What's The Difference Between Full Moon And New Moon Energy?

There has always been something mysterious about the moon. Ever-changing, it comes and goes through our life at a rapid pace, marking the weeks and months with its evolution. The moon is also a powerful force. Through gravity alone, it moves the water in our world's oceans, creating high and low tides (via NASA). And just as the moon exerts its pull on the sea, it can affect us astrologically as it moves through its cycle.

Unlike occurrences like Mercury retrograde, which tend to affect us in very external ways, the moon's phases often move us internally. In your unique astrological chart, your moon sign represents your inner self and emotional landscape. It is tied to your intuition and subconscious and may connect deeply to hidden parts of your personality. So as the moon progresses through its celestial orbit, these are the aspects most responsive to the shifting energy of its journey. Roughly every 29.5 days, the moon moves from total shadow — known as a new moon — to complete, silvery-white visibility at the full moon (via Almanac). At each of these major endpoints, you may feel an especially strong lunar influence on your life, impacting your energy levels, moods, and personal growth. But what should you really expect from these opposing moon phases, and how does full moon energy differ from new moon energy?

New moon energy

Standing at the beginning of the moon's path, the shadow of a new moon represents beginnings and fresh starts (via AstroStyle). With nowhere to go but up, the new moon often positions you at a place of great potential, while its darkness provides a safe and intimate space for self-reflection. This is a time for preparation, contemplation, and the planting of new seeds — whether that means beginning a project, seeking new relationships, or embracing a good habit.

Astronomically speaking, a new moon occurs because the moon is perfectly positioned between the earth and the sun, with no sunlight reflecting from its earthward face. In astrology, this means that the sun and the moon are in conjunction at the time of the new moon, which unifies and intensifies each of their influences (via Labyrinthos). So while the new moon may seem like a time of quiet or low energy, you may actually find that it is a powerful springboard. Try using the momentum of this period to set goals and intentions, meditate for clarity or inspiration, or engage in some thoughtful journaling. It's also a good time to refocus your sense of self by practicing positive affirmations.

Full moon energy

As the culmination of the moon's growth from shadow to light, a full moon represents completion, fulfillment, and closure. If you planted the seeds of some venture at the new moon, the full moon is when you might start to see these seeds bear fruit. Whereas the new moon is perfect for new endeavors, the full moon is a rich opportunity to put the finishing touches on something. Perhaps you want to conclude an entire project or push it through to the next stage. But you may want to wait before pushing on to something new. "Full moon phases tend to receive a lot of importance because it is a time of culmination," astrologer and numerologist Jasmin Alejandrez-Prasad tells Well+Good. "This is a time of releasing, welcoming closure and allowing things to complete. Creating new beginnings will backfire and won't gain the momentum deserved."

Full moons have also gained a reputation for strange occurrences, chaos, and mayhem. The full moon can intensify reactions we'd normally keep close to the vest, allowing our unfiltered selves to spill out. As astrologer Athena Perrakis, Ph.D., tells Reader's Digest, "Think about the strongest qualities of your sign. What would those qualities look like if they were given a turbo charge of energy? You have to be aware of that in yourself so you can understand how people react to you."

However, this heightened emotional activity can also help us understand what is causing disruptions in our lives. To make the most of this time and turn it to your advantage, the robust illumination of the full moon is ideal for releasing any thought patterns, endeavors, or relationships that are no longer serving you. You can also use its cleansing light for full moon rituals, such as infusing moon water.