The Moon Phases as Seasons
If you do any work with the moon phases, you probably know that the Waxing Moon (light increasing) is seen as a time for attracting or calling in energies, and the Waning Moon (light decreasing) is seen as a time for releasing and banishing. The New Moon (when the Moon is completely dark) is used for setting intentions, and the Full Moon (when the Moon is fully illuminated) is used for celebrating and recognizing your accomplishments.
At the New Moon, we set intentions for the next lunar month (New Moon to New Moon) to call in what we want in our lives. We can set intentions for anything, from health or happiness, to abundance and love. We then take actions during the rest of the lunar month to support the intention we set at the New Moon, displaying our willingness to show up and do the work.
But I've found that another way to look at the Moon phases is akin to the seasons of the year. Sometimes shifting our perspective makes things easier to learn, understand, and apply to our lives. Looking at the moon phases this way may make it easier to apply the practice of working with lunar energies to your life, as you can more easily see the flow of energy, and how that flow of energy relates to you and how you feel. If you start with Winter and progress through Fall, you can see how we go from a time of rest and hibernation, to new growth, full grown and then with Fall we have decay but also the storing of energy in preparation for Winter.
When it comes to the seasons and the moon phases, Winter is the New Moon. It is a time of rest and dreaming of the year ahead. It is a time of hibernation, being cozy, and nourishing our bodies and minds because we know we will need to expend a lot of energy in the Spring and Summer so we can plant and grow the things we need to get through the next Winter. Back when we all were farmers, we spent the Winter huddled inside, usually with our farm animals. We rationed our supplies. We did what was need to stay warm and health and wait out the cold, unforgiving Winter. It wasn't a time of action or doing, it was a time of rest and being inward with ourselves and our thoughts. The New Moon is the same. It is when we dream up our intention for the lunar month ahead. When spend time with that intention, we visualize it, we dream of it. We know it is coming, just like Spring will come. We have faith and we wait in our knowing.
Spring is the First Quarter Moon, when we have planted the seeds and begin the work. We are outside working, pruning the plants and preparing the fields. We are making sure the soil is ready and fertilized for the seeds we are planting, that the conditions are optimal and there is no more danger of a freeze that can damage our tender seedlings. This is where the daily tending and action comes in of the intentions we set at the New Moon. We don't just plant the seeds and walk away, assuming the plant will grow. We water it daily, we fertilize it, we make sure it is getting enough sunlight and nutrients. We must tend to our New Moon intentions in the same way, taking actions that support our intention and displaying that we are willing to do the work. For example, if your intention was to create habits that support your health, what actions could you take around that intention? Perhaps you get a large water bottle to carry around with you all day to increase your water intake. Or perhaps you spend one evening a week meal planning and grocery shopping for the week ahead so you have healthy food options available to you.
The Summer is the Full Moon. Everything is in full growth and bloom at this time. The plants are lush and tall in the fields. The flowers are bright, big, and colorful. And like Summer where the Sun is in its highest path in the sky, and therefore our days are long and bright, the Full Moon is completely illuminated and shines brightly in the night sky. In farming, there are a lot of crops that are ready to be harvested during the Summer (strawberries, peas, winter wheat...). This is a time of celebration of the growth that has occurred and your hard work that helped make it happen. With your New Moon intention this is when you might start seeing results from whatever intention you set. With all the light in the sky, this is also a time of intense illumination and things tend to come out of the shadows now. Those things may be results from your intention, or something may come to light that you need to deal with in order to get results from your intention (for example, if your intention was around abundance but you have a mental money block and you aren't actively trying to work to resolve it, that block may show up in full force around the Full Moon as the Universe is showing you (illuminating) what you need to deal with to move forward).
Fall is the Last Quarter Moon and is time for giving thanks and releasing, as well as storing and preparing for the Winter ahead. It is when we can the remaining fruits and vegetables, and remove any dead or abandoned growth. The fields are usually cleared and fertilized so they can recover nutrients for planting again next Spring. There are a lot of harvest festivals that happen in the Fall where we eat the food we grew and give thanks for the bounty of the growing season. The same applies to the intention you set at the New Moon. Now is the time to give thanks for whatever growth or results you saw. This is also the time to release what did not grow, and make sure you are doing what you need to do to rest and recover, to nourish yourself so you have the energy to get back to work again at the First Quarter Moon / Spring. Perhaps during the Last Quarter Moon time you like to get a massage, go to therapy, or simply do a lot of journaling. Whatever internal and external work you need to do to release and rest, now is the time for it.