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Your Quick Guide to 9 Moon Phases, Their Meaning and How They Impact You

Moon phases are so impactful they’re even a popular tattoo design! The moon signifies wisdom, intuition, birth, death, reincarnation, and a spiritual connection.

Moon cycles are similar to the cycle of a seed: the seed grows into a flower, then blooms, and then dies. The moon also represents our deepest personal needs. We can use the knowledge and energy of the moon’s cycle to better connect with ourselves. Hint: setting intentions is a great way to use the moon for deeper self-awareness. More on that below!

Once we are attuned to the moon, we can activate her innate powers and embody her innate qualities of fluidity, creativity, femininity, and change. Practicing a moon salutation is a potent way to harness the unique energy and characteristics of the moon.

Learn How to Harness Calming, Cooling Lunar Energy With This Moon Salutation Flow Tutorial

The world is made up of dualities: yin and yang, light and dark, hot and cold. The moon represents powerful feminine energy. It is the inverse of the sun, which represents masculine energy. You can’t have one without the other!

The moon is cool, intuitive, nurturing, and passive (in the sense of being rather than doing). The sun, on the other hand, is hot, fiery, and active (meaning the doing, the action). And when it comes to the lunar cycles, each cycle has its own unique energy and characteristics (which we’ll learn more about below).

Once we are attuned to the moon, we can activate her innate powers

Each phase of the moon’s cycle has a unique visual characteristic and spiritual meaning. Her cyclical course also signifies the rhythm of life within us.

This article will cover:

  • A brief overview of the moon
  • The main characteristics of the sun and moon
  • A quick guide to each moon cycle (or phase)
  • Resources to tap into the moon’s potent energy

Read on for a quick guide to the different phases of the moon and their meanings.


9 Moon Phases and Their Meanings: Your Quick Guide

There are nine moon phases, and each have their own unique characteristics which are outlined below. In addition, for anyone who has a menstruation cycle, did you know that the moon influences your ovulation? Learn more about how the moon cycles can influence your ovulation cycles here.

New Moon

The moon is positioned between the Earth and sun so it cannot be seen from Earth. This moon phase signifies new beginnings. This is why it’s the most potent time to set intentions.

What type of intentions can you set during a new moon? Truly, the sky is the limit (pun intended). The point is to get clear on where you’re going in life and what you need to get there. Then, you can decipher the intentions that best align with your overall purpose.

Remember: keep your intentions realistic! Don’t overwhelm yourself with huge, daunting intentions. Instead, set attainable intentions that feel good and that motivate you. This is when moon magic happens!

Waxing Crescent Moon

‘Waxing’ means the moon’s illumination is growing, and ‘crescent’ means less than half of the moon is illuminated.

This moon phase signifies the intention that you set during the new moon phase. Think of this lunar cycle as a visual reminder of the intention you set, as you watch it grow gradually, night by night.

First Quarter Moon

Exactly half of the moon is illuminated and the other half is shadowed. This particular moon cycle signifies decision making.

Take this time to take an honest inventory of where you are in this stage of intention setting and manifesting. How does it align with your vision for the future? How do your actions and decisions align with the intention(s) you set during the new moon?

Waxing Gibbous Moon

‘Waxing’ means the moon’s illumination is growing and ‘gibbous’ means more than half of the moon is illuminated. This moon phase signifies refinement. This lunar phase adds on to the previous phase – it’s your time to continue taking mindful steps that align with your intention.


Full Moon

The Sun illuminates the entire moon. This particular moon cycle signifies release and sealing of an intention. This is the time to revisit the intentions that you’ve set during previous full moons to note their progress. Often, this moon cycle can take six or twelve months (or longer!) to complete.

So remember to be patient! Patience is something the moon teaches us. 🙂

Waning Gibbous

‘Waning’ refers to the decreasing of the Moon’s illumination, and ‘gibbous’ means more than half of Moon illuminated. This moon phase signifies gratitude. As you reflect on all the abundance that you already have in your life, this lunar cycle is the time to focus on gratitude. Bonus points for writing it down in a gratitude journal!

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.

In addition to forgiveness (towards yourself and others), this moon phase is also a great opportunity to again reflect on the intention you set during the last new moon, and also revisit the inventory you took on your actions and decisions. Are they still in alignment with your intention?

No judgment if the answer is no! This is the beauty of understanding and working with moon phases – they simply provide an opportunity to deepen your self-awareness.

Waning Crescent

‘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. Surrender is another feminine characteristic associated with the moon. It signifies a time to let go: let go of your intention, your stress or worries, and simply enjoy being alive.

This is the moon phase of surrendering to the here and now, and embracing life for what it is. Relax, take a deep breath, and just be.

New Moon

The moon is positioned between the Earth and Sun so it cannot be seen from Earth. This phase signifies new beginnings, and the moon cycle begins again. The new moon, as we discussed in the full moon above, is the time to set intentions that you seek to manifest in your life. Now is the time!

Follow the Moon Phases and Attune Yourself to Her Glow

As the closest astronomical body to us, the Moon has a powerful influence on us as spiritual bodies. The Full Moon offers the most profound energies that we can absorb, while the New Moon is the next most powerful energy.

One way to connect to each moon phase energy and influence is to use the Moon’s energy to help set our intentions and clear negativity.

Want to connect even more with Moon energy? Learn How to Harness the Moon’s Energy with These Moon Rituals

The Moon’s cycle is 29.5 days and it represents a full life-cycle. Each phase of the Moon has a different meaning and rhythm to the body.

Moon phases show us how the Moon affects the ebb and flow of our entire existence. Once we are attuned to the Moon and her cycles, we can activate her innate powers and embody her distinctively powerful attributes.

Tap Into the Energy of Each Moon Cycle

Take this unique yoga program on YA Classes with Kate Van Horn and channel the energy of the moon (and sun).

Yoga Program
With Kate Van Horn


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wonderful comments!

Jillian Grabarczyk

Jillian is a yogi and recipe developer living in Ann Arbor, MI. She is a Finance graduate from Ohio University and divides her time between teaching yoga and working a part-time office job to support her essential oil habit.

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