The Spiritual Meaning of the Full Moon phase relates to completion, culmination, and climax…
For most astrologers, the spiritual meaning of the Full Moon phase of the lunar cycle is a no-brainer! But if you’re not deep into spirituality already, then does the Full Moon really affect the spiritual realms of existence?
Oh yes, she does…
First off, what is the Full Moon?
The Moon is our Earth’s only satellite, and it takes her 29.5 days to orbit our planet. Each full orbit is one lunar cycle.
The Full Moon is one phase in the lunar cycle. Each day, the Moon moves eastwards by about 12 degrees. This means that each day, she rises about 50 minutes later than the day before, creating a constant, but gently moving dance of visible light across her surface.
Grandmother Moon’s size and shape stay constant throughout. But her appearance changes, due to the varying amount of sunlight that we’re able to see, reflected on her surface.
At the Full Moon, the sun and Moon are opposing so we see her entire face illuminated. And she’s said to be either waxing or waning depending on whether the amount of light is
All around the world, different cultures’ spiritual and scientific traditions describe the Moon cycle differently, with the phases segmented up in slightly altered ways. Some speak of three phases, some four, and some many, many more than that!
Here I’ll describe a (brief) outline of eight phases. Plus an extra that most people forget about…
The new lunar phase arrives when lold Grandmother Moon has just become visible. She is a sliver of light, an emerging crescent Moon, in the daytime sky.
Waxing Crescent Moon
Rising during the daytime and setting in the western evening sky, the Moon in this phase has a more obvious waxing crescent shape.
Forming an astrological square with the Sun, this phase is revealed as a clear “half Moon” shape. Light will expand, overtaking the dark quarter.
Waxing gibbous Moon
Here, the Moon is closer to her Full Moon phase, than the New. In this waxing gibbous phase, she’s a more bulbous, blossoming disc of light.
Everybody looks up into the sky and knows this phase! Directly opposing the Sun, she’s fully illuminated. At the Full Moon phase, la Luna rises with the Sunset, and sets herself, when the Sun rises.
Waning gibbous Moon
Past the cycle’s climax, the Moon here, is almost a mirror image of her waxing gibbous phase – still a swollen round disc but ebbing away (retreating) from one edge.
Forming another astrological square with the Sun, this phase is also a clear “half Moon” shape. This time, though, dark will overtake the light.
Waning crescent Moon (or balsamic Moon)
Closer now to the next New Moon, than to this cycle’s full Moon phase, this Moon appears more fragile-looking and weak. She appears again, as a daytime companion.
Between one and three days (and nights) where the Moon is invisible. She is actually rising with the Sun. So she is there in the sky with us during the day, awake when we are… But bleached out by sunlight, not visible. And absent completely from the night sky.
What is the Spiritual Meaning of the Full Moon?
No one can doubt the allure of the Full Moon.
She holds a serene, silvery glow that can transfix even the most stubborn person, especially on a clear night when her orbit is especially close to our planet.
But the spiritual meaning of the Full Moon? That rises from a combination of her flowing physical attributes, her mythology, and the ancient symbolism she holds of the Goddess and the Sacred Feminine.
Full Moon: Peak of the Cycle
Cycles are ongoing, that’s their nature. But you can see (and feel) how the New Moon comes at the beginning of the 29.5 day lunar month.
… And that the Full Moon comes around halfway through, between waxing (flowing) and waning (ebbing) halves.
So the Full Moon is the peak.
It’s the culmination point of the waxing phases of the cycle. It’s the zenith, the climax of all that building, creative, and productive energy that’s been rising, since the New Moon.
This is echoed in the seasonal wheel of the year – the Full Moon correlates with midsummer or Ostara. It’s the high point in the year, the time and season of maximum light and openness. And so it is with the spiritual meaning of the Full Moon phase.
Spiritually, the Full Moon invites celebration!
Where we sowed seeds of new beginnings at the New Moon phase, the Full Moon is the time of their fruition.**
This is the moment in the cycle when all the growing, building, budding effort of creation is done. That part is over, and the fruits of our labours are bursting forth. We’re invited to down tools, rest, and enjoy.
Because the Full Moon phase is when light and dynamic energy are at their highest, there’s an invitation to pause and swim in the abundant now. To appreciate. To drop into presence, and feel gratitude for the moment!
This Moon phase also brings a sense of ripeness and of birth
The Full Moon represents the Mother Archetype
The Maiden archetype corresponds to the waxing Moon, crone archetype to the waning Moon, and Mother archetype to the Full Moon phase.
The Mother archetype is glowing, like the fully illuminated Moon
In many mythologies, this potent female archetype is one with the Mother Earth Goddess herself.
So this archetype – and the Full Moon in her spiritual sense, is sensual, abundant and bursting with fertility. She is creative, generous, and generative.
Pause for a second and let that land. She is generative. The Full Moon generates life. This may sound a little strange, but let’s reframe it as something a little different…
A lot of people use the Full Moon phase for their manifestation practices – the belief is, that by harnessing the spiritual energy of the Full Moon, they’re able to manifest more of what they want. This is akin to magnetism.
Spiritually, the Full Moon is magnetic
Astronomically, Full Moons form when the Sun and Moon are opposing, sitting in opposite signs of the zodiac. So our twin luminaries seem to be gazing upon each other, like lovers.
This balancing aspect of Sun and Moon (solar and lunar), as well as the specific quality of energy created at the peak of the cycle, creates a magnetism that you don’t feel at any other lunar phase.
So the spiritual meaning of the Full Moon really comes alive when it comes to practicing with her. What I mean is, to really experience, understand and know her magnetic, manifestational potency, you have to participate in her magic.
Witches, Spell work, and drawing down the Moon
We can’t talk about the spiritual meaning of the full moon without mentioning the very special relationship between the full Moon and the witch.
For the witch, the Moon is more than a symbol. The Moon’s power is a real tangible thing, a substance of power that can be collected in the form of moonlight – particularly full moonlight.
So in ancient and modern witchcraft, in Wicca and paganism, the Full Moon is a holy time. It’s an esbat, a phase for meeting and magical work.
The magical rite of intentionally collecting and absorbing the Moon’s power through her light is called “drawing down the Moon”.
It’s done through ritual or ceremony, sometimes alone, sometimes in community or coven.
The light of the Moon is then used for any magical work under the full Moon phase. Or it may be collected in water, essence to be used later.
Illumination, Shadow work, and the Full Moon
Full Moons don’t just illuminate the physical world. They illuminate our emotional and spiritual worlds too. This means any blindspots, unconscious corners or dark and dusty corners of your psyche can receive extra light and therefore attention under the Full Moon phase.
Something you had not realised, or truly “seen” before, maybe be made clear under the illuminating gaze of the Full Moon. New understanding may form. And this means the spiritual meaning of the Full Moon becomes rapid spiritual growth, and even upgrades in consciousness.
… BUT this rarely happens without doing the deep inner work – following the thread of illumination inwards, and yep, doing your shadow work.
Shadow work is no small task. But it’s the pathway to true self-realisation. Peeling back the layers, doing a little of your shadow work with each Full Moon phase is a beautiful (and achievable) way to work with the spiritual energies of the Full Moon.
WHY does the Moon have a Spiritual Significance?
Astrologers know that (as well as a myriad of other qualities) the Moon represents our unconscious.
The unconscious is the part of your psyche that you’re unaware of. It exists, and it’s there soaking up information, creating patterns and habits, and associations all the time! But you don’t know it’s happening.
SO… even when you’re not consciously interacting with the Moon and her phases, your unconscious is STILL being activated by her. This means the spiritual meaning of the Full Moon is tugging at your psyche, and your psyche IS responding.
Even if you’re not even aware of what phase the Moon is in, your unconscious mind most definitely is!
… And let’s not even get started with the physical effect of the Moon. That’s a different article entirely…
Full Moon Practices, Rituals + Correspondences
As the cycle’s climax, the Full Moon is THE most high-energy time of the entire moon cycle. So it’s the ideal lunar phase to schedule celebrations, parties, and social gatherings.
Spiritually, it’s also one of the best times for ceremony and ritual, especially gratitude rituals and also rituals of release.
Full Moons come at the close of the waxing half of the cycle. From this point onwards, until the end of the current lunar cycle, lunar energy is waning (becoming less). And this leads to a retreating, retracting, and internalising frequency overall. THIS is what can be harnessed to let things in your own life go.
Some other Full Moon practices to try are:
- Pause. Allow yourself to BE in the moment.
- Find, join or even create a Full Moon circle. Gathering in circle with other women and honouring the cycles in community is a sacred experience. One that connects you to something very ancient. More and more New Moon circles are popping up, yet the Full Moon is also a great time to circle!
- Cultivate gratitude
- Light a fire. Honouring the light of our solar king – as reflected fully in the face of the Moon – with fire is a celebratory act.
- Set a crystal grid to focus and magnetize in your desires.
Remember – the New Moon is a time for setting intentions that will build slowly but surely as the days, weeks and months progress. Full Moon is the time for magnetizing your desires quickly. For harnessing the BIG energy of the phase, in one courageous act of exaltation!
Corresponding crystals to work with are:
- White Opal
Other specific crystals, herbs, plants, colours, and deities you may want to incorporate or call into your spiritual work with the Full Moon phase, will depend on the astrological zodiac sign of the Full Moon. And of course, your own intuitive guidance.
** A note on setting BIG New Moon intentions
The New Moon intentions that you set at the New Moon in any zodiac sign, will follow the spirals of time and reach their culmination on the Full of the same zodiac sign, in six months’ time.
It works like this: say you set intentions on the Aries New Moon (in March). You’ll need to work with these through six whole moon cycles. Until they manifest – or some version of them manifests – at the Aries Full Moon (in October).
THIS is how long it takes them to root down and become your normal, if you do the work.
For smaller intentions that require less of a life shift, then you can use the 2 weeks of waxing lunar energy to bring them into being in that same lunar cycle.
Now, let me know what YOU do to honour and celebrate the spiritual meaning of the Full Moon! Leave me a comment below!
And to dive a little further into the lunar cycle as a whole, get a copy of the e-book HERE!
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