Where are all our moon babes at?
The moon in astrology is considered one of the most important and influential "planets" in the solar system (that’s right, it is, in fact, considered a planet in astrology, but not astronomy). Every month, the moon will transition through phases depending on the amount of surface exposed to the sun’s light.
Folks have been trying to understand the mystical energy of the moon since time immemorial. In fact, the misconception that the full moon was responsible for turning people… a bit loopy (for lack of a better term) is where the word “lunatic” comes from.
But it is undeniable that the moon's constantly shifting face has a big effect on our moods, our energy levels, and our personal growth - so understanding the cosmic symbolism of the moon cycle (specifically the new and full moons, which are the most powerful moments of the monthly transformation) is one of the most useful ways to dip your toes deeper into the mystical pool of astrology…
The eight phases of the lunar cycle
There are eight main phases the moon transitions through each month (the lunar cycle):
- the new moon
- the waxing moon
- the first quarter
- the waxing gibbous moon
- the full moon
- the waning gibbous moon
- the third quarter
- the waning moon
The cycle starts with the new moon, reaches its full power during the full moon, then slowly fades through the waning moon and restarts the cycle anew. During the lunar cycle (which lasts for about 28 days), the moon travels through the entire wheel of the zodiac and changes shape in the sky based on its relative position to the sun and earth.
Learning how to work with the full moon and new moon energy is a fun and powerful way to get a little more aligned with one of the strongest forces of cosmic energy around.
What do the different moon phases mean?
The New Moon
The Moon is positioned between the Earth and Sun so it cannot be seen from Earth. This moon phase signifies new beginnings.
The new moon is best for… new beginnings and setting intentions. Because new moons take place at the very start of the moon cycle, they bring the energy of new beginnings and fresh starts.
People born on a new moon… tend to avoid the spotlight and can be emotionally swayed by others. New moon-ers tend to be on the more… romantic end of the spectrum when it comes to love, holding out for their perfect match.
The Waxing Crescent Moon
The waxing moon is seen as a crescent in the sky, illuminated on the right-hand side as the sun slowly starts to move from its place behind the moon. This moon phase signifies intention.
The waxing moon is best for… making moves towards your goals. After recharging under the new moon, you will start feeling more motivated and ready to embrace your desires.
This is when you should spend time breathing life into your intentions, taking the first steps toward your goals, and getting excited about the journey that lies ahead.
People born on a waxing moon… may be self-assertive and determined, with a strong emotional compass. Waxing crescent babies are drawn to do good in the world, but this can result in a sense of struggle and frustration with reality.
The First Quarter
Exactly half of the Moon is illuminated, and the other half is shadowed. This particular moon cycle signifies decision making.
The first quarter is best for… reflection and pause, revelling in what you’ve been working on so far and celebrating your achievements. Because the first quarter moon occurs a week after the new moon, this is when we start to feel some resistance in the form of obstacles. No matter how hard it gets, remember the intention you set during the last new moon and make decisions with it in mind.
People born on the first quarter… have a strong will and ability to push through obstacles and make tough decisions. However, first quarter babies can have a tendency towards escapism and negativity.
The Waxing Gibbous
“Waxing” means the Moon’s illumination is growing and “Gibbous” means more than half of the Moon is illuminated. This moon phase signifies refinement.
The waxing gibbous is best for… really honing-in on our intentions, goals and actions. Momentum is building, we are only one phase from the full moon, so now is a good time to think about how you want to use the upcoming full moon phase to its full extent.
People born on the gibbous moon… are eager to improve others and themselves and have an innate ability to evaluate things carefully, resulting in the ability to get things done and get them done well. These babes often have larger than life personalities and strong connections, surrounding themselves with loved ones, friends and family.
The Full Moon
The most notorious and iconic moment of the lunar cycle. The Sun illuminates the entire moon. This phase signifies release and sealing of intention. Because the sun and the moon are directly opposing each other, they are also in opposite zodiac signs. This brings amplified tension as you fight to find balance between two extremes.
The full moon is best for… Manifestation and powering up your intentions. The full moon is a time of illumination (both literally and figuratively) helping us to see situations for what they are and bringing to light information that may have previously been hidden. Keep your eyes and ears open during a full moon if you're looking for cosmic guidance.
This full moon is also perfect for doing rituals and spells, as it is the most powerful time of the month. It’s also a great time for things like releasing or banishing rituals, manifestation spells and meditations and a bit of magickal admin such as charging crystals and cleansing tarot cards.
People born on a full moon… often have very concrete ideals but can find themselves flip-flopping from emotional to logical thinking. They can have the sense of being divided against themselves and are often a polarising influence on others.
The Waning Gibbous
“Waning” refers to the decreasing of the Moon’s illumination, and “Gibbous” means more than half of Moon illuminated. The sun is moving away and taking its light with it, creating a shadow on the right-hand side. The waning moon marks the winding down of the moon’s power. This moon phase signifies gratitude.
The waning gibbous moon is best for… turning inward and evaluating what has happened in the lead up to this period. You should be feeling the benefits of your hard work for the last two weeks. You may feel like giving back to those around you, especially those who helped you along the way, now is the perfect time to do it.
People born under the waning gibbous moon… have an innate ability to demonstrate what they have learned and fight for what they believe in. Though people born during this phase can tend towards fanaticism and should be aware of negative side of this.
The Third Quarter
Exactly half of the Moon is illuminated, and the other half is shadowed. We will see the opposite side than the First Quarter Moon. This moon phase signifies forgiveness.
The third quarter moon is best for… forgiveness, letting go of anything holding you back or causing negativity in your life. This could be internally (like self-limiting beliefs or grudges) or externally (like toxic relationships). Whatever isn’t serving you anymore, now is the time to let it go. Set down anything that feels too heavy and pointless to continue carrying.
People born under the third quarter moon… often have amazing organisational and managerial abilities. They can have strong and forceful personalities, able to force issues and create change. On the flip side, these individuals can struggle to accept criticism and may have a dictatorial attitude.
The Waning Crescent Moon
“Waning” refers to the shrinking of the Moon’s illumination, and “Crescent” means less than half of the Moon is illuminated. This particular moon cycle signifies surrender. This phase of the lunar cycle reveals the final bit of light just before the darkness of the new moon.
The waning moon is best for… taking a deep breath and surrendering, resting and recuperating. You’ve gone through an entire moon cycle and if you didn’t reach the goals you set at the beginnings of this cycle, that is totally fine. Don’t beat yourself up over it.
You are now getting ready to prepare for a new cycle. There’s not much left to do but come to terms with what’s taken place over the last month and surrender to what’s no longer in your control. In other words, time to let fate take the wheel.
People born under the waning moon… feel a strong sense of personal destiny. Waning moon babies are more likely than most to have a prophetic gift.
** Disclaimer: Following the full lunar cycle can be A LOT! If you’re new to all of this, maybe don’t throw yourself straight in the deep end. Start by putting together a new moon ritual and a full moon ritual, once you’ve got the hang of things, slowly start incorporating the other phases as it works for you. Intuition is everything.