Moon circles. I had heard of them but didn’t know exactly what they were. Then a higher force (the moon itself?) seemed to align Janae Bell and me. Janae is a moon circle, yoga, and meditation teacher in Atlanta who founded Goddess and the Moon. In our interview below, I ask about her moon circle project, found out how she went from working in the film industry to what she does now, and learned moon circles are more about working in than they are about working out.
Disclosure: This sponsored interview discusses self-discovery, intention, and energy and how they combine in the powerful experience of attending a moon circle. It may just inspire you to follow your passions, as Janae Bell has done!
Interview with Janae Bell
A moon guide by nature, Janae loves to work with the moon, practice yoga, and meditate. As a yoga and meditation instructor with 200 hours of training at the My Vinyasa Practice Institute, she uses the moon as a tool to achieve her goals and align with her highest self.
Through this, she created Goddess and the Moon, a moon circle project where she gathers with others in a circle to open their hearts to one another, share, explore, and heal through the magic of lunar rituals. She strives to help others find their inner magic through every circle she holds.
Now, let’s get to the interview!
Please share a bit about how you came to form Goddess and the Moon
Well, The Universe has always intrigued me, and I have always had a vivid imagination ever since I was a small girl. As a child, I was fascinated by fairytales, mysticism, and folklore, so I would always find mythology books at school… reading about gods and goddesses and Hercules.
As a result of going through really tough times and unable to focus on my imagination anymore, those memories became deeply buried in my subconscious. The divorce between my parents, my struggles with self-image in high school, and the senseless relationships with boys that broke my heart caused me to lose myself. In order to wake up, my entire life had to come crashing down, as I was so far removed from my soul as a result of self-hatred and deep society programming and conditioning.
On top of all of that, I have worked as a costumer in the movie industry for the past four years, and I experienced burnout after working 60-80 hours a week on several films. I neglected my health and spiritual well-being because my work schedule was so hectic. There are no easy days in the film industry, there are no days off until you are off a production, and the money is so addicting that you may sacrifice your relationships, health, and well-being in order to make it.
I knew deep down that film wasn’t my passion, so I decided I didn’t want to live this way anymore. Although I tried so hard to fit into the mold, trying to convince myself that I should remain and rise up the ladder in order to become an assistant costume designer, I began having a spiritual awakening and my spirit was calling me to live a more balanced life.
Eventually, I decided to expand my practice of yoga and became a certified yoga instructor and meditation teacher. I also began leading moon circles at my home, and they went so well, that I felt compelled to expand them out to the community, leading me to host moon circles at different venues and yoga studios across Atlanta.
Goddess and the Moon is so different than the film industry. Yet were there lessons learned in your previous career that you took with you into this new venture?
Absolutely. I learned the process of slowing down, and that money really can’t buy you happiness. Film taught me the importance of treating my body and mind well and the necessity of meditation in such a toxic environment. I learned to slow down, and that money cannot buy happiness.
Several people I know in film are also aware that a lifestyle like this isn’t sustainable for a work/life balance. It’s more work/work, and there’s so much more to life than that. Nevertheless, I am grateful for the experience, the people I’ve met, the movies and television shows I’ve been a part of, and the realization of my passion.
What advice would you give to someone unsatisfied in their workplace and thinking about changing careers?
If you want to be an entrepreneur, have your money and priorities in line first. This was and still is big for me. It goes into that saying, “walk before you run.” If you are seeking to leave your job and start your own business, make sure you have enough funds to fall back on to help keep you afloat while you manifest your dream.
I wish I was told to be a little more patient and to find more of a work/life balance. It took me leaving film, returning, and leaving again, to returning to smaller productions that aren’t as draining, that I finally realized I just need to accept jobs that would earn me money, but give me enough time to pursue my passion.
I love the name Goddess and the Moon! Are you specifically helping women (goddesses)? Or do you also work with all adults wanting to take your workshops or individual sessions?
Thank you! This name just came to me. Simple, yet touching on the theme of the moon and how it is such a fluid and receptive feminine energy… harnessing our inner Goddess.
My workshops are for any and all. All are welcome here, whatever their identities; whoever they love, whoever they are, I provide a safe space for all. I’ve had several men come to my moon circles and have loved it. All you need to do is be open. The important thing is to come as you are, as yourself, and be open to the experience.
I’m intrigued by moon circles. Are they a type of yoga? Please explain what they are to anyone who has never experienced it.
Moon circles are an opportunity to set intentions, clear energy, gain clarity, work through fears, and connect with ourselves through communal energy, ritual, and personal reﬂection. As the moon offers unique connections to the mind, body, and soul, its phases can also be used to align your body with your spirit.
By utilizing the emotional aspect of the moon, you are not necessarily working out but rather working in- encouraging you to go deep into your subconscious and call forth your desires and let go of what is no longer serving you. Moon circles are a way to share communally in a sacred space, interacting with individuals who share the same values while feeling a sense of belonging and being able to hold each other’s space in a respectful way.
They are a place to give and receive support and to provide self-care to the tender parts of us that want to be seen and heard as we heal together.
When attending my moon circles, there are four main important parts: Movement, meditation, journaling, and ritual-work
We connect and ground ourselves in our bodies, which prepares us to move into our minds. The moon’s energy waxes and wanes throughout the month, so movement is the most important part.
As long as we live in tune with the phases of the moon, we can use that energy to guide our flow. This will ensure that we are always motivated to take care of our bodies.
We do incorporate a quick yoga flow into our movement portion of the moon circle, which is intended to ground you and demonstrate how you can do the same in your own moon ritual at home. My guided meditations guide you on a journey of self-discovery through imagining, and reflection, followed by journaling prompts to take you even further. Lastly, our ritual-work involves sharing of sacred space and being vulnerable with one another.
If it is a new Moon, I like to do a quick vinyasa style flow. As we approach the waxing phase, we want to build a bit of heat and momentum in the body so that all of the intentions we set during the new Moon can be put into action.
The new Moon is the ideal time for dreaming, setting intentions, calling in your deepest desires, and sending out wishes to the Universe. The moon is about to wax, so allow yourself a chance to rest in order to build momentum. As the lunar cycle begins, plant some seeds and cultivate the energy you wish to create.
If it is a full Moon, the style of yoga is more restorative/ yin. A full Moon occurs in the middle of a lunar cycle and is when you will see your goals and dreams start to manifest as we release all of the intentions we set during the new Moon.
The moon represents both the physical and the emotional body. It is a time when your emotions and physical body are open to the light and the awareness of spirit.
The full Moon is when the shadows disappear, and the moon shines its luminosity, inviting us to become aware of the world and who we want to become. We are at a time when we should express gratitude and celebrate everything we’ve manifested thus far and let go of anything that no longer serves us. As the Moon begins to wane after this phase, this is a time to rest, withdraw, and release.
What can we hope to get out of attending moon circles with you?
I would say my forte is guiding individuals to peace, harmony, and tranquility through my workshops and individual practices. It is my mission to start a moon movement, which is all about aligning with the moon, living in her phases, harnessing her energy, and making huge energetic shifts.
As we align with the moon, we practice yoga or a moving meditation of choice, we meditate and go within to reach new heights and realizations within ourselves, we journal and get honest with ourselves, and we create a clear and sustainable future through the use of ritual.
Throughout each phase, we are given the opportunity to check in with ourselves. Just like the moon’s gravitational pull here on earth affects the tides of our oceans and it’s constantly ebbing and flowing, so are our thoughts and feelings, and we can use this as a tool to continuously check in with our emotions, which dictates the way we live our lives.
The moon’s glorious energy inspires us and allows us to share our own struggles and goals in a non-judgmental space. Besides making new friends, participants of these moon-embracing rituals can expect to feel a deeper sense of self-love, clarity, and awareness after each event.
Beautiful! How can we attend your upcoming classes, online or in person?
Virtual moon circles:
March 7, 2023 – Virgo Full Moon Circle // Register online for free via Eventbrite
Taking the time to listen to your intuition and connect with yourself through spiritual practices will help you find deeper meaning in your daily life. Our circle will be for releasing, letting go, & sharing sacred space. We will incorporate gentle movement, meditation, journaling, ritual-work, and a releasing ceremony to close. As well as soothing music to root us in & a free mini-guided workbook for download as a gift
March 20, 2023 – Spring Equinox Circle // Register for the free event easily via Eventbrite
The spring equinox marks the beginning of spring. It is a moment when we can pause before entering a new phase in our lives. Equinox translates to equal day and night. This is a powerful indicator of the balance between light and darkness in our lives, as it enables us to ensure we are also in balance with our light and darkness. Our circle will be for powerful intention setting & sharing of sacred space, and a free guided workbook for download
In-person moon circles in Atlanta:
March 11 – Virgo Full Moon Circle at Sati Yoga & Wellness
March 19- Spring Equinox Circle at Cultured South
We will be doing the same activities as described above, but it will be in person with decorations of an altar in the center, flowers, oracle cards, crystals, printed workbooks, candles, incense, and more.
Flyers and registration links for in-person circles will be announced on my website and Instagram soon.
Who inspires YOU, Janae?
Anoushka Florence of the Goddess Space inspires me. She has written a book called The Women’s Circle that has been such a motivating and inspiring tool for me when it comes to hosting my own circles.
Her book was a revelation to me, and after doing moon circles for over a year now, it reinforced the fact that everything I am doing is in alignment with the energy of the moon. By making my own circles in my own way, Goddess and the Moon has become what it is today.
What else Janae Bell wants you to know
I hope my teachings empower you to become aware of who you really are. We are so much more than humans- we are soul beings, living our lives through this human experience and when you become aware of who you are, you have all the answers you need.
Connect with Janae Bell online
Get more info about founder Janae’s story, moon circles, and soul work at the Goddess and the Moon.
Connect with Janae Bell on Instagram too. I know I am!
She also kindly provided her email. She is available directly at email@example.com
Top photo: Meet Janae Bell. Photo by Brian Hollars, Instagram @brianjhollarsimagery and website Brian J Hollars