Understanding Phases of the Moon and Rituals for Personal Growth

Kristen Lagos

The moon is one of the most mysterious celestial sights in our night sky. Its waxing and waning phases have long been seen as a symbol of change, growth, and transformation.

But did you know that harnessing the power of each moon phase can help to create positive personal transformation? By understanding how lunar cycles impact your life, you can use them to manifest your intentions and create positive change. 

In this article, we’ll cover everything from understanding the different phases of the moon to how to use moon rituals for personal growth and transformation.

Moon Phases

In a lunar month, there are eight moon phases: four primary and four intermediate.

During its lunar cycle, the moon waxes and wanes every month. During this cycle, there are eight distinct lunar phases, each with its own energy and symbolism. By understanding these phases, you can harness their power for your individual growth.

New Moon Phase

New moons occur when the moon is closest to the sun in its orbit around Earth. Since the side of the moon illuminated by the sun faces directly away from us, we cannot see it from here. Therefore, we cannot observe moonlight reflected on Earth.

New moons rise and set at the same time as the sun, which makes sense when you consider that during a solar eclipse, a new moon passes between Earth and the sun.

waxing crecent

Waxing Crescent Phases

The waxing crescent phase of the moon begins after the new moon. In about a week, the moon's illuminated portion increases from a sliver to nearly a half circle. Crescent refers to the shape, while waxing means "increasing." 

It will be illuminated on the right side in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, you'll see the left side lit up rather than the right.

First Quarter Phase

At this point, the moon appears half full, so what's up with the name? The term simply refers to the moon being one-fourth of the way through its cycle.

The “first quarter designation” marks a precise point in time, just like a new moon. During this time, perpendicular lines can be drawn from Earth to the sun and from Earth to the moon.

Waxing Gibbous Phase

As the moon's illuminated area “waxes” (i.e. increases), it is considered to be in its waxing gibbous phase. This convex shape is called a gibbous, which is derived from the Latin word "hump."

During this phase, the moon moves from the first quarter to the full phase over about a week.

Full Moon Phase

Lunar cycles are halfway through when a full moon occurs. As the moon reaches its farthest point in its orbit, it appears as a perfectly round disk from Earth's perspective.

Unlike a new moon, which rises and sets along with the sun, full moons illuminate the night from around sunset to sunrise (this is especially true during the harvest moon, which falls near the autumn equinox when both day and night are approximately the same length).

There are times when the sun, Earth, and moon align during a full moon. In this case, the Earth casts a reddish shadow on the moon, which results in a lunar eclipse, also called a blood moon (which holds its own spiritual meaning).

Two full moons can occur within a calendar month, and if the second one occurs within a month, it is called a blue moon.

A supermoon occurs when the full moon is at its closest point to Earth in its orbit at the time you notice a full moon that appears extra large.

Though a full moon can appear full for two to three days, its peak occurs at a precise time. Observing a "full moon" just before or after its peak is viewing a nearly full moon in one of the gibbous phases, whether waxing or waning.

wanning moon

Waning Gibbous Phase

The word "wane" refers to a decrease. During this phase, the illuminated portion of the moon appears to shrink as it circles back toward the sun.

The shape of a waning gibbous is identical to that of a waxing gibbous, so what's the difference? When the moon is waning in the Northern Hemisphere, the left side is lit, and when it’s waxing, the right side is.

Third Quarter Phase

Both a third-quarter moon and a first-quarter moon appear as half circles to our eyes. Once again, you can tell the difference by the side of the moon that is illuminated (left in the Northern Hemisphere).

At this point, the moon is currently three-quarters through its cycle (hence the name "third quarter"). It is also sometimes called a "last quarter" moon, as it is entering its last quarter.

Waning Crescent Phase

There's that crescent roll shape again, but now it's shrinking. With each passing day, the lit portion of the moon that is visible to us shrinks as it travels back toward the sun.

Ultimately, it's just a sliver, and when it disappears, it's a new moon and the cycle begins again.

Rituals for Personal Growth

What Are Rituals?

Rituals are set actions that can help you cultivate love, healing, and growth. They are a way to honor yourself and your journey while creating a sacred space for reflection and connection.


Creating Rituals

Creating rituals is an opportunity to get creative and make them unique and special based on your individual needs. Here are some ideas for creating rituals that can help you with your personal growth:

  • Dedicate time each day for meditation, gratitude, or prayer.
  • Set up an altar or a sacred space at home where you can practice yoga, write in your journal, and just be.
  • Make it a practice to connect with nature - take walks in the woods or spend time gazing at the stars.
  • Use essential oils or crystals to help set the mood for your rituals and create sacredness.
  • Start with a simple practice such as lighting a candle, palo santo, setting an intention, or journaling at the beginning of each day.
  • Celebrate the phases of the moon - use them as markers throughout the month to reflect, release, and connect with the energy they bring.
  • Egg cleanses are performed depending on the moon phases

Using rituals in your life can help you cultivate love, healing, and growth. Take the time to create sacredness in your own special way and connect with yourself on a deeper level.

Using Moon Rituals for Personal Growth

The energy of the moon and its phases can be used to help us in our spiritual growth journey. Each phase of the moon carries a different energy that can open up new ways for us to connect with nature and our higher selves.

Waxing Moon

The waxing moon is a good time to focus on what we want more of. This is when we set our intentions and focus on the emotions and thoughts that will bring our goals to fruition. 

Waxing Crescent - Finding Balance

The waxing crescent phase is a great time to be mindful of the energy you are putting out into the world. Take some time to nurture yourself and your life - focus on what brings you joy. 

This could include activities such as journaling, dancing, or walking in nature.

Waxing Gibbous - Creating Space

The waxing gibbous phase is all about creating space for new things in our lives. Take some time to assess what you want your life to look like, how you want it to feel, and how can you start creating that now.

It could be anything from decluttering the house to writing down a list of goals or intentions.

wanning moon

Waning Moon

The waning moon is all about turning inward, reflecting on the past, and understanding lessons that have been presented to us to move forward. Take some time to meditate, journal, or practice relaxation techniques while reflecting on the last month.

Waning Crescent - Letting Go

The waning crescent is a time for letting go of anything that no longer serves us, both mentally and emotionally. It's a great opportunity to unload any baggage that we may have been carrying around with us.

Take some time to journal or meditate while reflecting on anything that you need to release from your life.

Waning Gibbous - Contemplation and Meditation

The waning gibbous phase is an excellent time to contemplate and meditate on our goals, dreams, and intentions.

Take some time to be mindful of the emotions that come up during this period - what are they trying to tell us? How can we use them as a tool for understanding ourselves better? We can also use this time for divination and connecting.

New Moon

The new moon is a time to focus on intentions, set goals, and start fresh projects. In this phase, you can take the time to meditate and use visualization to manifest what you wish for in your life.

full moon

Full Moon

The full moon is a powerful time for releasing, letting go, and creating space for new things in our lives. During a full moon ritual, use this phase as an opportunity to forgive the past, let go of any negative emotions that are no longer serving you, and clear your energy.

You can also use this time for divination and connecting with your intuition.

Final Thoughts

The moon is a powerful and mysterious force in the universe, and understanding its phases can help us gain valuable insight into our lives. Using rituals in correlation with the moon’s cycles can help bring clarity, purpose, and direction to our lives while also fostering personal growth and healing. 

By taking the time to understand how the phases of the moon affect us, we can become more mindful and aware of our energies and harness them for positive transformation.