Third Quarter Moon Symbolism: Spiritual Meaning and Significance

Written by Sammi Caramela
Published: November 19, 2023
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The third quarter moon phase is the seventh phase of the lunar cycle — the second to last phase. During this time, the moon appears as a half-moon, with the Sun slowly illuminating it less and less. This phase is just two phases away from the new moon and a new cycle. The third quarter moon phase carries deep symbolism that teaches us the importance of self-love, accountability, and forward movement.

As the Moon begins to appear smaller in the sky, you might notice your energy gradually decreasing. Here’s everything you should know about the third quarter moon, including its spiritual meanings and significance. 

What Are the Different Moon Phases?

There are eight phases of the lunar cycle, with each repeating once per month or every 29.5 days. The different phases include the new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter, and waning crescent.

According to research, the lunar cycle might impact human and animal behavior and physiology. Additionally, the Moon as a whole influences Earth’s tides, climate, and tilt on its axis.

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

The third quarter moon typically looks like a half-lit moon from our view on Earth.

©taffpixture/Shutterstock.com

What Is a Third Quarter Moon?

The third quarter moon is the second to last phase of the lunar cycle when the Moon appears like a half circle. This is because the side of the Moon facing Earth is slowly becoming less illuminated by the Sun, gradually moving toward the new moon phase. During the third quarter phase, also called the “half moon,” the Moon rises around midnight and sets around noon. 

Third Quarter Moon Symbolism: Spiritual Meaning and Significance

The third quarter moon is a great time for letting go, transitioning, and reconnecting with ourselves. Here are some of the associated symbolism and spiritual meanings of the third quarter moon.

Letting Go

Are you still holding on to the past, preventing yourself from moving forward and embracing change? The third quarter moon phase is the final time to let go of old wounds, patterns, and thoughts that are keeping you small. As the second to last moon phase, the third quarter moon is to free yourself of the past and clean your slate for the new moon. For example, maybe you’re still holding on to an ex-partner who is no longer in your life, yet you want to manifest a new relationship. To cultivate a healthy path toward love, you must first be willing to let go of those people who no longer serve you. This might be painful, but it is the only way to embrace a brighter future.

Transition

You are likely going through major transitions right now. The third quarter moon phase is transitionary in nature, providing us a chance to make those final decisions that will support a brighter and more aligned future. To achieve transformation, however, you must have a willingness to grow. Embrace all of the ways that you are healing while shedding old patterns and people who no longer serve you. 

This is also a beautiful time to cultivate new and healthier habits and call in people and opportunities that are in alignment with your soul’s purpose. Search for ways to raise your vibration and live authentically as you transition into a new lunar cycle soon. Sometimes, all it takes is one healthy decision to kickstart a period of growth and fulfillment. This phase might just change your life permanently and for the better. 

Self-Inquiry

Sometimes, it’s healthy to question yourself — especially if you’re willing to keep an open mind and heart in the process. The third quarter moon reminds us of the importance of self-inquiry. When we reflect on our past actions or patterns that have kept us small, we can change, heal, and grow in the desired direction. Self-inquiry isn’t about sitting in guilt or shame; it’s about practicing accountability and compassion as you move forward with a renewed sense of self. 

During this time, ask yourself the following questions: In what ways have I abandoned myself or my values during this lunar cycle? How might I foster a more authentic version of myself and act according to my morals and desires? What must I do, and who must I be to reach the goals and manifestations I called in during the new moon? Be as honest as you can in your responses.

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

Through meditation, you can practice self-inquiry by digging deep into your subconscious mind and cultivating a calm space for you to express your vulnerabilities.

©Golubovy/Shutterstock.com

Activation

While this moon phase is the second to last in the lunar cycle, and it is typically a time for rest, it can also be a great moment of activation. This doesn’t necessarily mean you must take vigorous strides toward your goals. In fact, it could just entail small steps in the right direction. Focus on setting yourself up for success in the next lunar cycle, which is just two phases away. Activate a sense of purpose, motivation, and inspiration that will drive action toward your goals. You will find success if you are willing to act on your manifestations.

Responsibility

The third quarter moon phase is a great time to take responsibility for your thoughts, behavior, and emotional and physical states. You are responsible for your healing and progress toward your goals. If you do not align yourself with your manifestation and your sole purpose, he will continue to fall short of your desire. You must believe in yourself and your power to get where you want to be.

This responsibility doesn’t have to feel heavy. In fact, it should feel inspiring and empowering. With responsibility, however, comes accountability. As stated earlier, holding yourself accountable will allow you to see your faults so you can course-correct and continue down the right path. This is not to say your mistakes are failures or that you should be hard on yourself when you misstep. Rather, it’s all about owning who you are and making a sustainable life out of it.

Challenge

You might notice some challenges popping up during the third quarter moon phase. Right before we are about to complete a cycle, we often hit a sort of rock bottom that requires us to make one final push in the right direction. If any challenges arise during this time, don’t be quick to shame yourself or blame yourself. This is simply part of growth. Even if you find yourself making the same mistakes as you have in the past, these instances will shed light on what still needs healing. There is great strength and resilience that comes with adversity. We cannot grow without pain and struggle. Don’t give up in the face of challenge; rather, get back up and continue fighting. As this cycle reaches a close, you will look back and realize how far you have come and all that you have learned and accomplished. Take pride in your resilience. 

Reward

Just as there might be challenges during this time, there will also likely be rewards for your hard work and intentional actions. You might notice that some of the manifestations you set during the new moon are now coming to fruition. Sit back, relax, and enjoy these rewards as you have worked tirelessly to achieve them. 

For example, maybe you have been actively searching for a community of individuals and friends who you can find comfort and support in. During earlier phases of the lunar cycle, you might have put yourself out there more by joining local clubs or organizations. Now, you might look around you to see a community of kind and loving individuals who you consider new friends. Take great pride in what you have attracted into your life during the lunar cycle.

Balance

As we just spoke about the challenges and rewards, as well as both letting go of the past and activating forward movement, you might notice a common theme of balance. During the third quarter moon phase, find ways to cultivate harmony in all aspects of your life and overall well-being. For example, maybe you’ve been hustling for a new career and manifesting endless opportunities in your professional life. However, this might have led you to feel emotionally depleted and physically drained. During this time, consider how you might strike more of a balance between work, play, and rest. 

Self-Love

The third quarter moon phase is all about reconnecting with yourself and your loved ones. In doing so, be sure to practice self-love and compassion. You might have learned hard lessons and let go of important people during this phase. With release often comes immense grief. It will serve you to be gentle with yourself as you process your emotions. Show yourself extra love and care as you continue to close chapters. 

Additionally, when we practice self-love, we raise our standards for how others should treat us. If we are treating ourselves with loving kindness, then we will naturally expect others to do the same — and rightfully so. Self-love helps us uphold healthy boundaries and even practice compassion and empathy for others as well.

Intimacy

During the third quarter moon phase, the Moon and Sun are getting closer together (they are closest during the new moon phase). As a result, many people associate the third quarter moon with intimacy and connection. This could be with ourselves or with our loved ones, and it could be emotional, physical, or both. 

For example, maybe this is a good time for you to sit in quiet meditation. Talk kindly to yourself while reflecting on your fulfillment or any racing thoughts occupying your mind right now. On the other hand, this could also be a great opportunity for you to connect more deeply with your partner. Consider spending more quality time with them. Whatever the case, find ways to love your life and spread kindness to those around you. If you’re feeling extra emotional, don’t be afraid to let it out and own your humanness. 

Celebrating the Third Quarter Moon

As the second to last phase in the lunar cycle, the third quarter moon is a great time to unwind. Practice more self-love, and enjoy any rewards you’ve earned over the last few weeks. 

To celebrate the third quarter moon, find ways to reconnect with yourself and practice self-care. Perhaps you can have a spa night in, order your favorite hearty meal, or sit in quiet meditation while releasing any woes you’ve been carrying.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © taffpixture/Shutterstock.com


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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.

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