Understanding Waxing VS Waning Lunar Energy + How They Relate to Full Moons

January 7, 2020 7:04 pm Published by

The moon’s influence over the tides serves as a constant reminder of its continuous push and pull of energy. Each phase of the moon imparts a specific kind of energy onto you and any magickal workings you perform. When we zoom out and take a more straightforward look at lunar energy, we can understand it as expansive energy vs. contracting energy.

I’ve been sharing an annual moon phase calendar with my newsletter subscribers for the past five years and now the 2022 is available for purchase here in digital format. One of the most common questions I receive is how to use the moon phase calendar. This simplest and most effective way, in my belief, is to weave the waxing and waning energy of the phases into your life. 

It can feel overwhelming to keep track of every single moon phase and its every changing astrological sign. Working with each phase (new, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, etc.) is more nuanced but isn’t necessary to fully benefit from the effects of lunar energy. 

In a busy world where self-care is shouted from the rooftops, shouldn’t we be finding ways to connect with ourselves and nature in easier ways? Rather than skipping the ritual or the meditation because it seems like “too much”, I want to offer you easy methods to honor lunar energy. 


Cards featured from The Ritual Deck.

Waxing Energy Vs. Waning Energy

When we break down lunar energy into its purest forms, we have waxing energy and waning energy. Waxing energy is in alignment with growth, expansion, and abundance. Waning energy is in alignment with releasing, surrendering, and resting. 

When does the waxing phase happen? 

The waxing phase of the moon cycle begins at the new moon and ends at the peak of the moon’s fullness. 

When does the waning phase happen?

The waning phase begins the moment the moon starts decreasing in light and ends at the dark moon. 

If you’d like some clarity about the dark moon vs. the new moon, check out this previous blog post I shared. 

Waxing Moon Energy Correspondences

  • Elements: Fire and Air
  • Yang 
  • Action
  • Growth
  • Abundance 
  • Celebration
  • Accumulation
  • Seeking
  • Motivation

Waning Moon Energy Correspondences

  • Elements: Water and Earth
  • Yin
  • Passive
  • Releasing
  • Letting go
  • Surrender
  • Acceptance
  • Peace
  • Review
  • Integration
  • Reflection
  • Rest

Working With Waxing & Waning Energy Daily

Once you begin working with the phases of the moon in this way, you’ll likely feel more in tune with her energy. Rather than looking up the specific dates for each new moon and full moon, you’ll be in flow with the entire cycle of mama moon. You may begin to feel so in sync with her energy that you instinctively recognize waxing vs. waning energy on a soul level. 

In my practice, I rely on the energy of the waxing or waning moon for basic decisions throughout my day. Throughout my day, I may decide to do or not do certain things based on the moon being in a waxing or waning phase. 

Aid in Decision Making 

When faced with the decision to push forward or let it go, notice what moon phase you’re in for guidance. If you’re in a waxing phase, push on; if you’re in a waning phase, consider letting it go. This idea can be applied to interactions with people, manifesting work, and projects. Of course, there are times when you may not have the option to “let go” of a project that genuinely needs to get finished. If you’re in a waning moon phase and really need to complete something, you can still make a mental shift to let go of expectations and desired outcomes. It’s a subtle but powerful shift.

Burning Candles

Candle magick is one of the easiest ways to shift your energy. When you align it with lunar energy, it is even more potent. When I say “candle magick” in regards to daily energy work, I simply mean lighting a colored candle that’s in alignment with lunar energy, that’s it!


Candle colors that align with waxing energy: white, red, yellow, orange, green, gold

Candle colors that align with waning energy: black, blue, purple, pink, brown, silver

Here’s an example of how to apply this to a real-life situation. If you’re trying to bring more financial abundance into your life and it’s a waxing moon phase, light a green candle to expand your wealth, if it’s a waning moon phase, light a blue candle to bring in a sense of peace and acceptance around your desire to increase your financial abundance. 

Adding and Clearing Energy

When you get in tune with the cycle of the moon, you may find that you enjoy cleansing the energy of yourself and your space more during the waning moon phase. Because the energy of the waning moon is associated with releasing, clearing, and letting go, it will amplify your desires to cleanse and purify. Alternatively, if you feel the need to add energy to yourself or your space, the waxing moon phase will be in better alignment. 

Wearing specific crystals

One of my favorite ways to stay in sync with waxing and waning energy is to wear specific gemstones that are in alignment with the current energy of the moon. Here’s a list of crystals that align with waxing vs. waning energy.

Waxing Moon Crystals: citrine, tiger’s eye, green moss agate, sunstone, pyrite, sodalite, lapis lazuli, green aventurine, garnet, rainbow moonstone, turquoise, fluorite, kyanite, carnelian, and malachite.

Waning Moon Crystals: obsidian, snowflake obsidian, hematite, black tourmaline, rose quartz, smoky quartz, rhodonite, prehnite, larimar, black moonstone, onyx, jasper, labradorite, and bloodstone.

Full Moons & Waxing and Waning Energy

The different energy associated with the waxing vs. the waning phases of the moon is especially relevant for the full moon. The full moon is the most intense point of the lunar cycle, so understanding the waning vs. the waxing side of it is really helpful! The full moon can be broken down into three parts, waxing side of the full moon, 100% lumination (which only happens for about one minute!), and waning side of the full moon. If you are going to perform a more in-depth ritual, knowing which side of the full moon to perform it on will add a very intense and specific kind of energy to your ritual. 


I hope this breakdown of waxing vs. waning lunar energy helps you feel more confident in your ability to connect with the moon daily! You can find more in-depth rituals to work with lunar energy in the blog posts below:

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About Cassie

Cassie Uhl is the author of five books and two card decks, an artist, intuitive energy healer, and death doula. Her lineage and practices are rooted in pagan earth-based spiritual practices of Northern Europe. She approaches her work and clients with trauma-informed support through all phases of life. She currently resides on the land of the Myaamia people in so-called Indiana of the US.