There’s always been something quite mystical about the moon for me. Looking up into its wondrous glow, and marveling at its ever-changing form, I’ve always been drawn to its power. What power that was, I wasn’t quite sure … but there was something there.
I’m not alone. Since the dawn of time, humans have wondered if the moon pulls at us with something more than just its beautiful light. If the moon pulls on the Earth’s tides and gravity, then surely it also “pulls” on us? We are, after all, 70 per cent water. Surely our “water” is pulled, too?
If we, in our modern times, can start to tune ourselves back into the same cycle of time — the yin and yang of time — we can become co-creators of our lives.
In a way, it is. But the moon’s power goes beyond just affecting our moods and personal cycles. The changing phases of the moon can also help you set goals, create more abundance and connect more deeply with your own inner wisdom.
When you consider that we are all pulled and affected by Earth’s rotations and gravity, it becomes quite obvious that we, too, move in and out of cycles. Ancient wisdoms and cultures knew this: they would use the moon to farm, to conceive, to celebrate milestones. If we, in our modern times, can start to tune ourselves back in to the same cycle of time — the yin and yang of time — we can become co-creators of our lives. And learn a lot about ourselves in the process.
Understanding the moon cycles
The term “moon cycle”, or “lunar cycle”, refers to the moon’s continuous orbit around Earth. As the moon orbits Earth, its appearance changes, known as “phases”.
The sun always illuminates exactly one-half of the moon, but we see it at different angles as it rotates around Earth. With the naked eye, we can see only the part of the moon that the sun is illuminating. For instance, a crescent moon is what we call the moon when we see only a small portion of its illuminated surface.
Each phase of the moon is given a name (in order):
- New — also called the dark moon
- Waxing crescent
- First quarter — commonly called a half moon
- Waxing gibbous
- Full — we can see the entire illuminated portion of the moon
- Waning gibbous
- Third quarter — another half moon, but the illuminated part is opposite of the first quarter
- Waning crescent
- New — back to the beginning
Most of us are aware of the role the moon plays within astrology. It’s believed that the moon’s cycle can affect the way you feel about things, in particular your emotions. When the moon is full or new, both males and females can experience dramatic changes in their moods and behaviour. Although the scientific evidence is yet to be gathered, we’ve all heard the anecdotal evidence of more admissions to hospital emergency rooms and more call-outs for police during the full moon.
In fact, just learning how to tap into the ancient energy of the moon and then incorporating it into your life and, more particularly, your goal-setting, can bring great comfort into a stressed, modern life.
Understanding & working with the cycles
The starting point for any type of connection with the moon is to simply begin tracking it yourself. Keeping a journal and taking notes of the phases and how you feel at each stage is the best introduction. This also allows you to connect to what the moon phases mean to you rather than just follow the astrological description (although there are certainly consistencies in each phase).
This is what speaker, coach and creator of the Lunar Abundance technique Dr Ezzie Spencer suggests. As a former high-powered (and highly stressed) lawyer working in human rights and law reform, and having completed her PhD in women’s wellbeing after sexual violence, Dr Spencer’s life was far removed from lunar cycles. But, as someone who loved to journal and record her thoughts, she started making notes on what she saw the moon was doing and how it corresponded with her own feelings. And from there, a massive change of career — and life — evolved.
The energy of this phase is stimulated by the senses of taste, smell and touch. Let your instincts guide you.
“I was in my mid-20s and it all started very organically,” she recalls. “I hadn’t read anything about lunar tracking and it just really sprang from just looking up at night and always being fascinated by the moon. And so I just started tracking it; starting with the main lunar phases (new and full) and then I started to notice the rest of the moon phases. Then, over the next few years, I started to notice a pattern between where the moon was in the sky and how I was feeling.”
From there, a whole new understanding of how to work with the moon to support every area of life began.
The moon & your emotions
Starting with the two main phases of the moon — the full and the new — allows you to begin to tune into the effect on your body. When the moon is full, stress becomes a major factor and people become more sensitive to details. If you have an overload of work or a deadline looming, it will feel even more overwhelming and there’s often a strong urge to deal with your own needs rather than pay attention to others’ needs.
The new moon, on the other hand, brings with it a sense of calmness. In this moon cycle, people’s emotions get back to normal, their determination returns with a positive and optimistic feeling and there’s more energy and acceptance of others’ ideas.
Once you can connect with those simple markers in the cycle, you can move on to tracking the other phases and how they can help you move through life. And, instead of working against the flow of this natural cycle, you can start working with it.
“Each phase of the moon is categorised as either a yin or a yang phase and this is at the very core of understanding when to push or when to pull back in life,” explains Dr Spencer. “What this can really develop in us is the understanding that there are times when you just do need to go and get things done and to move forward and to achieve, and there are times when you need to rest and restore.
“The yang phases are about doing and moving forward and are more action-oriented, and then the yin phases (which will come around every three or four days) are there to remind us to slow down, rest and stop pushing yourself. This is an opportunity to practise being kinder to yourself and actually draw back and take your foot off the gas and allow yourself to connect more.”
In our fast-paced action-focused lives, this can be a very new concept. Yet, as Dr Spencer says, “Working with these phases is the key to stopping pushing in life so much, and bringing real abundance into existence.”
New moon: yang
This is a time of new beginnings, literally and figuratively. It’s usually accompanied by a feeling of excitement and possibility. Embrace it! This phase is about self-discovery, and intent, and is the phase that involves the emotional body. It’s time to embrace the passion, desire and excitement of this stage and be at peace with the fact that you may not know how it’s going to manifest, but trust that it will.
“Working with [the moon’s] phases is the key to stopping pushing in life so much and bringing real abundance into existence.”
Lunar trackers and astrologers David and Sandra Mosley describe each of these phases as having an energetic focus: with the energy of the new moon phase relating to sight, inner and outer. Since the whole picture cannot be seen, they say, the function of this phase is to become aware of the intention; later there will be opportunities to revise and reorient.
The question to ask yourself is, “What do I desire?” It’s important to picture your goal: make it emotionally satisfying. Create a visual representation of it that you can look at throughout the cycle. Trust yourself and your potential to manifest. Trust your ability to learn and adapt.
Crescent moon: yin
This is the first testing phase of the month. You will feel tested, and old habits and limiting beliefs may rear their ugly heads. Know that this is part of the cycle and breathe into it. Relax into your intention, trusting the process.
This phase pertains to the instinctive body: intuition, reflex and basic survival. The energy of this phase is stimulated by the senses of taste, smell and touch. Let your instincts guide you. Nourish yourself with your favourite foods. Relax in a bath with essential oils. Allow yourself plenty of rest and self-compassion. This is the stage of building your resources before the next push forward.
First quarter moon: yang
This can be a turning point, even if it feels full of resistance and fear. Work with the energy of the moon and focus on what you need to do to move towards your intention.
This phase involves the feeling-moving body. The idea is to use body movement to generate energy that can then be channelled into creative expression. You can feel sensitive, like you’re wearing your heart on your sleeve but no one understands you. It’s important to move beyond the need for approval from others. It helps to use physical activity to feel like you are moving through these obstacles, so the vision set in the new moon will have space to develop and grow. You are creating a secure foundation.
Take decisive action, moving through any blocks.
Gibbous moon: yin
This phase is all about trust. Even though you’ve been focusing on action, it’s important to also step back and allow your goals to manifest in their own way.
The energy of this phase is about taking what you’ve learnt this cycle so far, gathering all the information and refocusing again. Ask yourself, “How can my plans be refined? What details have I overlooked?” Review your original idea and intent, and see what might need to be changed. It’s important to suspend criticism of yourself or the process at this stage, too. Trust in the process.
An affirmation to use in this phase is, “I trust that the perfect intention is coming into form at the perfect time.”
Full moon: yang
It’s now time to move ahead with your intention with the full support of the full moon. This is the time when the light finally shines on your intention and goals, when the full extent of your plans may be revealed. This may mean it becomes obvious that your intention or goal needs to be tweaked, and now is the time to do so.
This is also the time to move into action with others. Make plans, take formative steps forward and accept help and guidance. The function of this phase is to begin the process of reshaping the goals in accordance with the awareness of the true meaning of the original vision.
Just as the moon is now completely illuminated, so too is your intention, so take a good look at everything that has come to light and take action to bring it into existence.
Disseminating moon: yin
Now is the time for gratitude; to pause and be grateful for this process. It’s also important to be open to receive whatever is coming, and acknowledge that process, too. Sharing your thoughts and gratitude with others at this time is also a very powerful process, as you reflect on the lessons learnt.
It’s also important to reflect on how your intention or goals affect others. David and Sandra Mosley suggest to ask yourself, “How am I contributing to the wellbeing of others? Is my goal for the good of others as well as myself, or is it just self-absorbed?” The function of this phase is to gain perspective.
Third quarter moon: yang
This phase is all about transition and completion. Listen to your intuition and take note of everything that’s coming to you, as it will help you complete the final actions. At this stage, you will need to take either correcting action or the final push needed to bring your goal to fruition.
You know instinctively what needs to be done now: this is the time to follow through. Through the phases there has been a chance to reflect and course-correct — this is your final stage to do so, but it needs strong action to work. Sometimes it will feel like there’s some risk in the swift final actions, but that’s OK. Trust yourself and move forward. This is when it all comes together.
Balsamic moon: yin
Withdraw, relax and make room for the future. Although this is the last phase, it’s also the bridge to the next lunar cycle. It’s in the quiet of these final days that the seed of the next new moon is discovered. It’s time to reflect again. Whereas in the full phase the awareness is of what is, in balsamic the awareness is of what was and what is to be.
During this final phase it’s important to withdraw from the outer world as much as possible. This is a time for dreaming and quiet contemplation. Ask, “What do I need to release?” and “What do I choose to take with me into the next cycle?” Allow yourself to heal through meditational practices and prepare for the next cycle.
Working with the moon cycles to set goals, create intentions and plan your work and your life allows you to stop striving (and burning out) all the time, and start getting back in touch with the true ebb and flow of life. Through the power of the moon’s cycles, you can become familiar with your own cycles and allow true abundance to enter your life.