What's the Moon Phase Today? An Easy Guide to Moon Phases

Life is said to be very cyclical. The changing of the seasons, the rising and setting of the sun, the ebb and flow of the oceans to name just a few. The moon experiences cycles as regular as those on earth, visibly different phases through which it continually cycles. The following is a simple guide to the phases of the moon.

What Are Moon Phases?

A “moon phase” refers to the different appearance of the Moon as seen from Earth. There are eight phases, and the moon cycles through them all approximately every 29.5 days. These phases and the relative positions of the Sun, Earth, and Moon control the shape of the moon that we see at any given time. 

The New Moon

The first phase of the moon is the New Moon. During this phase, the Moon and Sun have the same ecliptic longitude, rendering the moon essentially invisible in the night sky. It is said that the time of a New Moon facilitates new beginnings and that it’s a time that will inspire the yearn for change. 

The Waxing Crescent Moon

The crescent moon is the natural progression of the new moon, making it the second stage. True to its namesake, the appearance of this phase leaves the moon as a mere sliver of a crescent. It is believed that this phase is beneficial for taking ideas and manifesting them in reality. 

The First Quarter Moon

The next phase is the First Quarter Moon. The name may imply that this is when you see a quarter of the moon, but that is actually not the case. Instead, the title signifies the moon having made it through a quarter of its eight phases. At this time, you will see the right-side half of the orb. Here, the energy is in the expansive waxing phase, which means that it is still working towards it full illumination. 

The Waxing Gibbous Moon

This moon phase occurs approximately two weeks after the arrival of the new moon, while the orb is still waxing. The moon is brighter and starting to become rounder, yet it is still not quite full. This is said to be the time of the moon cycle where momentum is building, meaning that it’s a good time to evaluate how your endeavors are going. 

The Full Moon

The thing of legends and stories. A full moon occurs when the moon has reached its maximum illumination and is gorgeously round and bright in the night sky. The full moon is said to be the cause of odd behavior and increases psychic abilities.

The Waning Gibbous

Also known as the Disseminating Moon, this phase of the moon looks much like the waxing Gibbous Moon, however there is one key difference. In this phase, the fuller side of the moon switches from right to left. This begins the waning process, which is the opposite of waxing. This means that the moon is beginning to appear smaller and less bright. It is a time to rediscover your personal moonglow and to look objectively at your life.

The Third Quarter Moon

In this moon phase, the left half of the moon remains as the waning cycle continues and the light of the moon diminishes. This is believed to be a time of cleansing, inspiring people to clear extraneous items from their life.

The Waning Crescent

Also known as the Balsamic Moon, this is the final stage of the moon, showing merely a thin sliver of light, much like the Waxing Crescent Moon phase. This is believed to be a time of reflection that inspires meditation, to channel your inner moon goddess, and to let go of unnecessary burdens.

Use this as a beginner’s guide to learn about the properties of our lunar neighbor and to truly reflect what each moon phase means in relation to your own life.