The Eight Phases of the Moon - How They Impact Us
The moon has a
remarkable mental, physical and spiritual effect on human beings. For
centuries, people of various religions and cultures have turned to
the moon in search of guidance and comfort. Many of us will agree
that we feel a strange, inexplicable affinity towards the moon and
its mysterious glow, marvelling at its steadfastness in the night
Moreover, the moon has an especially special connection with womankind. In astrology, the moon is the guiding power of the female sex, influencing our emotions, fertility and monthly reproductive cycle. Even the term ‘lunatic’ refers to hysteria thought to be induced by the moon and at the time was directed predominantly towards women. As the moon's energy ebbs and flows, we may find that our spirits respond similarly. It is not uncommon to feel drained of energy as the moon begins its cycle, nor is it unusual to feel overwrought with extreme, fluctuating emotions when the moon is at its fullest. With this in mind, it is not surprising that police forces all over the world report that far more crimes are committed during the night of a full moon. This is referred to as the ‘Lunar effect’.
Our projects and plans often turnaround in monthly bouts, just like the moon. It is therefore useful to turn to the moon as your journey progresses and take heed of what each phase indicates for us. Each phase and its influence on us is outlined below.
Phase One: New Moon - Fresh starts
A new moon starts as the sun, moon and earth are perfectly aligned. Along this ecliptic longitude, the light from the sun is cast on the side of the moon not visible to the earth making it appear as if it isn’t there at all.
A new moon should be considered a fresh start or a welcomed new beginning. In various ancient communities, it is associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle and thus is indicative of rebirth. As a result, women are said to be particularly responsive at this stage of the moon’s cycle, so be sure to tap into your feminine energy and assess how you are truly feeling.
In addition, a new moon is the perfect time to reflect on current happenings and embrace any changes that are set to occur. As the intense energy of the full moon has waned to its lowest point, we may be left feeling drained and spiritless - this state of mind, however, means that we have the willingness to reboot ourselves and discard of any negativity that has recently been playing on our minds. Perhaps stepping back from social media and being extra purposeful in your interactions is best for you in order to reinvigorate at this time.
Phase Two: Waxing Crescent – Planning
A waxing crescent appears as the moon orbits the earth with the sun casting a slither of visible light onto the moon. This light is then reflected back onto the earth resulting in the dim glow produced by the moon in this phase.
The waxing crescent phase is the perfect time to contemplate and plan for future goals. This beginning recharge stage gives us the positivity and energy we need to start brainstorming and begin acting on those projects that have been neglected for too long. This is a good time to finish nagging tasks at work, clearing the way for greater opportunities that should arrive as the moon grows fuller.
Phase Three: First Quarter - Facing challenges
After a week, we are not only a quarter of the way through the monthly cycle, but the moon will also come into its first quarter. At this phase, the moon sits on a 90º angle between the sun and the earth with light cast on half of its surface.
By the first week of the month we may start noticing some momentum building in our budding projects and plans as we are absorbing more and more energy from the moon. Naturally, as life starts picking up the pace, we are likely to experience added obstacles and set-backs which can derail us if we aren’t in the right headspace. It is important to be aware of this though as it allows us to react calmly and accordingly, keeping us on track.
Ultimately, during the moon’s first quarter, we must focus on action and avoid complacency. Be prepared to work extra hard during this phase, and remember to keep a cool head. Remaining malleable to sudden changes of direction is key to battling any hindrances that may arise and will pay off in the long run. It may be advisable to start a check-list to put your intentions down into writing - it will help organize your thoughts and give some structure during this taxing time.
Phase Four: Waxing Gibbous – Re-evaluation
When the moon is in the waxing gibbous phase, it is only one phase away from a full moon.
Moving on from the busy and challenging time period of the first quarter, the waxing gibbous phase gives us greater clarity regarding our projects and goals. The full moon is fast approaching and the end of the cycle is in sight, so the waxing gibbous is effectively the final stretch of whatever journey we have embarked on. At this point, we have already encountered the bumps in the road and managed to overcome them, so now is the perfect time for us to refine on what we have learned so far - adjusting and re-evaluating accordingly.
Phase Five: Full Moon – Results
We see the moon at its fullest when the sun and moon are lying on the same ecliptic longitude on opposite sides of the earth. The sun illuminates the entire face of the moon without obstruction and therefore we can see its complete form illuminated.
It is typical for tensions and emotions to be running high when the moon is full. Not only is this due to the high levels of energy exuded by the moon during this phase, but also due to the fact that the sun and moon are pulling on opposite sides of the earth. This places the sun and moon in opposing astrological signs creating friction in the midst of two extremes. During this time, we need to ensure that we find restraint in our emotions and refrain from taking actions we may regret. For instance, on the night of the full moon, one should probably avoid spontaneously contacting an ex-lover - as the moon starts to wane again, we may find that we feel regretful of our brash decision making.
However, the full moon is also indicative of reaping our hard-earned rewards. We have come to the end of our journey in whatever project has consumed us, and now is the time to revel in the benefits that have arisen as a result.
Phase Six: Waning Gibbous – Contemplation
After the moon has reached its fullest, it begins to lose part of its illumination, working its way around the earth once more.
All of the hard work of the previous couple of weeks has reached some sort of conclusion. Now is the time for us to reflect upon those, with special attention to the people around us. Our emotions have simmered slightly as the moon has surpassed its fullest, and we are left feeling contemplative of how our actions impact others. Perhaps it is the right time to reach out and contact those who we haven’t been in touch with for a while and check up on their wellbeing. Perhaps we are feeling generous after completing our own monthly goal, encouraging us to give back to our friends and family in some way.
Phase Seven: Last Quarter - Letting go
Just like the first quarter, the last quarter is the moon half illuminated but in the opposite direction of its journey.
Expanding on the sentiments of the waning gibbous, the last quarter is a time for us to truly let go and liberate ourselves from any negativity that might have been consuming us earlier in the month. Our emotions feel even more at ease as the extreme polarization of the sun and moon diminishes further, giving us the best opportunity to make amends with any lingering grudges we may be hanging on to. Now is a great time for a big clean out, whether this be physically in our homes or emotionally in our hearts. Shedding these unwanted accumulations serves to lighten the soul and lift our spirits.
Phase Eight: Waning Crescent – Reflection
At this stage, the moon is at its smallest before disappearing altogether as it starts its journey once more.
We have experienced an entire cycle, witnessed our goals come and go and experienced the multitude of challenges that come with the process. You may feel drained or you may feel calm and accomplished. Whatever you may be feeling, it is important that you use this time to rest and prepare for a whole new cycle to arrive once more. It is best to leave planning and brainstorming until the first couple of moon phases have come back around again. Use this time to reflect.
As women, the phases of the moon play an integral part of life. Symbolic of the menstrual cycle, each phase of the moon draws on our emotions and bears different indications of how best to take action in a situation. We as women must learn to replicate this journey, being mindful of starting afresh and letting go of negativity in order to live life as abundantly as possible.