Moon Phases 101: A Complete Guide to the Waxing Gibbous


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Imagine not knowing anything about science or technology, being ancient people looking up at the sky and beholding the moon. Huge and pale, the mysterious and beautiful light shining from it shrinks and grows as the month wears on, evoking awe in you and everyone around you. Surely it is associated deities or powerful spirits, because something so amazing can only be a jewel of the gods themselves. Just as surely, the growing and shrinking of the moon throughout the month was important and spiritual.

The gibbous phases surround the Full Moon, and the Waxing Gibbous phase is the period when the moon is growing from a half to the round white mystical light in the sky. Like the other moon phases, its significance to both historical people and modern day has persisted as surely as the moon persists in the sky. Let’s take a closer look at the scientific and spiritual meanings of the Waxing Gibbous moon.

A Quick Guide to Moon Phases

The moon’s light is actually reflected light that originates from the sun. One side of the moon is always facing the Sun, but not always facing the Earth. When the moon is between the Earth and the Sun, we do not see any light reflected at all, and when the Earth is between the Sun and the moon, we see all of the reflected light. These represent the four primary phases of the moon. The cycle begins with the New Moon and no reflected light. When more of the moon reflects light, it is said to be waxing; when half of it is lit up it reaches the First Quarter. A week later, the whole surface reflects light in a Full Moon. Then the waning begins, as the reflected light begins to decrease. When it has decreased to half again, this is called the Third Quarter, and this marks the moon’s final passage to becoming New again.

Gibbous Phase, According to Science

A waxing gibbous moon is the period between the First Quarter and the Full Moon, and is considered to be a secondary moon phase, which is why it is not listed on a regular solar calendar. A waxing gibbous moon can rise anytime between noon and sunset, and the large amount of reflected light means it can be seen in the sky, even when the Sun is out. The moon circles the Earth every 29 days, providing the basis for our calendar months (the word “month” is even drawn from the word “moon”), so moon phases can easily be predicted, and can in turn help forecast the weather, tides, plant growth, and spiritual energies.

Waxing Gibbous Symbolism

The cycle of the moon phases can be observed in the cycles of each day, of the seasons, and of life. What begins as new grows and comes to fruition, and what fades prepares us for what is to come. The waxing phases symbolize working toward creation, and waxing gibbous corresponds to the point just before all your hard work comes to fruition, when you have everything together and are on the final stretch.

What Waxing Gibbous Means for You

When waxing gibbous is in the sky, it is a good time to assess your projects and see what is nearly finished. This is the last phase of your project before fruition, just as waxing gibbous is the last moon phase before the Full Moon. It’s not a time for actually finishing projects, but a time for preparing yourself to do so. It is a good time to gather your resources and take that deep breath before leaping into the finish.

Mystics, priests and even farmers and midwives used the phases of the moon to determine and divine things about their everyday lives. The moon could forecast the weather and predict a woman’s cycles. Its phases could predict travel and plant growth, and reading or misreading its signs has led to both great boon and terrible catastrophe. The waxing gibbous phase holds the promise of things on the verge of completion, an energy you can harness in your own life!