There are 8 main moon phases of the moon cycle, and each one embodies a different energy.
The moon cycle lasts around 29 days, and mirrors our menstrual cycle. She represents the feminine, which is why tuning into and working with the moon is a powerful tool for us as women.
Women have looked skyward since the beginning of time, tuning in to their own natural rhythms and allowing mumma moon to illuminate the way. For a while, we lost this connection to ourselves and to Her. But slowly, we are waking up, and we are returning home.
Here are the 8 main moon phases of the moon cycle, along with what they symbolise and how to work with their unique energy:
- New Moon
- Waxing Crescent
- First Quarter
- Waxing Gibbous Moon
- Full Moon
- Waning Gibbous Moon
- Last Quarter
- Waning Crescent
New Moon (or Dark Moon)
Keywords: New beginnings, setting intentions, letting go, reboot, taking time for yourself, soul-searching.
Season/Sabbat Correspondence: Winter (Yule).
A new moon happens when the sun and moon come into alignment, and the sky becomes dark. This symbolises the feminine and masculine merging.
The new moon is a time for stillness, and tuning in to our internal wisdom. It’s a time for letting go of anything that no longer serves you, so you can make space for the new. When we slow down, we’re able to hear what we truly want and need on a soul level, and from this we can set new intentions for the coming moon phase and beyond.
This is the perfect time to start a new project or habit or challenge yourself to do something differently. It’s also a great time to check in and see which areas of your life currently feel out of balance, and breathe new life into these spaces.
Rituals for the new moon
- Take a bath to symbolise washing away the old
- Meditate to create stillness so you can hear your deepest soul desires
- Re-decorate your altar
- Set new intentions
For a step by step guide on creating a new moon ritual, click here.
If you’re new to working with the moon phases, I would recommend starting with the new moon and full moon. Once you feel in sync with these two moon phases, you can then see if working with four phases works for you, and then gradually move to eight.
But don’t try and do all eight moon phases if you’re a total beginner, because this will likely be overwhelming!
Keywords: Manifesting, visualisations, affirmations.
Season/Sabbat Correspondence: Imbolc.
A sliver of the moon comes into sight in the sky, and this symbolises a time to get started on our new intentions or goals that we set on the new moon.
Get clear on one or a couple of intentions you really want to focus on and bring to fruition this cycle. Where do you want to place your energy?
Visualisations and affirmations will serve you well during this moon phase. Visualise your dreams as a reality. Notice what you can see, hear, and feel. And use affirmations to support you as you walk forward on your path, transforming any limiting beliefs into empowering ones.
Rituals for the waxing crescent
- Do a guided visualisation exercise
- Create new affirmations
- Celebrate your success (no matter how small it is)
First Quarter (Waxing Half Moon)
Keywords: Creativity, moving forward, motivation, resistance, navigating obstacles.
Season/Sabbat Correspondence: Spring, Ostara.
The first quarter is when the path can get a little bumpy. The initial excitement of starting a new project or habit will have faded, and you’ll likely be met with inner resistance and obstacles to work through.
Now is the time to dig deep and find your motivation. If you’re procrastinating or self-sabotaging, ask yourself why. Try and get to the root cause so you can move past it.
Don’t give up at the first sign of a challenge. This moon phase is all about adjusting your plans (or your mindset), finding workarounds, and welcoming challenges. Know that the challenges you face will be some of your greatest teachers, and you are always bigger than any problem.
Sometimes a little shift in perspective is all we need.
Rituals for the first quarter
- Reconnect to your dreams and visions
- Let go of any judgement that arises
- Forgive yourself for not being perfect (none of us are)
- Go into detail with the intentions you set and be more specific
- Create a plan or schedule for yourself
- Watch, read, or listen to something inspiring
Waxing Gibbous Moon
Keywords: Refinement, perspective, alignment, trust, action, high energy.
Season/Sabbat Correspondence: Beltane.
As we move closer to the full moon, now is the time to harness the high energy of this phase and spring into action.
Everything should start to feel like it’s aligning with you and your intentions. Trust that you are being supported by the universe. Remember to focus on what you want and put your whole heart into it.
Now is the time to give yourself an extra push so you can move forward and manifest your soul desires. If you need to make refinements to your intentions or strategy, do so.
Remember, your initial intentions are likely to change somewhat as you feel into this journey, and get clear on what’s calling you. If something is not working, change direction or let it go. If something is working, do more of it. Give yourself enough time and space to reach your goal. It may take many moon phases to complete, and that’s okay.
Ask yourself how you can support yourself better on this journey, or look for outside support to help you.
Rituals for the waxing gibbous moon
- Read your affirmations daily
- Ask yourself where you can give more to your projects/goals
- Welcome support (from yourself & others)
Keywords: Celebrate, gratitude, reflection, expansion.
Season/Sabbat Correspondence: Summer, Litha.
The sun is now opposite the moon in the sky. She receives his light, and shines it back on us through the night.
The moon represents the collective feminine, which means this is a powerful time to be with other women and honour the divine feminine with you, and within us all.
A full moon is both nourishing and high energy, but also illuminates our shadows. We are asked to reflect on the darkness within ourselves, feel our deepest emotions, and use what we receive to elevate.
This is also a time of celebration. Celebrate how far you’ve come, and practice gratitude for all you have. What we appreciate will expand.
Rituals for the full moon
- Write a gratitude list
- Bathe in the moonlight
- Celebrate your wins from the past two weeks (big & small)
- Write a letter of thanks to the moon
- Do some shadow work, and journal on your feelings
- Attend a moon circle with other women (or host your own)
For a more detailed guide on how to create a full moon ritual, click here.
Waning Gibbous Moon (Disseminating Moon)
Keywords: Release, receive, appreciate, abundance.
Season/Sabbat Correspondence: Lughnasadh.
On the way to our goals and intentions, we will always be forced to let of or give up something else in order to fulfil that goal. This is what stands in the way of you and your soul desires. So now is the time to do some deep soul discovery work.
Ask yourself what is holding you back from what you want?
Is it negative thoughts, procrastination, self-sabotage, fear, laziness, an in-balance in other areas of your life, a toxic relationship, giving too much of your energy to other people?
Give yourself space to feel into this until you discover the root of your blockages.
Remind yourself of all the great progress you’ve made, but don’t get complacent. There is still work to be done here.
Be open to receiving these lessons, don’t be afraid of doing this deep work. And be sure to make some time for self-care too.
Rituals for the waning gibbous moon
- Release negative energy in your life with a burning ritual
- Practice self-care & kindness
- Meditate as a way to open yourself to receiving
Last Quarter (or Third Quarter/Waning Half Moon)
Keywords: Make space, set boundaries, breathe.
Season/Sabbat Correspondence: Autumn, Mabon.
As the light of the moon begins to wane, our energy is drawn inwards again. Whatever guidance and answers you seek can be found within. Be sure to create space and stillness to listen to these messages however they are channelled to you, and act on them.
Following what you chose to release during the previous moon phase, you are now being called to clear that space so the new can come in.
If you ended a toxic relationship, you can now open yourself to meeting a new, positive person who inspires you.
If one of your intentions is to move your body more, let go of that extra 30 minutes in bed or watching TV and go for a walk or do a yoga class at home.
Rituals for the last quarter
- Create a schedule or a budget
- Breath work to calm your nervous system
Waning Crescent (or Balsamic Moon)
Keywords: Recuperate, self-care, recharge, surrender, reflect.
Season/Sabbat Correspondence: Samhain.
This is the final moon phase of the moon cycle, before the sky goes completely dark ahead of the new moon.
Your physical energy may be low during the balsamic moon phase, but your emotional and spiritual intelligence will be high. Surrender to this.
Slow down and make time for self-care—this will help you move forward with your goals and intentions, and give you much needed space for reflection.
You’ve done and been through a lot over the past three weeks. Honour this. Make sure you give yourself time to recharge in preparation for the new cycle.
What have I learned this cycle?
How can I use this to help me manifest my intentions?
Where am I holding back/where can I show up more?
How have I grown?
Rituals for the balsamic moon
- Practice self-care every day during this phase
- Make time for deep reflection
- Complete loose ends before the new moon
This is a rough guide to working with the energy of the moon phases, and flowing with her. When we do this, life feels easier. We’re no longer pushing or pulling, and everything starts to feel in harmony.
If you want to know more about the moon phase dates for where you live, you can click here.