For most of my life, I never paid close attention to the lunar phases that occur each month. I feel I’ve always had a natural fascination with the Moon, but it’s only been in recent years that I’ve been paying more attention to its different phases and working with them in my daily life. So I want to break down what I’ve learned and share with all of you. I’m hoping this will ignite even more lunar love in your life and assist you to work with the energies that surround the lunar cycle, tuning into how you feel and trusting this beautiful, continuous rhythm in life created by the Moon.
Start at the Beginning: The New Moon
The New Moon typically takes place just once in a calendar month (but sometimes twice). The New Moon marks the beginning of a new lunar cycle, and it is when the Moon is not at all illumined and does not appear to be visible in the sky. This is a time to start anew, to be sure you leave behind all that has not been serving you in the most recent cycle, and focus on what you wish to begin or continue cultivating in your life in order to see its full manifestation take form. So this is an ideal opportunity to set intentions related to what you are working toward, once you have given yourself a clean slate to do so. A time to plant new seeds, so to speak, giving them the ideal conditions to grow. During this period, you may feel more like being with yourself, without a lot of social interaction or interference from others. Pay attention to and honor how you feel. After all, when planting seeds, they are first buried in the dark. There is no right or wrong with intention setting. Depending on how you feel, you may want to wait just a day or two after the New Moon to set your intentions; it’s important that you feel clear, and during the New Moon you may still need to focus on wiping the slate clean before your new intentions take full form in your mind. Trust your intuition and do what works for you.
Fully Establish Intentions/Take Action Toward Growth: Waxing Crescent Moon
This is the period where the Moon starts to appear illumined again, just very slightly and gradually, as it begins to work its way toward Fullness once more. Your intentions for this new lunar cycle are starting to become clearer and more established, if they haven’t already. You are noticing the areas that you really need to shift your focus to and are shining light on them. Your planted seeds may just be starting to sprout – a period of new growth. This is typically a more heightened time energetically, and you may even physically feel a boost in your energy, along with excitement about what you have planted, as well as how its beginning to take form. With this energy, stay positive and begin to take actions toward your dreams and intentions, sprinkling them with your focus, motivation, positive energy, and love.
Taking Root: First Quarter
During this lunar phase, the Moon is half-illumined, continuing to progress toward Fullness. The seeds you’ve recently planted are now really establishing roots and gaining forward momentum with their growth. This is a period of determination, concentration, and commitment to action on behalf of your intentions or “seeds” that you planted at the beginning of the cycle. So for you, this is a time to continue moving forward, despite anything that you feel may be holding you back or getting in your way. Use this passionate energy to delve into creative vision and insight, which may give you the boost you need to see it all through and keep pushing forward.
Preparing to Bloom: Waxing Gibbous
At this time, the Moon is more than half-illumined, but is still not quite Full. Buds have taken form and are preparing to bloom. This is an important developmental stage, representing gaining and attaining. This is the perfect time to fine tune all of your ideas and plans related to your seeds of intention, really honing in on that which you are hoping to manifest once the Moon appears in her Fullness.
Realize the Manifestation: Full Moon
The Moon is now big, full, and round. This represents the blooming stage, from what started as just a seed buried in the darkness, and now evident for you to see and enjoy. This is a period of fertility, abundance, transformation, and completion. This is also a time of extremely heightened energy in many aspects, especially with emotions. Take this opportunity to bask in the amazing feeling of manifestations taking form, relaxing and enjoying the fruits of your labor. However, keep in mind, emotions have the potential to overwhelm you during this period as well, so pay attention to how you are feeling, and work to release anything that may surface, especially if it does not feel good or no longer serves you. This is also a good time to begin the releasing process, as from here the Moon will begin to wane and gradually lose its illumination.
Complete Release: Waning Gibbous
The Moon is no longer completely illumined, but still appears to be more than half-illumined, and it will continue to decrease in illumination from this point on until the next New Moon. So this is an ideal opportunity to really release and rid your life of all that is not serving you, letting go of stress, bad habits, limiting beliefs, and negative thinking.
Reflect & Recharge: Last Quarter
Half-illumined once more, and continuing to decrease, the Moon is now at Last Quarter. This gives ideal conditions for reflection, re-evaluation, and recharging. The full harvest has been reaped from the seeds fully planted. Think on all that has been accomplished, then completely shed the old, so that the new may come into being. An ideal time to completely release and let go of anything that may be holding you back in any way, once and for all discarding anything you are still holding on to that is not serving you moving forward. This allows for total focus on a higher perspective and ushers in the creativity that will be needed for the growth and manifestations of the new intentions that are set in the next stage.
Winding Down: Waning Crescent
The Moon is now less than half-illumined, continuing to decrease, as this current lunar cycle completely winds down before the next one begins. An ideal time for withdraw from the external world, going more inward, allowing for rest and renewal before the next cycle begins. Doing so should bring in some clarity, which is beneficial as this is the final stage for release, fully surrendering and giving up all that you may still need to purge, so that the slate is cleared and ready for the New Moon once again.
So there you have it, the eight phases of a lunar cycle! If this information intrigues or excites you, I encourage you to keep a journal, tracking the phases, and writing down how you feel and what is going on in your personal world during each phase. Then notice how things line up (or don’t). If you continue to do this over time, you may start to notice your own personal patterns and rhythms and may feel more in tune with the Moon and her lovely phases. It’s likely you will also notice some overlap with each of the phases also – they are not set in stone – and remember that as one phase is ending, another is also beginning, so it’s likely you will notice overlap with all of them. The energies surrounding the different phases will also vary month to month as well based on the astrological energy of the Moon, which is determined by which zodiac it is found in during a particular phase.
If you’d like to get more in tune with lunar-focused astrology that will help you navigate the different energies of the Moon according to her phase and astrological position, consider following my astrology account on Instagram – @aboveandbelow_astrology – as the Moon transitions to a different zodiac roughly every two-and-a-half to three days, it may seem a little overwhelming, at times, trying to keep up with her phases and movements, so feel free to follow my account to help you better understand all things lunar!
“Take your time in everything, until you feel the pull within yourself. Do not let yourself be guided by fear, or even by desire. And certainly not by the will of others…like the Moon and the tides, the human heart has many phases. Wait for them. They will not be rushed.” -Jenny White
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