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Explore the Moon Phases and their Meanings
Written and illustrated by Grace Duong
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The moon acts as a mirror, reflecting our emotions and energy levels. While we rest at night, the moon can illuminate our deepest desires, hidden away from the rest of the world, and can be revealed in our dreams. Our ancestors used lunar cycles to plant and harvest crops. Using the moon’s magic is deep within human history and still rules us to this day. You can harness the magic of the moon in your own lives, working with the different moon phases and harnessing the energy that can impact your life in beneficial ways.
What are Moon phases?
Through time and space, the Moon progresses the night sky and appears to take a slightly different shape. The Moon orbits around the Earth, taking about 29.5 days to complete a moon cycle, from New Moon back to another New Moon. The slightly different shapes the moon can appear are known as the phases of the moon and can also signify the different energies the collective is experiencing at that moment.
As the Moon orbits around the Earth, the Earth is also orbiting around the Sun. The Sun illuminates different parts of the Moon as the Moon orbits the Earth, making it appear to us on Earth as different shapes, showing her different faces to us. The same side of the Moon always points toward the Earth, so that most of the time some of the illuminated parts of the Moon face away from us, and some of the time can face toward us, depending on whether it is daytime or nighttime on the Moon.
How can I use Moon phases in my life?
With modern day society, we are constantly pulled in many different directions, especially with the rise of technology and social media. The Moon is a reminder to take a break and to be present, often disconnecting so that you can regain your thoughts. Night time is a great chance to recharge, get well-rested sleep, and reconnect with yourself so that you can fully be present with others. The Moon is also an inherent part of nature and a way our ancestors across cultures connected to nature, a higher power, and gained wisdom illuminated in darkness. Connecting to the Moon phases, creating rituals that foster that connection, and understanding the Moon phases so you can best work with that energy can give you a better understanding of yourself and how you can be more present in your everyday life.
Initiation and pure potential, the New Moon is the first phase and signifies the beginning of a new moon cycle. Born under the new moon, you came into this world with boundless energy, hope, and inspiration with a huge appetite to learn, no matter what the topic. Filled with big dreams, you tend to act on your inklings with reverence and spontaneity, however may have trouble actualizing these dreams into reality. Your thirst for knowledge makes you a natural innovator, with a focus on growth, progression, and evolution. Sparks fly when you’re motivated, and once you’re on your mission, there is no stopping you. A natural leader, your impulsive nature often propels you to both opportunities and new avenues of adventure, taking you down a road of discovering your most true and authentic self. Trust your instincts! Each new moon cycle heightens your sense of power, allowing you to begin again and again, allowing you to transform yourself whenever you need to. Clarify your intentions whenever you start anew, and let them guide you through the process, adjusting as you move along. During the new moon, the sun and moon are in exact alignment in the sky and are also within the same astrological sign. This placement can connect your external actions with your internal mind, making it easier for you to unite your needs and desires. Use this gift to inspire aligned action that helps you see your big ideas through to the end! Notice your emotions and energy during the new moon – you may feel the most like yourself. Let your inner magic unfold, birthed and rebirthed as many times as it needs to.
Waxing Crescent Moon
Inquisitive and focused, the Waxing Crescent Moon is a phase of activation. The seeds have been planted, and now it’s time to plan for the seasons ahead, maximizing your efforts for when your fruit is the ripest. Like the New Moon, you are attracted to novelty and new beginnings, and have the ambition to carry through your ideas. You prize security above all else, and so you may be reluctant to take risks that don’t guarantee a favorable outcome. Progress over perfection, failure is an inevitable part of the journey, so don’t let that discourage you from trying new things! Rituals help ground you as you enjoy building habits and daily routines that boost your confidence and growth over time. You enjoy seeing the results of all your hard work, the progression manifesting steadily and assuredly. Stagnation can be an opportunity for you to switch it up, as different routes can still take you to the same goal. You can become fixated on things you cannot change in the past, which can stop you from focusing on the present moment in order to build your future. Learning to let go will be vital for you, cleansing yourself of outdated memories. Use the moon cycles to release all that is no longer serving you, planting the seeds for more fortuitous abundance to come. Once you harness this energy, you step into your natural gifts of manifesting your heart’s desires! Allow yourself to be fluid – as your needs change, your desires change too. Building a sense of security within yourself will reflect in your outer world, constructed with a strong foundation of self love and self worth. Follow your curiosity and where it leads you!
First Quarter Moon
Frenetic and electrically charged, the First Quarter Moon is a phase of action and making decisions. Excited by challenges, you’re always willing to go beyond where anyone else is willing to go, pushing yourself past any limitations! The more challenging the better, as you are not motivated by competing with others, but by competing with yourself. Rebellious at heart, you challenge the status quo with your wit and ability to think outside of the box. Others can perceive you as argumentative, but this is only because you believe wholeheartedly in your values. Be open to other people’s opinions and learn to listen beyond what you believe is true. This can help you craft an even wider perspective in your worldly views. You need an outlet for your energy as you contain lots of it. Channel your energy in constructive ways, otherwise it can manifest in destruction and anger. Independent and a high achiever, you set the bar high and have great expectations on yourself. Part of your journey will be to learn to surrender to the moment, especially when your plans go off-course! Driven and ambitious, having a career where you are autonomous would suit you well as you thrive off your independence and self-sufficiency. You have a unique combination of not only being able to see the big picture, but also being able to execute on the small details. Growth and concentrated focus will be a constant theme in your life, as personal development and self improvement are highly important to you. Learn to balance action with in-action. Sometimes taking quiet moments are equally as impactful as being on the go.
Waxing Gibbous Moon
Philosophical and methodical, the Waxing Gibbous Moon is a phase of self expression and evolution. Constantly buzzing with creativity, you are able to use your imagination to channel work that is both deeply introspective and inventive, with a focus on positively impacting the world at large. A natural healer, you have incredible empathic abilities and are able to set aside your needs in order to care for others, sensitive to their inner conflicts and struggles, with a desire to alleviate their pain. Your nurturing and calming presence allows people to let their guard down and be their true selves around you, acting as a light of support when times are dark. Deeply connected to the collective unconscious, you tend to the wounds of the world and contribute to the Earth’s healing and growth. Because of this, you have the ability to start a spiritual revolution, guiding people towards a way of life that is mindful, conscious, and intuitive. Remember to make space for your own needs and desires too – giving can become draining when your own cup is not full! It will be important for you to protect yourself and set strong boundaries, especially with your natural tendency to overgive. Excited by theory and ideology, you tend to be a planner and can even be prone to perfectionism. You may view the world with rose colored glasses, wanting to see it for how you think it should be, versus what it actually is. Learn to manage your expectations and accept life for all that it is – the good, the bad, and the ugly. There is beauty in the imperfection too!
Luminous and bright, the Full Moon is a phase of fulfillment and completion. At this time during the moon cycle, the sun and moon are opposite each other in the sky, which can create an inner clash, a push and pull between the mind (the Sun) and heart (the Moon). This can create a multitude of desires within you, being pushed and pulled in all sorts of directions! This adds an unpredictability to the way you move about the world, as you can change your mind in an instant on what you want next. Ground yourself to your truth, so that no matter what decisions you make, they are always aligned with your soul. Wild and untamed, your deepest wish is to roam the world freely with no boundaries. The duality you contain is both charismatic and intriguing, eliciting charm but also gives you a mysterious air. You may struggle with the intensity of your emotions, as the full moon is deeply connected to the element of water, heightening your senses and feelings. Your lunacy is both a spark of inspiration and your source of madness, and you must learn to embody the fullness of who you are, in order to make peace with your dualistic nature. Naturally intuitive, you find it easy to guide others but may find it more difficult to guide yourself. Trust your instincts! Tame the beast within, and know that you are stronger than your wild urges. The Full Moon illuminates your wholeness, that all parts of you can be loved and accepted the way they are. Once you come to terms with that, you can use your powers to shine brightly and inspire others to live in the wholeness of their light.
Waning Gibbous Moon
Perceptive and generous, the Waning Gibbous Moon is a phase of sharing and contribution. Wise beyond your years, you may have been dubbed an ‘old soul’, spreading knowledge and guidance to those that need it. Born under the Waning Gibbous Moon gives you the gift of communication, making you a great teacher, mentor, or speaker. You have a propensity for research and writing, being able to absorb information easily and sharing those ideas with others. You may be stubborn in your beliefs, unable to see others’ point of view because you have ‘done the research’. Open up your perspective and allow yourself to learn from people, not just your books. There’s book smarts and street smarts, and yes, you can have both! Listening, not just speaking, is an imperative part of your path as this expands your mindset to embrace other ways of thinking and to embrace humanity – faults and all. Future-oriented, you are focused on leaving a legacy that leaves a positive impact on the world for many years to come. Diving deep, you are unafraid to explore your shadows which brings you on a quest for life’s deeper truths, even when it means moving into uncharted territory. You may feel most comfortable inside your inner world, however it will be imperative for you to emerge into the world as part of your path is to enlighten others. A natural storyteller, you recognize the power in sharing and telling stories, preserving the legacy of humanity for years to come. Once you emerge into your full power of your gifts, your contribution has the ability to last beyond time. Share your message! The world needs to hear it.
Third Quarter Moon
Nostalgic and introspective, the Last Quarter Moon is a phase of internal shifts and realignment. Reflection is important for you, especially when you look to the past at your fondest memories, preferring to live in those moments. Sometimes this can make you appear to live in another world, dreaming about how things should be rather than how they actually are. You tend to go through a process of constant reevaluation and restructuring, which requires some solitude. Don’t be afraid to express your thoughts to those around you, as this can guide you towards clarity between your logical and intuitive mind, helping you to also release the fear of judgement. You have a natural ability to read between the lines of what is not being said, accurately assessing people when you first meet them. Young at heart, you approach the world with an open mind and a willingness to learn a variety of teachings to expand your outlook. Finding the deeper meaning beyond the surface is of the utmost importance for you, carrying sentimental value for the larger picture. This can cause many shifts in your life, as you realign yourself over and over again to your most true values. Your values may adapt and change over time, reinventing yourself whenever it feels right to you! Allow yourself to go with the flow, and wherever life leads you. Quarter Moons are known as the ‘crisis’ moons because this can lead to lots of change and lots of unsteady ground. Change will be a constant theme in your life. Build the inner security within yourself and know that you have all the tools you need to handle any challenges that come your way.
Waning Crescent Moon
Mystical and intuitive, the Waning Crescent Moon is a phase of imagination and closure. Born under this moon, you may have strong psychic abilities and are in touch with your spirituality, even if you may not realize it. Others are attracted to your sage wisdom, which seems to extend beyond your earthly years and demeanor. As much as you love to share your guidance, you may not be so great at taking your own advice. Trust your intuition! Visions and dreams are important for you as you may receive messages that can help guide you throughout your journey. Pay attention to the messages you receive. A true individual, you may have an unconventional outlook on life, which can make you seem like a loner, even being dubbed ‘weird’. You often prefer solitude, gaining clarity in the stillness. Even though you prefer time to yourself, know that there are always people who you can connect with when you need to. Born under a Waning Crescent Moon means that there are karmic cycles that you are completing in this lifetime. You are ready to pass on all the wisdom that you’ve learned from past lifetimes and enlighten others with your teachings. True visionary, you are able to see beyond the surface and connect with a higher power, enabling you to bring forth creations that benefit humanity. You persevere with your resilience and intuitive powers. Embrace your uniqueness. Not everybody can do what you do!