The moon has been revered by many cultures as a sacred symbol of emotions. It goes through cycles just like we go through our cycles of growth. Knowing these lunar cycles and phases can help us utilize its healing energy for our own emotions.
What Are the 8 Moon Phases?
Every night you see a different view of the Moon, even if it looks the same. It is officially described by the various moon phases it takes on Earth. Our view of the illuminated Moon changes each night and depends on where it is in its orbit. The Moon takes just over 27 days to complete one orbit around the Earth, but a complete Lunar Cycles from New Moon to New Moon takes 29.5 days to occur. The Moon rises in the East and sets in the West because of the direction the Earth spins. It also moves around the Earth from its own orbit. There are eight distinct Lunar Phases that have been identified with a new one taking over approximately every 3 days.
The New Moon is the start of the lunar cycle. It is also called The Dark Moon because it looks like there is little to no moon visible in the sky. During a New Moon, this is the time of her retreat and fresh starts. It’s also a good time for you to start new projects and plan ahead.
Waxing Crescent Moon
The Moon’s crescent shape is created by the way the Sun hits and reflects off of the Moon. This is a time of change and new opportunities. It is also a good reminder to complete tasks and projects that you've already started. A good activity to do during the waxing crescent lunar phase is to sit and visualize the completion of a task that has been hard for you to find the answer to. The Waxing Crescent Moon will help you with the solution.
First Quarter Moon
The First Quarter Moon phase happens about a week after a New Moon. Despite being called a quarter moon, it appears as if you can see roughly half of the moon, and half remains in darkness. It can be a time of obstacles. During the First Quarter Lunar Cycle, this is time is about accepting challenges, being flexible and focusing on what you want to see happen, not what may be happening around you at this point. It is also a good time to practice a lot of self-care to make sure that you do not fall off balance with yourself.
Waxing Gibbous Moon
The Waxing Gibbous Lunar Phase is one of two times when the moon is mostly visible, but not entirely. Instead of a crescent of moon that we saw earlier, we now experience the reverse, with a crescent of darkness allowing the moon to become about 80% visible. During a Waxing Gibbous Moon, this is the time to make a decision and stick with it, procrastination is not your friend at this time.
The next phase is the one that generally gets all the attention each month, the popular Full Moon. Each Monthly Full Moon even has its own unique name (see list below), which originates from Native American Tradition, although there are often a few accepted names associated with many of the full moons. Because the Moon is fully visible now, it allows us to see situations and relationships clearly. Full moons are a time to let go and release and focus on healing. There are many rituals associated with this period such as charging crystals and taking a bath to unwind and be in flow with the universe. Give everyone a little extra slack during this time emotions run high so be careful and think before you speak.
Full Moon Names by Month
- Wolf Moon: January
- Snow Moon: February
- Worm Moon: March
- Pink Moon: April
- Flower Moon: May
- Strawberry Moon: June
- Buck Moon: July
- Sturgeon Moon: August
- Harvest Moon: September
- Blood Moon: October 9
- Frost Moon: November
- Cold Moon: December
What is a Blue Moon?
Before we continue our journey towards the remaining moon phases, this is a good place to stop and talk about what happens when there is a Blue Moon. A Blue Moon has been with us throughout the ages. In ancient times it had a mysterious folklore that often created mistrust among the people. In modern times it carries the essence of intrigue which created the popular saying of something occurring “Once in a Blue Moon.”
There are two types of Blue Moons actually. Typically, we think of a Blue Moon when a second full moon occurs within a single calendar month. However, that is not always the case. There is a second type of Blue Moon known as a Seasonal Blue Moon. This occurs when we experience four full moons in the same season. The third of these four moons is considered the Blue Moon.
While you may think a blue moon happens very infrequently, they actually occur about once every 2-1/2 years on average. If you want to plan ahead for a Blue Moon, it turns out there are none in 2022. The next Blue Moon, which is a traditional blue moon, will take place on Friday, August 30, 2023. You will have to wait all the way until December 4, 2025 for the next seasonal Blue Moon!
Now back to the remaining Lunar Phases…
Waning Gibbous Moon
Like the Waxing Gibbous, but in the other direction, the Waning Gibbous Lunar Phase of the Moon is between full and half. This is a good point at which to set intentions and express gratitude. The Waning Gibbous Moon being in this transitioning type of phase also helps us to transition.
Last Quarter Moon
Also known as the Third Quarter Moon, once again, half of the moonlight is visible. During the Last Quarter Moon, it is a time of strong intuition, peace, and deep connections. It is always good to recognize feelings of deeper emotions. The Last Quarter Lunar Phase can bring out things that we have not thought about in years. It is the perfect time to mend old grudges and call (or text) people you have not talked to in a while. This helps our energy to move forward by not holding things in.
The Waning Crescent Moon Phase is the final lunar phase before the New Moon returns and the cycle starts over. During the Waning Crescent Lunar Phase, the Moon is almost invisible again. If you look up in the sky you basically can see a thin line of the Moon that looks like a little boat. During this final phase before the New Moon, it is all about staying focused and being optimistic, knowing that there can be changes in your life if you truly want them. The key here is to focus on joy during this time. Even if you feel there's not much to look forward to, try to find simple things that can make you smile from a funny joke to a good cup of coffee. During the Waning Crescent Moon phase you are about to enter into strong amounts of healing, so spend some quiet time in meditation and reflection. Things will work out for you!
Knowing what Moon Phase you were born under can help explain your personality and soul journey too!
How Do Lunar Phases Affect Us Physically?
Along with affecting our emotions, the eight lunar phases can also affect our physical bodies along with all living creatures.
Lunar Phases and Menstrual Cycles
Women are particularly affected by the moon’s cycles. It is believed that the lunar phases and the menstrual cycle are connected as both are around every 27-28 days. Throughout history, and even now, women will try to use moon phases to predict when is the best time to become pregnant. And to take it a step further, the lunar phases have been used to try to predict the gender of a pregnant woman. They say if a woman became pregnant before the full moon, she would have a boy and after the full moon it would be a girl.
Lunar Phases and Sleep
Lunar cycles can affect our sleep. During the Full Moon, our sleep may be lighter because we are receiving strong energy to help us move forward. So, the next you find yourself wide awake in the middle of the night and you have no idea why check the lunar cycle, it may well be during a Full Moon Cycle.
The Moon’s Impact on Animals
The moon also has a profound effect on all life on Earth not just humans. Our animal friends can be very effected by the changing lunar phases, just as we are. Just before a Full Moon, dogs will become more agitated just like their ancestor the wolf. They will tend to howl at the Moon and will connect with their natural hunting instincts, wanting to go outside and run around a lot more. Cats on the other hand will hide away and birds become more aggressive. This is often why veterinarians see an uptick in their animal patients just before a full moon. So, keep an extra eye on your pets during this time of the lunar cycle.
Lunar Phases and Plants
The other thing to consider during these moon phases is how they affect our plants. Taking up gardening during the Waxing Moon Phases or a Third Quarter Moon phase of the moon can be a good thing to do. Just like how the Moon affects the tides of the ocean, it also affects the moisture in the soil. Planting your favorite vegetables and herbs during these times can help the soil be moister and help things continue to grow. As the Moonlight increases, it encourages plants to stand and grow and flowers to bloom. So, it is recommended to pick a spot in your garden that is able to get the benefit of the full moonlight at night.
Crystals, Moon Water and The Lunar Cycles
Setting out your crystals and spiritual tools that you work with during New Moons and Full Moons are great for cleansing the energy off of things that feel that they have absorbed too much. This practice is called Moon Bathing. Breathing in all of the wonderful healing intuitive energy and cleansing that occurs during these times will supercharge anything giving things new life.
One tool that I love to use is Moon Water. To create Moon Water, sit a clear crystal bowl of purified water outside overnight during any moon phase. Then the next day, pour the water into a spray bottle and spray it around where you feel you have stuck energy. This gives those areas inside the chance to experience something that has been charged with the Moon's natural cleansing abilities and can lift your mood.
Because the lunar cycles effect every living thing on Earth from our animals to our own physical health, it’s a good idea to purchase a detailed moon phases calendar for the year. By using a lunar calendar, it is more intuitive and can give you a deep sense of connection to the cycles of nature. It can also boost your mindfulness and keep you working towards your life goals.
Finally, I want to share a special Moon Visualization with Archangel Haniel, the archangel of the Moon. When you call to her, she can help us open up to what we are really feeling.
Try this quick visualization when you're unsure of your emotions.
Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and as you do, visualize that you are standing outside and the night sky is full of lights all around you.
See the Moon’s silver light as it begins to fill your entire body.
As you breathe, see the light flowing strongly into your heart.
Hear a sweet voice say to you to “ask your heart what it really wants.”
Once you ask this question, you will receive your answer.
Take another deep breath and open your eyes knowing that your heart's answer is what you truly want.
Trust yourself dear ones.