What The Moon's Waxing And Waning Can Mean For Your Life

Since ancient times, humans have created lore around the powers of the moon — but whether or not moon phases can affect menstrual cycles or if there's a difference between the full moon and new moon energy are still up for debate in the good year 2023. Still, if you're all about fresh starts and energetic resets, you can stay up to date with a guide to the new moons in 2023. Likewise, if you feel a special connection to full moons, you might investigate their astrological movements and their implications each month.

Studies have looked into the moon's potential impact on animals' biorhythms and whether they experience natural physiological ties to seasons and lunar cycles, which may have to do with factors like electromagnetic radiation and the gravitational pull of the moon. But what is the significance of the celestial body's in-between stages, and how can their spiritual or cosmic resonance help us process our growth and goals?

Waxing moons represent progress

A waxing moon describes the progression of a new moon or one that is non-visible from Earth, transitioning into its full facade. Of course, we can only ever see up to half of the moon at any given time, so when the moon appears half-full to us, it is really only one-quarter of its entire surface. But the enlarging image of the moon in the sky represents growth and moving toward our future plans, and it welcomes ambitions and big dreams. 

The waxing moon also might encourage us to leave the past behind us, according to Refinery29's resident psychic Natalie Kuna. Jumping off from the fresh start of a new moon allows us to put a concerted effort into welcoming new opportunities into our lives, and we may be gaining energy for the defining moments to come.

The moon's full orbit around the Earth takes 29.5 days, per Almanac, so seven days after a new moon comes the first quarter stage. This marker represents an evaluative period in our waxing cycle, and Astrostyle's experts, aka the AstroTwins, recommend re-centering our goals and strategies as we move through our growing and expansive period so that we do not make careless mistakes. It can also be helpful to distinguish the zodiac sign that a new moon and full moon fall under since they can have an effect on how we move through our month. 

The waning moon is a reflective period

The waning moon describes the moon becoming visibly less full from our Earth-side perspective, and seven days after the full moon, it will reach what is known as the third quarter moon. Per Astrostyle's experts, this is the moment when we either receive our rewards for the hard work we put in as the moon grew full or when we come back to ourselves to regroup and prepare for a fresh start with the new cycle. Using the metaphor of harvesting crops, we will see what thrived and discard what did not, clearing space for self-reflection and other spontaneous discoveries. 

You may also still be feeling the aftereffects of the previous full moon; Today's astrologist recommends that we work toward releasing our emotional hang-ups and forgive ourselves for any miscommunications leading up to the full moon. Our third quarter wind-down period comes early in the year, making it the perfect time to engage with the new year from a healing place.

With January's new moon in Aquarius on January 21, the sign's free spirit and intellectual curiosity may guide our hopes for ourselves and others as it restarts its waxing cycle, according to Cafe Astrology. During this time, we'll want to ensure that Aquarius' aloofness doesn't create distance between us and our loved ones. But we should also remember that distancing ourselves from a painful past may do us good in the long run.