The moon has been a powerful figure in spiritual traditions around the world for thousands of years. Before humans learned the science behind the moon’s movements and effects on earthly life, various civilizations noticed those effects and ascribed spiritual significance to them.
You have probably heard about the full moon’s influence on people’s moods, thoughts, and actions. In addition, the new moon brings a sense of renewal and a metaphorical clean slate to those who look to it for inspiration. But every moon phase has a spiritual meaning; you don’t have to wait for a full moon or a new moon to try a new ritual or practice. Learn more about how the moon’s phases can influence your life for the better.
Look into the sky on a new moon night. It’s unlikely you’ll see anything. The new moon’s sky is like a chalkboard that’s been wiped clean. It’s a perfect time of the month to pause, reflect on the experiences and accomplishments of the previous month, and prepare for new adventures.
Mark your calendar with the phases of the moon. Prepare for your new beginning by setting intentions and goals for the month to come when the next new moon night approaches. Many spiritual devotees find solace in journaling, creating vision boards, or making to-do lists on these dark nights.
In lunar terms, “waxing” means that the moon is getting fuller in the sky with every passing moment. Its crescent shape is analogous to a seed that’s been planted and is just beginning to sprout. As that waxing crescent moon peeks at you through your window, rest assured that it’s only getting started—and so are you!
This moon phase is ideal for rituals and practices that build your strength and resilience. Take inspiration from the moon’s ever-increasing intensity by tackling new projects, starting a new workout routine, or acting on ideas you’ve always dreamed of.
This next phase is often called the “half moon” because—you guessed it—half of the moon is visible in the night sky, and it will continue to get fuller. The seeds of the intentions you planted on the new moon night have fully taken root, and its metaphorical leaves begin to unfurl. You’ll start to see your efforts pay off as the first-quarter moon shines if you started a new habit, hobby, or project on the new moon night.
Because the first quarter is also a halfway point between the new moon and the full moon, this night is an ideal time to re-evaluate your goals and your progress. What has worked well for you? What hasn’t? How can you adjust your approach to fully reap the fruits of your labor?
“Gibbous” is another lunar term that means the moon is more than half full, but not quite full yet. It’s still waxing, or getting larger, as it moves through its monthly cycle. At this point, you may still have some residual excitement from the new challenges in your life—but you may also be a little tired.
On the night of a waxing gibbous moon, take a moment to pat yourself on the back for all the hard work you’ve already done. The benefits of your positive practices are starting to become apparent. Even if you feel a little burned out, it’s all right to be proud of your progress while the universe pulls strings behind the scenes.
It’s finally here—the night at which the moon shines brightest! On these nights, the Earth, the sun, and the moon are in alignment with one another. The seeds of your hard work have sprouted and burst into bloom, and you deserve to bask in that success.
Many individuals use full moon nights to perform tarot readings, take relaxing ritual baths, or meditate using crystals with special meaning to them. In addition, if you wear moon jewelry every day as a reminder of your spiritual practice, try giving those pieces a moon bath. Simply set your jewelry out on a table or windowsill where the light of the full moon can cleanse its energies.
After the moon cycle peaks on the night of the full moon, it begins to wane, or grow smaller, with each passing night. Look to the heavens and you’ll see that it’s still gibbous, or more than half full, but it grows smaller as it moves through the second half of the cycle.
You’ve spent the first half of the moon cycle building up momentum and intensity as you tackle new challenges and goals. Take the night of the waning gibbous moon to relax and practice restorative self-care. These nights are not the time to bounce toward a new project; rather, it’s a time for mindfulness and gratitude for the things you’ve already accomplished.
The third quarter is another half-moon night. Continue to evaluate your progress, regrouping and rethinking your approach as needed. Now is the time to figure out how to improve your process if you didn’t achieve everything you’d hoped for during this moon cycle.
Are you struggling with distractions and negative thoughts? Approach those harmful energies with an open heart and a willingness to forgive yourself. Practice mindfulness meditation, journal about those feelings, and look at the big picture. A more universal perspective will serve you well as you work towards your goals.
The moon is a sliver in the sky for the second time in the lunar cycle. During this last phase before the cycle begins anew, reflect on your experiences over the past month. The waning crescent moon illuminates the roadblocks and difficulties that may have stood in the way of your goals.
Continue to focus on dispelling negativity from your thoughts. Shaking off those harmful energies will open up your imagination, which you’ll need as you prepare to set new intentions for the next cycle! Immerse yourself in relaxing and creative pursuits, and let go of any beliefs or thought patterns that are still holding you back.
Each moon phase has a unique spiritual meaning that can gently guide you toward enlightenment and empowerment. Take inspiration from the ever-changing moon to change up your habits and routines. Set fresh intentions on each new moon night, and use this guide to remind you to pace yourself and embrace change, just as the moon does.