Setting Your Intentions With the Moon



All around us in art and music are references to the power of the Moon. The Moon's pull is responsible for the tides that drive our oceans day in and day out. And statistically speaking, more crimes are committed during the Full Moon. The Moon fascinates humans, and inspires interpretations from goddesses to the Man in the Moon and thousands of spells drawing on its alleged power.

For many people still today, the Moon's cycle is a source of magical power. As arcane as this may sound, it's really quite simple to tap into the Moon's cycle for a little extra cosmic support behind the spell or intentions you are putting out into the world. This work starts by attuning to the rhythm of the Moon's phases.

The New Moon

This is the beginning of each Moon cycle. As calculated astronomically, the 'New Moon' technically occurs when the Moon is obscured completely in darkness. For many people just starting out with magic, the rhythm of this cycle is unfamiliar to the symbolic levels of the mind, and so it makes more sense to observe the New Moon when the first sliver of the Moon's face can be seen in the sky.

During the New Moon, it's a great idea to set your intentions for the cycle ahead. This is the perfect time for choosing affirmations, making a decision about new directions you'd like to take, and initiating the first step in your journey to actualize the choices you plan to make.

Waxing Moon

This phase covers the first two weeks or so of each Moon cycle. It refers to the period in the lunar cycle between the New Moon's first light and the Full Moon's rise. For the duration of this period, you want to be surrounding yourself with imagery and empowering words that relate back to the intentions you set at the New Moon. 

Now is both the perfect time for making a vision board and for taking additional steps to reassert your power to follow-through on the goals you've set. 

First Quarter

This is the first 'Half Moon' phase of the lunar cycle. It is when half of the Moon's face appears illuminated in the sky, and it occurs at the midpoint of the waxing cycle. You can think of this phase as an opportunity to check-in on your intentions and fine-tune them before you head into the Full Moon.

If necessary, make adjustments to your intentions at this time. If you've found a better affirmation than the one you started with, shuffle their order.

The Full Moon

Traditionally, the Full Moon is the lunar phase most closely associated with magical workings. For Wiccans and other witches, the Full Moon or esbat is observed religiously, and often includes the day before and after the actual Full Moon itself.

This is the time for a final, enormous push of energy towards your intentions. It is the completion of the magic you have been working so far in the lunar cycle. You may choose to use this time for more ceremonial work, like a ritual, or ecstatic work like raising your energy through dance and partying. Either way, focus on fulfilling the purpose you set out to achieve in this lunar cycle.

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Waning Moon

This phase covers the final two weeks or so of each Moon cycle. It refers to the period in the lunar cycle between the Moon appearing full and the Moon going dark. This is the perfect time for rest and reflection on the intentions you worked earlier in the lunar cycle. Now is the time to review your notes, record and consider observations about what you have experienced, coincidences, and obstacles you encountered.

Third Quarter

This is the final 'Half Moon' phase of the lunar cycle. It is when the waning half of the Moon's face appears illuminated in the sky, and it occurs at the midpoint of the waning cycle. Now is another analytical phase of the lunar cycle. You can use this time to think ahead for the magic you would like to work with the following Moon, or, first, what obstacles in your way you may need to banish.

The Dark Moon

This phase refers to the last moments of the lunar cycle where the Moon is completely obscured in darkness before beginning the cycle all over again. The Dark Moon is the perfect lunar phase for releasing old projects, ideas, behaviors, or social connections no longer helping you on your journey. This is when you can use ritual or spell work to banish obstacles from your path as you prepare for the lunar cycle to repeat again.

Living By the Moon

The beautiful thing about lunar magic is that the cycle is constant and repeating enough that you can ease yourself into the amount of work with the Moon you would like to be doing. As you explore your relationship to this celestial body, be mindful to keep notes on your intentions, experiences, and progress. 

And if you're up for a deeper dive, try a year of living your life by the lunar calendar rather than the daily and seasonal progression of the Earth through the solar calendar alone. Anyone can tap into the mythic power the Moon holds in our collective unconscious. We all have the power to set our intentions with this cycle and manifest them in our day-to-day lives.


Pat Mosley (NC LMBT #16882) is a licensed massage and bodywork therapist in the Winston-Salem area. His work is rooted in compassionate touch, permaculture, and deep ecology with the resilience of all Earth's children in mind. Connect with him via email to