A Guide To: the Moon

What’s my moon sign? What do I do during a full moon? What does an eclipse mean? Writer Christina Ko answers these questions and more in this concise guide to the moon
19 May 2021
Words by: Christina Ko

Why should I care what phase the moon is in?

The moon’s energies affect our own energies, too – while we aren’t quite werewolves who physically transform at the peak of the lunar cycle, many people do feel the need to rest and turn inwards when the moon is invisible, as well as get a little more frantic when it reaches its fullest state.

So what happens during each moon phase?

Let’s start with our namesake phase: the new moon. At the beginning of the moon cycle, the moon sits in between the sun and earth, and the night is thus completely dark. It’s a time to set intentions and make plans for the upcoming waxing phases, which will be more action-oriented.

When the moon is waxing, we begin to see some light, and at the waxing crescent phase, it’s time to start moving on those goals. At the first-quarter phase, we are halfway to full, and it’s time to really push hard on projects and stand ground on any principles and beliefs you may have. At the waxing gibbous phase, we should begin to see these dreams come to fruition.

Then we come upon the full moon, when the energies are swirling and powerful, and you might be feeling heady with life and vitality. Now is the time to celebrate the fruits of your labour, as well as to make decisions to let go of what doesn’t serve.

From here, the moon begins to wane, moving into the waning gibbous phase. Show gratitude at this time, and continue to release. You will begin to feel the effects of this as the moon reaches its last quarter, and it’s important to take time to grieve and to meditate, nourishing your inner self. When the waning crescent moon presents itself, surrender and reflect upon the last month, and reset your thoughts in order to set your intentions when the next new moon comes along.

Greyscale photography of seven phases of the moon against starry sky
Phases of the moon, Photograph by Anderson Rias
Greyscale photography of phases of the moon in a circle
Phases of the moon, Photograph by Fotos da Lua

How do I sync my lifestyle to the moon’s phases?

The general rule of thumb is, when the moon is heading from new to full, take action, expend energy, feel the power of your yang energies and strike. As the moon wanes from full back to a new beginning, take time to turn inwards and reflect – slow down on social engagements and nourish your yin and your ability to relax and be slow and mindful.

Learn how the moon affects food and diet in our guide to food & the moon, and work out ways to increase your yin power with this guide to a few TCM ingredients you can incorporate into existing recipes.

What should I do during the new moon?

Many social-media accounts – including ours – will share reminders at the new and full moon, so you can get your ducks in a row and make the most of the lunar phase. For new moons, smoke-cleansing is not strictly necessary, but many do so in order to reset their spaces, themselves and their magical items to take on the upcoming month with a clear head and living area. What’s more important at this phase is to set your intentions, and to create a plan of approach.

How about during the full moon?

Energies are intense during the Full Moon, and it’s the time to release – most people like to smoke-cleanse the day or evening after the full moon to support letting go. You can also write down what you wish to release and burn the paper, afterwards, a symbolic ritual that reinforces your intention.

Moon rise through the trees
Supermoon, photograph by Kym MacKinnon
Solar eclipse glasses before the solar eclipse
Solar eclipse glasses, photograph by Jason Howell

What is a supermoon?

A supermoon is defined astronomically as when the moon is orbiting closer than usual to the earth, meaning to the naked eye it may look bigger than it usually does. Astrologically and energy-wise, when the moon is in greater proximity to the earth, we feel its energetic reign more intensely.

What does a lunar eclipse mean, energy-wise?

When the moon is on the opposite side of the earth as the sun, a lunar eclipse occurs. In 2021 there will be only one, on may 26. Eclipses generally signal change, a culmination of emotions – as a shadow passes over the moon, our subconscious becomes activated, allowing us to see beneath the surface of what has been going on in our lives. Expect sudden changes and upheavals in your life.

How does the lunar cycle relate to the feminine cycle?

If our menstrual cycles were tuned properly to the moon, then we would find ourselves energetically in sync with the earth – in theory, your period would come during the new moon, when it is time to rest and be still, and the full moon would signify the peak moment of fertility. It would be a convenient spiritual clock that would eradicate need for period-tracking apps and ovulation sticks!

Overhead shot of a “The Moon” Tarot Card and healing crystals
Photography by Los Muertos Crew

I see on the moon calendar that the moon is moving through the star signs. What does that mean?

As the moon orbits the earth, it also moves into different sectors of the sky representing the zodiac symbols – in fact, what astrologers do is interpret the movement of the planets as they rotate and retrograde into different signs. As the moon represents our emotional development, when it moves into different signs, this will affect our global energies – when the moon is in a water sign, for example, it will signal emotions running high. Once a month, the moon will be in your own personal moon sign, and that is usually a time that your emotions and intuition are a little bit more intense.

I know my horoscope sign – but what are my moon sign and rising sign?

The preceding question brings us to your moon sign. We traditionally ask people about their sun signs, which is the position the sun was in at your time of birth. Your moon sign is where the moon was at that same moment, and is aligned with your inner self. Find your moon sign, as well as your rising or ascendant sign – which represents how others perceive you – using a natal chart service such as Cafe Astrology’s here or Co-Star Astrology’s here.

Natal chart sample from Co-Star Astrology
Natal Chart sample, courtesy of Co-Star Astrology