A Guide to Moon Phases
The moon is a powerful and alluring being. She lights our night skies, and influences the ebb and flow of the tides. She was the first celestial body that humans ever stepped foot on other than Earth. She's inspired songs and art, religion and science. So it shouldn't be a surprise that the cycles of the moon affect more than just our skies. They affect our lives and energies, too.
Why does the moon have phases?
Most people know the varying phases of the moon - from new moon to full moon, waxing to waning. But why exactly does the moon appear to have a different shape across the course of a month?
This part is explained by simple science. As the Earth revolves around the sun, the moon revolves around the Earth, making a full cycle once every 29.5 days (or roughly a month). As the moon makes this revolution, it's lit by the sun from varying different angles, giving us the difference in 'shape' - or amount of light - that we see in the sky.
How do the moon phases affect our energy?
It's a common belief that different moon phases are associated with different types of spiritual energy. You've probably heard of full moons being a time for magic and madness - in fact, the word 'lunatic' stems from the word 'lunar', meaning related to the moon. Other moon phenomena are widely said to have cosmic connotations - blood moons are associated with aggression and passion, 'blue moons' indicate something extremely rare, and eclipses are times of transformation.
People have even turned to science to try to link the moon's energy with our own. After all, if the moon affects the tides, then is it so far-fetched that it could affect our own bodies, given that they also contain water? While this particular theory has been scientifically dispelled, it doesn't stop the fact that many people spiritually feel the pull and push of the moon's movements.
So, how exactly might the phases of the moon affect our own spiritual energies? Here's a summary of moon phase meanings and how they might impact your life:
THE NEW MOON
New beginnings and fresh starts
The new moon occurs when the moon either isn't visible, or is barely visible, in the night sky. This is because the Sun is only illuminating the side of the moon that we can't see, leaving the half that we can see in the dark.
The moon might seem 'empty' or 'absent' during this phase, which is why it's the perfect symbol of new beginnings. The moon is about to begin her cycle again, appearing to 'grow' in the night sky over the course of the next month. So this is a time to wipe your slate clean, leave the past in the past, and look towards the future. People often feel introverted or lack energy during the new moon, but this isn't cause for despair. Allow yourself this special time to retreat and reflect, before the moon - and you - can begin your growth again.
Setting intentions and goals
When a small sliver of the moon becomes illuminated by the Sun, we have what is called a 'crescent moon'. When the moon is 'growing' (moving from new to full), this is a 'waxing crescent'.
A waxing crescent is a time for setting your goals and intentions for the month ahead. You allowed yourself to rest during the new moon, and now your energy is stirring again. Determine what your dreams and desires are, and focus your new energy there. This is a good time for planning and to-do lists.
FIRST QUARTER MOON
Action and impetus
The 'first quarter' moon is actually when the moon is half illuminated in the sky, halfway between being new and full. It's called a 'quarter' moon, because it's a quarter of the way through its full cycle from new to new again.
This is the time to act upon the intentions you set during the waxing crescent moon. You'll feel a drive and desire to do, move, and create during the first quarter, and you should definitely ride with it. You'll have the spiritual energy and motivation to work hard and advance towards the goals you've determined.
Refinement and focus
The 'waxing gibbous' moon is when the moon almost looks full in the sky, but isn't quite there yet. It's still making its journey between new and full, and will be fully illuminated in the next few nights.
A waxing gibbous moon is your period between the action and energy you've experienced during the previous moon cycles, and the intensity of the full moon. This is a time to re-focus and refine your energy. Make sure that you're on the right track, and haven't deviated from the intentions you set yourself. This way, you'll be able to fully reap the rewards that the impending full moon offers.
THE FULL MOON
Intensity and wholeness
The 'full moon' occurs when the sun and moon are on opposite sides of the Earth, allowing the sun to fully illuminate the moon. During this phase, the moon will appear as a full, glowing circle in the sky.
This is the moon phase that people are most familiar with. Many have experienced the feeling of intensity during the full moon. Your energy will feel 'full', and emotions will be heightened. If you've used the previous moon phases to your advantage, the full moon will be a rewarding time when all things fall into place and you're filled with gratitude, happiness and productivity. But it can also be a difficult time if your emotions are misaligned - intensity might lead to anger or chaos. So being aware and in tune of your own energy cycles is crucial to fully harnessing the magic of the full moon.
Gratitude and generosity
As the moon begins to move through the other side of its cycle, the illuminated portion will begin to decrease, resulting in a 'waning gibbous'.
The light may be lessening from the moon, but this isn't a time of loss. Rather, it's a time to be grateful and at peace with what you've learnt and achieved during the month. Reach out to say thank-you to anyone who's helped you along the way, and reflect on the positive results of your hard work.
Cleansing and purging
The 'last quarter' moon occurs when the moon is half illuminated in the sky, making its way from full to new again.
The moon is nearing the end of its cycle here, and this makes it a perfect time for cleansing and letting go of any negative energy that might be residual from the last month. If things haven't gone exactly how you planned, you'll soon have a chance to start anew. This is a chance to get rid of any mess or unnecessary weight in your life.
Relaxing and surrender
Like its waxing counterpart, the 'waning crescent' moon appears like a sliver of light in the sky, almost in its final phase.
This is a time to let out a sigh and let things go. Allow yourself to retreat and relax, ready for the new moon to begin again. You'll feel your energy starting to deplete, so don't feel guilty if you want to clear your calendar and prepare for a night at home in bed. You will have worked hard during the past month, so you deserve it.
And back to the new moon once more!
The moon's journey provides a visible anchor to the passing of time, and the changing of our moods and energy levels. If you've never paid close attention to how the moon affects your life, try keeping a moon diary, taking note of each moon phase and the events and emotions in your life during that time. You might just find that they're more closely aligned than you previously thought!
And check out some of our moon-themed products below, drawing on the magic and mystery of this celestial beauty.
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