The Moon Cycle - Lunar Phases 101

To start living with the Moon cycle, it is important to know more about the different phases and the energies that are associated with each phase. In this blog post, the Lunar cycle and 8 Lunar phases are explained. 

The Moon Cycle

Why is it called a cycle, to begin with? Let's start off with a little science first. The Moon cycles around our planet, just like Earth has an orbit around the Sun. The interesting thing is that where the Earth turns around its axis, the Lunar axis is exactly aligned with the surface of the Earth. This is called tidally locked, and it is caused by the gravitational forces between the Earth and the Moon. That's why we always see the Moon from one side only. To look at the back of the Moon you have to travel behind it with a satellite or a spacecraft. How interesting and mysterious! In the linked video you can see that the axis of the Moon is 'tied' to the Earth.

The Moon circles around the Earth in 29.5 days. That's what is called a complete Moon cycle and the reason why every month, the Full Moon appears in our sky (see how the duration of the Moon's orbit is approximately 1 month?).

The Moon cycle begins with the New Moon when the Moon is completely dark and invisible. It then grows in shape, until she reaches the Full Moon and then she shrinks again to a Dark of New Moon.

The shape of the Moon is determined by where it is in its orbit around the Earth and the part that is lit by the Sun. The shape of the directly sunlit portion of the Moon as viewed from Earth is called the Lunar phase. 

Living with the Moon Cycle

Now we know what the Lunar phases are. Before the orbits of the Earth and Moon were known from a modern scientific point of view, the Moon was known by her Lunar phases and how she appeared to humans. The cycle of the Moon has been revered in many cultures and traces of this ancient knowledge have been kept. For example, farmer's almanacs are published every year, and they use the Lunar phases to indicate the best times for planting, pruning, and harvesting. It has been known for ages that the Moon influences activities, energy, and growth but we almost lost that knowledge in our science-oriented Western culture. 

In many traditions and religions all over the globe, the Moon is recognized as an important force or factor. For example, the Moon cycle is described by (Vedic) Astrology, Ayurveda, Yoga traditions, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Taoism, Shamanistic cultures in North and South America, Siberia, and many more. Knowledge about the Lunar phases and their power has been preserved among many indigenous cultures. It is only now that the West rediscovers these ancient practices.

Not being brought up in a culture that lives with the Moon (only the scientific knowledge was passed on to me as a child), I had to discover Her influence by following the Lunar phases and their influence in my own life. After 10 years of doing so, I can see how the phases carry a different energy and how they align with my health, energy levels, my dreams and quality of sleep, and much more. It helped me to recover from burnout and to reconnect with nature and my true self.

Nowadays, there are sources available to help you connect with the Moon, like Moon tracking apps and many books. 

The Lunar phases

New Moon

This is the phases where the Moon is not visible. The sunlight is coming from the other side of the Moon and that is why we don't see Her in the sky. The New Moon phase is associated with the shadows, the unseen, our subconscious. It's a great time to go inward, reflect and see what shadows could be brought to the surface. Around the New Moon, you can experience fatigue, exhaustion or low energy and mood. This is an invitation to withdraw yourself a little, to rest and to apply self-care.

Waxing Crescent Moon

When the Moon begins to become visible again and grows, this is called waxing. During this phase, it is the perfect time to set an intention for the Moon Cycle. Maybe you want to focus on a project, or you want to attract something into your life. Make it known, write it down, journal about it to set a clear intention.

First Quarter Moon

The Moon is half lit during the First Quarter Moon and invites you to think ahead. What is needed to let your intention grow and manifest? Make plans, make a list, create an overview of action steps that will get you where you want to be. You can feel your energy rise.

Waxing Gibbous Moon

If you haven't done so, it is now time to move ahead with your plans. The Waxing Gibbous Moon is telling you that it is time to step into your fullest potential. Make that call, connect with others, ask for support when needed, and make sure you have everything in place for the next phase of maximum growth. The Waxing Gibbous Moon is almost Full.

Full Moon

The Full Moon is a time of abundance, maximum growth, and expansion. During the Full Moon, you can feel energized, open, socially engaged, have vivid dreams or restless sleep. This is the perfect time to work, socialize, create and make use of the heightened energy. Emotions can also be heightened.

Waning Gibbous Moon

The Full Moon is waning and expansion has stopped. The fruit of your actions is ripening. Don't let yourself be distracted, tend to your crops, they need to be well cared for. Reflect on what you can do to collect a bountiful harvest. Reflect and let go of any blocks that hold you back in receiving the best result of your efforts. 

Last Quarter Moon

The Moon is half lit and soon going towards the dark phase again. This is a time of harvesting what you created. Look back at the intention you set at the beginning of the cycle. Reflect and evaluate now on the cycle. What has come to life? What did you attract, create, manifest? What went well, and what could have gone better? Tie any loose ends that need your attention.

Waning Crescent Moon

The Moon is only a small crescent and you can feel your energy levels go down. Take your time to rest and restore, in preparation for a new Moon Cycle. Give thanks to the Moon, for She helped you create your visions. 

The benefits of living with the Moon

The beauty of the Moon Cycle is that every month you have a new opportunity to connect with Her energy and let Her support you in your life. Through connecting to the Lunar Cycle you are able to make plans and execute them, in a balanced way, without burning out. There is always time to rest and a chance to start over. You will experience more energy, less stress, more health, abundance, joy, and success when you start connecting with the Moon.