Having the Moon on Your Side: Life in Harmony with the Moon Cycle Energy

Lunation Life: The Idea

Lunation (also called moon phases) refers to the changes in the moon’s appearance, starting from the dark new moon. After that, the light continues to grow until the full moon. The moon continues to get smaller and darker to begin the next new moon (see ‘What is Lunation?’ for more details).

Western astrologer Dane Rudhyar developed the idea of the ‘lunation birthday’, where humans are classified into eight personality types according to the lunation under which they were born.

However, it’s not only birthdays when we are affected by lunation; its influence also extends to our everyday lives, and we can use this influence consciously. Life in alignment with the lunation’s rhythm (I’ll call it ‘lunation life’ here) is about becoming conscious of the lunation’s influence. It’s about using it to fulfil your dreams and wishes, release yourself from something binding you or heal yourself.

Lunation life described in this article is partially based on several books written by Western astrologers, including Rudhyar, and the people who live with the lunar rhythm (see References for information about the books), and partially on my own observations.

By the way, there is no absolute rule regarding how many lunar phases to divide. They can be divided into as finely as 29, or, conversely, as roughly as into four.  This article adopts the eight lunar phases, as Rudhyar did, and describes the nature of each phase and how we can make the best use of them (e.g., what action is more suitable for us to take in a particular moon phase, like the full moon, than in other moon phases).

The eight moon phases are as follows:

🌑 New Moon

🌒 Waxing Crescent Moon

🌓 First Quarter Moon

🌔 Waxing Gibbous Moon

🌕 Full Moon

🌖 Disseminating (Waning Gibbous) Moon

🌗 Last Quarter Moon

🌘 Balsamic (Waning Crescent) Moon

In the eight lunar phases above, each phase lasts about three and a half days. Moon phases and the waxing and waning periods are essential factors in lunation life. The period when the moon grows bigger is called the waxing period, while the period when the moon gets smaller is called the waning period. To be precise, the waxing period is from the moment just after the black new moon (when a slender of light appears) to the full moon, and the waning period is from the moment just after the full moon all the way through to the new moon.

The new moon is the ultimate point of waning. According to Robert A. Garfinkle, the author of ‘Luna Cognita’, the new moon generally takes about 20 hours for us to see as the youngest moon, although there are reports of people seeing the moon as young as about 12 hours. In contrast, the full moon is the peak of waxing, and from there, the light gradually fades.

In the eight phases above, the new moon phase includes both the fully waned moon (the black new moon) and the waxing moon (the growing moon after the new moon). Likewise, the full moon phase includes the fully waxed moon (the full moon) and the waning moon (the moon which gets smaller after the full moon).

By the way, although I list eight phases above, I’m not suggesting that you must work with all of these phases. In fact, Kirsty Gallagher, the author of ‘Lunar Living: Working with the magic of the moon cycles’, writes that it is better to honour and genuinely work with a few of the eight phases than try to work with all of them and end up not giving enough attention to each phase. The phases you should work with are totally up to you. If you are unsure which phases you should work with, it may be a good idea to see which phases are best suited for bringing into your life through experiments by working with all eight phases for a couple of lunar cycles. Then, you can select a few phases (what we work on in each moon phase is described in ‘Eight Lunar Phases’ below). 

Some of you may wonder when the best time is to start lunation life. As the new moon begins a new cycle, starting it at the new moon is ideal. If, however, you want to start your lunation life and you find yourself in the full moon phase, for example, there are some things you could do while waiting for the new moon (the full moon is not the best time for starting something new, so it would be better to wait for the new moon than to start your lunation life).

During this wait, you could think about what you want to work on in the coming lunar cycle. Or, if you want to use things like candles and crystals to make your lunation life a bit special, as some people do, using this time to choose them could be fun. You can make these elements as affordable or expensive as you choose. Also, as lunation life includes releasing work (letting go of the beliefs, people, environments, etc. no longer serving you)—and there are a variety of ways for releasing—it might be a good idea to do a little research on these processes, such as meditation, affirmations (repeating positive statements to yourself) or journaling.

Waxing and Waning Periods: Time for Taking Action and Releasing

Broadly speaking, the waxing period is for starting something and taking action, while the waning period is for reviewing your actions, sharing your insights with others and letting go of anything outdated for you.

Rudhyar, who developed the idea of the lunation birthday, writes that the waxing hemicycle is a period of spontaneous and instinctual action, and we repudiate the past and build a new structure (be it mental or physical) to grow; the waning hemicycle is a period of conscious growth in meaning (a new understanding an individual gained under the full moon’s illumination; the full moon is when what was previously unknown becomes visible), where we share our new understanding with others. The waning period is also characterised by the possibility of attaining immortal selfhood (i.e., the absolute uniqueness of each individual; see this article for details).

Note that, however, each person has their own interpretation of the waxing and waning periods. For example, Ezzie Spencer, the Author of ‘Lunar Abundance: Cultivating Joy, Peace, and Purpose Using the Phases of the Moon’, thinks that the eight lunar phases alternate between Yang (moving forward) and Yin (resting and restoring); the New Moon is Yang, the Waxing Crescent is Yin, the First Quarter is Yang, etc. Thus, in her view, it’s not that the waxing or waning period is associated with specific nature; both periods include taking action/moving forward and restoring/releasing.

In this article, I will introduce lunation life from the viewpoint of the waxing period being for taking action and the waning period for releasing, as this idea resonates with my understanding better (of course, there’s no problem at all if someone says, ‘No, the idea that the waxing period relates to action and the waning period to letting go doesn’t convince me. The complete opposite makes perfect sense, though’. In this case, all they need to do is live their lunation life from the viewpoint of their interpretation, as there are no rights or wrongs in lunation life). 

The Waxing Period

The waxing period is for planning and putting into motion everything we can to make our new-moon dreams and wishes come true—it’s a get-things-done time.

According to Paungger and Poppe, the authors of ‘The Power of Timing: Living in Harmony with Natural and Lunar Rhythms’, the moon affects the body, and the waxing moon (including the full moon) is associated with the following characteristics: supplying, taking in, building up, absorbing, gathering strength and storing energy. Everything supplied to the body for building and strengthening, including food, medicine or cosmetics, works particularly well in the waxing period.

Furthermore, due to its nature of taking in and absorbing, we tend to gain weight more easily in the waxing period than the waning period, even with the same eating habits and quantities. Thus, this is not an ideal time to reduce weight with dietary restrictions. Due to its nature of building up and strengthening, this time can be better used to be physically active, including doing sports and muscle-strengthening activities. Muscle-strengthening activities do not have to be push-ups, working with resistance bands or lifting weights. For example, American guidelines (published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) and British guidelines (published by UK CMO) on physical activity state that activities of daily living such as carrying shopping bags and heavy gardening will contribute to developing and maintaining strength.

Paungger and Poppe write that the zodiac sign the moon is currently in also affects the body. In Western astrology, each zodiac sign has a region of the body to govern. Broadly speaking, Aries (the first sign) governs the upper extremities of the body, including the head and brain. From there, each sign’s region goes towards the lower parts of the body, with the last sign, Pisces, governing the lower extremities such as feet and toes. 

The zodiac signs and lunation influence our bodies (and other living creatures’ bodies) in various ways, and we can use the influence consciously. For instance, as one of the body parts which Capricorn governs is skin, Capricorn days (when the moon is in Capricorn) are suitable for emphasising skin care. Since the waxing period is associated with supplying and absorbing, ‘adding’ an action to skin care, including applying a moisturising face mask, will yield more favourable results on Capricorn days in the waxing period than the waning period.

The Waning Period

The waning period is a time for reviewing, releasing and healing. The waning moon guides us to look at our inner world. It’s when we focus on the deep inner work to understand and assimilate what is underlying the experience in the waxing period and move forward. The nature of the waning period contrasts with the nature of ‘acting’ and ‘starting’ of the waxing period.

According to Kirsty Gallagher, although people tend to skip the waning period or forget to do the work in the second hemicycle, the effects are profound if we do the inner work in the waning period. It’s just as powerful as the waxing period in that the work we do in the waning period becomes the soil of the creation in the waxing period. The waning period is also meant to share what we have learnt through our reviewing work on the experience of the waxing period with others.

Paungger and Poppe write that the waning moon (including the new moon) has the qualities of detoxifying, removing, cleansing, breathing out, hardening and drying. In terms of its influence on the body, we tend not to immediately put on weight even if we eat more than usual in the waning period due to its detoxifying and removing qualities. It is, therefore, a more suitable time to try to reduce weight with proper dietary restrictions (if you want to reduce weight). Due to the powerful detoxifying nature, the new moon day is good for fasting. According to Paungger and Poppe, fasting on the new moon day will prevent many illnesses. Furthermore, we will get more favourable results if we do massages to relax, ease tension and detoxify in the waning period than the waxing period.

The qualities of detoxifying, removing and cleansing also work well in the domain of household chores such as doing the laundry and cleaning. Laundry will be cleaner, and cleaning will be easier if carried out during the waning period.

Eight Lunar Phases 

New Moon

Waxing Crescent

First Quarter

Waxing Gibbous

Full Moon

Disseminating (Waning Gibbous) Moon

Last Quarter

Balsamic (Waning Crescent) Moon

New Moon Phase

The new moon phase is the beginning of the eight moon phases; it starts with the black new moon, when the light is completely invisible, and lasts for about three and one-half days. In the new moon phase, you sketch your dreams, wishes and hopes and set intentions and/or goals. Visualise your ideal life and decide what you want to work on to realise it in this lunar cycle or over the next 29.5 days.

This is still not a ‘doing’ phase, but rather a time for planning and preparing to actualise your dreams, hopes and wishes. The point of the new moon phase is to have a clear direction and focus so that you can establish a strong foundation for the rest of the moon cycle and move forward, not allowing other people, busy life, old beliefs, etc., to take you back where you were.

Although you might have hundreds or thousands of dreams, wishes and hopes, it will be too much work if you try to fulfil all of them in just one moon cycle (you would have to leave your daily life behind and devote yourself to your lunation life). So, it will be simpler, easier and more realistic to focus on one dream/wish/hope per moon cycle and return to the others later. You don’t need to worry, as there’s always another moon cycle coming, and we have about 12 or 13 new moons in a year.

If you are just starting with lunation life, perhaps it’s better to begin working on changing small, manageable things. Although there’s nothing wrong with pursuing life- (or even world-) altering dreams in your lunation life, some dreams may take many moon cycles to arrive. This is especially true if your dream is as magnificent as becoming the first human who has got eternal youth and immortality. I don’t know how many moon cycles it would take to realise this dream, but I’m sure it’s a considerable number of cycles. So, you don’t need to overwhelm yourself from the beginning. Once you have gotten used to your lunation life, it will be easier to work on actualising bigger changes, perhaps spending more than just one moon cycle.

Everyone has their own way in their lunation life, and there are no rights or wrongs. Still, there are a few seemingly common elements. Writing is one of them. For example, as you visualise your dreams and set intentions in the new moon phase, you can write them down. If you prefer, or find it too much trouble to write them down, you can use the voice recording function on your smartphone (or whatever device).

By writing or recording them, you can recall them and repeat them to yourself throughout the moon cycle, helping align yourself with the energies of your dreams and intentions. You can repeat them to yourself either mutely in your mind or aloud. Still, I recommend you say your dreams and intentions aloud, like affirmations (repeating positive statements to yourself), as this can make you believe what you say more effectively.

The new moon is the last day of the waning period and is the peak of detoxifying power. Suppose you feel you didn’t quite finish your releasing work in the previous moon cycle and have still got something to release (e.g., habits, relationships, distrust of yourself/others, etc. that you no longer need or hold you back) before starting your work in this moon cycle. In that case, the new moon day is a good day to do it (Remember, it doesn’t need to be the precise minute of the new moon, as the new moon sometimes occurs very early in the morning or at midnight. It’s perfectly fine to do lunar rituals when you awake in the morning. Even the moon would be surprised if she saw someone doing their rituals at the precise minute of the new moon in every moon cycle).

Some people like to use something special to help their lunation rituals make more effective, such as candles and crystals. If you wish to use a candle, it might be a good idea to do a burning ceremony on the new moon day (if you do your releasing work). You can do so by writing down all that you want to release on a piece of paper. This can be done either all on one piece of paper or each thing on a separate piece of paper. When you do so, say aloud what you want to release, set the piece(s) of paper alight and drop it into a fireproof dish (and of course don’t forget to have some water at the ready). You can do this burning ceremony on the new moon day, as it is the peak of detoxifying and cleansing power, or you can do it during the full moon phase (including the full moon day), when it becomes clear what is no longer needed and the moon starts to wane. Alternatively, you can do it both on the new and full moon days. Choose the most effective way for you.

If you wish to use a crystal, during the new moon phase repeat aloud or whisper into your heart what you want to realise while holding your crystal. Ask your crystal for any message, encouragement or protection if you need it. Then wear the crystal or keep it nearby. Meditating with it or just holding it for a few moments daily during the waxing period will remind you of your dreams and intentions. After the full moon, you can ask your crystal for help or guidance to review and understand the experience during the waxing period, release what no longer serves you or heal yourself.

Waxing Crescent Phase

The Waxing Crescent phase, when a thin silver light appears, urges you to mobilise towards fulfilment of your dreams set in the new moon phase. The keyword for the waxing crescent phase is expansion. As the crescent, which literally means ‘growing’ in etymology, increases in size, the momentum of the lunar cycle increases.

During this time, you gather your resources, gain knowledge and begin the work to make your new-moon visions a reality. If you feel ready, just crack on your work. However, some of you might get anxious and stressed, feeling there are too many things to do without seeing much in return. This often happens when building something new. Still, a new lunar cycle has just begun, and the waxing crescent phase is also a time to learn not to give up easily. Stay committed to your new-moon dreams and intentions; you might find it helpful to say aloud what you want to achieve in this moon cycle or have a clear picture of your ideal life in your mind every day. It would also be a good idea to do some affirmation work, such as ‘I fully believe in myself and my ability to fulfil my dreams’.

First Quarter Phase

In the first quarter, the moon is half-full, and we are a quarter of the way through the moon cycle. As the moon continues to grow bigger, the moon brings energy, power, ideas, etc., to make your hopes, dreams and wishes come true. It’s a time for taking action.

Rudhyar, who developed the idea of the ‘lunation birthday’, calls the first quarter a ‘crisis in action’ because this phase compels us to take either or both types of action: repudiating the past (old forms of behaving, thinking, feeling, etc.) and/or building a new structure (new way of thinking, feeling, behaving, etc.) to grow positively to the fullness of the achievement at the full moon. If we succeed in doing these, we will see some sort of fulfilment, illumination or revelation at the full moon. However, if we do these measures only half-heartedly, we will miss the opportunity for growth and illumination in this moon cycle. This is a crucial phase also in the sense that whatever is set here will keep developing—for better or worse.

In the first quarter phase, you are in the process of creating something new or doing something in a new way. Keep doing your work, and if you notice that something is trying to stand in your way—it may be inner doubts, excuses or fears—to build your new thing, write them down (or voice-record them, or whatever to record them). If you feel you need to release something to establish and grow your new thing, it would be better to wait for the waning period to make the best use of the releasing, detoxifying and cleansing. During the first quarter phase, say no to anything trying to prevent you from growing and focus on your work to realise your dreams and wishes.

Waxing Gibbous Phase

Just before the full moon, many people find they don’t sleep in the nights. The waxing gibbous is when the moon gives you extra energy to finish off all the work set out at the new moon phase. It’s a time for getting things done. This may also be a bit frustrating phase, as you may see fulfilment is coming, but you still have a little further to go. Notice what still needs to be done towards your dreams, trust that the moon, the sun, the universe, or God, whatever you may call it, has provided you with all the necessary things, and give the last big push of energy and effort to finish your work.

The first quarter phase is when we nurture something new, whereas the waxing gibbous has a stabilising nature. The nature of these two lunar phases, combined with the power of absorption of the waxing period, anything including relationships, information and nutrition taken in tends to be nurtured and stored in ourselves more, particularly during the first quarter and the waxing gibbous phases than the phases in the waning period. So, we should be careful about what we take in; if we take in good things, they will nurture us well, while if we take in harmful or toxic things, they will be more easily absorbed and developed in us than the waning period.

Full Moon Phase

Whilst we humans cannot gaze at the sun directly, the moon allows us to observe and analyse solar activity through the forms of lunar phases. The full moon is considered to be the time of highest objectivity in Western astrology because we can fully perceive and observe the sun’s light. 

The full moon climaxes the moon cycle, shining down on how far you have come since the beginning of the cycle under the light. It is a time when you see whether you have established your new thing (new way of thinking, feeling, behaving, etc.) and fulfilled your dreams and wishes (what you started at the new moon is likely to bring some sort of result at the full moon, whether you intended to achieve it by the full moon or not). If you have built your new thing and achieved what you wanted (even if it’s some, not all), celebrate yourself and your dedicated work towards them. And be grateful for everything that helped you get there. 

Then, after you have celebrated, gradually start reviewing your experiences in the first half cycle. As the full moon phase includes a few days where the moon begins to lose her light gradually, it is the start of the waning period, a time for reviewing the waxing period and understanding its meaning.

If you feel that you haven’t achieved what you wanted, reflect on what hindered you from achieving it. It might come from the outside world such as other people or a busy work schedule, or it might come from the inside of yourself such as distrust of yourself and your ability to fulfil your dreams and wishes.

Whether you feel you have achieved your dreams and wishes or not, the full moon phase is a time for starting to review the first hemicycle. If you need to release something that blocked your way or made it hard for you to focus on your work to achieve your dreams, repeating some affirmations (e.g., ‘I release all distrust of myself and of my ability to fulfil my dreams’) or holding a burning ceremony could work. You could also practically release what stood in your way. For example, you could re-schedule your work to secure time for yourself.

After your releasing work, think about what you want to do with your new-moon dreams now. If you have established your new thing such as a new lifestyle or perspective, and fulfilled your dreams and wishes, you may want to continue to live with the new thing rather than simply forget it. If you feel you haven’t quite established your new thing or achieved your dreams but still want to pursue them, you could use the waning period to review the waxing period and prepare for fulfilling your dreams in the next moon cycle. However, if you are no longer interested in your new-moon dreams and wishes, it’s perfectly fine to let them go. Yet, it still would be a good idea to review the experience of the waxing period and think about what you want to do in the next moon cycle.

By the way, the full moon can be a highly emotional time, as the moon pulls all of our emotions up to the surface. However, as letting our emotions control us almost always wakes up troubles, it would be wiser to stay calm and collected like a turtle during the full moon. (This doesn’t have to be a turtle; it could be a hermit, or a cucumber, or whatever the symbol of ‘calmness’ or a ‘calm and collected thing/person/animal’ for you. Just replace the ‘turtle’ with your own symbol of calmness.)

At the full moon, we are half of the way through the lunar cycle. We started our lunation work at the new moon phase and acted towards fulfilment of our dreams and wishes until the full moon. During the full moon phase, we start new lunation work of reviewing the experience of the waxing period. In this sense, the new and full moon phases are new beginnings.

Disseminating (Waning Gibbous) Phase

As the moon gradually gets smaller, you might feel that your energy is shifting from action-oriented to introspection-oriented. This is a time for continuing your review work from the full moon phase. Like the waxing gibbous phase, where you give your last push of energy to finish your work, the disseminating phase can also entail a struggle, but this time, it’s a struggle to understand.

We need to understand and assimilate the experience during the waxing period. You might find it useful to think about what worked or didn’t work in the first half cycle and what you need to change to move forwards. You could also use this moon phase to gather any missing pieces of information or knowledge to have ideas on how to make slight adjustments to get things done better in the next moon cycle.

With the introspective power of the waning period, we need to and are able to go beyond the surface and delve deeper into what is underlying the experience during the first half lunar cycle. Understanding and assimilating the experience of the waxing period also includes some work with the new thing (new way of thinking, feeling, behaving, etc.) we established. In building the new thing, certain talents and capacities should have been activated quietly (or magnificently), and these are what are to be evolved. Look closely with X-ray eyes at the new thing to clearly see the talents and capacities you should nurture, and think about how to nurture them. In addition, if the new thing would be useful for other people, you could refine, universalise and make it applicable to a larger social context and share it with others.

The waning period, disseminating and first quarter phases particularly, is also a time for communication. Rudhyar calls the waning gibbous moon phase the disseminating moon phase because he believes that, in the positive sense, those born under this moon phase often act as disseminators or popularisers of what has impressed them. If you feel ready during the disseminating phase, start participating in a wider social community and sharing the insights and wisdom you have got so far through the moon cycle.

The disseminating phase can also be used for your business (if you have one) or messages to become known. If you feel your services or messages still need to reach a wider audience, keep giving momentum to what you started at the new moon. The waning period is not a time for starting anything new and working extra hard, but keep the pace.

Last Quarter Phase

Once again, the moon is half full, as it was in the first quarter, but this time, it is waning. It’s time to wrap up your work. During the last quarter, we need to finish our review work and put what we learnt into a form to share with others. Rudhyar calls this phase a ‘crisis in consciousness’; it’s a critical phase when we either succeed in embodying our knowledge/belief/insight in concrete forms or not. Your assimilated and well-formulated idea expressed in a concrete form can be useful not only for yourself but also for others, so share it with other people during this moon phase.

The last quarter is also the final phase of releasing work, after the releasing work during the full moon phase (and the new moon day for some of you). We need to work on letting go of what no longer serves us, be it our own beliefs, behaviour patterns or relationships with others, to make room for new beginnings—the next moon cycle and future cycles to come.

Everyone has their own way of releasing. For instance, some people find mirroring (the daily act of looking at yourself in the mirror and repeating positive statements) or affirmations effective, while others prefer journaling. There are no right or wrong methods, so I recommend you try several ways to determine what works best for you.

As the detoxifying and removing power of the waning period heightens during this phase, it is said that we had better not procrastinate about what we don’t want to do. By putting them off, we are keeping unwanted things in ourselves, which contradicts the nature of the waning period. If you have been procrastinating, it would be best to get to doing it and getting organised during this phase.

Balsamic (Waning Crescent) Moon Phase

The balsamic moon is the final phase when the moon has waned so far that the light is barely visible. This is a transition time between the cycle now ending and the next yet to begin; we rest and prepare for the next cycle, like a seed deep in the earth, silently waiting to come out into the outside world. This is a good time to think about how your knowledge or vision in this moon cycle can become the foundation for the next or future cycle(s).

This can also be a highly intuitive time, as the moon’s darkness, which symbolises the unconscious world in Western astrology, is approaching its peak. It can be easier for us to see or be aware of the things in the unconscious world that we cannot explain by consciousness and logic.

During the balsamic moon phase, you might suddenly get a hint of what you want to do in the next lunar cycle when you least expect it. Or if there was some unresolved issue, be it related to your lunation life or not, an idea of a possible solution might hit you out of the blue. Either way, explaining how and why you reached there would be incredibly difficult, or even impossible (after all, these ideas have come to you from the unexplainable unconscious world). This is not a time for starting and doing something, so even if you have an idea you want to realise, perhaps it would be better to save any action for the coming new moon cycle.

With the balsamic moon phase being the lowest energy point of the lunar cycle, you may find yourself exhausted. If you do, rest and treat yourself well, perhaps holding a hint of your next new-moon dreams in your mind—the waning period is also a time for healing. Rested and healed enough, you will be able to start the next lunar cycle fully energised and make it a meaningful one. Remember, if we have achieved dreams and wishes in a particular lunar cycle, it’s something to celebrate. Still, it is that we have made efforts to realise our dreams and worked hard to understand and assimilate the experience we had in the process of making efforts, which makes the cycle meaningful.


(1) Rudhyar, D. (1967).  Lunation Cycle: A Key to the Understanding of Personality. Aurora Press.

(2) Garfinkle, R. A. (2020). Luna Cognita: A Comprehensive Observer’s Handbook of the Known Moon. Springer.

(3) Gallagher, K. (2020). Lunar Living: Working with the magic of the moon cycles.  Yellow Kite.

(4) Spencer, E. (2018). Lunar Abundance: Cultivating Joy, Peace, and Purpose Using the Phases of the Moon. Running Press.

(5) US Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (2nd ed.). US Department of Health and Human Services.


(6) Department of Health and Social Care. (2019). Physical Activity Guidelines: UK Chief Medical Officers’ Report. Department of Health and Social Care. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/physical-activity-guidelines-uk-chief-medical-officers-report

(7) Kagami, R.  (2016). Ryuji Kagami’s Lunation Astrology. Setsuwasya Co., Ltd. (in Japanese).