The new moon is commonly regarded as the first phase in the lunar month. Luna rises in the morning with the sun, and is at her highest point around midday. This, of course means that we can’t see her and by night time she is curving around between the Earth and the Sun, leaving the night sky dark.
New moon time is traditionally a time of retreat, a time when we are more sensitive, introspective and intuitive.
It is therefore an ideal time to meditate, to immerse yourself in solitude, and enjoy your own company or that of very close friends.
Physically, we may need to rest more than at other times and the appetite is naturally at its lowest ebb. The body is in a natural state of cleansing and elimination so the new moon is an ideal time to do a juice cleanse or a days fast.
The new moon signifies new beginnings. It is the pregnant pause before the thin crescent of light reappears and energy expands again, so it is the ideal time to set conscious intentions for the coming month.
Waxing Crescent / First Quarter
Each day the moon moves eastwards by about 12 degrees, which means she rises about 50 minutes later and later every day. Before long, she is visible in the evening after the sun has set, as a crescent illuminated from the right. As the week progresses, more of the suns light hits her surface until she is seen as a half circle in the evening sky.
During the first week after the new moon, lunar energy is rising, and with it we become emotionally stronger. There is a sense of emerging from the shadows, reconnecting with the external world, and those seeds of new beginnings starting to germinate.
The body is now taking in and storing nourishment so you may notice your appetite has increased and it is easier to gain weight (no bad thing! – your body is entering a phase of building up nutritional reserves, in preparation for times of action and activity). This also means that any measures taken to counter nutrient deficiencies in the body will be doubly effective during this (and the following) phase, as the body will readily absorb and store what you give it.
You may be struck with new ideas and insights, and it is an ideal time to begin making plans and strategizing. You could feel restless, as though you have the urge to spring up and get started on new projects, but physical or emotional inertia may still hold its grip. So it is wise to be patient, set the foundations and maintain balance as lunar energy continues to rise.
During the second week of the waxing moon (run up the full moon), she continues to rise later in the afternoon, and takes on a more bulbous, rounded shape so that she begins to illuminate the night sky once the sun has set.
Energy becomes more dynamic and our focus more external.
We are both self aware – still inhabiting out inner world – and socially active, becoming more gregarious and communicative, willing to share ideas and to take on others points of view.
Confidence rises with lunar energy so it’s an ideal time to try new things. Harnessing this energy makes us feel confident and spontaneous so be adventurous and take risks. It is the time to bring plans into being and see our intentions manifest.
Our appetites continue to increase during this lunar phase and you may need less sleep than during the previous week.
This is a time when we are physically strong, so you may have the urge for exercise, particularly wanting to take part in competitive or team sports.
Our sun and moon are opposing – 180 degrees away from each other so that Luna rises as the sun sets. This light is reflected straight on, and the full face of the moon is illuminated throughout the night, until she finally sets at dawn.
Our energy levels reflect this full illumination too, as we often feel at our most passionate, creative and connected during this phase.
This is a peak of sociability. We enjoy company, communing and sharing our time, and so it is the ideal time to host or attend parties and social gatherings.
We can wake earlier than usual in the mornings, and may find it harder to sleep at night as our daily energy peaks later on in the afternoon or evening. So why not stay up late, while our bodies are encouraging us to do so! There is time to catch up on sleep later in the lunar month.
Parents may find their children waking often in the night during the full moon, or unable to get to sleep.
Our physical energy is also at its peak, so now is the time to capitalize and do strenuous, demanding workouts. Be careful not to over stretch, or cause injury – these are most common during the full moon, as we are both likely to exert ourselves and take more risks.
This is commonly the phase when sexual energy is at its fullest: we are relaxed, engaging and easy going, and can be instinctively more flirtatious. We may also sub consciously put more effort into our appearance, in order to be more attractive to our mate.
Midwives will claim that more babies are born around the full moon, as pregnant women are spurred into labour.
It is worth noting too, that it is possible to feel over emotional, manic, and overwhelmed, as the transfer of lunar energy has such a powerful effect at this time. As such, this over illumination may cause some people to feel vulnerable, drained and lacking in self-esteem. If this is true for you, be sure to take extra care with more sleep, better nourishment and nurturing activities.
Luna continues to rise later into the night, once the sun has already set. Appearing as a shrinking globe, her left side is illuminated. She may still just be visible over the western horizon, once daylight returns in the morning.
The week following the full moon is often a time for consolidation as lunar energy starts to diminish again and our activity levels begin to drop off. It may be a time when projects come to a close (or pause) and we are able to slow down, look back and clearly assess the month. It is good to remind yourself to feel proud, satisfied and complete, and to share these sentiments with others.
Typically, as our focus begins to turn inward again, our skills of analysis, scrutiny and our attention to detail are greatest during this phase, so if your job or study requires these traits then this is the time you may be at your most efficient.
Physically you may begin to tire earlier in the evening, as energy peaks earlier in the day, and you may notice a decrease in appetite.
This lunar phase can be a gentle time of intimacy and tenderness, once the raw passion of the full moon has passed.
Last Quarter / Waning Crescent
During this last phase of the lunar month, the moon is 270 degrees to the east of the sun, rising in the middle of the night and setting in the middle of the day. We may see her high in the sky at dawn, as a half circle, then a crescent illuminated from the left.
Our energy wanes with the moon so this brings a welcome time of withdrawal and reflection. We may feel more sensitive than at other times, so misunderstandings and miscommunications may lead to being easily hurt.
Because of this, retreating for small parts of the day to regain focus and inner calm, can be of extra benefit.
Increased introspection means we can fall easily into self-analysis, so remember to go easy on yourself.
It is an ideal time for shadow work. As lunar energy and illumination lessens, so shadows (those parts of our psyche or ego which can be negative, destructive, or unreasonable, and no longer serve us) rise to the surface to be faced, understood and finally released or integrated. Certain therapies and self-care treatments aimed at dealing with past issues, and letting go, can be more effective when practiced during this lunar phase.
As the moon wanes, so our bodies also move to eliminate waste and toxins super effectively, so any cleansing effects are amplified. Because of this, many people choose to do juice cleanses or fasts at some point during this last lunar phase.
Powers of intuition are high now, so meditation, spiritual, shamanic and dream work are traditionally practiced during this last phase. If you don’t normally remember your dreams, now is the time you will most likely have some insights.
For women whose menstrual cycles synchronize with the lunar phases, this it commonly the time they bleed. During ancient times (and still in many indigenous cultures) is the time when she is closest to the shamanic realms so deep connections to earth energies are thought possible.