Tuesday 4 June 2019

A New Take on the Eight Lunar Phases – Moon Types Reconfigured

This article is my take on the lunation cycle or the eight lunar phases.
It is based on primarily two sources and on some insights of my own. Those sources being Dane Rudhyar’s pioneering work in this field (his 1967 “The Lunation Cycle”) and the writings of an astrologer whom I consider one of my mentors, the late great, Kelly Lee Phipps.

One of my innovations in discussing the eight lunar phases (as far as I’m aware) is the notion that individuality and the personal are represented by moonlight, while the collective and society are represented by darkness. Also light can be seen as representing rationality and reason, while darkness subjectivity, emotionality and intuition. Taking note of these premises while contemplating the eight phases provides some new insights on this underdiscussed topic.
To be more clear and provide some examples; the new moon phase is a phase of 100% darkness, the crescent a phase of 75% darkness, the first quarter a phase of 50% darkness and decreasing, and so on and so forth.

Another simple but illuminating insight, which can be gained, are the different relationships between personality types who were born under different moon phases. Especially the insights one receives when contemplating opposite moon phases, and the phases before and after any given lunation, representing past and future karma appropriately .
On a somewhat similar note, it’s also worthwhile to contemplate possible meanings of the moon’s astronomical position relative to the sun at each of the phases.
Lastly, in my research some interesting parallels were found between the eight phases and the signs. The parallels were nicely fitted within a symmetrical scheme, which will be presented as well.

A technical note before we begin. Usually the lunations are divided on a 45o segment basis, but if one uses whole sign houses logic they can interpreted in the following manner.
Say a person has his moon at 10o Libra and his sun in 20o Libra, classically this is a balsamic moon phase but since both the moon and the sun are in Libra this can easily be interpreted as a new moon type of energy. Apply this logic in other cases to test this new ‘whole sign’ way of interpreting lunations.


New moon

* Moon is 0 to 45 degrees before the sun in the order of signs.

Practically all of the sources claim that the new moon phase is the most subjective, intuitive and at times irrational of the eight lunar phases (also can be childish).
Unlike the balsamic phase, which is characterized by the same amount of bright-dark ratio, new moon natives prefer to initiate, begin ventures and to be in the driver’s rather than the passenger’s seat. Unlike the opposing full moon phase, which describes relationship challenges, new moon people excel with people and in romantic relationships. This is also evident from the symbolic significance of the moon and the sun being in conjunction to one another.
General symbolic meanings of this lunation revolve around embarking on new journey, making a fresh start and other such forward looking initiatives. Obviously, the unknown outweighs the known in the native’s life and new moon people are usually fine with that.
After writing horoscopes for a while, it became obvious that new moon times usually go more smoothly than full moon times. Thus, stress and pressure are usually not a major factor in the native’s life. Rather the focus is on finding one’s calling, being happy, and reaching flow states (mundane or mystical).
On a social-individual axis, social convention or group belonging take a far larger role in the life of these natives, and often they identify themselves with the values of their peer group. Still this is a waxing moon (light increases), meaning that individual assertions are also vital. Notice that the balsamic moon phase was just completed so self-sacrifice and selfless giving are at an end, this phase is very much about the self-actualization (albeit through social integration).

Zodiacal analogy: Cancer. both for its cardinal qualities, subjective nature, and slow to act mode of operation. Cancers are goofy and aloof but also they possess firm ideas about what they want.
Celebrity examples: Kyle Minogue (singer), Giorgio Armani (designer), Prince William (royalty).
Keyword: I want.

Crescent moon

* Moon is 45 to 90 degrees before the sun in the order of signs.

People who were born under a crescent moon are past the initiation of the new moon phase, rather they walk the path of curiosity and exploration. They get to try all kinds of things throughout their lives, mingle with different people, and try on a variety of vocations and ways of life. On the challenging side of things the world looks looming large and the possibilities seem endless, to the point of fear and confusion. It’s vital to overcome inertia though, to go out there and make the first move. Astrologically speaking, this is the case because the light-dark ration of this moon phase is in favor of the dark, while the movement forward is a waxing movement towards more and more light. In a way, the new moon darkness pulls these natives backwards while the first quarter light-darkness equilibrium establishes an aim as far as asserting individual personality and ego driven goals are concerned. Considering the latter, it becomes clear why being assertive and overcoming fear are much desired qualities for crescent moons.
One astronomical fact is that during this stage the small moon is stepping away from the large sun. Metaphorically or symbolically speaking, this is a “leaving home for the first time” kind of movement.
The opposite disseminating phase types are experts proselytizers and presenters, specializing in big picture ideas and large movements. Crescent moons on the other hand are highly adept when creativity, finesse and adjustment come into play. Especially in social settings.

Zodiacal analogy: Gemini. for the nervousness, the curiosity, for trying on different life paths, for exploration and the centrality of other people in these natives’ lives.  
Celebrity examples: Pope Francis (pope), Penelope Cruz (actress), Julius Erving (NBA hall of famer).

Keyword: I engage.

First quarter moon

* Moon is 90 to 135 degrees before the sun in the order of signs.

People who were born under the first quarter moon are natural fighters, waging battles against unjust causes, outdated traditions and malfunctioning systems.
The dark - bright ratio of this moon phase is important, for this is the exact phase in which the light overcomes the darkness. Symbolically speaking this can represent the triumph of individual will over others’ expectations or any social forces. Moreover this tipping point of exactly half darkness and half light is laden with a hefty amount of tension, under which circumstances assertive action is needed to break the deadlock.
First quarter people place a high premium on individual skill and ability, and although it usually doesn’t come without tiresome hard-work, they should strive and develop these traits regardless. It is also important for these natives not to get too embroiled in the thick of battle, and always to be able to differentiate which parts of an existing system are to be targeted and which other parts are benign. Moreover, it’s important to stress humility after each successful engagement.
Some lessons are apparent when we examine the opposite moon phase, the last quarter. While the last quarter is much about rebellion and changing the status qua in a way which isn’t aimed at meriting the self, the first quarter is unabashedly about proving yourself, proving other wrong, and claiming a reward or social status through meritorious action.
The previous crescent phase is much about exploration and finding one’s calling, the next gibbous phase is about perfecting one’s character, while the lunation phase between those two is the main act of the play, which without a doubt is accompanied by some drama.   

Zodiacal analogy: Leo. For this “Lion King” like saga of a talented and virtuous individual who’s out to prove himself and claim his rightful place in the world.  
Celebrity examples: George W. Bush (former president), Michael Douglas (actor), Nicholas Culpeper (astrologer).

Keyword: I overcome.

Gibbous Moon

* Moon is 135 to 180 degrees before the sun in the order of signs.

Gibbous moon natives were born at the phase, under which the moon was waxing towards the fully luminated state. This modality of perfecting, training, gaining skills or working towards some final state or goal was surely imprinted on some vital aspects of their lives.
The light-dark ratio comes to show that rationality and reason prevail here, as progress is perceived as a one way ticket towards what we are able to see, understand, quantify and measure. For the same reason mystery is often perceived as superstition, and subjectivity as confusion or lack of standards. Additionally the elimination of the final vestiges of darkness comes to show that these natives actively try to ‘sculpt’ reality around them, in a process of elimination almost, so that outside influences would be limited to favorable ones. Some gibbous moons can be easily influenced by others and for the same reason they need to keep the lid on people they have around for company. That also explains why a critical streak runs strong with people who were born under this lunation.  
The opposite balsamic phase is the stage where the ego is purposefully shed in order for natives to better integrate with some social or universal cause. Using a logic of negation, we come to understand that social conventions, traditions and old ways of living are abandoned in order for the self to reach fruition, and a unique individual way of life to take form.
For the reasons we’ve just discussed this is also the ‘workaholic’ lunation phase, an energy which can also be manifested as a higher calling to become a disciple, a spiritual servant, or a follower in one shape or form.
Adjacent lunar phases are the feisty first quarter phase and the self-contained full moon phase. Concerning the first, gibbous moons seem to have abandoned actual fighting as a thing of the past, their struggle is rather an inner one (like the true meaning of the word Jihad in the Quran). Relating to the second, full moon phase, the goal of self-actualization is definitely the aim of all this and the reason gibbous types put themselves through all these hoops. 

Zodiacal analogy: Virgo. For obvious, and fairly stereotypical, reasons. Namely perfectionism, hard work, propensity to train and to practice, less of a leader and more of a follower quality, and so on and so forth.       
Celebrity examples: James Franco (actor), Silvio Berlusconi (former head of state), Sid Vicious (singer).

Keyword: I perfect.

Full Moon

* Moon is 180 to 135 degrees behind the sun in the order of signs.

The full moon phase contains a curious contradiction at its center. On the one hand, it’s the completion of a cycle and the final step of the bright phase, while on the other hand it’s the polarity lunation with the sun and moon opposing each other. The first principle refers to the “whole package” kind of energy, manifested as self-assurance, responsibility, clear objectives, and solid outlook and values. The second principle refers to relationships obviously, with an emphasis on the ups and downs, the pulls and pushes. The challenges of relationships in other words. In fact this contradiction is fairly clear when you think about it. Since full moon natives are all about their goals and objectives, clear outlooks on life and well defined personalities there’s ample opportunity for conflict when they get involve with other people who do not share convictions similar to theirs. Quite expectedly, this is especially common when romantic relationships are at stake.
One theoretical conclusion is that this lunation is the most bright, which carries implications of maximum individual development, but minimal capacity to be in-tune with society or with groups. This also shows itself as people who like to do the talking but dislike doing the listening.
The preceding moon phase, the gibbous, is completed with this one. The gibbous is much about self-perfection, which by the way isn’t an issue by the time the full moon comes around. Using the same logic we can see that the ensuing moon phase, the disseminating, is much about ‘spreading the word’. A natural state of affairs after individual understanding and clarity were achieved. In fact, disseminating types are good at what full moon types don’t excel at, reaching out to people and making connections. This is also the reason why full moons can learn a lesson or two from disseminating moons.
The opposite, new moon phase, demonstrates by negation that full-mooners need facts, figures and evidence to guide their decision making process, in contrast to new moons’ reliance on gut-feeling and intuition. An additional contrast is that while new moon times are relatively quiet, full moon times are usually stressful and at times not without drama. As such, full moon natives learn to master stormy weather during the course of their lives.

Zodiacal analogy: Capricorn. For their confidence, vision, future-orientedness and for the challenge these natives experience when trying to relate to others and play the social game.  
Celebrity examples: Cristiano Ronaldo (soccer star), Liv Tyler (actress), LL Cool J (rapper).

Keyword: I am.

Disseminating Moon

* Moon is 135 to 90 degrees behind the sun in the order of signs.

Disseminating moons possess characteristics which highly resemble Sagittarian personality traits, having achieved personal insight at the full moon stage and wishing to inseminate (disseminate) everyone else with their flowering. The keynote is bringing the light of the moon (individuality) towards everything which is not the self (society, significant others, people in general). The final aim is to prove themselves to others and to achieve a sense of identity with those others, as if by the end of this phase. Once there, at the last quarter phase, they are more integrated with society, and more importantly they are more accepted by other people. This only happens after a mutual process of affecting others and being affected by them occurs, akin to a teacher who also learns from his students. This balance is represented by the half bright - half dark stage the moon is at during the beginning of the last quarter phase. By the last quarter phase the light is visibly waning, and it represents that disseminating moons ultimately wish to mix with other individuals and groups, or create such groups and organizations if none existed. The one-on-one full moon characterized relationships doesn’t do it for them anymore, rather they are about the merits and challenges of groups.
By logic of negation we can see the opposing crescent moon phase is characterized by worlds-apart traits such as quiet exploration, shyness and an eye for detail. This brings us to the understanding that disseminating moons can at times be overconfident, out-there and prone to generalizations.

Zodiacal analogy: Sagittarius. For the ability to be dynamic, to inspire and move ideas around.
Celebrity examples: Drake (rapper), Carla Bruni (model), Marilyn Monroe (actress).

Keyword: I show.

Last quarter moon

* Moon is 90 to 45 degrees behind the sun in the order of signs.

The last quarter is a point where the moon’s dark part overcomes its bright side. This bears several important implications for those born under its rays. With light representing individuality and darkness representing the collective or larger causes it’s foreseeable that these natives will try to go beyond the self. Not in a mystical surrendering way like balsamic moon types but in a very down to earth goal oriented way, maybe as humanitarians.
This may be a good time to contrast the last quarter type to the previous disseminating lunation type. While disseminating moons have a proclivity to proselytize and spread the word, last quarters are past that stage. Instead they look forward to change the rules of the game altogether, as the pendulum has swung too far. Back to the balsamic moons for a second though, last quarters are jealous of their quiet ways and demeanor, as the last quarter stage is a tension filled ‘breaking point stage’, at which the dark-light ratio is equal.
The opposite first quarter phase teaches an important lesson by logic of negation. While first quarters fight to gain the recognition they deserves as individuals, last quarters fight to break chains, overturn the tide or to bring about some forgotten ideology or sidelined belief system. Regardless, the focus is not on the self, rather on ideas, ideologies, social movements and group consciousness acts and revisions. Rebels, reformists, future oriented individuals and pessimistic but deep thinking figures are all associated with this lunation.   

Zodiacal analogy: Aquarius. For the slight revolutionary tinge, the unorthodox way of doing things, and for self-denying combined with social work. From a less positive viewpoint these natives tend to be inflexible.
Celebrity examples: Barack Obama (former president), Jon Bon Jovi (singer), Michael Jordan (NBA star).

Keyword: I overturn.

Balsamic Moon

* Moon is 45 to 0 degrees behind the sun in the order of signs.

Balsamic moon natives were born at the end of the lunation cycle, at the darkest phase. Thus they are highly in tune with society, with others, with cross cultural causes and the like. The reminders of individuality and self (represented by the light of the moon) are to be done away with, but care should be taken while engaging in this process.
The light - dark ratio of this phase points towards an objective of spirituality, giving, selfless action, and ultimately integration and acceptance.
The critical streak of the previous last quarter stage is left behind, as this stage is less about self vs. society tension and more about the next new moon lunation, which symbolizes new beginnings, the here and the now, and flow-like intuitive existence. Since this is the case, the prevailing mood of balsamic moons is easygoing, soft, yielding and seemingly irrational when judged from a materialistic viewpoint. On the flip side, some authors warn of giving away too much, too soon, and this is a valid point since balsamic moons require wisdom and learning as solid foundations for any inspired action.
As the opposite gibbous lunation can be symbolized by an artisan, who constantly adds to and perfects his craft, this lunation is much about subtracting, surrendering and letting go.  

Zodiacal analogy: Pisces. For it is the final lunation phase, and also in terms of many trait similarities.
Celebrity examples: Theresa May (politician), Rafael Nadal (tennis player), Redfoo (artist).

Keyword: I accept.

Diagram of the eight phases and their accorded signs

Please notice how cardinal signs begin the waxing new moon semi-cycle and the waning full moon semi-cycle, how the middle of each cycle is represented by a fixed sign and how the hinges or transition phases are represented by mutable signs.
I do want to point out that I have had some second thoughts about the first quarter zodiacal equivalent. Aries seems to fit this lunation characteristics just as well as Leo, though using it interferes with the symmetrical scheme. The same can be said about Libra instead of Capricorn for the full moon phase.

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