How to Use the Moon Phases to Time Your Magical Work

Discover which is best for your intention.

Moon Phases Witchcraft Timing

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If you’re looking to manifest something or trying to do magical work with a certain intention, some witches find it useful to work with the moon phases. Some practitioners believe that timing their spells with the full moon will enhance certain energies, while working with the new moon will bring in others.

Other respected witches I know don’t worry too much about the moon phases when casting spells. Even if they believe that the changing moon can influence their work, sometimes it’s not best to wait for the ideal lunar cycle as that can take almost a month.

A full moon cycle is 27 days, 7 hours, and 43 minutes and from a magical or spell casting perspective, each phase lasts about three days.

Generally, I believe it’s best to try and work with nature versus against it, but let your own intuition be your guide. If you choose to work time your magical rituals with the feminine energy of the moon, here’s a look at what energy is associated with each of the lunar phases.

The 9 Moon Phases for Setting Intentions and Spell Work

1. New Moon

When the moon is new, you cannot see it in the sky. New moons represent new beginnings.

They are the perfect time to gather your thoughts and set intentions. New moon energy can also be used for spells that call in energy if you want a fresh start or a new love, or for harnessing a little extra oomph to begin that project. (You know the one.)
Moon Phases Witchcraft Timing

2. Waxing Crescent Moon

When the moon is in the waxing crescent phase, it appears to become larger. Waxing phases are for spells focused on attracting energy — whether that’s love, money, business opportunities, or communication. And this phase is when they are their most powerful.

The waxing crescent is also the best time for doing constructive magic and a great time for any rituals focused around self-improvement.
Moon Phases Witchcraft Timing - Waxing Crescent

3. 1st Quarter Moon or Waxing Quarter

During the waxing quarter phase, the moon is halfway between new and full. If you cast a spell or set an intention at the new or waxing crescent moon, the first quarter is a good time to evaluate how that is working. Some spells can take a long time to manifest. Others, you’ll see results from more quickly. If it’s one of the latter, such as a habit you want to incorporate into your life, see if there’s anything you need to shift to help it along.

4. Waxing Gibbous Moon

This phase just before the full moon is often when the moon looks largest in the sky. At this stage, your spell or manifestation should have gained momentum and if meant to manifest, will be on its way towards this. The energy is big and can be intense at this time, kind of like a boulder that’s caught speed rolling down a hill.
Moon Phases Witchcraft Timing - Waxing Gibbous

5. Full Moon

When the moon is full, it shines like a beautiful full orb in the sky. During this time, energies and emotions are heightened. It’s said intuition is strongest then, but this changes from person to person. If your intuition is best then, it’s a good time for divination using tarot cards, tea leaves, runes, pendulums, or your preferred tool.

Any spell performed under the full moon will be the most intense and powerful. You can cast spells or intentions at this time that are either attracting or releasing, but be ready for things to move around if you do.

You can also use the full moon to make moon water.
Moon Phases Witchcraft Timing - Full Moon

6. Waning Gibbous Moon

When the moon moves from its waxing to the waning phase, it’s the time for releasing or destructive magic. Not in the sense of literal destruction, but in terms of letting go. It’s the time to release bad habits, grudges, unhealthy relationships, and anything else that is no longer serving your highest good. Think of this first waning phase as a good time to release smaller things, like that habit of checking your email every two minutes.

(Keep common sense in mind, too, of course. For instance, quitting your job because it doesn’t serve your best self but pays your rent probably isn’t going to get you where you want to go.

Use the moon’s waning cycle to release what you can — for instance, the drama at work — and use the next new moon to set an intention to focus on looking for a new job.)
Moon Phases Witchcraft Timing - Waning Gibbous

7. 3rd Quarter Moon or Waning Quarter

In this lunar phase, the moon is halfway between full and new. It’s a time to pause and reflect on how your intentions are going. Some witches believe it’s a good time for removing obstacles, so cutting cords with someone could be something you do during this phase.

8. Waning Crescent Moon

When it comes to releasing spells, the waning crescent is when this energy is the strongest. If your efforts haven’t taken hold yet, use this phase to give things that you need to let go of their final push.

It’s also a good time for cleansing your energy or the energy of your home or space before the next cycle begins.
Moon Phases Witchcraft Timing - Waning Crescent

9. Dark Moon or Balsamic Moon

The phase right before the new moon begins is known as the dark moon. Some find this energy to be restorative. Others use it to cast powerful banishing or blocking magic.

If you are timing your shadow work, now would be a good time for this.
Moon Phases Witchcraft Timing - Moon over Hills

What Is the Moon Phase Tonight?

It might be easy to say that the easiest way to determine the phase of the moon is to simply look up into the night sky. After all, it’s easy to tell the difference between the new moon and the full moon.

But, if you’re not familiar with how the moon changes throughout the cycle, it can be easy to confuse a waning gibbous with a waxing one.

So, instead, I prefer to use a moon app like this free one. The Almanac also has a helpful moon calendar that lets you look up phases by date and location.

You can get a pretty calendar print like this one by Margaret Shipman and hang it on a wall at home so it’s always handy.

Moon Phases Witchcraft Timing - Moon Calendar