The moon is one of our most prominent and ancient symbols. It has shaped how we understand and track time, its movement controls the tides, and its rise into the sky signals the coming of night. It has a marked association with femininity and fertility – for female menstrual cycles are roughly the same amount of time as a lunar phase. All of these roles have cemented its relationship to us, and we see this in the way that the moon has made its way into our myths and culture.
The lunar cycle is made up of several distinct phases, all of which have associations with different states of being. These states mirror a kind of spiritual path or quest which like our search for ourselves, never ends. When we observe the moon, we see reflections of the grand pattern of life that is birth, death and rebirth.
New moons mean new beginnings, it’s time for a clean slate. The new moon has no illumination, it appears dark and not visible except during a solar eclipse. It is thought as a good time to gather new ideas, thoughts and plan ahead for the coming month. Energy from the new moon to the full moon builds in strength and intensity, so the new moon is the ideal time to set clear intentions.
After the new moon the moon “waxes”, meaning it gets bigger. Waxing crescent moon is partly illuminated by less than one-half, and increasing. Think about this time as planting the “seed”. Things are moving forward and there is the hope of more to come. The time between the new moon and the full moon in general is ideal to enact on the new intentions that you set on the new moon.
The moon is one-half and increasing in illumination. The “seed” is now presenting a root and plant structure on its way and growing and moving forward. This symbolizes a period of strength, determination and concentration. When the moon looks cut in half, it signals action is ready to be taken.
The moon is one-half but not fully illuminated, although increasing in illumination, therefore it represents gaining and attaining. Now the buds are preparing to bloom. The waxing gibbous moon is there when we are close to reaching our goals but we need to assess their viability. Perhaps your original desire is not attainable at this point but another version of it is. This is the developmental stage where ideas and plans can be cultivated and fine-tuned before the next stage of manifestation.
Also known as a Harvest Moon, a full moon is full and round. It appears to be completely illuminated by direct sunlight as the sun and moon are directly opposite of each other. Being fully illuminated it represents fertility, transformation, completion and abundance. The “seed” is in full bloom. This period is called “waning” because the once expanding energies will now be starting to diminish, or get smaller. This is why it’s the perfect time to let go of anything that no longer serves you purpose.
During this time the moon is more than one-half but not fully illuminated and decreasing. As the moon appears to be getting smaller, it is a good time to focus on ridding of things such as bad habits, stresses or negative thinking. This is also known as the dissemination moon, bringing about energies for heightened communication, revelation and completion. The waning period is all about looking internally.
This is like a half way point- a kind of calm, contemplative time of introspection. The “seed” has now been planted fully and all harvests have been reaped. After thinking carefully about your internal compass in the last phase, now it is time to release and let go of those habits and thought processes that hold you back.
The waning crescent moon is partly illuminated less than one-half and decreasing. The old cycle ends and the new one is near. This is a time to withdraw from the world, rest and renew yourself. It is also the final releasing and purging stage. This is a time for recuperation. To be fully open to the next cycle, one must be completely relieved from this one. Think of what you need to banish, such as relationships or projects that are no longer serving you or what you have just lost interest in, as you prepare new “seeds” with the start of the new cycle.