Moon Phases 101: How to align with the moon cycle

There’s a reason why modern-day moon enthusiasts tend to be so devoted to the moon: To learn your way around the lunar cycle is to open yourself up to a whole new way of life. It truly is a game-changer, in more ways than one. Curious about what the moon can do for you? Here’s what you need to know in order to start aligning with the cycles of the moon.


Firstly: The moon, the big ball of light in the night sky, bears a lot of weight in our use of astrology. This luminary is the fastest moving body in the solar system and the closest to earth, making it the most constantly changing and potentially, influential on human life. The ocean tides are said to be controlled by the moon’s gravitational tug, and we humans are, after all, 70% water. The moon may have more of an impact on us than we think!


In astrology, the moon represents the part of us that is most constantly changing and intimate. It is a symbol of our inner-world - our emotions, dreams, and intuition

(where the sun, the luminary that gives light during the day, represents how we ‘show up’ in the world). When we talk about the moon we’re talking about our emotional needs, our energy levels.


We can think of our energy levels as mirrored by the phases of the moon: Astrologers say that our energy starts to build at the new moon, or the start of a cycle, then reaches a peak two weeks later at the full moon. After that, it wanes again, just like diminishing moon in the sky, until the cycle ends on the 28th or 29th day. The moon moves through one full cycle around the earth every 29.5 days, starting with a new moon, culminating with a full moon, then waning down to a new moon again. Each phase of it's 29 day journey carries a distinct energy, and asks to be worked with in a certain way.


Here are four main phases of a lunar cycle, and how you can align with them:


New moon (next new moon July 9th)


The new moon marks the start of a new 29 day lunar cycle. At this phase, the sky is dark - the moon is barely a sliver of light yet, so you can’t see it in the night sky. The sky is like a blank canvas – this is a time of pure potential. New moons are all about new beginnings and fresh starts. This is a time to set intentions and welcome a new perspective.


What to do at the new moon: Look inward and clarify your intention. Take one action to acknowledge - or ‘set’ your intention. That might be, writing it down, speaking it aloud, or taking one action to let the universe know what you want. Get ready to move forward, whether that looks like cleaning out a closet and declaring yourself done with a certain season of your life, or acknowledging your truth in writing, etc.


First quarter waxing moon (July 16th)

As the moon waxes from new to full, our energy and clarity builds. This week-long period is all about experimentation and taking action to make your intentions real. Demonstrate commitment to what you want, harness confidence and assert yourself in the ways that feel right. Recalibrate then things don’t turn out as you hoped or anticipated, and try a new way. The waxing moon is all about getting feedback and action on it. There’s no failure, only feedback!


What to do at the first quarter moon: Embrace the process of assembling a plan and executing on it. Speak and act as if you have what you want, and do what you can to move forward. Ask for help where you need it, be resourceful and dissolve uncertainty by asking questions.


Full moon (July 23rd)


The culmination of the lunar cycle, 2 and a half weeks after the new moon, is when the moon reaches peak-full. The moon is fully illuminated, the biggest and brightest it will get. The full moon is a time of outpour. It starts off the manifestation period of the lunar cycle, when we start to reap the benefits of our actions in the first half of the cycle.


What to do at the full moon: Rather than try to control your actions so much, the full moon asks that we let it out. Express yourself. Share what you need to share with others. Hit publish, launch, send, make the call, etc. Let go a little and give up control. Celebrate all your output from over the past 2 weeks and enjoy this time of heightened intuition.

Last quarter waning moon (July 30th)

This period between the full and the next new moon, when the moon is decreasing in size and light, is best used for ‘sorting through our harvest.’ This is a time of decrease. What happened over the course of 2-3 weeks, and what felt totally aligned with you? What didn’t? Clear out the clutter and hone in on what’s working.


What to do at the last quarter waning moon: Notice what you’ve called in, enjoy what feeling good, and take steps to release what's not working. Refocus and reconsider your priorities. Clear space for better, leading up to the new moon.


Dark moon (August 7th)


The day or two before the next new moon, the moon is dark in the sky. Energy is low, but there is lot happening under the surface. This is a time to embrace being fully present, as a full cycle has just about run its course. Who are you now, that this cycle is just about over?


What to do at the dark moon: Chill. Retreat and reflect on the last 28 day cycle. Meditation and journaling are impactful around now.


In essence, aligning our action - and non-action, with the cycle of the moon is about making the most of our energy levels. Keeping track of your feelings and what tends to happen in our life and considering what the moon is doing can help you understand your cycles a little better. It’s a way to be even more mindful of your growth and progress, and your connection to all things. Following the moon is about going with the flow with intention. That’s the way to live, right?


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