yourself once the energy starts waning again! Which it will, sooner or later, and that’s a good thing!

What happens during Inner Summer (Ovulation / Full Moon) on an emotional level?

Emotionally speaking, you might love this phase and feel very magnetic, walking around confidently, radiating, feeling a sense of electricity, vibrancy and aliveness in every cell of your being. Maybe you love going out at this time, meeting people, socialising – the same things we do in outer summer naturally.

Or maybe, this phase is much too intense for you, “too much (summer) heat” so to speak, and you need some space to retreat back for a while. I like to compare it to countries nearer the equator where people tend to hold siestas during the day, to escape the glaring midday sun. You may also feel thrown around by all the doing, uprooted, losing yourself in tasks and appointments and burning a lot of your energy in the process.

Like with the other cycle phases, there’s a whole spectrum of what your personal experience can look and feel like, so it’s key to observe how Inner Summer shows up for you.

What happens during Inner Summer (Ovulation / Full Moon) on a mental-psychological level?

For many, Inner Summer is a time where they feel the most outward, outgoing and communicative over the course of their cycle. Of course, this also depends on your personality – “communicative” will look differently if you’re an introvert (someone who recharges by being on their own) compared to being an extrovert (someone who recharges by being with other people).

But in terms of your personal flavour, this tends to be the phase where you’re the most sociable. If that’s the case for you, being in this phase can be supportive when you have a difficult conversation to lead or need some diplomatic skills to navigate a sticky situation.

On the other hand, you might be prone to pushing yourself too much during this phase, even pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and thereby overwhelming your nervous system.

Because unfortunately, there’s this narrative in our society, this unrealistic expectation that we need to be “on” all the time, be ready, active and productive all the time. And so you might push yourself beyond your limits or try to keep the energy level up high, because you’re being celebrated for it – even though you might be exhausted already or your energy is naturally declining as you move into the next cycle phase.

That’s why it’s important and necessary to check in with yourself every day and see where your energy level is at, how you feel and how much energy you’ve actually got available. And to think about how you can take care of yourself and tend to your energy and get your brain on board – because it’s okay to rest and just BE, rather than DO, sometimes.

What happens during Inner Summer (Ovulation / Full Moon) on a spiritual-energetic level?

On a spiritual-energetic level this phase is all about celebration – celebrating yourself exactly how you are, with all your facets, all your light and all your shadow. Celebrating Life itself. Holding a little ritual and looking at what you’re grateful for right now, gratitude for what’s in your life and working well already (there will always be room for improvement ;-)).

And since this phase is energetically connected to Full Moon (again, which does NOT mean you “should” be ovulating during Full Moon!), it is also about looking at what’s being illuminated in your life right now. Recognising your strengths, but also what’s still in the way of you realising your dreams and desires. It’s basically the prep work for what you would like to release in the next cycle phase, because it’s no longer aligned with how you want to live and be in the world.

In that sense, it’s a very interesting time to both appreciate yourself and recognise what no longer works FOR you in your life.

Journaling in Inner Summer (Ovulation / Full Moon)

If you enjoy the practice of journaling, here’s a question to ponder in your Inner Summer:
“What am I grateful for that’s already here in my life?
What are my gifts and strengths?”
Set yourself a timer for 5-10 minutes and then just start writing!

You know, you’re always whole and complete in any given moment, and you have everything inside that you need to be happy in your life. So what is it that you want to celebrate about yourself, that you love and appreciate about yourself? That can be inside or outside, it’s about celebrating ALL of who you are, light and shadow.

By the way, when I talk about “shadow”, I mean the characteristics or behaviours that you’ve suppressed or shoved aside over the course of your life, because society (or caregivers, mentors, peers) suggested they make you less valuable or worthy. So it can be something you perceive as weakness – but others might actually adore you for the same characteristic or behaviour, or see them as your biggest strength! Or they at least don’t find it nearly as bad as you do.

So it’s about celebrating all of your facets, and all the facets of life as well. Because Life, too, has its ebbs and its flows, and that’s okay.

Inner Summer Practice (Ovulation / Full Moon)

As a practice for Inner Summer, I invite you to shine brightly from within, with all your enthusiasm and zest for life (or whatever makes you really happy). To celebrate what feels good for you, what helps you feel vibrant and alive.

And also, the practice of nurturing – to nurture the intention you may have set in Inner Spring (you can re-read the respective article HERE, if you need). It’s about remembering the intention, connecting with it on a daily basis and looking at how you can nurture it, what needs tending.

Your Cycle – a monthly process of evolution and growth

Maybe now you understand what I mean by saying that your cycle “works you” on all levels – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual-energetic. And it influences you on all these levels in a relatively stable rhythm, month by month. So in fact, it’s not that women and menstruating people are “unstable”, “emotional” or “unreliable”, their reliability is just related to a monthly rhythm.

It’s a process of Death (Inner Winter) and Rebirth (Inner Spring) that you go through every month, and I find that really remarkable! With every cycle, you come a little closer to yourself, your deep, inner truth and what you’ve come into this world for.

And when you explore and befriend your cycle, it’s going to be easier to understand the fluctuations over the course of a day, a week and a month and you’re less surprised or concerned when certain things happen in a particular phase. This doesn’t only foster a more loving relationship with yourself, it can also be helpful when you’re living together with other people.

Suddenly you have the right words to let your loved ones know what you need in a certain phase and how they can support you. Or you can ask your loved ones how you can support them in their respective cycle.

And in the end, consciously journeying this process of Death and Rebirth, your cyclical experience, will also help you navigate the bigger and often challenging life transitions with more ease, compassion and confidence. Practicing how to release one version of yourself to create space for something New on a monthly basis, will help you support yourself through transitions like a miscarriage, the end of an important relationship, becoming a mother or parent, empty-nest or moving through the perimenopause transition.

[And if you don’t want to move through those kinds of times alone, I offer support through challenging life transitions and crises! You can find out more about my services HERE, or book a free discovery call to get to know each other.]

Further Resources

This was a lot of information about your Inner Summer and I want to point out again that it was only the basic overview of an archetypal cycle. Your personal experience can look very different to what I’ve described – this article is just a starting point for your exploration, so you know what to look out for, what to expect, what it can feel like.

In case you have any questions, you can ask them here or send me a voice message.

In the end, your experience is unique and can change over the course of your life cycle, so it’s really about charting your personal cycle to explore what ovulation or the Full Moon phase is like for YOU. What do you experience in your Inner Summer? What’s present in you? What is your energetic capacity like? Are you more energetic and communicative, do you prefer to retreat back a little?

A simple entryway is my free tiny course on cycle charting: “Unlock the Healing Power of Your Cycle”
It includes a short explanation of the different cycle phases, my super simply approach and a cycle chart to fill in and explore – everything you need to start charting your cycle right away.

Learn to speak the language of your body and uncover the innate healing power of your cycle!

And if you want to dive even deeper and have a facilitated heart-to-heart with your own cycle (whether you menstruate or not), I offer Sacred Cycle Deep Dive sessions. Because as much as I love teaching on embodied cyclical living and can give you all the tips you want, I don’t have your life experience. You alone are the expert on yourself and know yourself best,

That’s why I believe your cycle can teach you better, and even offer you support and guidance through life.

Especially, but not only, if you experience menstrual or perimenopausal health challenges, I know that your cycle has messages for you. So during this Deep Dive session I will ask you and your cycle very specific questions that will help you make sense of the messages. While there’s value in me explaining what’s going on inside the body and providing the necessary context, it’s infinitely more powerful for you to experience that the answers lie indeed inside of you already – you will form a much stronger bond with your cycle and deeply understand that it isn’t here to annoy or play tricks on you, but to be your best friend and ally.

Because I want you to feel safe, happy, healthy and (w)holy in your body and build this unique and beautiful relationship. And a good relationship is always based on open and effective communication. That’s why the Sacred Cycle Deep Dive comes with a special practice to foster and strengthen this communication once we’ve started it.

But whether you just start by charting your cycle, or you want to dive deeper with me, be sure to subscribe to my Mo(o)nday Musings! They are my weekly e-letters on Mo(o)nday mornings, to start the week more grounded and connected to yourself and your body:

And don’t forget to read the other three articles of this 4-part series, to better understand how your cycle influences you on all four levels over the course of a month: