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How to Align with the Phases of the Moon

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

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One area of personal development that is often ignored or treated as pseudoscience is utilizing more esoteric domains, such as aligning yourself with the phases of the moon. Many people disagree that the moon has any effect on human behavior or personality, and that’s fine, this isn’t for those people. For the rest of us who are open to the possibility that we are all cosmically and karmically connected, it makes sense that planetary alignment and phases of the cosmos would, in fact, impact us on Earth in some way. As I’ve cultivated my understanding more deeply, I’ve found my own interest and fascination on the matter to grow exponentially, and I want to share my perspective with you. So today, I want to focus on phases of the moon and how I use them to be in flow rather than resistance.

Day of Cycle

Moon Phase

Aligning Energy

Seasonal Similarity


New Moon

Set intentions/goals


3 ish

Waxing Crescent

Plan action steps


7 ish

First Quarter

Adjust the plan accordingly


11 ish

Waxing Gibbous

Address blocks and challenges


14 ish

Full Moon



18 ish

Waning Gibbous

Have an attitude of gratitude


21 ish

Last Quarter

Cut ties/disconnect


25 ish

Waning Crescent



Let’s start at the beginning, with the new moon. Energetically, the new moon represents a new cycle, which makes it the perfect time to set intentions or write down those goals you want to work through during the cycle (or month). On the new moon, I make a short list of areas that I want to focus on for the month - this changes depending on priorities at the time. Sometimes my intentions are to get through an assignment for class; sometimes my intentions are to focus on health goals; it just depends on my needs at the time. I always keep the list small, between 1 and 3 intentions or goals, because we’re only planning for the lunar cycle, this isn’t where we set longer term goals, but could be a space to focus on the smaller objectives that drive us to the longer term goals (see my Better Than a Vision Board workbook).

The next cycle starts around day 3ish, and that’s the waxing crescent. The energy of the waxing crescent is to begin planning the action steps we’ll take toward the goals we’ve set with the new moon. At this time, we’re only seeing a sliver of the moon, so think of it as planning in a dark room with just a headlamp, we’re going to plant seeds and create actions steps that we think are going to work. Here’s an example of how I’ve done this: my intention was to get back into a regular meditation and yoga practice. My action steps were to determine how many days a week I would block out time for meditation and yoga and how long each session would last. I also made an action step to track my progress on a calendar and note my mood at the start and end of each session.

After the waxing crescent is the first quarter moon, which is when about half of the moon’s surface is visible. This takes place around day 7ish and energetically represents more light being shed on the things in front of you. This is an ideal time to adjust your plan as necessary because you can see more. Using my previous example, this is where I’m going to be noting what is working as I try to incorporate more meditation and yoga, but I’m also noting what’s blocking my progress. Is there a trend that Mondays are a terrible time and I should move my practice to a different day of the week? Is it better to start my day with meditation and yoga or to do it at bedtime?

Around day 11ish, we can see about 75% of the moon as it passes through the waxing gibbous phase. This is where we have to address the blocks and challenges that are showing up in our action plan. If we aren’t experiencing any challenges, then this is the time to celebrate the payoff or rewards of our hard work. By this point, I’m starting to get into a flow with my intentions to focus on meditation and yoga; I’m either noticing that I’ve found a rhythm or becoming fully aware of what’s blocking me.

The Full Moon has arrived! It’s about day 14ish in the cycle and the full moon is fully illuminating everything in front of us. We don’t need the headlamp, the light is on and we can see everything exactly for what it is! This is the time to release and let go of what doesn’t work. It’s a time to accept, connect, and recharge. I use the full moon to release judgment about what didn’t work with my action steps, and accept where I am in the process. I use the full moon to release people’s expectations of me that were getting in my way. This is a time when I enjoy where I am in the process and I begin to exhale (metaphorically).

As you know, or can imagine, we’ll now start working back toward a new moon and by day 18ish, we’re passing through the waning gibbous. The light is slowly dwindling, and we’re beginning to enter back into a shadow. This is the time to begin acknowledging the work and progress you’ve made in this lunar cycle. I begin to have more gratitude for my practice at this point.

The last quarter moon starts around day 21ish and again, we’re privy to only half of the moon’s surface. The energy of this phase is to bring about a sense of understanding; you can see how everything before it fits into place. If something or someone was getting in the way of your progress, this is the time to cut ties with it/them as related to your intention. Often people mistake this as a lifelong disconnection, but it doesn't have to be. Instead, this is about recognizing that what holds you back needs to be severed in order to give you room to grow toward the area that you focused on. If I recognize that Netflix was always my excuse for not meditating or doing yoga, then I need to stop watching Netflix right before my designated block of time for my goals, but I don’t have to cancel my subscription altogether, ya feel me. This is also a great time to “refresh” your space and yourself.

We’re in the homestretch as we enter the waning crescent around day 25ish. The moon is nearly fully dark again and like winter, the energy of this time is that of reflection. This is the time to turn inward and learn from all that occurred with the last cycle. What needs to change for the future? This is a great time to enter meditation as a form of connection with your higher self. This lunar cycle is ending, but don’t worry, in about three days, a new one will begin.

For the advanced seeker, knowing the sign for each phase can be helpful in understanding how the phase is affecting you by coordinating the current sign with your own natal chart. Knowing the house and characteristics of the current sign as it maps to your natal chart can be helpful in understanding your energetic blocks and progress. This does require some knowledge of astrology, but it’s fun to begin exploring this area for greater understanding and a deeper level of personal development.

So, why do I care? In part because I think it's groovy to notice the ways in which everything is connected, and I like to share things that I think are neat. More than that, I think it's important as we work on ourselves to feel more attuned to ourself and give up that notion that we have to be in a constant state of swimming upstream. The “you only want it if you work double hard for it” mindset is an outdated fallacy that only serves to shame people into burnout and self-destruction. I think it serves us better to live with congruence and feel good more days than we feel lost.

Until Next Time,

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