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The Moon serves as our nightly reminder to embrace our feminine energy, the cyclical nature of life, as well as our intuition and creativity. From the name of this blog, I’m sure you can guess that the Moon plays a powerful role in my life! The Moon and her wisdom serve as our guide, month after month, and year after year.
While the New Moon and Full Moon tend to be the most well-known moon phases, they are only two of the eight phases in our moon’s cycle. Each phase offers us a different type of energy and a different opportunity to integrate that energy into our lives, so today I am going to break down each of the 8 phases in the lunar cycle to give you insight into how you make the most of each phase throughout the month.
The New Moon phase is the first in the cycle, and it occurs when the Earth, the Moon, and the Sun align. You will recognize it in the sky as the time when the Moon is completely dark. This “dark moon” is a result of the Sun lighting the Moon from behind, leaving a shadow across the Earth-facing part of the Moon.
As the first phase in the moon cycle, it is symbolic of new beginnings and fresh starts. You can see the New Moon as your clean slate, and a time to go inwards and reflect.
Historically, the New Moon was thought to correlate with the menstrual phase of women’s hormonal cycles, when women would collectively retreat from society for the duration of the phase. The New Moon signals to us that retreat, rest, and time for reflection are all a necessary part of the cycle.
The New Moon is the perfect time to meditate, journal, and begin to visualize and think about what your intentions for the coming month will be. If you can, use this time as a retreat into yourself. Don’t try to overload your schedule during this time or make too many social commitments. Honor your need for solitude, rest, and reflection.
After the darkness of the New Moon begins to glow with a sliver of white, but isn’t quite halfway full, the Moon is in the Waxing Crescent phase. “Waxing” is the term used to describe that the Moon is becoming full (versus “waning”, which means the Moon is losing fullness).
The Waxing Crescent Moon can be seen as the time for “planting seeds”, or in other words, setting your intentions. After spending the New Moon reflecting and meditating on where you’d like to go, now is the time to set those intentions.
The increase in light during this phase represents the increase in energy. We are no longer in the rest phase, but beginning to take action towards our goals and intentions again.
During the First Quarter Moon, you will see half of the Moon illuminated, and the other half will remain dark. This is a time for working through your fears and doubts and taking aligned action. The lit half of the Moon is giving you the energy to create, focus, and power through obstacles.
With the increased energy and focus on the mental aspects of completing goals (decision making, focus, creation), you may find it more difficult to meditate during this Moon. Instead of becoming frustrated, instead, try meditating through movement. Think yoga, nature walks, or any physical activity that helps get you out of your head a little!
The Waxing Gibbous phase is seen when the Moon appears ¾ of the way lit. If we are going back to the “seeds” analogy, the Waxing Gibbous phase is the bud that is preparing to bloom!
This is the time to become mindful of your actions. Are they getting you to where you want to be? Are they in alignment with the intentions you set at the beginning of the cycle? Where do you need to make adjustments?
The Waxing Gibbous Moon is just one cycle away from the Full Moon, which means you may feel the need to readjust, refine, or alter your direction a little in order to bring your intentions to fruition. The key here is to not be afraid of change. A bud undergoes so much change and growth before it can bloom, and you must also give yourself permission to change and grow.
The Full Moon! Bright and bold, the Full Moon lights up her warm and empowering glow by reflecting the direct light she receives from the Sun. At this time, the Moon, the Earth, and the Sun are all aligned, with the Moon and Sun on opposite sides of Earth.
Traditionally, the Full Moon is associated with harvest and with fertility. This is a time to open yourself up to receive the results of your intentions, and to celebrate their full bloom. Doing a Full Moon ritual is a fun way to do this, while soaking up all the powerful energy the Moon has to offer us during this time!
As the Moon and the Sun are sitting on exact opposite sides of the Earth during this time, the Full Moon also has a reputation for heightening our emotional states. It will be important to remember this, and try to be mindful that you aren’t allowing your emotions to get the best of you! If you’re feeling a bit tense or more emotional than normal during this phase, find a healthy way to channel that energy.
The Waning Gibbous Moon is the first phase moving away from the Full Moon, closer to the New Moon. The sunlit portion of the Moon is decreasing, which means it is time to begin turning inwards.
Waning Gibbous is a phase to reflect, give thanks, and show gratitude. The harvest was abundant (whether big or small!), and now is the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor! This is an amazing time for journaling a list of things you are grateful for, telling people you appreciate them, and sharing your abundance in whichever way you can.
Is there someone you can tell how much you love or appreciate them? Maybe buy someone you care about some fresh flowers? Are you able to smile at a stranger and spread some joy that way?
The Last Quarter Moon shows up again as a half-illuminated Moon, but this time, compared to the First Quarter Moon, it has the opposite energy. Remember, the First Quarter Moon is associated with taking action and making things happen. The Last Quarter Moon, however, is giving us time to release and let go of things that are not serving us.
This is the time for us to go inside ourselves and choose to let go of any anger, resentment, guilt, regrets, or anything that may be holding you back. It is also the time to release situations or relationships that aren’t serving your highest good.
Another big takeaway from this Moon phase, is forgiveness. Part of letting go means allowing ourselves to forgive. Whether you need to forgive yourself for getting off track, or forgive someone who hurt you in some way, this is the time to release it and allow yourself to have that fresh start the New Moon will be bringing!
The Waning Crescent Moon is the eighth and final phase before the cycle restarts with another New Moon. In this phase, the Moon is still visible, but only slightly. In the previous phase, we let go of the things that were no longer serving us, and in this final phase, we practice the art of surrender.
We are nearing the end of a cycle, which means this is a time for rest. Surrender to the universe a little extra during this time. Don’t try to force things to happen or make concrete plans. Allow your mind to be still, and enjoy this period of rest before a new cycle is born.
This final phase of the cycle is an amazing time to “clear out your closet”. Whether you need to actually clear your home of clutter, cleanse the energy in your space, or even just clear the clutter in your mind, now is the time to cleanse your spaces and prepare for a fresh start.
The phases of the Moon remind us that there is a time for everything. Whether it be rest and reflection, taking action, or clearing space or newness, each part is an equally important part in the overall cycle. By syncing our lives with the phases of the Moon, we are giving ourselves space for each of these important parts to be present in our lives. The Moon also reminds us that change is part of the natural cycle of life, and that it shouldn’t be feared, but embraced!
The Moon has so much to teach us, and I hope this guide to each of the Moon’s phases helps you to integrate her lessons into your life a little more easily! Let me know if this was helpful for you by sharing a comment below.