Moon Phase Rituals: How To Tap Into The Moon’s Magic
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Ask A Witch

Ask A Witch: How To Use Moon Phase Rituals

How to utilize the phases of the moon for magic and manifestation.

by Napaquetzalli Martinez

This is Ask A Witch, NYLON’s column with Indigenous healer and herbalist Napaquetzalli Martinez that answers your questions on the esoteric, the spiritual, and so much more.

The moon has always been associated with hidden mystery, intuition, and the psychic world of dreams. The moon's monthly phases impact the oceans, our bodily cycles, and the astrological aspects – all subtly impacting all our psyches. Through understanding these powerful phases, we can harness the different energies of the moon and flow in alignment with these natural cycles.

Moon phases are a powerful tool to tap into the cosmic forces that influence us. For many magical practitioners, these are a guide so that we can align our workings with the energies of these potent planetary forces. While it’s important to be mindful of these phases, there are no strict rules when it comes to your personal magical practice. Our energy ebbs and flows throughout the month just like the tides and the moon herself. There’s no perfect timing or perfect ritual, so honor your own instinct and intuition and if you feel called to do ritual — however simple or elaborate — follow that urge.

See how to make the most of the moon’s phases, below.

Phase 1: New Moon

The new moon represents a fresh start every month. Under the darkness of a new moon, new opportunities are possible. This is typically known as the time we plant seeds of intention, to be watered throughout the month. The new moon is a time of introspection, spiritual cleansings and inner healing. Prioritize sleep and rest during this time, and pay attention to psychic messages revealed through dreams.

New Moon Ritual Ideas

The new moon is a good time to engage in reflective activities, like journaling and meditation. Shadow work is heightened at this time and intuition is especially strong for some. Nourish yourself and take this time to strategize for the cycle ahead.

The new moon is a time for solo rituals and reflection. Making a vision board or writing words of affirmation help us visualize our dreams, which we can then materialize in the physical.

Phase 2: Waxing Moon

As the crescent moon grows in fullness leading up to the full moon, our dreams and desires are put into action and practice. This is a time of practical magic, and drawing abundance and changes toward us. We are moving forward with the seeds planted during the new moon and watching our intentions manifest. Magic done during this time is focused on calling in, expanding, and materializing our desires.

Waxing Moon Ritual Ideas

This is a good time for candle magic with prayers for your unique intentions. The waxing moon helps us call in healing, love, abundance, and new blessings. This lunation is all about putting energy out there and seeing how the universe responds. Make those moves, whether in your career or personal life, and know you are building in alignment with the cosmic cycles.

Phase 3: Full Moon

The full moon culminates the cycle as we release the energy built up throughout the month and harness the charged power of the luminous moon. This time is usually super-charged with intense energy, which can potentially cause mood swings or insomnia. The full moon is an important time for powerful rituals, celebrations and cathartic energetic release. Stay grounded but follow your instincts.

Full Moon Ritual Ideas

Full moons are known for their intensity. Go out and bask in the light of the moon, or leave offerings to the ocean tides being magnetized under the moon’s charged influence. Give thanks to the lessons learned through the past cycle and let go of whatever is no longer serving you.

This is also why charging spiritual objects, like crystals, is also a popular full moon activity. Water can also be charged under the full moon to be used in spiritual baths or potions. The light of the full moon is powerfully cleansing and activating, so any prayers or rituals done under it are heightened and amplified.

Full moons are also a time to let loose and have fun. Do something romantic and freeing like gathering with friends or going to a party. The full moon is a great time for group rituals like fire circles where you can share songs and stories. Just be cautious when out in public as full moons tend to intensify people's emotions.

Phase 4: Waning Moon

As the moon slowly diminishes during the waning phase, it’s a time to wrap up loose ends and cut any cords moving into the next new moon cycle. As the moon slowly sheds, so do we: Release old energies as the cycle continues. Cord cutting, deep cleansing, and banishing are indicated during this phase. This is an excellent time for shedding negative energy and removing obstacles from your life path.

Waning Moon Ritual Ideas

Get rid of any old objects taking up space in your life, prioritize health and self-care, and increase your psychic and energetic protection. If you’ve been feeling a lot of stagnant energy, this is a great time to take a ritual bath for a spiritual refresh. Buy fresh herbs like mint, rosemary, and basil or use lemon slices in the bath to cut off negative energy and reconnect with your spiritual power. These types of cleansing rituals can be done under any moon cycle however, especially if you’re psychically sensitive or tend to absorb the energy of the people around you.

A Note On Lunar Eclipses

Lunar eclipses occur less often but are extremely potent times for magical energy. An eclipse represents a portal to a new way of being and understanding; eclipse season, then, is typically when deep spiritual transformations and upgrades occur. Because these shifts are so transformative, they can often be uncomfortable or even painful. Old triggers and themes can come to the surface to be healed and revealed. I recommend rest and reflection during any type of eclipse event, and allowing the waves of energy to come through. Allow yourself to receive the energetic messages coming through by slowing down, avoiding extremes, and pausing on any manifestations.

For more sources for moon ritual guidance, learn from master witch and brujo Michael Cardenas and mystic and astrologer Mariana Balkar.