Moon phases have long-intrigued humanity. In fact, the first calenders were based on the cycles of the Moon. Historically, the Moon has been associated with the feminine due to the monthly cyclic nature of the menses which correspond to the monthly lunar cycle. The moons influence is profound and extraordinary in its ability to move the tides. And, since our bodies are made up of 65+% water we too are moved and influenced by the fluctuations of the moon. The influence of the Moon phases on plants, animals and humans has well been established. The cosmic energies of planetary cycles, movements, positions and interactions and their effect on biological and energetic systems is the basis of astrology.

The phases and cycles of the Moon and Sun have the most universal influence over life on Earth. Astrologically, the Moon corresponds to the personality and the zodiac’s water sign of Cancer. It represents feminine nature, emotions, instincts, intuition and nurturing. It is the embodiment of domestic affairs. The Moon is very sensitive, being influenced by the aspects (relative positions) of other planets. It is also the fastest moving celestial body in our solar system, orbiting at an average speed of 2287 mph. The speed fluctuates at different points in the Moon’s elliptical (oval) orbit, speeding up when it’s closest to Earth and slowing when it’s the farthest. The speed of rotation remains the same at about 10 mph.

The Moon Phases and Influence Guide

The time it takes for the Moon to complete its orbit around the Earth is called a lunation, lunar month or synodic month. One lunar month lasts about 29 1/2 days. The Moon phases from new to full and back to new. Each lunation begins and ends at the New Moon. This cycle is divided into phases:

New Moon.

The cycle begins; the Moon is conjunct with the Sun.

The Moon is fully hidden. She is preparing for a new journey. Time for contemplation and the formulation of new plans and desires. Take time to nurture yourself and evaluate your needs.

First Quarter: New to Half Moon.

This phase begins at the New Moon and ends at the second quarter.

The Moon begins waxing. It’s a time for activity, new growth, setting things in motion, implementing new plans or projects, drawing energy down to utilize, to build and to create. It’s a time for new beginnings and planting seeds. This is a powerful time because the Sun is moving in the same direction as the Moon, their forces are working together.

Second Quarter: Half to Full (waxing gibbous -convex).

The Sun and Moon are at right angles. The Moon is moving away from the Sun.

Continue to develop that which has been previously begun. The Moon’s light is still increasing, energy is in express mode. Give your time to important projects and engagements. Prepare for the culmination of energies at the Full Moon. Finalize plans.

Full: Begins the Third Quarter.

The Sun and Moon are opposite each other with the Earth between them. Rises in the east around sunset and sets about sunrise, progressing as the phase continues.

The Moon is in Her full light with nothing to hide. A time of exposure, fulfillment and high energy. Howl at the Moon, rejoice in your efforts and accomplishments, be filled with gratitude as you gaze upon Her beauty!

Third Quarter: Full to Half (waning gibbous).

This second half is illumined on the left in the northern hemisphere and opposite in the southern.

The Moon begins to wane prompting the release of excess energy. Release your prayers, doubts, fears and angers. Tie up loose ends.

Forth Quarter: Half to New (diminishing light, waning, old crescent).

The cycle is complete when the Moon is new again. Rising at midnight and visible in the evening in the eastern sky.

The cycle is winding down as the Moon is waning towards the Old Crescent. This is a time of reflection, reevaluation, letting go of worn out ideas and modes of operation. Rest and meditate.

Waxing Moon

Increasing in light from new to full, 1st and 2nd quarters.

Power, energy, building, acting, initiating.

Waning Moon

Decreasing in light from full to new, 3rd and 4th quarters.

Introspection, review, planning, storing, give-away.

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The phases of the moon are caused by the relative positions of the earth, sun, and moon. The moon goes around the earth in 27.3 days, or 27 days 7 hours 43 minutes, on average. This measurement is relative to the stars and is called the sidereal period or orbital period. However, because of the earth’s motion around the sun, a complete moon cycle (New Moon to New Moon) appears to earthbound observers to take a couple of days longer: 29.5305882 days to be exact. This number is called the synodic period or “lunation”, and is relative to the sun.

The sun always illuminates the half of the moon facing the sun (except during lunar eclipses, when the moon passes through the earth’s shadow). When the sun and moon are on opposite sides of the earth, the moon appears “full” to us, a bright, round disk. When the moon is between the earth and the sun, it appears dark, a “new” moon. In between, the moon’s illuminated surface appears to grow (wax) to full, then decreases (wanes) to the next new moon. The edge of the shadow (the terminator) is always curved, being an oblique view of a circle, giving the moon its familiar crescent shape.