Learning the Rhythm of the Moon
The Moon is magical, beautiful and full of surprises. She waxes and wanes through the course of a month, showing us her different faces. Some nights she rises as the sun sets, while other days she’s out in broad daylight. She is in one zodiac constellation for the Full Moon and the complete opposite one for the New Moon. At first she appears to be unpredictable, but in reality she’s as dependable as the Sun rising and setting each day. Her pattern is not so easy to master, but once we learn it, we can align with her transient nature and create a blueprint for our life.
The Moon moves through the signs of the zodiac much faster than the Sun. She spends about 2.5 days in a sign and moves through each one counter clockwise around the zodiac wheel, as the rest of the planets and Sun. She’s currently in Capricorn, then she’ll move to Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, and so on. She takes about 29.5 days to cycle through the entire zodiac. The Sun, on the other hand, spends about 30 days in each zodiac constellation, known as a Sun season. The Moon essentially dances around the Sun each month, meeting him in the same sign on the New Moon and opposing him on the zodiac wheel during the Full Moon. This is why the New Moon always occurs in the same sign as the current Sun season and the Full Moon occurs in the sign opposite the Sun season.
Each day has an inherent Moon sign and Sun sign. Today, for instance, the Sun is in Aquarius and the Moon is in Capricorn. Someone born today would have an Aquarius Sun sign and a Capricorn Moon sign. They, as each of us did, will take on the qualities of those signs, along with the rest of the planets positions, because these are the cosmic energies of today. These positions, or signs, make up our energetic signature, or natal chart. Your personal Sun sign and Moon sign tells you the Sun and Moon’s positions when you were born. When the Moon makes her way to your personal Moon sign, about once a month, you will feel her power intensified. The current Moon sign however, influences us every day no matter our personal signs. We are always under her energetic influence, which is dictated by her current sign and her current phase.
The Moon has many phases that tell us where she is positioned respective to the Sun and Earth. During a New Moon, the start of a Lunar Cycle, she is between the Sun and the Earth, lining up with the Sun in our skies in the same zodiac constellation. As she makes it one quarter around the Earth, she reaches the First Quarter or half Moon phase. This phase places her 90 degrees from the Sun, known as square in Astrology. When the Moon squares the Sun, there is an opportunity for obstacles and breakthroughs, making First Quarter Moons potent times to take action and build plans to overcome hurdles.
Half way through the Lunar cycle, the Moon makes her way to the Full Moon, where she now is positioned on the other side of her orbit and is fully illuminated by the Sun. She is in direct opposition with the Sun, the Earth between them. This opposition causes friction, but also provides a powerful time to see the full range of qualities illuminated by the Sun and Moon sign. Through this illumination, we can find a balance point and release negative habits from working in the extremes.
The Moon then makes it another quarter around the Earth to the Last Quarter, her second half moon and second square. Last Quarters carry the same energy of breakthroughs as First Quarters, but they have the element of release. They give us the support to let go of energies no longer serving us and make room for new dreams. It’s a powerful time which prepares us for the next cycle. After shedding all of her light and helping us shed our energy, the Moon makes her way back to New, where she meets the Sun once again and starts a new cycle with the New Moon.
The Moon has one more trick up her sleeve; rising and setting. She dances around the clock just as much as she dances around the zodiac wheel. During the New Moon she rises and sets at the same time as the Sun, they are together in the sky combining their forces. After a New Moon, she begins to rise later and later and we begin to see a sliver of light building right before she sets shortly after sunset. She continues to rise, and set, later and later until the First Quarter when she wakes up around noon. During this phase, she sets around midnight, still giving us a glimpse of her in the night sky. She continues waking later and later until the Full Moon, when she rises as the Sun sets and sets when the Sun rises. We get to bask in her light all night during this phase. As she begins to wane, she continues to come up a little later every day, eventually making it the the Last Quarter when she rises around midnight and sets around noon. She continues her pattern, until she meets the Sun once again, rising around 6am, spending a few days dancing with her partner in the sky.
The Moon’s rhythm is graceful, dependable and the rhythm of femininity. She mirrors the dance of feminine energy and the cyclic nature of a woman. Every month and she teaches us that each phase is different but equally powerful. She demonstrates how many elements can gracefully come together to form a pattern, giving us an example of beauty in complexity. The Moon has a new pattern every day and each day she gives us a new energy to work with in ourselves. If we follow her dance, we can create a pattern for ourselves and our lives.
*All Images by Rebecca Reitz