The 8 Phases Of The Moon & How They Can Affect Your Mind And Body

Photo: SmartS / Shutterstock
the 8 phases of the Moon
Zodiac

We are all spiritually and psychologically connected to the Moon.

Throughout each of the 8 lunar phases, the Moon controls tides and our energetic fields, impacting our emotional reactions and relationships in a variety of ways.

What are the phases of the Moon?

The 8 phases of the Moon are dictated by the distance between the Sun and the Moon, and how much of the Moon is illuminated by the Sun at any given moment. In the solar system, the Sun always keeps half of the Moon illuminated, but since the Moon moves around Earth constantly, we can only see certain angles at certain times of the month.

The names of the 8 moon phases in order are:

1. New Moon

2. Waxing Crescent Moon

3. First Quarter Moon

4. Waxing Gibbous Moon

5. Full Moon

6. Waning Gibbous Moon

7. Third Quarter Moon

8. Waning Crescent

RELATED: 26 Moon Quotes About Its Feminine Energy Traits

Throughout history and mythology, the Moon is often associated with wisdom, illusion, and intuition. It radiates strong feminine energy, presiding over our monthly cycles as each of the lunar phases occur. Just like the tide, the Moon washes us with moments of extreme energy and times of quiet introspection.

The similarities between the words "moon" and "month" are no coincidence. The Moon orbits around Earth roughly every 28 days, meaning we see all of the phases occur within a month.

Filling ourselves with knowledge about the different phases that occur as the Moon orbits our planet gives us the power to harness the Moon’s exuberant energy and utilize its force in our own spiritual and emotional journeys.

Here are basic explanations of the 8 Moon phases and how they each affect us.

1. New Moon

All photos: Volha Tsiukhai / Shutterstock

The first primary phase of the Moon occurs when the Sun and Moon are directly aligned.

In this face, the Earth and the Sun are on either side of the Moon, meaning the Sun shines directly onto one side of the Moon, but the side of the Moon facing Earth remains dark. Thus, the Moon is not visible from the Earth in this phase.

Sometimes, a Solar Eclipse can occur in this phase.

Spiritually, the New Moon is all about fresh starts and clean slates. If you feel introspective during this phase, lean into this. As the Moon turns its dark side towards us, we feel best when we also turn inward.

Don’t feel bad for canceling plans! The New Moon is time for relaxation, so take a moment to yourself during this phase so you can reenergize. It is a chance to gather your thoughts away from other people who might drain you.

2. Waxing Crescent Moon

As soon as the slightest sliver of the Moon becomes visible, we enter the Waxing Crescent Moon phase. This thin crescent Moon will grow as we remain in this phase, so long as less than half of the Moon is visible.

In the Islamic calendar, this phase is called the New Moon phase, while the first phase of the Moon is called a Dark Moon.

This is a powerful time to plan new projects, ideas, and set your intentions for the month ahead.

What you do during this phase can impact how your month progresses, so be sure to use this time wisely. Write your to-do lists, talk to the universe about your deepest desires, and think positively about your upcoming plans. Sow seeds for regrowth and prosperity for the month ahead.

3. First Quarter Moon

Also known as a Half Moon, this phase occurs when the Moon completes the first quarter of its orbit around Earth. Several factors influence whether you see the left or right half of the Moon illuminated, including your location.

This is a time to make tough decisions. In this phase, life will throw some challenges and obstacles in your path, so it’s important to remain attuned to the intentions and goals you set in the previous phases.

The time for relaxation has passed, so use your energy to push through this phase. This phase is all about action and if you’ve put in good groundwork earlier in the month, you should have no problem.

4. Waxing Gibbous Moon

Crossing over half of the Moon, this phase allows for more illumination on the surface of the Moon. A Gibbous Moon refers to a Moon where the visible shape is larger than a semicircle. Waxing means getting bigger.

This is a time for us to grow and change just as much as the illuminated part of the Moon. We’ve learned a lot from the previous phase, and now is a chance to adjust our paths and refine our desires.

If you dropped the ball in the last phase, this is an amazing time to try again. Reevaluate what’s working and what’s not, adjusting your path accordingly.

Here, we can review what intentions mean the most to us and truly focus on what we want for the rest of the month.

RELATED: 30 Minimalist Moon Phase Tattoo Ideas For Your Next Ink

5. Full Moon

A Full Moon occurs when the Sun and the Moon are aligned on opposite sides of the Earth.

The Sun shines directly onto one half of the Earth and reflects on to the Moon. This alignment can cause a lunar eclipse if a Full Moon passes through the Earth’s shadow.

Technically speaking, a Full Moon only occurs for a moment, before the Moon and Sun are no longer aligned. But we can consider this phase to refer to any time when at least 98 percent of the Moon is illuminated.

This phase can be intense for the mind and body.

Directly opposite one another in the solar system, the Sun and Moon are in opposing zodiac signs during a Full Moon. This means we are left trying to balance two extremes, which can cause emotions to run high.

Like a werewolf howling at the Full Moon, you might find yourself having intense outbursts or moments of extreme passion. Your body might feel overwhelmingly tired or bursting with energy, depending on what emotion is taking hold.

Subscribe to our horoscope & zodiac newsletter

Want to know what's in store for your zodiac sign? Sign up for our free newsletter & get your personal horoscope straight to your inbox daily!

But this is also a time of great abundance. Open yourself up to harvesting your intentions; you might be surprised by what comes your way.

6. Waning Gibbous Moon

The visible part of the Moon decreases during this time. Waning refers to a progressively smaller part of the Moon’s visible surface illuminated. It is a counterpart to the Waxing Gibbous Moon phase.

Having received returns on your metaphorical investments, you’ll be feeling grateful and empowered during this period. If you’ve gone through a tough time, you might have to dig deep to recognize all that you’ve achieved during this month, but even making it here is something to be proud of.

This is a time to give back and show gratitude to everyone who supported you.

Whether it’s a roommate who cooked for you after a long day at work, a significant other who was there for you on hard nights, or a coworker who helped you out with a project, now is the time to send out thank you notes, flowers or buy a round of drinks.

Just don’t burn through that wallet, because you still have two phases to get through this month.

7. Third Quarter Moon

The Third Quarter occurs as the Moon gets closer to completing its orbit. Here, the opposite side of the Moon is illuminated compared to what you saw in the First Quarter.

Like the Moon gradually losing light, this is a time to release and let go of anything burdening you.

Be forgiving of yourself if things didn’t go your way this month. Remember that the time for renewal will come around again soon.

You might also take this time to forgive others or, where you can’t, distance yourself from them. Clean out your apartment, clear your work desk, and remove anything or anyone from your life who isn’t serving you.

Cleanse yourself of all toxicity, toxic thoughts, influences, and people.

8. Waning Crescent Moon

Here, the illuminated part of the Moon gradually wanes to be a crescent. The Moon is completing its orbit in the Waning Crescent phase. This phase allows the Moon to sink back into full darkness so it can reenter the New Moon phase.

Whatever is on your plate, let it go! This phase is like a giant exhale, a chance to release and surrender your worries, fears and concerns.

You may find your body feeling empty during this time, particularly if you’ve had a lot of loss during the month, but embrace this vacancy. It means there’s more room to fill with positivity and abundance next month.

Surrender yourself to change and allow yourself to sink into a relaxed state for the next New Moon cycle.

RELATED: 40 Romantic Moon Quotes To Use For Your Instagram Captions

Alice Kelly is a writer and storyteller with a passion for lifestyle, entertainment, and trending topics. When she’s not creating content for YourTango, you can catch her working on creative fiction and vintage shopping.