Mind + Body Alignment

The Difference Between The Waxing and Waning Moon

In our first post in this Moon series, I discussed the primary Moon phases and how their energy can affect ours. The primary Moon phases, mainly the New and Full Moon, are the ones we most hear about. But in between the New Moon, First Quarter Moon, Full Moon, and Last Quarter Moon, other secondary phases happen.

Overview: Moon Phases

Just for a bit of a refresher. The Moon takes 27-29 days to cycle through. Twenty-seven days to pass through all phases and about 29 days from New Moon to New Moon. On average, each primary phase lasts about 7.5 days. It has been found that the Moon phases can affect the tides. Even insects and animals use the Moon phases to move through life. There are many thoughts and certified research on how animals use the Moon to navigate life.

According to Dr. White, senior curator at the Natural History Museum, he has dialed it down to three primary effects or influences the Moon has. Tides and animals or plants that live in these coastal areas. The Moon phases  (1) affect the tides and, in turn, can make some coastal areas extreme places to live, but those plants and animals that live in these regions have found ways to adapt, (2) using moonlight as a navigational tool (especially for nocturnal animals), (3) using the Moon phases to know when to reproduce. If you want to read more on the reason and research behind these three, you can find it here.

Secondary Moon Phases

For now, let’s dive back into the secondary Moon phases. These 4 phases are as follows: Waxing Crescent, Waxing Gibbous, Waning Gibbous, and Waning Crescent. Each falls in between each of the primary Moon phases.

What Do Waxing, Waning, Crescent, and Gibbous Mean?

So, what do waxing, waning, crescent, and gibbous mean? Do they give us any clues as to what these phases have to offer us? When just looking at the term waxing in reference to the Moon, this means that the Moon is getting bigger. This doesn’t mean that the Moon is growing since the Moon doesn’t grow in size. That is an optical illusion and is dependent on how close the Moon is to Earth at any given time. But it refers to the light on the Moon increasing and filling more space on the Moon.

So, this means waning would provide us with the opposite. The light is decreasing on the surface, so less of the Moon is visible to us. Now. Let’s break down Gibbous and Crescent. In a nutshell, Gibbous refers to the amount of light, usually more than half, that is seen or lit is larger than what is in darkness. Crescent would be the opposite. There is less than half that is illuminated on the Moon’s surface.

Waxing Crescent

The Moon is gathering more light but is less than half-lit. In this phase, we are gearing up to move into the First Quarter Moon. During this phase, we should take the time to fully set our intentions for the goals that we created in the New Moon. This is the time to take concrete steps and milestones or develop a checklist of tasks needed to reach to keep us moving toward our dreams.

We are starting to share our light and shine for the world to see. Keep a steady pace, and don’t move too fast forward, or you could let some necessary steps fall through the cracks. This is when you should feel your internal energy fill up and give you more and more drive each day to focus on your dreams and intentions.

Waxing Gibbous

We are past the First Quarter Moon. The illumination and energy we feel from the Moon are over half full. This is a great time to refine and tune into what goals and manifestations you are working towards. We should feel a heightened sense of where we need to go and what are fruitful endeavors to focus on. Maybe you set out something to do in the New Moon that no longer serves where you are in this cycle. Do not waste your precious energy on things you can’t give your full attention to. Since we are inching closer to the Full Moon energy, you may feel like you can be in 5 places at once, but does that mean you will sacrifice parts of yourself? If the answer is yes, re-define and get back to laser focus.

Waning Gibbous

Now we are moving away from light. As each day goes by, we will receive less light and illumination from the Moon. As our energy dwindles, take this time to be grateful for what you have accomplished so far in this cycle. Look at the positives, don’t look back on the should of, and could of’s. Be thankful to the universe and yourself for where you are now. This might also be a great time to re-assess your self-care. Since the energy levels are retreating, maybe you need to show yourself a bit more love and grace. Time to start looking inward as we begin to settle into a brief time of rest.

Waning Crescent

This is the last tiny sliver of light for a bit. Take a look at all that has happened this cycle and forgive yourself for those intentions you could not fully fulfill or that you had to let go of. In this, we get our soul and energy ready to accept new energy and intentions when we enter the next New Moon. I take this time to cut the cord per se. We cannot move forward in life if we are holding ourselves in the despair of what was not created. A great thing that you can do if you find it hard to forgive yourself or possibly others is a brief burning ceremony.

Quickly jot down all that you need to forgive in order to move forward with the New Moon. Then simply burn the piece of paper. Follow with a meditation journey, prayer, or cleansing bath. Now, just as we have mentioned before, this doesn’t mean you have to let it go forever. In the next few months, the universe may unfold and reveal the perfect timing to re-introduce past intentions and goals that weren’t feasible before. Remember, things happen in divine order, even if, at the moment, we don’t clearly see or understand.


This is not meant to give any medical advice, and please consult your doctor to make sure there are no contradictions with any medication you are prescribed.

Other Resources:

If you are a gardener, here is an excellent resource from The Farmer’s Almanac that shows you how to plant by the Moon.

Secondary Moon Phases Cheat Sheet:

Printable Secondary Moon Phases Tracker:

Wishing you love, light and inner peace babes ✌🌈✨💜

The Difference Between The Waxing and Waning MoonThe Difference Between The Waxing and Waning Moon

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