When the moon cycles around the Earth every 29.5 days, we see a different portion of it illuminated from our line of sight. This is called the lunar cycle and the phases we observe are known as new moon, first quarter, full moon and last quarter.
Each phase has a specific spiritual meaning. For instance, a new moon is about aligning with your heart’s desires and setting intentions to move towards them.
First Quarter Moon
The first quarter Moon is halfway between the new moon and full moon. It is also called the half moon because we see only half of its illuminated side.
The Moon is very bright during this phase because it is reflecting the sunlight from the Sun. This is what makes the Moon seem so large in the sky.
It is a good time to take stock of what you’ve been doing and to evaluate your progress so far. It is also a great time to think about setting new goals and moving forward with your plans.
A first quarter moon ritual can be a great way to take stock and reevaluate your life. It is also a great time to harness the energy of the moon and move forward.
The Moon goes through four major shapes during this cycle, which repeats every 29.5 days. Each phase has its own meaning and can help you find your way through the lunar cycle.
Second Quarter Moon
The Second Quarter Moon is one of the intermediate phases of the Moon cycle. During this phase, the left half of the Moon is illuminated progressively as the days pass. This explains why we say it’s a “quarter moon.”
The phases of the Moon are due to the eccentric orbit that Earth takes around the Sun, which changes the shape of the Moon from night to night and causes the Moon to change appearance in the sky. It also causes the light from the reflected sunlight to be redirected slightly from the center of the Moon, creating different angles that are visible to us.
The Moon passes through four major shapes during a cycle that repeats itself every 29.5 days. These changes are called the moon phase cycle, or synodic month.
Third Quarter Moon
The third quarter moon is the last primary phase of the moon cycle. It’s the point where the Moon has traveled three-quarters of its orbit around Earth, hence the name.
The lunar cycle begins with a new moon, then a first quarter, and finally a full moon. Then, we go through a series of phases called Waxing Crescent, Waxing Gibbous, and Waning Crescent until the next New Moon.
Each of these phases represents a different part of the moon cycle. They also represent a certain phase of the moon’s journey from Earth to the Sun.
When the moon is at its apogee, or highest point in its orbit around the Sun, it is a full moon. When the moon is at its perihelion, or lowest point in its orbit around the Sun, it’s a new moon.
The Moon’s eccentric orbit means it changes its apparent size and direction of view from night to night. This is called lunar libration and it is very subtle to the human eye, but can be seen in time-lapse photography.
In astronomy, the Full Moon is the moment when the side of the moon that faces the sun is completely illuminated. Typically, the full moon is visible to Earth from around sunset to sunrise.
The Full Moon is a magical time of the month. It’s also the perfect opportunity to set and manifest new goals. To maximize the impact of this powerful lunar phase, try a simple manifestation ritual.
Many people have a belief that a full moon can influence sleep patterns, mental health and even physical illnesses. However, most of these myths are unfounded.
Another common misconception is that a full moon can disrupt your circadian rhythm, which helps regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. A 2015 study found no correlation between lunar phases and changes in sleep quality.
As for a connection between the moon and reproductive cycles, a 2021 study found no evidence that the moon has any influence over menstrual cycles. But that doesn’t mean you should not be aware of your cycle and take care to avoid any sudden shifts in your schedule around the full moon.
Waxing Crescent Moon
The Waxing Crescent Moon is one of the intermediate phases that occur after the New Moon and before the First Quarter. This phase is essentially the Moon’s first quarter of its journey around Earth.
During this phase, half of the Moon’s illuminated surface is lit up. As it travels around the Earth, the sunlit side gradually creeps up and overtakes the night side.
A waxing crescent is an ideal time to set new intentions, and get focused on self-improvement. This phase can also be a good time to work on any projects that are currently stuck in the back burner.
The four principle phases of the moon cycle – New Moon, First and Third Quarter, Full Moon and Last Quarter – each last 7.4 days on average, while the four secondary phases – the Waxing Crescent, the Waxing Gibbous and the Waning Crescent – last 21.6% of the cycle.
Waxing Gibbous Moon
A waxing gibbous moon is the intermediate phase between the First Quarter and Full Moon phases. In this phase, the sun’s light covers more than half of the moon’s illuminated portion.
During this time, the dividing line between the dark and light parts of the moon is called a terminator. During this phase, the terminator moves steadily across the Earth-facing lunar disc, revealing shadows on features such as craters and lunar maria.
Waxing gibbous is also the phase that immediately precedes the Full Moon – a period of abundance, completion and fertility. It’s a time for hard work and study, but it’s important to keep your priorities in check.
A waxing gibbous phase suggests redirection, adjustment, and flexibility – all signs that your plans are starting to get challenged by the world around you. It’s a great time to pay attention to what physical worldly obstacles you have in your way, and look for creative ways to overcome them. You might find that the universe has bigger plans for you than you thought!
Waning Crescent Moon
The Waning Crescent Moon is the intermediate phase between a Full Moon and a New Moon. During this phase the light of the moon gradually decreases until we cannot see it anymore.
During this phase, the illuminated portion of the Moon is less than 50%, and it continues to shrink until we can no longer see it. This is an important part of the lunar cycle because it is the last phase before a New Moon and right after a Third Quarter.
When the Moon is waxing crescent, it rises high in the sky before dawn and sets low after sunset. This is a great time to observe the crescent shape and the features of the Moon’s surface.
The waning crescent appears high in the eastern sky, with its points or horns aiming rightward, heralding the sunrise. The crescent reaches its widest form in the early morning, and a slim one around midnight.
During the waxing phase, the illuminated portion of the moon gets larger and the dark side of it starts to get smaller. The shape of the moon during this phase resembles the letter “D”.
Waxing crescents are one step closer to the full moon than a full moon, but it’s not quite there yet. The name of this phase comes from the fact that it looks like a crescent, meaning that it will resemble a circle on your night sky at night.
If you’re watching the moon, this is the time to remember the quarters of the moon cycle: First Quarter – 50% of the moon will be illuminated by the sun and its opposite side will be illuminated by the moon.
Second Quarter – 25% of the moon will be illuminated by the Sun and its opposite side will be illuminated by moon.
Third Quarter – 40% of the moon will be illuminated by the sunshine and its opposite side will be illuminated by a sliver of the moon.
The waning moon is a good time to focus on downsizing and clearing out old energy in your life. Psychic and medium Natalie Kuna suggests using this time to evaluate your current habits and relationships, as well as the sources of toxicity in your life.