For centuries, the moon and the various phases of the moon have fascinated and intrigued humanity. Some historical communities worshipped the moon and believed in its power to affect everything from crop yield to good fortune. As humanity has evolved, our relationship with the moon has changed as well.
Today, many people still find the moon to be very powerful, while others go through their lives paying little attention to the phases of the moon and how it influences their feelings or behavior. However, holistic practitioners believe understanding the cycle of the moon better can help us improve our well-being.
Many people are very connected to the moon, and use the lunar cycle as form of guidance in their lives.
As self-care practices grow more popular in today’s fast-paced and digital world, and people strive to reconnect with nature, interest in the phases of the moon is growing rapidly. Learning how to take advantage of the different aspects of the moon’s cycle could have a bigger impact on your life than you’d think.
Finding meaning in the different phases of the moon is oddly comforting, and just the visual of the moon in the night’s sky is a great comfort to many people.
Why are the Phases of the Moon Important?
The moon is often associated with feminine energy and discovery.
Yogis encourage their students to harness the energy of the moon with different movements throughout each phase. Spiritual experts suggest taking part in certain activities when the moon is full, waxing, or waning can lead to unique results.
There’s even some scientific evidence to support the idea that phases of the moon do influence us on a physical and emotional level. One study found people are more likely to struggle with their sleep during the full moon.
Another report suggested that certain types of moons, such as the ultra-bright and big ‘supermoon’ can influence our mental health. Indeed, the moon has often been connected with mental wellness. The terms “lunacy” and “lunatic” all stem from the Latin word for the moon.
While research into the scientific impact of the moon on our health and wellness is still ongoing, many cultures still believe in the power different moon cycles have to offer.
So, what are the different phases of the moon, and how can you use them to your advantage?
The Phases of the Moon and Their Meanings
The term “phases of the moon” refers to the variations of the moon we see throughout a 29.5 day lunar cycle. Each phase is affected by how the moon is illuminated by the sun as it orbits the earth. There are a total of 8 phases of the moon to consider, and each has its own distinct meaning for spiritual practitioners.
Phase 1: The New Moon
The new moon is the very first stage in the lunar cycle, when the moon is barely visible because it’s on the same side of the earth as the sun. During this phase, the earth is faced with the “dark” side of the moon.
Experts believe the new moon is a time of rebirth, rejuvenation, and fresh starts.
It could be good luck to meet a new love interest during a new moon.
It’s a time to reset your priorities for a new month during this fresh phase of the moon, and consider what you might want to accomplish in the days ahead. Each new moon, you may find it beneficial to meditate about your goals and expectations, and ask yourself if you have any new priorities to consider.
Ask yourself questions such as, “What do I want to bring into my life right now?” or, “What would I like to change this month?” Give yourself extra time for mindfulness and reflection during this state. It’s a time to prioritize yourself, your goals, and your plans for manifesting success.
Phase 2: The Waxing Moon (Waxing Crescent)
Otherwise known as the “Waxing crescent”, the waxing moon is when you see a small crescent of light reflected on the moon’s surface from the sun. During this phase, the new month is starting in earnest, which experts also believe is a sign to get moving and start taking action.
Using the goals you set during the new moon, start pursuing strategies to achieve your personal targets. For instance, if you wanted to accomplish more at work this month, you would start applying for new projects and taking on different challenges during the waxing moon.
The waxing moon is considered to be energizing, and motivational. It’s a good time to start increasing your exercise habits and working on your physical health. You can keep yourself inspired during this phase by using a journal to track your progress towards your goals.
Phase 3: The First Quarter
The third moon phase is known as the ‘first quarter’, when approximately a quarter of the moon is visible in the sky. The first quarter is often associated with challenges and resistance. It’s seen as a “pause” in the lunar cycle, where we might encounter some obstacles to our success.
This is a good time to practice self-love and patience. Don’t beat yourself up if you stumble on your way to your personal targets. Focus on learning from any mistakes, and exploring new ways to overcome any potential hurdles.
Concentrate on keeping yourself motivated, and developing your internal resilience and grit. Try to look at the challenges you face as an opportunity to grow.
Phase 4: The Waxing Gibbous
The Waxing Gibbous is one step away from a ‘full moon’. You’ll see most of the moon illuminated in the sky at this point, with a tiny slither of darkness remaining. Similarly to the first quarter, the waxing gibbous a time to reflect on and refine your goals as you progress through the month.
You may even use this stage in the moon’s cycle to make some tweaks to your plans based on what you’ve discovered. For instance, if you were hoping to earn a promotion this month, but you’ve determined your business doesn’t make such decisions until later in the year, you can switch your goal to impressing your boss and laying the foundations for success.
Many people find daily affirmations helpful during the waxing gibbous, as they can help to preserve positivity, and keep you focused on your goals.
Phase 5: The Full Moon
When the moon and sun are on opposite ends of the earth, we see the “full moon”. This is when the face of the moon is completely illuminated. Many experts consider the full moon to be the most powerful phase in the lunar cycle. It’s certainly the most spiritually charged phase according to yogis and spiritual instructors, but it can also be somewhat chaotic.
The full moon, as mentioned above, can be associated with high levels of energy and trouble sleeping. Though you may feel some sensations of tensions and unease, it’s important to stay motivated and ambitious. Concentrate on mindfulness, and being aware of your physical and emotional needs.
Keep in mind, emotions can often be running high during the full moon, so you may need to practice a little more patience. However, it is possible to harness the power of the full moon to accelerate towards your goals if you stay determined.
Phase 6: The Waning Gibbous
Following the full moon, we have the “waning gibbous”, which is the opposite to the “waxing gibbous”, when a small portion of the moon is shaded in darkness. At this point, you’ll be more than half way through the moon cycle, and preparing for the new month ahead.
The waning gibbous moon is often considered a good time to take stock of what you’ve accomplished so far, and what you have yet to achieve. Practicing gratitude is often a good idea during the waning gibbous. Rather than concentrating heavily on what you haven’t done yet, focus on the things you have accomplished, and how far you’ve come.
Phase 7: The Third Quarter
During the third quarter, or “last quarter”, the moon will be illuminated on the left hand side, going back towards the new moon. This is a time to let go of anything which might not be helping you to reach your goals. It’s an opportunity to cleanse and purge yourself of negative energy.
Allow yourself to let go of any grudges or feelings of resentment, and practice forgiveness. Think about anything which might be holding you back emotionally right now, whether it’s an argument with a loved one, or an issue at work, and ask yourself how you can leave it in the past.
The third quarter may also be a good time to evaluate any of the toxic relationships causing you anxiety or stress. Could you benefit from leaving the people who constantly push your boundaries behind? You might even start trying to cut down on bad habits during this phase.
Phase 8: The Waning Moon
Finally, the waning moon is the opposite of the waxing moon, with just a small crescent of light illuminating the sky. Spiritual people believe this is a time of acceptance, compassion, and self-care. It’s an opportunity to shake off any disappointments you might have had in the previous month, and prepare yourself for a new cycle and new opportunities.
Instead of pushing your boundaries and trying to start new projects, focus on relaxation and reflection. Ask yourself what you might like to do differently in the next month to help you achieve your goals, and what you’ve learned from the previous weeks.
Harnessing the Guidance of the Phases of the Moon
The phases of the moon and their meanings have captured the attention of countless people over the years, from spiritual practitioners to yoga experts. While there’s no guarantee following certain practices at specific times throughout the month will lead to success, many find following the phases of the moon closely to be helpful.
You may even find the structure you get from an assessment of the lunar cycle helps you to stick to your goals for self-care and compassion. After all, if nothing else, embracing a lifestyle which revolves around the phases of the moon will encourage you to practice mindfulness, gratitude, and self-reflection.Remember that following the phases of the moon is in part comforting because the lunar cycle can help guide you. For more life guidance, you might want to get to know yourself better by reading your DNA insights from a DNA test.
- Full Moons 101: An Intro To Their Energy & How To Make It Work For You (Mindbodygreen) https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7531/full-moon-harness-the-energy-make-it-work-for-you.html
- How the Waxing and Waning Moon Affects Your Mindset and Mood (Mary Grace Garis & Rebecca Norris) https://www.wellandgood.com/waxing-waning-moon/#:~:text=The%20waxing%20moon%20is%20the,make%20your%20dreams%20a%20reality.
- Moon in Motion (NASA) https://moon.nasa.gov/moon-in-motion/moon-phases/
- Bipolar mood cycles and lunar tidal cycles (T A Wehr) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5524624/
- Evidence that the Lunar Cycle Influences Human Sleep (Christian Cajochen, Songül Altanay-Ekici, Mirjam Münch, Sylvia Frey, Vera Knoblauch & Anna Wirz-Justice) https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(13)00754-9
- How to sync your yoga practice to the phases of the moon (EkhartYoga) https://www.ekhartyoga.com/articles/practice/how-to-sync-your-yoga-practice-to-the-phases-of-the-moon
- moon worship (Britannica) https://www.britannica.com/topic/moon-worship