Waxing vs Waning of the Lunar cycles

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Waxing vs. Waning

The diagram above shows what the different phases of the Moon would look like as seen from Earth (note that the numbers below each phase correspond to the different positions of the Moon as seen in the first diagram). 

It appears that the Moon repeats certain phases: there are two crescent, gibbous, and half phases each month (each cycle). These phases are not exactly identical, however. Look closely at the diagram. You will notice that during phases 1 through 5, the amount of lighted area increases over time from right to left. When this occurs, the Moon is said to be waxing.  

During phases 5 through 8, the amount of light area decreases (or the darkened area increases) from right to left. When this occurs, the Moon is said to be waning. Therefore you can tell if the Moon is waxing or waning based on whether the right side of the Moon is dark or light. (Of course, this only works in the Northern Hemisphere.  In the Southern Hemisphere the effect is just the opposite!)

Astronomers use this to distinguish between the repeated phases of the moon by referring to the waxing or waning crescent, gibbous, and half phases.

Moon Phases


Waxing - the moon is growing larger in the sky, moving from a narrow crescent just after the new moon towards the full moon. (increasing light = waxing) 
The waxing moon grows from right to left and is called the 'right-hand moon' - the crescent is like the curve between the right-hand's index finger and thumb.

Waning - the moon is decreasing in size, moving from the full moon back towards a crescent as the new moon approaches. (decreasing light = waning)
The waning moon decreases from right to left and is called the 'left-hand moon' because of its similarity to the curve on the left hand.
Energy is now waning with the moon herself, and is linked with the Crone aspect of the Goddess.

Gibbous - during the phases between the First Quarter and the full moon, and between the full moon and the Last Quarter, when more than half of the disc is illuminated.

New Moon

The new moon occurs when the sun and moon are in conjunction, occupying the same part of the sky from the viewpoint of earth. During this time the moon doesn't reflect the light of the sun, and so cannot be seen (except during a solar eclipse). The moon's un-illuminated side is facing the earth.

The new moon phase is the time of new beginnings - like the Maiden form of the Goddess and the season of Spring. The appearance of the new crescent moon was celebrated as a return of the moon from the dead.

This is a time of growing energy, newness, rejuvenation, growth, renewal and hope. This is a good point to set goals & make changes in your life: Get rid of the old--prepare for the NEW.

Full Moon

The full moon occurs between 14 and 15 days after the new moon, and is shaped like a complete disc. The moon's illuminated side is facing the earth. The full moon reflects the maximum light from the sun.

This moon phase is the time of abundance, ripening and completeness - fertile and shining with the full power of feminine secrets and mysteries - like the Mother form of the Goddess, and the season of Summer - pregnant with life.

A child born during a full moon should live a long and healthy life. This is the time when the moon's energy is strongest and full of magick power. 

Drawing down the moon

The moon controls the tides of the oceans. 

So, if two thirds of the human body weight is water, then it is likely that the moon affects our emotions and energy levels. Remember the word 'lunatic' is derived from the Latin word for moon - luna!

The Goddess is believed to show three faces, or aspects during the waxing, full and waning moon cycles: the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone. These symbolize renewal, creation and wisdom.

Rituals are timed in relation to the lunar cycle, as the phases of the Moon are believed to affect magick.  'Drawing down the Moon', where the Moon Goddess is invoked, is a well known ceremony.



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Chris Catanese
Ultimate First Time Buying Guides/Keller Williams Real Estat - Blue Bell, PA

What a great post.       I love looking up at the Moon.     Just a bunch of interesting information!!    


Apr 02, 2008 09:39 AM #1
joseph newman

im doing my work on compter

and lasning to music.

Feb 18, 2009 01:06 AM #2

thx. im doing homework and this helped me alot

Dec 04, 2012 07:48 AM #3
Ka'Mia <da baddest>carter
I am at school and do my work on dis it really help me a lot and I am listening to music.
Dec 18, 2013 09:25 PM #4
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