Understanding Moon Phases, Energies, and Rituals

Each phase of a moon’s cycle holds a distinct energy, guiding us through a rhythm of creation, reflection, and transformation. This begins with the new moon, a time of potential and new beginnings. As the moon waxes, it moves through phases, reaching its fullest illumination at the full moon. From there, it wanes, returning to the darkness of the new moon, completing the cycle.

As the moon transitions from phase to phase, its energy influences us in profound ways. The new moon offers a clean slate for setting intentions, while the waxing phases inspire growth and action. The full moon brings illumination, heightened emotions, and a time for release, followed by the waning phases that encourage introspection and shedding what no longer serves us. As each lunar cycle carries its own energy, rituals are unique to each of these cycles.

New Moon Rituals

Many people use the new moon to reflect on their goals and aspirations, meditate, and set intentions for the coming weeks. You can journal about these things, or begin a practice of new moon rituals to focus and amplify your energy. If new moon rituals are new to you, here is a basic ritual ceremony you can practice at the next new moon.

Intention Setting Ceremony

• Find a quiet and comfortable space.
• Light a candle or some incense to create a sacred atmosphere.
• Take a few deep breaths and center yourself.
• Write down your intentions for the next lunar cycle.
• These could be related to personal growth, relationships, career, health, etc.
• Visualize your intentions as already achieved, feeling the emotions associated  with their fulfillment.
• Place your written intentions on an altar or special space, and revisit them throughout the month.

Meditation and Visualization

• Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
• Close your eyes and take several deep breaths to relax.
• Visualize a dark night sky with the new moon in it.

• Imagine your intentions as bright stars surrounding the moon.
• Feel the energy and power of your intentions filling you up.
• Spend a few minutes in this visualization, focusing on the positive feelings associated with your goals.

Cleansing Ritual

• Take a ritual bath with Epsom salts, herbs, or essential oils to cleanse your body and energy. (If you don’t have a bath, you can use salt to scrub yourself down in the shower while thinking of cleansing and cleaning off any and all attachments that no longer serve you.)
• As you bathe, visualize any dark or negative energies or obstacles being washed away by the water.
• After your bath, light a white candle and affirm your readiness for new beginnings.
• Reflect on what you're leaving behind and what you're welcoming into your life.

Full Moon Rituals

The full moon is a time of heightened energy and illumination. Full moon rituals often involve releasing and letting go of things that no longer serve you. This can include negative emotions, habits, or situations. You can engage in meditation, journaling, or ceremonies to symbolize this release. Here is a basic Full Moon ritual for you to begin a practice of releasing and letting go with the moon’s energy.

Release and Let Go Ceremony

• Create a sacred space with candles, crystals, or other items that hold significance for you.
• Write down what you wish to release or let go of on a piece of paper.
• Read each item aloud and feel the emotions associated with them.
• Light the paper (safely!) with a candle flame and watch it burn, symbolizing the release.
• Then dispose of the ashes. Whether you bury them or let them be carried away by the wind. Let ’em go!

Full Moon Meditation

• Find a quiet space where you won't be disturbed.
• Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Imagine the full moon's light pouring down over you, filling you with its energy.
• Reflect on the areas of your life that have come to fruition since the last new moon.
• Acknowledge your achievements and express gratitude for what you have.

Charging and Cleansing Ritual

• Place crystals, jewelry, or other items that you wish to charge under the light of the full moon.
• As you do so, set an intention for these items to be cleansed and infused with the moon's energy.
• Leave the items outside overnight or on a windowsill where they can receive the moon's light.

Waxing Phase Rituals

While new moon and full moon energies are especially significant, the phase between the new moon and the full moon (waxing phase) shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to rituals. This is a good time to focus on growth, progress, and taking action towards your goals.

As the moon's energy is building during the waxing phase, this makes it an ideal time to set intentions for growth and expansion. Light a candle, create a quiet space, and focus on your intentions. Write them down in a journal, infusing them with positive energy and clarity. You can also keep a journal during the waxing phase to document your progress and insights. Reflect on your intentions, explore your feelings, and note any signs of growth or positive changes in your life.

This is a great time for vision board creation. As the moon's light increases, visualize your goals and dreams becoming reality. Collect images, quotes, and symbols that represent your aspirations and create a vision board. Put it in a good, visible spot to remind you of your intentions throughout the cycle.

Waning Phase Rituals

The time between the full moon and the new moon is the waning phase, and also holds significance. During the waning phases, the emphasis might be on reflection and introspection.

The waning phase is also a big time for release and cleansing. Write down things you want to let go of — negative emotions, habits, or situations — and burn the paper, symbolizing their release. Visualize these things dissolving into the flames.

If you need clarity on what you want to let go of, practice a meditation focused on surrender and letting go. Imagine releasing what no longer serves you and opening yourself to receive new opportunities and positive energies.

Two powerful rituals for shedding old stories, patterns, behaviors or situations are energy clearings and cord cutting. Use the waning moon's energy for cleansing your environment to perform a basic energy clearing. Smudging with smoke blends, using singing bowls, or practicing space-clearing rituals can help remove stagnant energy and make room for new beginnings. You can perform a cord-cutting ritual to sever energetic ties that no longer serve you. Visualize the cords that connect you to people, situations, or emotions and cut them with a symbolic gesture or a pair of scissors. (I have a workshop on this if you want a guided experience.)

As the moon's light diminishes, take time to reflect on the past lunar cycle. Consider what you've learned, achieved, and experienced. Express gratitude for the lessons and growth, and set your intentions for the upcoming cycle.