Introducing The Latch’s new woo-woo flavoured advice column, where Jerico Mandybur—best-selling author, award-winning coach, and real-life witch—breaks down spiritual topics, minus all the jargon. If you’ve ever been a little spirituality-curious, grab your black pointy hat, pull up a meditation pillow, and get comfy. Because this is everything you wanted to know (but were too sceptical to ask) about magic.
Q: I see people talking about phases of the moon online all the time these days. Am I uncool for not knowing what a Waxing Gibbous is? I’m curious about moon cycles, but I can barely tell the difference with the naked eye, let alone keep track of all these terms. Help!
Even for the sceptics among us, the moon looms large in all our lives. It controls the tides, it correlates with our menstrual cycles, and certain studies have linked the moon’s phases with activities like sleep (or lack of), an increase in heart attacks, and even mental illness. They didn’t call it “lunacy” back in the day for nothing.
But despite the moon’s ever-present emotional influence, the average person isn’t across the moon’s phases. But witches are far from average. For modern mystics like myself, it seems only logical to track Lady Luna’s jaunts through the sky. After all, the human body is 60% water. Why would the gravitational pull of the moon affect the tides and not us?
It seems a growing number of non-witches agree. Open Instagram on any given day and you’ll find everyone from fashion influencers to beauty brands waxing lyrical about the next full moon (don’t get me started on Mercury retrograde). That’s because more and more people are finding that by understanding the moon’s monthly faces, and tracking them, they can build more mindful, structured lives — both in tune with nature and their inner selves.
And thanks to the internet, you don’t need an encyclopaedic knowledge of astrology to reap the benefits of a daily moon check-in. Just download an app like The Moon or TimePassages. But before you get started, you’re going to need a little Moon 101.
Here are all the moon’s phases and how they can help *you* add a sprinkle more magic into your life:
For most cultures across the world, the new moon is seen as the beginning of the planet’s cycle. At this point, the moon is rendered invisible, as the sun’s light isn’t shining on the side of the moon visible from earth. In olden times, that meant there was no way for us humans to see in the dark. Spooky! As such, most people (and animals) are at their most restful.
The new moon is also a metaphorical blank slate. It’s a time for contemplation, self-inquiry, and intention-setting. Witchy types typically conduct manifestation rituals under a new moon for good reason. Your self-determination will be quite high during this phase, as you let yourself imagine all the possibilities that lay before you when it comes to what you want. Take advantage of it by free-writing about your hopes and dreams — and keeping what you write down somewhere special for the entire moon cycle.
You might also find the new moon an ideal time for pruning your house plants too; nature is “breathing in” at this point. The exhale will come. Suffice to say, new moons have major rest, relaxation, and self-care energy. So dream big but go easy, huh?
As the light of the moon grows right to left across its surface, energy slowly builds. Thus, the waxing moon is a time to start anew. To think strategically about the “how” the new moon’s “what” set into action. Want to take advantage of the phase? Get out a spreadsheet and plot your heart out. Or maybe make a vision board? Perhaps some pragmatic journaling? Nothing is off-limits, so long as it feels fresh, exciting, and like a declaration. Now, you’re not just calling your desires into your life, you’re moving towards them.
This is a time of expansion and growth in nature too. As farmers will tell you, now’s the time to plant flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Wellness-wise, you might find fluid retention and migraines to be an issue. Take care of yourself with nourishing, regenerative foods and practices.
With the first quarter moon and the waxing gibbous moon (the halfway and two-thirds point of this overall waxing phase respectively), momentum gathers. As the light of the moon grows stronger and stronger, you won’t just be visioning anymore, you’ll be taking action. While there may be some challenges (because life) the waxing moons teach us about patience. Because everything requires a gestation period, baby! Every tree needs roots first, in order to grow strong. Edit and refine your goals as you go, and you only fortify them further.
You made it! With peak brightness comes peak energy. That’s why you may have found that memorable wild nights out often happen under a full moon. This famously intense time sees us lose sleep and become more emotional. Feeling burnt out and irritable are not uncommon — that’s right, it’s not just you! So while celebrations and high-energy gatherings may be in order, just remember to keep your wits about you too.
Emotionally, full moons illuminate what’s normally unseen. They shed light on what’s working and what’s decidedly not working in one’s personal life. In other words, expect to find a distinct clarity under a full moon.
The foundations of your house might expand under a full moon. Your plants will be at their thirstiest. And weirdly, if you accidentally hurt yourself and start bleeding, you’ll really bleed. But most importantly, the full moon is when all the visioning, planning, and action we’ve accomplished over the last moon cycle will come to fruition. That means blessings on blessings. Pro tip: energetically charge your crystals and tarot cards under a full moon for extra potency! If you’re into that.
From the full moon into the waning moon, it’s time to release. Release what? Anything that — literally or figuratively — that no longer serves you. Negative self-image? That ex you’re hung up on? Get all your frustration out on paper and then burn it under the moon to let it all go. Now doesn’t that feel better?
As the moon journeys through its gibbous, last quarter, and crescent adjustments over two weeks, it’s the perfect time to nurture yourself and others through acts of service, as the moon releases energy, so too should we continue to release tension, bitterness, and the sticky stuff of life. Focus on forgiveness, generosity, life transitions, and making readjustments in your inner and outer world, and you can’t go wrong. The full moon gave you clarity, now it’s time to share it with others.
In your natural environment, consider composting, and cleansing or detoxing the body. Anecdotal, facials and wraps are more effective at this time. Go figure! Mother nature knows best. While you’re in the cleansing spirit, give your home a good go-over so when the new moon rolls around once again, you’ll truly be starting fresh.
Curious about a woo-woo topic but too shy to ask your mates? Got a burning spiritual enquiry and wish someone would just explain it in layman’s terms? Submit your ‘Ask Jerico’ question by sliding into our DMs at The Latch’s Instagram, or by messaging Jerico directly on Instagram.