First Quarter Moon Symbolism: Spiritual Meaning and Significance

Half moon background / Half Moon refers to the two lunar phases commonly known as first quarter and last quarter
© taffpixture/

Written by Sammi Caramela

Published: November 14, 2023

Share on:


The Moon is a beautiful symbol of feminine energy, transformation, and mysticism, and each phase of the lunar cycle carries its own unique spiritual meaning. For instance, the new moon symbolizes fresh starts, the full moon symbolizes abundance, and the first quarter moon symbolizes action and commitment.

The eight phases of the lunar cycle each have their own significance, both spiritually and physically. In fact, some studies have found that the different phases affect our climate, tides, and even human and animal behavior and physiology. The first quarter moon is the third phase in the lunar cycle, occurring between the waxing crescent and waxing gibbous. It appears as a half-lit moon from our view here on Earth. This is because the side of the Moon that’s visible to us is half-illuminated by the Sun at this time. 

Many people like to work with the moon phases to utilize their power and spiritual ties. For example, during the full moon, many people will release toxic patterns or people. During the new moon, many will call in new opportunities or connections. Here’s everything you should know about the first quarter moon, including its spiritual symbolism and significance. 

What Are the Different Moon Phases?

There are eight phases of the lunar cycle, which occur in the following order: the new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter, and waning crescent. Every moon phase holds its own symbolism and significance, both spiritually and even physiology. In fact, through its various phases, the Moon might even impact human behavior. 

According to the study “The lunar cycle: effects on human and animal behavior and physiology” in The National Center for Biotechnology Information, the lunar cycle impacts fertility, menstruation, birth rates, melatonin levels, and even hospital, emergency room admittance, car accident, crime, and suicide rates. Many have noticed an uptick in “cardiovascular and acute coronary events, variceal hemorrhage, diarrhea, [and] urinary retention,” depending on the phase of the Moon.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information also found that the Moon impacts animal behavior and physiology. For instance, the Moon supposedly affects hormones in insects, reproduction in fish, melatonin and corticosterone levels in birds, and taste sensitivity and the ultrastructure of pineal gland cells in lab rats

What is a First Quarter Moon?

The first quarter moon is the third phase of the lunar cycle when the side of the Moon facing Earth becomes half illuminated by the Sun. At this point in the lunar cycle, the Moon looks like a half-lit, glowing circle. The Moon continues to grow past this phase until it reaches its full peak during the full moon.

Half moon background / Half Moon refers to the two lunar phases commonly known as first quarter and last quarter

The first quarter moon is commonly referred to as a “half moon,” as the Moon appears half-lit.


First Quarter Moon Symbolism: Spiritual Meaning and Significance

Here are the spiritual meanings and significance of the first quarter moon.


During the first quarter moon, we begin making strides toward our goals. This early action sets us up for success throughout the remainder of the lunar cycle. That being said, the first quarter moon symbolizes action and intention as we progress toward our individual versions of success. For instance, maybe your long-term goal is to write a book. In this case, your early action might involve researching your plot, outlining your book, or writing the first few chapters. This will set you up for success as you begin your journey toward becoming an author. Taking action on your dreams enforces the idea that you are serious about your goal and ready for whatever it takes to achieve it. 


In order to achieve a goal, you must first commit to it. Commitment might look like holding yourself accountable to doing the hard work required of you to reach your desired destination. 

Commitment might feel intimidating as you consider everything you must do to prepare yourself for the lunar cycle ahead. However, by dedicating yourself to your success, you will give yourself a fair chance to achieve your dreams — which is more than most people can say. 

Commitment entails intentional decision-making and actions toward a relationship, dream, or opportunity. When we commit to something, we devote our time and energy to that specific thing. That being said, the first quarter moon reminds us to be intentional when deciding what and who to commit to. Your time and energy are both valuable.


During the first quarter moon phase, you might find yourself learning valuable lessons and gaining clarity on important matters. Perhaps as you progress toward your manifestations, you realize that some of your desires are different than what you originally thought. For example, maybe you believed you wanted to be in a relationship during the new moon, but as you began to put yourself out there, you might’ve started to realize that you actually want to spend more time alone to learn, grow, heal, and love yourself. This is a great time to search for clarity in areas of your life where you feel you lack the proper insight or certainty. It’s never too late to learn about yourself, and sometimes, the only way to learn about what you do want is by realizing what you don’t want.


During the first quarter moon, the Sun lights half the side of the Moon facing Earth, meaning we can see the Moon as a half-glowing circle. That being said, the Moon seems to go from appearing completely dark during the new moon phase to its full, radiating glory during the full moon phase.

Spiritual practice. Harmony balance. Meditating woman silhouette in pink ethereal smoke double exposition.

If you’re struggling to feel hopeful during this phase, take some time to reflect and meditate, grounding yourself in the present moment.


As the middle phase between the new and full moons, the first quarter moon symbolizes hope for a brighter, more abundant future. The Moon is beginning to shed some light in the darkness, and we can see that from our perspective on Earth at this time. The first quarter moon is a great symbol of hope and achievement — even during the darkest days.


During the first quarter moon phase, we must be willing to transition into a new reality. Halfway toward the full moon from the new moon, the first quarter moon is all about growth and progression. In order to achieve these things, however, we must be willing to adapt to the changes required of us. This might feel intimidating, as transitioning into different phases or new periods of our lives can trigger a sense of uncertainty. However, this transitionary period is often well worth any discomfort and anxiety it might bring.


You might find yourself feeling more inspired during the first quarter moon. This is because you’re taking the first steps toward your manifestation. At this time, you likely haven’t yet experienced the burnout that might come later in the lunar cycle. In fact, you probably still have renewed energy from the new moon and a sense of hope as you progress toward the full moon. This energy can be inspiring and motivational. Use it to your advantage by continuing to grow, make intentional choices, and work toward your dreams. 


You might find yourself gaining authority during the first quarter moon phase. This phase symbolizes confidence and power, and any authority that you feel is well earned. You’ve set intentions for yourself and are now acting on them to achieve your dream and reach your desired success. Know that you have what it takes to make your dreams your reality. 

Keep in mind, however, that with authority comes great responsibility. You must be willing to put in the work if you want to reap the benefits of this lunar cycle. That being said, the first quarter moon phase is the part of the cycle when you should act in alignment with your manifestations. For example, if you want to start your own business, you must be willing to research any legalities that come with it. To attract a supportive community, you must be willing to put yourself out there and socialize. These aligned actions will get you where you want to be.


Endless opportunities are waiting for you during the first quarter moon phase. Keep an open mind as you hustle toward your dream and put in the work required of you. This phase symbolizes various possibilities that you might otherwise dismiss.

For example, maybe you are attempting to manifest a fulfilled love life at this time but are overlooking potential suitors. Don’t be afraid to say “yes” during this phase of the lunar cycle. If something doesn’t work out, you can always start anew or refine your approach. However, this is a great time to put yourself out there and explore the various opportunities available to you. Believe you will find what you are looking for if you are willing to give people and opportunities a chance.


The first quarter moon phase also symbolizes modifications. As mentioned above, you can always refine your approach and make necessary changes to get to where you want to be. For instance, if you recently started seeing someone who you thought might be a potential partner only to realize that your values don’t align with one another’s, you can always cut things off and modify your approach to dating by having more important conversations earlier on in your relationships. 

Nevertheless, the wisdom we gain during this phase of the cycle is extremely valuable, and our modifications can help us learn more about ourselves and how we approach different parts of life. Don’t view modifications as failures; they are integral to our growth and healing.


The first quarter moon is a great time for experimentation. As mentioned earlier, there are endless possibilities for you to explore right now. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different opportunities to discover which are in alignment with you and your dreams at this time. Throughout the rest of the cycle, you will have time to adjust, refine your approach, and release anything that doesn’t serve you. However, right now, focus on taking action, putting yourself out there, experimenting with different avenues, and enjoying the overall process. Life is meant to be fun — don’t take it too seriously. 

Celebrating the First Quarter Moon

To celebrate the first quarter moon, simply explore new opportunities, take leaps of faith, and make note of any discoveries you make. Now is the time to act with intention while also allowing yourself to experiment. You can refine your approach at a later date, but you first must let yourself live and enjoy the process of pursuing your manifestations.

Share this post on:
About the Author

Sammi is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering cats, nature, symbolism, and spirituality. Sammi is a published author and has been writing professionally for six+ years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Writing Arts and double minors in Journalism and Psychology. A proud New Jersey resident, Sammi loves reading, traveling, and doing yoga with her little black cat, Poe.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.