Lunar phases and eclipses
The most dramatic changes that we observe in the night sky are the transitions of the Moon from one Lunar phase to another – from the New Moon phase when we cannot see our night luminary in the sky, to a growing crescent, to a brightly illuminated disk of a Full Moon, back to a waning crescent and to the New Moon. This cycle repeats every ~29.5 days and has been used by many cultures for timing and calendars.
The Moon does not produce any light; it only reflects the light of the Sun. The Lunar phases change as the position of the Moon relative to the Earth and the Sun changes, thus reflecting not only the position of the Moon herself but an interplay between Earth, Moon and Sun.
The fact that the Moon only reflects the light of the actual source of the light and of the life (Sun) is mirrored in astrological interpretations: while the Sun represents our ego and our active core being, the Moon represents our reaction to events and other’s actions, our emotional being. Because of its feminine reflective yin energy, Moon is often given the second place of importance in a Western patriarchal society and in the Western tradition horoscopes: it is not surprising that the Sun columns became so popular while very few people know their Moon sign. However, the Moon’s sign and position in a horoscope are just as important as the sign and the position of the Sun. It shows how we react to the world and other people, how we adapt, what makes us emotionally secure, and what are the things and energies that we like. The compatibility between two person’s Moons is just as important (if not more important) as the compatibility between their Suns. Of course, partners should be able to appreciate and understand each other’s life choices, each other’s life philosophies, each other’s interests and talents (Sun). However, is not it just as important to be able to connect emotionally, to be able to make each other feel emotionally secure, to react similarly to the world outside, to feel comforted in the similar settings and by each other (Moon)?
The movement of the Moon through the Zodiac creates daily changes in everyone’s horoscope and sets the astrological atmosphere for all of us. While the Sun moves through the Zodiac with the speed of only 1 degree per day and spends a month in each Zodiac sign, and other planets have similar or slower pace, the Moon moves about 13 degrees a day and changes Zodiac signs every 2.5 days, completing the full Zodiac round every month.
Everyone knows that the Moon controls the ocean tides; fewer people believe that the Moon affects our sleep and for some of us (Water signs) controls the level of our energy. Even fewer people realize that our daily moods and choices are also determined by the Moon’s position in the Zodiac. While there are many specific birth-horoscope-dependent effects, there are also general effects that regulate our life’s pace and our daily moods, and we would benefit a lot from adjusting to the Moon’s moods and planning our days according to what feels right each day depending on the Moon position in the Zodiac. For example, it would be harder to enjoy a party when the Moon is in business-like responsible Capricorn than when the Moon is in playful and child-like Leo. Exercise and movement would be easier and more pleasant when the Moon is in physical Aries, and we should use this energy to do our routines before the Moon moves to slow and sensual Taurus and makes us lazy and desiring to enjoy the sensual pleasures and slow pace.
In addition to the changes in the Moon Zodiac signs, our routines are the subject of changes in Lunar phases.
Image: NASA (http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/review/dr-marc-earth/moon-phases.html)
Everyone heard about gardening by the Moon phases, and everyone who tried to plant seeds on different Moon phases has learned the difference in performance of the plants.
The start of a Lunar month – the New Moon phase is a good time to start a project or a new routine. The first couple of days after the New Moon should be quiet and low key when it comes to any new activities. These are the days when we should plant a seed of anything that we plan to achieve during the month. To benefit the most from the lunar cycle, the knowledge of the position of the Moon in your natal horoscope would help: each sector of your natal chart represents an area of life, and the position of the New Moon indicates where you should (and probably will) see the most activity in the upcoming month and where you should focus your attention. Some astrologers offer (and most of astrologers would be happy to do this for you even if they don’t offer such reading routinely) short monthly consultations to analyze the position of the New Moon and the sectors of the horoscope and the parts of your life highlighted by the New Moon.
The Crescent Moon phase is the time to get going with your project or new routine – you will have the help from the Moon herself, and your involvement and your progress will grow with the growing light of the crescent.
The First Quarter Moon (when we see the Moon as a half of the circle on the right side of the imaginary disk) is the best time for the first check point when we can evaluate the progress for the first time and assess whether we should go on with the project (has the seed break through the ground?). If we are full of doubt at this point, we should press on and act to correct anything that went wrong – we will be supported by the active and now strong in light Moon.
The Gibbous Moon (larger than First Quarter but still not the Full Moon) is the time when you will see the real results of what you started on the New Moon and plan to develop over the month. This is the phase that starts rewarding your persistence – you may see that you are close to the expected outcomes!
The Full Moon is the highest point and the culmination of the cycle. She is bright and lights everything below. If you mindfully worked on something starting with the New Moon, you should enjoy the fruits of your activity during this phase.
During the Disseminating Phase Moon (Waning Gibbous – not the Full Moon anymore but still not the Last Quarter Moon) you may have accomplished what you planned and became an inspiration for others.
The Last Quarter Moon (half of the circle on the left side of the disk) starts the period of winding down and will support reflection and rethinking and analyzing the outcomes.
The Waning Crescent or the Balsamic Moon is the time of quietness and retrospection, time of planning and preparing for the whole new Lunar cycle, time to meditate and to set the intentions for the new Lunar cycle.
Thus, the Lunar cycle is symbolic of any process, from the beginning of the thought to the action and reaping the fruit of our actions, to analyzing and regrouping and starting a new direction. These are cyclic motion that we routinely exercise in our everyday life, whether we consult the Lunar phase or not. However, if we do pay attention to the Lunar phase and synchronize our activities with the Lunar phases, we may achieve better results with less energy waste, because we will be supported and guided by the Moon herself!
Several times a year we have Lunar and Solar eclipses. Many of them pass unnoticed by most of us, unless we live on the territory where a full eclipse of the Moon or of the Sun can be observed. However, even if we live far away from the point of visibility of an eclipse, it can and does affect our lives through the contacts with planets in our birth horoscope (although a visible eclipse affects us stronger and more obviously). If an eclipse happens at the sky point that was occupied by a planet at the moment of our birth, we can be affected strongly, and the effects of an eclipse may last for months. If you are getting a consultation fro an astrologer, ask him or her what are the upcoming eclipses that may affect you and watch out for these times.
Often people expect negative development when an eclipse is prominent in their horoscope, but it does not have to be necessarily negative. If your birth chart is affected by an eclipse, then, during the eclipse or shortly after, something hidden may come out to the surface, you may uncover information that will lead to changes in the area of life that is highlighted by the eclipse in your horoscope. You probably would not guess what the eclipse would change even if an astrologer told you whether you should be affected and in what area of your life: the effects of the eclipses involves unseen and hidden information.