Timing Your Actions by the Light of the Moon

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How many phases of the Moon are there? It depends on who you ask. In India, astrologers identify 27 "lunar mansions." The great 20th century astrologer (and musician) Dane Rudhyar counted eight phases: New, Crescent, First Quarter, Disseminating, Full, Gibbous, Last Quarter, and Balsamic (no relationship to the vinegar). Ancient goddess worshippers, like their contemporary Pagan and Wiccan equivalents, generally acknowledged three phases: waxing, full, and waning. Today, most people recognize the following four phases of the Moon:

1 New: A time of increasing energy and new beginnings. New Moons are especially powerful when they coincide with solar eclipses, something that usually happens twice a year.

1 First Quarter: A time of growth, friction, and action.

1 Full: A time of illumination when ongoing situations come to a head, emotions are heightened, and major events take place. Full Moons are especially dramatic and revealing when they're also lunar eclipses.

1 Last Quarter: A time of completion, release, and fading vitality.

By taking note of these natural rhythms, you can time your activities to maximum advantage — and you don't need an astrological calendar either. Just glance at the Moon whenever you're out at night, and soon, knowing its phase will become second nature to you. Table 17-1 describes the approximate appearance and orientation of the Moon along with the actions best suited to each phase.

Table 17-1

What to Do by the Light of the Moon

Phase of the Moon


Recommended Activities

New Moon

Invisible at first; then it appears as a sliver with the tips of the crescent pointing east. Rises at dawn, sets at sunset.

Begin; make wishes; set goals; start projects; plant seeds; initiate endeavors.

First Quarter Moon A semicircle with the flat Take action; develop side facing east (on the left) projects; take essential and the curved side facing steps; make decisions;

west. Rises at noon. High in deal with conflict. the sky after sunset. Sets around midnight.

Phase of the Moon Appearance Recommended Activities

Full Moon A glowing orb. Rises at sunset. Assess progress as

High in the sky at midnight. emotions run high and Sets around dawn. things come to fruition;

make adjustments; deal with the fallout.

Last Quarter Moon A semicircle with the flat Finish up; wind down;

side facing west (on the right) reflect; retreat. and the curved side facing east. Rises at midnight. High in the sky before dawn.

Once a year, there's a New Moon in your sign. Regardless of whether it comes before or after your birthday, the highly charged period between those two days is ideal for setting yearly goals and taking the initial steps toward fulfilling them. If the New Moon happens to fall right on your birthday, congratulations. The coming year promises to be a time of new beginnings.

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