How to Use Each of the Moon’s 4 Main Phases to Help You Conquer Your Goals

Graphics: W+G Creative
Given its skill at motivating us to take risks, encouraging us to let our freak flag fly high, and pushing us to follow our heart, it's clear that the moon’s energy is powerful, often affecting us when we don't even realize it. Another opportunity it offers that may not be widely known? The moon's potent energy, which changes throughout the full moon cycle, can actually be harnessed and used to help us achieve our goals.

Here's how it works: Each of the main four phases of the full moon cycle brings a unique energy. The energy of the full moon, for example, is all about celebration, whereas the waning moon has more of a chill vibe that encourages stillness.

“Being in tune with the moon is a way to do the self work you would have to do anyway, but more gently and intentionally.” —Ani Ferlise, spiritual coach and astrologer

The power, then, that can come with working in accordance with the energy of each phase of the full moon cycle can provide a roadmap for achieving goals with a sense of ease. “Being in tune with the moon is a way to do the self work you would have to do anyway, but more gently and intentionally,” says spiritual coach and astrologer Ani Ferlise. “Utilizing all of the magic and medicine each of these phases have is key to living a soulful, rooted, connected, and vibrant life.”

Ready to bring your goals to fruition with the help of the moon's energy? Here’s a breakdown of the four main phases of the moon’s cycle, and what you can do during each phase to bring your goals to fruition.

full moon cycle

New moon

The new moon marks the beginning of the lunar cycle. "It's like a mini New Year every month,” Ferlise says. “It’s a time to get clear on what you want to call into your life, what you want to fully claim and say yes to doing, and to set a clear intention. During the new moon…we plant the seeds of our desires.” So, every time the new moon rolls around, be sure to pencil in a self-reflection sesh to reconnect with yourself and get clear on what you want for the upcoming cycle.

full moon cycle

Waxing crescent moon

Once you’ve set your intentions during the new moon, the moon begins to grow more and more visible as it goes through three phases: waxing crescent moon, half moon, and waning gibbous moon. This process takes about two weeks.

During this time of the waxing crescent moon, at the beginning of the process, your focus should be on taking action steps to bring your new-moon intentions to reality. “Energy is increasing around you, making it easier to get everything up and running, and to call in what you need to help you,” Ferlise says. “It’s not enough to just think about it; you have to take that first baby step.”

Ferlise also recommends taking note of what happens around you as you start to take action during this phase. If you experience any resistance, question what it is in you that needs nourishing.

full moon cycle

Full moon

Now is when the moon is its biggest and brightest in the sky. By this time in the full moon cycle, your new moon intentions are starting to take shape, making this phase’s vibe of celebration and integration very fitting. “Celebrate how far you’ve come,” Ferlise says. “Give thanks for all the lessons and blessings, and release and realign what isn’t working.”

The full moon is not all rainbows and butterflies, though. It also illuminates what we perhaps don’t want to look at, and that reality can bring up emotions. “Note what emotions are surfacing, as the full moon tends to highlight all the stuff we may have left in the shadows because we didn’t want to look at it,” Ferlise says. “If you are faced with some heavier emotions and truths, ask for support from someone you trust and love, and tend to it fully.”

full moon cycle

Waning gibbous moon

After all the celebration that comes with the full moon, it begins to wane until it's time for another new moon, bringing the lunar cycle full circle. Until now, you’ve been pouring all your energy into your goals. The waning moon phase is the time to pour back into yourself and double down on practicing self care.

“Now is the time of perfect stillness, surrender, and deep healing and integration,” Ferlise says. “This is the moon phase that is probably the most difficult for our society right now. We are so obsessed with constantly doing, that it can be hard to intentionally not do. Still, this is such an important phase to have an even stronger moon cycle.”

Want to level up your spiritual energy even more? Here's how to receive and use signs from the universe in five steps. And here's how the 12 laws of karma play into your life, whether you realize it or not.

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