Whether it’s a bright, luminous glow on a clear, crisp morning, or a tiny sliver of a crescent just after a new moon, something stirs within me when I see the moon.
I have always tried to pay attention to moon phases as I do the cyclical changes that each season brings.
Doing this gives me a sense of connection with the Earth that puts my daily challenges and stresses into perspective, reduces anxiety, and fills me with a sense of peace and wonderment.
For ancient peoples, the moon was used as a calendar. Because the moon transforms as it shifts through its eight key phases every 29-and-a-half days, it was used to mark the changing of the seasons, and even the best time to plant or harvest crops.
The moon was seen as more than just a ball of rock in the sky reflecting the sun’s light back to Earth at night. The moon was mysterious and inspired the worship of countless moon deities.
The moon factors prominently into some modern spiritualities as well.
While modern society no longer relies on the moon as much as our ancestors did, following moon phases can give you a deep sense of connection to the cycles of nature, boost mindfulness, and keep you working toward your life goals.
Working With Moon Phases
What does it mean to “work with the phases of the moon”?
When working with moon phases, you commit to working on different areas of your life through each lunar cycle.
In a way, I use the moon as a spiritual calendar – each phase being a point of reflection through my growth journey each cycle.
A simple way of working with the moon for spiritual or personal growth is to:
- Use the New Moon as a time to set goals and intentions that you want to fulfill by the next Full Moon, and
- Use the Full Moon to release something from your life so you can make space for something new and better by the next New Moon.
8 Moon Phases & Sample Rituals
During each lunar month, there are eight key moon phases that help keep you on track.
I see each phase as a checkpoint or mile marker though my self-growth journey.
🌑︎ – New Moon
The New Moon is the perfect time to start a new habit or project. This is the perfect time to launch a business, or a new diet, or even a 14-30-day personal development challenge.
The New Moon is like a blank slate. It marks a new beginning.
As the lunar cycle progresses to the Full Moon, you can work on areas of your life that need more abundance – health, finances, relationships, creativity.
Keywords: Fresh starts, taking time for yourself, soul-searching, manifesting, setting goals and intentions, reboot.
Season/Sabbat Correspondence: Winter, Yule.
Ritual: Light a candle, crack open a journal, and get really specific about what you want to manifest in your life over the next 30 days.
I like to use my mini cauldron (<– Amazon affiliate link), but you can also use a small, decorative box, in ritual as well. I will write my goal or intention on a piece of paper and place it in the cauldron. Then I will place an appropriate crystal on top (citrine for finances, rose quartz for relationships, orange calcite for creativity and joy, etc…). Then I cover with a lid until the Full Moon.
🌒︎ – Waxing Crescent
The Waxing Crescent Moon is a welcome sight as the moon begins to fill in after disappearing during the New Moon.
This is a time to put in the work to manifest the goal or intention that you set during the New Moon.
I typically call this the “action/hustle moon phase.”
Keywords: Manifesting, hustle, take action.
Season/Sabbat Correspondence: Early spring, Imbolc.
Ritual: Each evening, take 5 minutes and celebrate your wins. It doesn’t matter how small, or if you have veered off course. Celebrate that you can start again tomorrow.
Celebrate that you made a green smoothie instead of eating a donut.
Celebrate that you completed day 3 of your 30-day challenge.
Always, always, celebrate your wins – every single day!
🌓︎ – First Quarter
By the First Quarter Moon, action and hustle may meet obstacles and resistance.
You may find yourself battling your willpower. The excitement about starting a new project or habit fades as the real, hard work sets in.
The First Quarter is a time to work toward balance, and stay focused on solutions and growht opportunities when you face push back and obstacles.
The First Quarter Moon is a time to work on your motivation, overcome procrastination, and ferret out self-sabotaging behaviors.
Keywords: Work hard toward your goals, resistance, obstacles that need to be overcome (usually the obstacle is YOU).
Season/Sabbat Correspondence: Spring, Ostara.
Ritual: Light a white candle and hold a piece of clear quartz in your hand. This is a time to get clarity. Reconnect to your vision of what you want in your life. It’s also a time to forgive.
Forgive yourself for falling back into old patterns. Don’t judge yourself or beat yourself up. Simply acknowledge where you are, and then commit to re-commit!
Read over your journal entry from the New Moon and reconnect to your vision. Fill in any gaps where you weren’t ultra-specific about what you wanted. Create a vision board. Create a schedule. Read a personal development book. Watch a motivational video.
Do this daily!
🌔︎ – Waxing Gibbous Moon
The Waxing Gibbous Moon is a time to make refinements to your goals, and your strategy.
It’s a time to check-in with yourself and see what’s working, and what’s not.
Is your timeline realistic?
What are the major obstacles getting in your way?
What kind of support do you need to keep going?
Where can you find that support?
Keywords: Refinement, celebrating your accomplishments, endurance.
Season/Sabbat Correspondence: Late Spring, Beltane.
Ritual: Three rituals that help me overcome challenges, and obstacles, is to 1) Practice daily gratitude, 2) celebrate my wins – small or large, and 3) read my affirmations daily.
🌕︎ – Full Moon
The Full Moon is a time to celebrate and reap the benefits of what you set in motion during the New Moon.
Now, you might not have achieved your goal in just two weeks. Perhaps you’re only half-way through a 30-day challenge.
Maybe you completely went off track with your new moon intentions.
That’s fine. It’s not time to judge or be hard on yourself.
It’s time to celebrate your wins over the last two weeks – no matter how small.
Express your gratitude for where you are in life right now, and how far you have come since the New Moon.
If you did fall off track, use the Full Moon as an opportunity to recommit and start again.
Keywords: Celebrate, harvest, gratitude, reflection.
Season/Sabbat Correspondence: Summer, Litha.
Ritual: While I highly recommend taking a few minutes each day to think of five things that you are grateful for, the Full Moon is a great time to fully celebrate the blessings in life.
Light a candle, diffuse your favorite essential oil (or burn your favorite incense), and treat yourself to some small luxury.
Then take a few minutes to celebrate your wins over the past two weeks.
Visualize the fulfillment of your goal that you set during the New Moon and be grateful that that goal/dream is becoming steadily fulfilled.
Write this down in your journal. You can even write a letter to the Moon and thank her for her support and encouragement.
🌖︎ – Waning Gibbous Moon
The Waning Gibbous Moon is a time of releasing and letting go.
As you work toward any goal in life, there is always something that needs to be given up to facilitate the fulfillment of that goal.
Now is the time to roll up your sleeves and dive into some spiritual/self-growth work. It’s time to identify at least one area of your life that is getting in the way of fulfilling your goal/intention, and work toward releasing that in your life.
It could be negative self-talk, self-sabotaging behaviors, or procrastination. Perhaps it’s a toxic relationship, or fear, or relying too much on others for your own happiness.
Whatever it is, take this time to reflect, and identify one area in your life that is keeping you stuck.
The Waning Gibbous Moon reminds us that while we have made progress, there is still work to be done.
Keywords: Release, let go.
Season/Sabbat Correspondence: Late Summer, Lughnasadh.
Ritual: A couple weeks ago, Tracy and I shared a burning ritual that we did for releasing negative influences in our lives. It was a powerful experience.
The Waning Gibbous Moon is the perfect time to ritualistically release what doesn’t serve you. But don’t just do the ritual, be prepared to do the actual work involved, too!
🌗︎ – Last Quarter (or Third Quarter)
The Last Quarter Moon is a time to make space to receive.
It is also an opportunity to reflect on balance (or what is imbalanced), and where boundaries need to be set.
During the Waning Gibbous Moon, you identified one area of your life that you want to release.
When you release something from your life, something else must take its place. This week, you are going to clear that space, and hold it for something better.
For example, if you ended a toxic relationship, then clear space to welcome a positive, motivating friend.
If your goal is to lose weight, then go through your kitchen and toss any and all unhealthy, junk foods.
If your goal is to be more creative, then eliminate an hour of TV-watching (or Facebook, etc…) and hold that space for creativity time.
Keywords: Make space, set boundaries.
Season/Sabbat Correspondence: Autumn, Mabon.
Ritual: The act of de-cluttering, or even creating a schedule or budget, IS a ritual. It can be overwhelming, though, so take it easy.
Just do one small thing each day (ie: declutter 1 square foot of desk space, or block off 15 minutes to make art.)
🌘︎ – Waning Crescent (or Balsamic Moon)
You’ve done a LOT over the past three weeks or so. Self-growth is hard work.
The Waning Crescent Moon reminds us to take time for self-care so we don’t burn out completely.
The Balsamic Moon is the thinnest sliver of light of a waning crescent moon.
Keywords: Recuperate, self-care, recharge.
Season/Sabbat Correspondence: Late Autumn, Samhain.
Ritual: Pick one of the self-care activities from this list and do it today.
🌑︎ – A Note About The “Dark Moon”
The Dark Moon is not a moon phase that I typically observe in my practice. To me, the Dark Moon is the same thing as the waning crescent (the very tail end of this phase).
However, different spiritual paths may observe this unique phase of the moon which is sometimes called the “old moon”. Some astrologists consider the dark moon and balsamic moon the same thing, while others consider it an “in-between” phase just after the balsamic waning moon and just before the new moon, still carrying energy of the full moon from 2 weeks prior.
Either way, it’s a liminal phase where the moon is invisible, rising just after the sun, but not yet an astronomical new moon.
This dark moon is often associated with the goddess Hecate, and used for shadow work, self-care, and for doing any last-minute releasing rituals to clear your energy before the new moon begins.
In general, the dark moon will occur the day before or hours before the calendar new moon.
There is nothing ominous about a Full Blood Moon. The reddish color that the moon takes on during a total lunar eclipse is a result of sunlight reflecting off of the Earth.
Lunar eclipses do not happen very often, so when they do, I take them as a sign to shake things up and leap out of my comfort zone.
Eclipses are a time to finally make a decision that you have put off for too long.
It’s a time to take bold, decisive action.
It’s a time to put yourself out there, to breathe through the fear and hesitation, and rock the boat a bit.
Moon & Astrological Meanings
As the Moon orbits around the Earth, it appears in different areas of the sky. Because of this, the Moon is constantly moving through the different constellations of the Zodiac – changing signs every 2-and-a-half days.
I find that incorporating astrological associations greatly enhances my work with the phases of the Moon – even though I don’t personally pay that much attention to natal astrology, or necessarily believe in astrology, per-se.
Below is a list and quick profiles of the 12 moon signs with associated keywords/phrases that you can incorporate into your Moon workings.
Once again, the New Moon is for manifesting, and working toward dreams, while the Full Moon is typically a time for celebrating, gratitude, and releasing.
Aries – ♈︎ : Taking initiative, starting new projects, putting yourself out there.
Taurus – ♉︎ : Security, pleasure, getting things done.
Gemini – ♊︎ : Communication.
Cancer – ♋︎ : Connect with feelings, home and domestic life.
Leo – ♌︎ : Leadership, confidence.
Virgo – ♍︎ : Service, well-being, self-care.
Libra – ♎︎ : Balance, harmony, compromise.
Scorpio – ♏︎ : Healing, rebirth. Fresh start.
Sagittarius – ♐︎ : Adventure, take a risk, try something new, get out of your comfort zone.
Capricorn – ♑︎ : Structure, long-term goals.
Aquarius – ♒︎ : Passion/love, unconventional ideas & approaches.
Pisces – ♓︎ : Creativity, passion, reflection.
Lunar Astrology Calendar for 2023
Here are a list of dates for the new and full moons for 2023. (2024 dates to be posted soon!)
Please note that all dates are based on the time the moon becomes new or full in the Eastern Time Zone (USA).
Click on the links for info, journal prompts, correspondences, tarot spreads, and ritual ideas for each moon phase.
- Full Moon in Cancer – January 6
- New Moon in Aquarius – January 21
- Full Moon in Leo – February 5
- New Moon in Pisces – February 20
- Full Moon in Virgo – March 7
- New Moon in Aries – March 21
- Full Moon in Libra – April 6
- New Moon in Aries – April 20 *2nd Aries new moon
- Full Moon in Scorpio – May 5
- New Moon in Taurus – May 19
- Full Moon in Sagittarius – June 3
- New Moon in Gemini – June 18
- Full Moon in Capricorn – July 3
- New Moon in Cancer – June 17
- Full Moon in Aquarius – August 1
- New Moon in Leo – August 16
- Full Moon in Pisces – August 30
- New Moon in Virgo – September 14
- Full Moon in Aries – September 29
- New Moon in Libra – October 14
- Full Moon in Taurus – October 28
- New Moon in Scorpio – November 13
- Full Moon in Gemini – November 27
- New Moon in Sagittarius – December 12
- Full Moon in Cancer – December 26
Enhancing Your Moon Workings & Lunar Magic
While all completely optional, there are several things you can do to enhance your lunar practice.
Keep A Moon Journal
Moon journals can be as simple or complex as you’d like. You can either use a standard notebook or buy a dedicated moon journal filled with journal prompts and moon cycle info.
Tracy actually created her own downloadable/printable moon journal, which includes daily journal prompts and guides you through the process of manifesting intentions through each moon phase of the lunar cycle.
Crystals For Working With The Moon
For the New Moon, I usually work with black moonstone and clear quartz, as well as any specific crystals that support intentions (ie: citrine for finances, rose quartz for relationships/love, picture jasper for creativity, etc…).
For the Full Moon, rainbow moonstone and selenite/satin-spar are my go-to crystals.
Herbal Moon Magic
One of my favorite ways to connect to the phases of the moon is through herbal magic.
One of my favorite ways to practice herbal magic is through drinking teas.
Besides the New Moon and Full Moon teas that we carry in our shop, you can incorporate a variety of herbs in your lunar witchcraft practice. Here are a few of my favorites.
- Mugwort: Divination, aligning with lunar energy during any moon phase.
- Lavender: Calming and assists with releasing and letting go during waning moon phases. Can help with anxiety and resistance during the waning moon.
- Chamomile: Assists with rest and relaxation, especially during intense full moon energy.
- Peppermint: Awakens the senses during a full moon to promote heightened awareness and power.
- Calendula: The perfect herb to use when the moon is in fire signs (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius), calendula can help inspire action to help you set your new moon intentions into motion.
An easy way to track moon cycles (and phases) is to get a moon phase app on your phone.
There are many apps to choose from for both Android and IOS, and if you’re on an Android phone, you can get a moon widget that displays the current phase right on your home screen.
I use My Moon Phase – Lunar Calendar app (by JRustonApps B.V.) on my iPhone, which tells me a bunch of information about the moon, including which zodiac sign it is in.
I can also set up alerts to remind myself when the moon is about to be full, or new, or any phase I want to track.
The Old Farmers Almanac has a moon phase calendar on their website.
Do YOU Work With Moon Phases?
If so, please leave a comment below and share!
What rituals do you perform?
How does staying connected to moon phases and lunar cycles enhance your self-care/personal development practice?