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illustration of full moon

A quick guide to the 8 moon phases.

The phases of the moon change over a period of 29.5-30 days every month and represent a full cycle going through 8 different phases. Each phase of the Moon has a unique visual characteristic, different energetic vibrations, meaning, and rhythm affecting both your body, mind, and spirit.


The visual changes to the moon as it goes through her phases (unlike the sun which looks similar to us every day) are due to the moon’s placement in reference to the Earth and the sun. Simply put, the Moon circles around the Earth as the Earth circles around the Sun.


The Moon takes about 30 days to go through all 12 signs of the zodiac. Spending just over 2 days in each sign. When we are talking about the moon cycle, we start the cycle with the New Moon. New Moon happens and is followed 2 weeks later by the Full Moon, and then 2 weeks later by the New Moon again, and so on.


The Moon represents powerful feminine energy. Just as the world is made up of dualities that complement each other: yin and yang, light and dark, hot and cold, the moon's counterpart is the sun which represents masculine energy. Both are vital for your health and bring their own unique vibrational energy to your life.


The moon is Yin energy, cool, intuitive, and nurturing. The sun, on the other hand, is Yang energy, it is hot, fiery, and active. Since your body is made up of 60-70% water, you are influenced by the pull of the Moon in the same way that the tides are, and once you start to attune yourself to the moon's cycles and its changing energy, you can activate her innate powers and embody her innate qualities of power, fluidity, creativity, femininity, and change.


Moon Dictionary


Although the moon cycle is quite straightforward, there are a few terms you might not be familiar with already.


moon cycle


New moon – is the beginning of the moon cycle, and the moon is not visible from Earth, it’s also called void or dark moon.

Waxing – means that the moon is growing, the waxing phases happen as the moon starts showing up more and more after the new moon phase.

Waning – means the moon is showing less and less, the waning phase happens after the full moon phase.

Crescent – is that sliver of a moon you sometimes see, as a small strip like a crescent. In the northern hemisphere, you’ll see a thin crescent of light on the right when it is the waxing crescent moon phase and on the left when it is the waning crescent phase.

Gibbous – this is the phases before and after the full moon. The moon is more a kind of oval shape.


An easy way to understand the moon cycle phases is to think of the phases like phases of a growing plant.


New Moon – Seed

Waxing Crescent – Roots

First Quarter – Steam and leaves

Waxing Gibbous – Flowers

Full moon – Decay

Waning Gibbous – Disseminating

Third Quarter – Release, spreading seeds

Waning Crescent – Ending, let go, rest


Looking at it this way, you can see how the Moon phases signify the cylindrical rhythm of life, and the constant ebb and flow of existence.


Quick Guide to the 8 moon phases.


There are eight moon phases, each with their own unique characteristics which I have outlined below, and each moon phase energy can support you on your journey of growth and transformation.



illustration new moonNew Moon

The New moon is all about new beginnings.

At this time the moon is positioned between the Earth and the sun so it cannot be seen from Earth – hence we sometimes use the term void or dark moon. This is a very potent time to set intentions and plan for new beginnings.


Setting your intentions make sure you’re specific and clear on what you want in life and what you need to get it, and make sure to align your intentions with your core values and overall purpose. Set intentions that are attainable and realistic, and make sure you are motivated and feel good about them. This way you’ll be able to harness the full power of the new moon.



illustration waxing crescent moonWaxing Crescent Moon (3.5-7 days past new moon)

In this moon phase the energies start to expand, and you can watch the moon start growing as the intention set under the new moon phase creates its roots and starts growing. Think of this phase as a representation of your intention growing more and more every day.



illustration first quater moonFirst Quarter Moon (7-10.5 days past new moon)

Now exactly half of the moon is illuminated, and the other half is in the shadow. This phase signifies decision-making and assessment. Take inventory of your progress, where are you? And what do you need to do next? Are your actions aligned with the intention you set during the new moon phase?



illustration waxing Gibbous moonWaxing Gibbous Moon (10.5-15 days past new moon)

This phase signifies action and focus. This phase adds to the previous phase as you continue to take mindful steps towards fulfilling your intention.



illustration full moonFull Moon (15-18.5 days past new moon)

Now the Sun is illuminating the entire moon, and the full moon is visible from Earth. The moon is no longer hiding, and neither should you. This is the time to act, to step up and show yourself. Recognize your power and rejoice in it. Forgiveness can also be practiced under a full moon, by releasing old hurt you can fully stand in your power.



illustration waning gibbous moonWaning Gibbous (3.5-7 days past full moon)

Expand your knowledge and reflect on your progress. Are you taking life too seriously? Make sure you also take time out to live, enjoy, and find joy in life. Find a balance between working on your intention and finding pleasure and joy in the process.



illustration third quarter moonThird Quarter (7-10.5 days past full moon)

Like the first quarter, half of the moon is illuminated, and the other half is in shadow, now it’s just the other side of the moon that is lit up. We can also refer to this phase as the last quarter. As you have worked on manifesting your intention as well as finding joy and pleasure in the process, it’s time to connect with gratitude. Reflect on all the abundance that you already have in your life. Make a list of the things that you are grateful for and raise your vibrational energy.



illustration waning crescent moonWaning Crescent (around 10.5 days past full moon)


As we are closing in on the new moon, and a new beginning. This last phase is about surrender. It is time to let go of your intentions, stress, and worries and simply live. A new beginning is closing in and you can release your intention to the universe and prepare to receive a new beginning with the upcoming new moon. Surrender to the here and now. Relax, take a deep breath, and just be.


After a full circle of moon phases, your intention might not have manifested itself completely yet. As you get ready for the new cycle you have a chance to take some time to reflect on what you have achieved so far. What has worked? What didn’t? And what can you do differently during the next moon cycle?


You can work with the same intention through several moon cycles (you know Rome wasn’t built in a day!) or re-access and tweak your intention based on where you are now or take on a completely new intention for the upcoming moon cycle.


Harness the powerful energies of the moon.


As the closest astronomical body to us, the Moon has a powerful influence on us both as spiritual beings and physical bodies. If you try to live in alignment with her ever-returning cycles, you get to harness the powerful energies that she creates.


One way to do this is to become aware of the moon phase every day, that way you can connect to the moon phase energy of that day setting your intention, and actions in accordance with her energy. I’ve downloaded an app on my phone that tells me the moon phase for the day, that way it is easy to keep up. There are quite a few apps for this so find one that appeals to you and place it on the home page on your phone for easy access.

 

Want to experience the power of journaling in accordance with the moon phases?

Sign up for The Wisdom Whisper Journaling Membership.

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Disclaimer

The information found in this blog post is for general informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for a health professional's advice. If you are struggling with health issues please seek professional help. The use of any information provided in this blog post is solely at your own risk.


Author Mette Rosenqvist


she/her

With 10 years of supporting women release and manage emotional and physical pain to achieve optimal health, Mette is the seasoned coach and blogger behind MeRoyoga, a Holistic Health website. Dedicated to empowering women of all ages and backgrounds, her work is based on cultivating mind-body awareness and self-regulation through compassionate inquiry. As a Multi passionate coach, Mette incorporates several healing modalities to create bespoken sessions prioritizing inclusion, meaning, and accessibility and thrives on helping women discover all the choices available to them so they can build trust and safety in themselves, and move through life present, centered, and empowered.




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