Our ancestors knew that the Moon controlled the tides. They understood the lunar rhythms and the influence that those rhythms had on the earth's living things. More and more people are returning to that wisdom to learn the secrets of the Moon and employ them in their daily lives. To live within the rhythms of the Moon is to live within her power.
There's some controversy about when the Moon cycle starts. Some cultures mark it from the Full Moon, while others will mark the start of the cycle as the New—or Dark—Moon. This is what makes the most sense to me, for it is more in harmony with the cycle of life. We emerge from the dark of the womb, and we return to the dark of the earth when our lives have ended.
The New Moon phase is exactly as it sounds, the time when she's starting her cycle of light. It lasts just under three days, and it's the first phase in the lunar month. It's impossible to see the Moon just as it turns to new, because it rises and sets with the Sun. This is called the Dark Moon by some people, for obvious reasons. It is only as it starts to age that a thin crescent of light will appear in the western sky. The New Moon encourages newness, and it's a great time for starting new projects. It is now appropriate to commence any ritual work that will help to draw things to you—a money spell, for example. People born at this time tend to have a natural childlike wonder about them. Even though they can be eager, they can lose interest in projects before their completion. They're likely to achieve things at quite a young age but will have to learn how to keep that momentum going during the rest of their lives.
The waxing crescent is the second point in a lunar month, and it is the period between the New Moon and the first-quarter Moon. Sometimes called the waxing crescent, this Moon appears in the western sky early in the evening. Its energy is similar to that of a New Moon, but here it's more controlled. There's a natural curiosity during this time that goes along with the ability to look at problems from a different perspective. This is still a good time to bring new things into your life or plant seeds that bear their fruit above ground. People born under this phase of the Moon are sometimes conflicted between following traditions and trying new things. They're likely to be very dynamic in their late twenties and early thirties, or near the time of their first Saturn return.
Mental agility and self-expression come easily during the first-quarter phase, which is halfway between the New and Full Moons. This is the half-disc Moon that can often be seen during the day and brightly shining during the first half of the night. It is the third of the eight phases of the Moon. Enthusiasm is likely to abound, and you'll be able to concentrate on the tasks at hand. The plans that you've made and the energy you're using to draw things into your life could now be coming to fruition. Those who are born during a first-quarter Moon are naturally inquisitive, and they are often very adept at finding new ways of dealing with old problems or issues. Their late thirties and early forties—the years leading into the Uranus opposition—are likely to be their most productive years.
Gibbous is the term used to describe the moon phase between the first quarter and Full Moon. It is fourth in the phases of the lunar calendar. Often the Moon will look full at this time because it shines so brightly, but if you look closely, you'll see that it's still a bit ovoid. This Moon rises in the afternoon and sets well before dawn. It can be very tempting to rush ahead during this time, but patience should still be exercised. This is a great time for hard work, especially when it comes to cooperation and teamwork. It's important not to follow philosophies and tenets blindly, but rather to test them and make sure they are valid—it's that patience thing, again. People born under this Moon usually have something helpful to contribute, whether to society as a whole or just to their immediate social circle. They're most likely to make their mark in their mid- to late forties, after their Saturn opposition.
Most would consider the Full Moon the middle or apex of the lunar phase: moonrise is at sunset, and moonset is at sunrise. This is the moon phase when things can come to fruition. This is a time when emotions are heightened, and there can be a rise in passion—both intimacy and anger. This is a great time to project new ideas into the future so they can manifest. Enthusiasm and reason and creativity and practicality are balanced. It's an excellent time to focus on teamwork and strive for harmony with other people. Some people hold their celebrations during Full Moons in order to take advantage of the lunar energy being at its brightest. People who were born during Full Moons are often intuitive. They often have the potential to be good at linking the past to the future in a positive and constructive way—although they may need to guard against nostalgia. The years leading up to age fifty, and the Chiron return, are likely to be the most constructive.
The disseminating Moon is a term to describe the phase between a Full Moon and last-quarter Moon. It rises just after sunset and sets just after sunrise. During this time, sowing seeds and sharing ideas and knowledge are appropriate. It's a time for others to learn from your experiences—and for you to learn from your past and the experiences of others. Communication and the lessons that go with your past experiences are highlighted. It's a time to start letting go of what isn't working. The disseminating Moon is also the moon phase that starts the period when root crops—anything that is tuberous or which grows below the ground—should be planted. It's a time to start reflecting and slowing down the energetic activities that the Full Moon may have inspired. Those born under this Moon are likely to add interest and intrigue to life, although they may need to backpedal a bit and remember to consider the needs of other people. They're most likely to shine in their midfifties, after their Chiron return.
The last-quarter Moon is a reconciling Moon, the time when advice should be given or taken, when projects need to be brought to a conclusion, and when problems need to be solved. During the first-quarter Moon, the energies were on the increase; during the last-quarter Moon, they're on the decrease. This Moon rises about halfway through the night and sets around noon. It's the penultimate phase in the lunar calendar. This is an appropriate time to downsize and get rid of things that are no longer desired. It heralds the arrival of endings. People born during this phase may find they are natural counselors and advisors. They may be prone to nostalgia, and they may dwell on the past rather than focusing on the here and now. It's in their late fifties and early sixties when they're liable to realize their full potential.
The balsamic Moon is an introspective Moon, the last one before the darkness of the New Moon. In fact, the Moon is rarely seen during this phase—the last of the lunar calendar—for it's just a thin sliver of light, visible right around dawn. This phase is a suitable time for meditating, contemplating, and pondering things in order to prioritize them for the next lunar cycle. It should not be a time for drastic changes, nor should it be a period when new activities are undertaken. It's a time to take a break as one cycle comes to a natural close, so that the next cycle can begin. Those born during a balsamic Moon may find themselves quite introverted, intuitive, and perhaps even somewhat mystical. Spirituality will often be important for them, too. For these people, it is their later years, rather than early in their lives, when they are likely to find their highest happiness and their greatest success.
The Moon has much wisdom to impart for those who walk in harmony with its rhythms. It is because of the Moon that Earth stays stable on its axis. The Moon influences the behavior of nocturnal animals, and it pulls the ocean tides back and forth. It helps us understand cycles and seasons. Its light can give atmosphere and enhancement to ceremonies and rituals. Most of all, though, when we work with the energies and the influences of the Moon, we can know that we are connected to those who have done so before, and that we are leaving behind echoes for those who will follow us in years to come.
Excerpted from Llewellyn's 2017 Moon Sign Book.