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Moon Phases – the Lunation Cycle

The Sun and Moon are the two luminaries in our natal chart. While the Sun radiates its own light and energy the Moon reflects the light and energy of the Sun. The golden Sun is yang and active, creates our daylight and gives life to the solar system, whereas the Moon and her changing silvery face in the night sky is yin and receptive and controls the fluids of everything on Earth. And because the Moon reflects the light of the Sun, it moves through phases that change according to its relative position to the Sun.

Moon phases - Southern Hemisphere

Phases of the Moon, as viewed from the Southern Hemisphere

The cycle starts with the New Moon, when the Moon sits between the Earth and the Sun. This is the zero point, and the beginning of this 28-day cycle. From a barely perceptible sliver, the Moon grows (waxes) and builds to the Full Moon (opposing or 180° from the Sun), then wanes (decreases) until it finally disappears into another invisible New Moon. In astrology we recognise 8 phases of the Moon. Each phase lasts about three and a half days or 45 degrees, and everyone is born with the Moon in a particular phase. As the Moon rules the mind, the phase describes one’s mental focus and outlook. The cycle itself as the light increases and fades is like an awakening in consciousness, the changing tide or the life cycle of a plant.

To calculate your Moon phase, count the degrees anticlockwise from your Sun to your Moon.

New Moon: 0°– 44°59’
Keywords: beginning, winter
The seed is responding to nutrients; life is stirring in darkness; acting on instinct; immature, naïve, spontaneous, forward seeking; open to possibilities and new ideas

Crescent Moon: 45°–89°59’
Keywords: initiative, breakthrough
The sprout breaks through the earth; life is newly visible but also vulnerable; focus develops; weeding out unnecessary ideas; striving to achieve yet reluctant to leave the ‘nest’

1st Quarter Moon: 90°–134°59’
Keywords: growth, spring, crisis-in-action
A point of crisis and a time for action – forge forward, or die; the halfway point; leaves, stem and roots form; the unfurling of a plan; confidence builds; challenges encountered; work required

Gibbous Moon: 135°–179°59’
Keywords: perfection, analysis
The flower bud is visible; perfecting; plan is analysed and tweaked to achieve the imminent goal; work load reaches a peak; expectations are high; confidence is tested

Full Moon: 180°–224°59’
Keywords: objectivity, clarity, summer
In full flower as fruit forms; fulfillment phase; the goal is reached; imminent harvest; you reap what you have sown – rich pickings or rotten weeds; instinct gives way to consciousness; sun and moon oppose each other creating balance or instability

Disseminating Moon: 225°–269°59’
Keywords: harvest, sharing
Fruit ripens fully; distribution of the harvest; sharing with others; innate objectivity and conscious awareness; wise-one or know-it-all; publicist / reporter / teacher / philosopher

3rd Quarter Moon: 270°–314°59’
Keywords: decline, alchemy, autumn
The crop has withered; winding down; the fruits of labour are turned into wine and conserves, etc; dissatisfaction if the crop has failed; a crisis in consciousness; moving inwards, releasing worldly concerns; elimination begins

Balsamic Moon: 315°–359°59’
Keywords: passing, retreat, endings
End of the cycle; the soil is turned, the new seed is buried; let go of the old to make way for the new; a time of retreat and inward silence; bridge between past and future; karma is realised, synthesised and released; the guru

Posted in: Astrology Tutorials

About the Author:

Hi. My name is Nikki and I am an astrologer currently working in Melbourne, Australia. On my astrology blog I share what I know to bring you closer to understanding how astrology can be of help to you.

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