Spiritual Meaning of the Last Quarter Moon in 2024

Hands reaching up into sky at last quarter Moon

Have you ever looked up into the morning sky to see a half-moon gently dropping down over the western horizon? This lunar phase is called the last quarter, and it holds a particular energy that’s as powerful as it is gentle.

Of all the lunar phases, the third, or last quarter moon occurs close to the end of the cycle, and represents a time of release and letting go.

It is a time to reflect on the past and release any negative emotions or patterns that may be holding you back, as you prepare for the new beginnings of the upcoming new moon.

What is the last quarter moon phase?

As the moon orbits Earth, the Sun illuminates different parts of the moon’s surface. During the last quarter phase, the moon is 270º from the Sun, all the way around on the opposite side of Earth.

So the Moon is three-quarters of the way through her lunar month and from Earth, appears half-lit. It sits between the waning gibbous and the waning crescent moon, making the midway point in the waning half of the Moon’s cycle.

During this phase in the northern hemisphere, the left side is illuminated. And in the southern hemisphere it’s the right side that is lit up.

Just like with the first quarter Moon, this phase symbolises a kind of duality. Light and dark are equally balanced across the Moon’s surface, yet this balance is fleeting.

Astrologically, the last quarter Moon forms a square. This aspect is known to bring the energy of tension, and the need for something to change.

last quarter Moon

What is the spiritual meaning of the last quarter Moon phase?

Spiritually, the last quarter Moon phase is a time for reflection and release. It’s also an opportunity to let go of anything that no longer serves you and to prepare for the new beginnings that come with the imminent new Moon, and the next new cycle.

During this phase, you may feel a sense of completion or closure, as you reflect on the lessons and experiences of the past month. It is also a time to take stock of your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your goals and plans.

But to really understand and harness the spiritual meaning of the third quarter phase, it’s important to touch on the astrology we’re looking at.

The astrology of lunar squares…

During the third quarter phase, the Sun and Moon form an astrological square, casting equal parts light and dark across the surface of the Moon.

Under the waning phases, this light is becoming ever less. And as mirrors for the Moon, our own most dynamic and bright light is also diminishing, giving way to the dark.

But there’s tension in this – remember at this point, the forces of light and dark are both vying for position.

At the waxing quarter, la Luna invites us to make active changes. To participate in the real-world three dimensions of life.. Yet here, at the third quarter, the Moon draws us inwards.

The increasing darkness of this lunar astrology calls us to turn around and face the darkness of our inner worlds, making necessary changes from the inside out.

 Challenges may arise, triggering emotional responses. Here, this is an opportunity to choose growth over reaction.

At the third quarter, the angle between the moon and Sun is becoming more acute – our twin luminaries are moving closer together. The invitation is for us to do these same: to move in closer to ourselves.

Instead of reacting to this Moon’s challenge, as you always have, it’s time to dig deep and choose a different way of being.

Time to meet your shadow 

Spiritually, the third quarter phase can call you into your shadow.

The shadow self is the dark and unseen part of the psyche. It contains all the aspects of ourselves that we’ve rejected, banished into the unconscious. YET these unloved, unwanted parts often form the basis of our thought patterns, impulses, and most unhealthy habits. They’re the root of our judgements of others, and sabotage of ourselves.

This last quarter phase is exactly when you could find yourself falling into these behaviours and expressing these unconscious aspects. Lashing out, judging, blaming… Or retreating into shame, or self-criticism.

But instead of allowing them to take over, re-frame them as doorways into shadow work.

Remember, this phase is also a time of choice, and much like the waxing quarter Moon – brings an opportunity to look within for insight and wisdom.

Spiritually, you can use this Moon phase to evaluate your life and make decisions that will lead you towards your desired path.

How to harness the energy of the last quarter moon

The exact astrological moment of this phase may throw up a challenge or obstacle – if it does, be warned! 

Here’s a list of 5 things to do, to maximise the gifts of this phase, before the dark moon, and then a brand new cycle begins…

1. Let go

Overall this is a powerful time to harness the energy of completion and release. During this phase, you may feel a strong urge to let go of unhelpful people, situations, or habits in your life. It is important to honor this instinctive body and release what no longer serves you.

2. Reflect

Take time to reflect on the lessons learned during the previous cycle. It’s been three weeks since the New Moon rose, making this an ideal time to look back and ponder what came to pass.

3. Rest

Maybe you still have a lot to get done before the next cycle begins? That’s ok – you don’t need to abandon it all. But do try to take some time to rest and recharge. You’ll be glad yo did.

4. Practice release rituals

Any time from the Full Moon is the time for practicing release rituals.

With just a few days until the crescent phase, this primary phase of the moon carries a powerful punch. Commit to letting something go through ritual, and you’ll be harnessing the disseminating energy of retreat and release.

5. Prepare for the new Moon

It may feel too early for you, but some Moon mavens like to use the last quarter to think ahead and plan for the next lunar cycle.

This phase sits on the edge – equidistant from the full climax of the current cycle, and the new Moon of the next. So it IS possible to energetically reach forward, stretching into the realm of possibility and what the next new beginning will bring. 

Want to explore the other lunar phases?

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