Juliana Luna is a multidisciplinary artist, yogi and teacher born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As the founder of The Aluna Method, Juliana teaches people how to use ancestry and lunar knowledge to cultivate self-awareness and wellbeing.
Can you share how you first discovered the connection between human beings and our ancestors?
The first thing that I realized in my life as a young human is that our ancestors are not far away. The ancestral realms are not outside of where we are right now, because we are the ancestral realms. They are in our cells and in our bodies. Genetically speaking, we carry the information that has been programmed in our genetic code, from hundreds of generations back. We walk as ancestors ourselves. We are going to become ancestors. And the way this works in my philosophy and my culture is, you don't become an ancestor unless you are here fully-embodied, living in the understanding of service and what it means to serve humanity.
They communicate with us through emotions, through feelings, through dreams. Dreams are the language of the ancestors. When we are asleep in that resting period, we are more open to receiving the messages. The emotions that they cause, like nostalgia or that little strange sadness that comes sometimes, is the opportunity to investigate further. That's exactly why I've been guided to do this work — to help people realize what they should hold on to, and how they should live with this deep ancestral wisdom.
How does the moon and lunar knowledge integrate into your work?
When we talk about the moon, we're also talking about ancestry. The way we have been indoctrinated to think of the world today is as this forward-moving engine. And we only look forward. We look to the future. The future is a destination, and there's all this preset mechanisms to get to that future that is designed by someone else. It's not my future, it's the future of whoever designed the system, right? So we're all charging towards that place, but none of us actually acknowledge the power of ancestry.
When we're riding that future wave, we get all in this solar-powered narrative. Now, what is it that we're neglecting in that solar-powered narrative? We are neglecting the unknown. We're neglecting the softness. We are neglecting that receptive mode that comes from the cooling aspect of the moon.
The moon is a powerful symbol, and everything that we experience inside of us is also mirrored in the whole constitution of our planetary existence.
So if we look at it from that perspective of mirroring, we have the sun as being that driving force saying, "Go. Don't stop. Look forward, Future-bound." And we have the moon that says, "Wait a minute. Come back. Look back. Acknowledge who has come before you and has given you the platform to step into stronger grounds, into firmer land. And allow me to pull you in, to embrace you, to make you feel as if you belong. Because if you do feel as you belong, you will walk with much more confidence."
This is known by so many cultures, the ancient cultures, the indigenous cultures. We just don't listen to them because we think they're somehow "primitive." But those cultures had the revelation that we are all trying to find now, in the modern world.
Why do you believe so many people are disconnected from the natural world?
Well, we have been indoctrinated into a narrative that belongs to a patriarchal understanding of living, which is completely connected to systems of oppression that are social, cultural, financial. We have a full set of systems that are in place to keep us away from that knowledge. To keep us in the rat race, you know? It's hard when when you have convinced yourself, and when everything around you is giving you the confirmation that you must run after whatever it is — the money, the career, the knowledge, the pursuit of more, and more, and more, and more, and more every single day. There is no recognition of being in that rat race. This is why people are not really connected to that knowledge today.
Why do you think the moon is cyclical?
I always ask myself, why are we in this never-ending cycle. Like Karma, it's a continuous moving situation that pulls you back into a set of programming over and over and over until you get the point and you do something different.
The moon is here to stay. It rules the feminine menstruation cycle. Our cycles contain information. We are shedding. The lining of our utuerus is becoming thicker. The seed in all of us carries the genetic information of every single ancestor, in our belly.
So there's a monthly understanding of recycling, of cleansing, of receiving, of nurturing, but also allowing that to go. It's because that seed has been in you for your whole life, and your body is saying goodbye to something that has been living within for so long. It's the dichotomy of losing a piece of yourself while a newness is arriving in the next cycle. It's beautiful because it teaches us to be detached. You love it. You embrace it. It's there. It's yours. It's beautiful. But it also has to go.
The cycle teaches us to embrace death in order to truly live and be alive and to move forward. Life and death walk hand-in-hand. They don't walk separate, right? They are in relationship.
Can you describe the philosophy behind The Aluna Method?
The Aluna Method is a framework for self awareness that’s centered in African and lunar knowledge. Through ancestral support, I help people find a sense of remembrance of who they are. The full framework is connected to the moon, so it's a lunar system that acts as a tool to help people identify limiting patterns, and really giving people an opportunity for liberation.
The philosophy I use is the philosophy of my ancestral lineage, which is the Brazilian Yoruba philosophy. It's a very beautiful tool, because it really just gives us another perspective. More than anything it’s connected to intuition and the unknown, and it allows us to embrace that unknown. I teach that we are more in-tune with nature than we think, as it is a reflection of us.
Why does your work begin with self-awareness?
I feel like self-awareness is what brings us to a place of presence, and we've been talking a lot about presence lately. But how do we be present if we're in our heads all the time? It's like we're trying to do something that is virtually impossible. So, bringing ourselves into that place of self awareness is to examine those moments of presence, which can mean, "Oh, I recognize that today, my energy levels are not as expressive as I would like them to be. I think I need to do my thing, work from a quieter environment and in my own home."
And that is bringing you to a place of presence because you're giving your nervous system a more restful moment. A moment where it's not going to have to jump at every second —being in that alert, overwhelmed state. Then you begin to open up space for a much more gentle approach with your own experience, and that can be extended the experience of everyone around you. So it starts within you, and then it goes out into the world in a way that makes more sense.
The Aluna Method is here to teach people to recognize and allow for moments of rest. To allow ourselves to be more receptive and to give in return. To allow ourselves to let go of things. To give ourselves permission to honor who we are. And through honoring who we are, the moon is our guide.
The moon tells us, "Hey, it's time for you to risk. Hey, it's time for you to be more open. Hey, it's time for you to let go." There are so many cues that she's giving us. And it's so much easier for us to follow those cues and be in-tune with nature (which is ourselves) than to resist that and act against our own nature. It all goes back to presence and I believe it all goes back to wholeness, too — self-awareness as a tool for that wholeness.
What does wellbeing mean to you?
It means feeling wholeness and trust. And then trusting that wholeness every day.