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Lunar Cycle 2: Moon Wishing
As explored in Lunar Cycle 1: Moon Tides, we all experience the moon’s influence on our physiology, behaviour and mood, whether we see it or not, but having an awareness of shifting lunar dynamics enables us to ride these waves to best effect.
By simply understanding when and how your body or perceptions are likely to experience subtle shifts, you can stay in charge of yourself and your choices, encouraging better outcomes all round.
For example, knowing that the inward nature of a dark moon reduces the desire for social activity means you can give yourself permission to be a ‘couch potato’ and enjoy the space you’re in, rather than being torn by thinking you should be out doing something while feeling that you really don’t want to.
Or, if you have a tendency to insomnia, understanding that sleep disruption is more likely around the full moon, you can choose to engage more carefully in your sleep-supportive bedtime routines to minimize the impact and, if that doesn’t work, you can at least feel less frustrated by recognizing that it’s not ‘all in your head’, and choose not to fight the wakefulness.
You can also use the moon’s flow dynamics in a more pro-active way, by actually planning to do certain types of activities at specific times in the lunar cycle, so that they are either more strongly supported, or not inhibited by opposing forces. You may choose the best time to begin or complete projects, sow seeds or harvest crops, do a creative activity, plan a quiet retreat, have a dinner party, even end an unhappy relationship or ask someone out on a date!
Working with the moon’s energy is all about enhancing your quality of life and chances of success by going with the flow, rather than trying to move against it when the timing isn’t right. When you move against the flow, like swimming against a current, you can still move forward, but simply need to apply more of your own energy and effort to do so.
The lunar cycle lasts about 4 weeks (29.5 days), and moves through two dynamics of flow.
The waxing period begins with a new moon and continues through to the full moon. This dynamic has an upward flow, and encourages action and creativity, pulling you forward and ‘out of yourself’. In the garden, it draws energy and nourishment into above-soil plant parts.
The waning period begins immediately following the absolute full moon and continues through to the dark moon, just before the new moon. This dynamic releases the ‘pull’ and allows a settling down. It encourages a reflective frame of mind, with more looking back and ‘turning inwards’. In the garden, it draws energy and nourishment into below-soil plant parts.
The cycle is divided into four quarters, each with its own more specific dynamic, which begin and end with a primary ‘moon’ that occupies about 3 days. The 4 days between each ‘moon’ carry its dynamic towards the next quarter moon. In the breakdown of phases below, I have given the dark moon (also called new moon) and the full moon their own entries, as they mark the transitions between waxing and waning, and display a clear shift in dynamic within their own short phase.
If you wish to work consciously with moon cycle dynamics, align your activities, when convenient, with the most supportive moon or quarter phase.
Most ongoing activities span many moon cycles, and incorporate layers of smaller beginnings and endings, and times of high action or pause and review. Each of these aspects can find its place of synchronicity in the lunar calendar.
For things which don’t find an obvious place in the cycle, simply think about ‘the movement’ of the activity or process you’re planning. Is it forward, outward, social? Or looking back, inward, personal? Is it a beginning or an ending? Is it growth, nourishing, building up? Or release, clearing, breaking down?
Details of the times and dates of current moon phases can be found on the internet, in many diaries and calendars, in the daily newspaper, and on annual moon-planting calendars. If you want to plan much further ahead, you can use an ephemeris, which provides an astronomical listing of the daily positions of the planets, sun & moon, over a large number of years.
If you plan to garden with the moon cycle, apply lunar dynamics in the relevant seasons for your particular gardening activities. Avoid sowing, planting or pruning at the transitional times (dark moon & full moon). Instead, use this time for neutral activities, like weeding or soil-improvement.
Dark Moon: the end & the beginning
Commonly referred to as the New Moon.
This transitional space encompasses the disappearance of the ‘old moon’, a time of ‘no moon’, and the emergence of the new moon. The downward flow of the last quarter reaches its deepest point, and generates a powerful inward space, before beginning to draw us out again into a new cycle. As the pause between an ending and a beginning, the dark moon is full of potential and possibility.
At this time, the dynamic supports reflection, objective review and soul-searching. It encourages a deeply grounded connection with your intuition and inner wisdom, allowing you to gain useful insights, find solutions, and consider directions. The dark moon is a time for exploration, observation, insight and preparation, but not for action. It supports quiet retreat or solo activities, rather than socializing or complex group interactions which pull you away from yourself.
Make the most of this time by taking an honest look at where you’re at, where you’ve been, and where you’d like to go from here, whether in your personal life or in some business activity or project. Feel into your heart and send out your wishes, as intangible urges or well-formed desires.
For gardeners, prepare the soil and sort your seeds to see what you wish to plant, but don’t begin sowing until the new moon appears.
New Moon and Waxing Crescent phase (First Quarter): take action
This phase begins with the dark moon (described above) which transitions from the passive dynamic into the active new moon dynamic.
When the new moon first appears as a thin crescent in the sky, it fires up the energy for action and forward movement, characteristic of the whole waxing period. It starts with a powerful burst that then settles into a nice steady upward flow. The dynamic now supports first steps, new beginnings, and renewals.
Make the most of this time by taking action on your dark moon insights and plans. Start new projects and initiate new directions, or take steps to initiate changes or make further progress in existing projects and directions.
If your dark moon reflections brought to light the desire for a career change, your forward steps in this cycle may be as small as making a list of possible career options for further research, or it may be more immediate, with applications & interviews for new jobs. The forward movement is supported in whatever way is appropriate for you.
If you’ve decided your health needs some attention, this may be the time for taking your first jog, finding a therapist, or making a list of nourishing recipe ideas.
If you’re getting a team together for a new project, there may be advertisements or interviews. If you’re ready to start the project, people may begin their new responsibilities. If the project is already running, your forward steps may involve initiating improvements to get it back on track, or activities associated with moving it into the next phase of progress.
The first quarter dynamic supports such things as buying a new appliance or improving an existing one, holding a gallery opening or book launch, blessing your home or rearranging the furniture, having new friends to dinner, joining a club or renewing a membership, starting the next leg of a tour, going on a first date or making a marriage proposal.
For gardeners, this is the time to sow or transplant leafy annuals, like lettuce, spinach, cabbage or celery, and nourish with liquid plant foods.
First Quarter Moon (Courage Moon) and Waxing Gibbous phase (Second Quarter): stay the course
The waxing phase continues in this quarter and, while strongest energy for ‘new steps’ is in the first few days of the new moon, the whole waxing phase supports forward-outward-upward movement, so the above examples apply here too.
This is also an important time to nurture and reinforce what you have set in motion. Take appropriate encouraging and supportive actions to ensure that things continue to move forward with clarity and power. Apply practical support, if relevant, or simply stay in touch with your optimism, acknowledge every tiny sign of success and every positive movement, and appreciate these.
Depending on what actions you’ve previously initiated, you may experience a little (or big) ‘reality check’ as you try to integrate ‘the dream’ into the ‘real world’. This may reveal itself as an obstacle in the path of a plan or project, or possibly some personal doubts and fears as you come to realise what the change truly involves.
At the courage moon, there is a slight weakening of the rising flow, which gradually picks up again as the second quarter moves towards the full moon. This slackening in the outward flow allows a space to turn inward and touch base with yourself. While not as deep as the dark moon review, you have a good opportunity to ‘find your feet’ once again.
Connect with your heart and find the courage to push forward beyond your doubts. Realign with your intention and your original motivations. Open to your intuition and follow your instincts to manage the challenge. Don’t look for logic, if solutions don’t come immediately. Instead go with your hunches and do what feels right, in a timely manner to keep things on track. Then, as the second quarter progresses toward the full moon, continue to support the unfolding with some clear-thinking and analytical evaluation.
For gardeners, this is the time to sow or transplant fruiting annuals, like tomato, capsicum, beans, peas, pumpkin & other squash, or melons.
Full Moon: fly high, appreciate the view, and then head home
Over the 3 days of the full moon phase, there is a dramatic transition from a waxing-energising dynamic, to a peak plateau, and then into a waning-releasing dynamic. These aspects are each discussed separately.
For gardeners, this transitional period is not a time for plant work. Simply sit back and watch the magic happen.
Energising Full Moon
On the day before the absolute full moon, our plans and activities, our bodies, the earth and everything on it, experience the strongest force of the moon’s upward drive. All that applies to the waxing moon applies x10 to the energising moon.
If you particularly want to pump an extra surge of energy into any aspect of your projects or any area of your life, plan to do this just before the full moon. Have a brainstorming session for inventive ideas, hold a wild party, have a group prayer session for a sick friend, hold a fundraiser, or do something creative. Anything that you want to amplify and intensify will be made so by the energising moon.
This is a good time to put some pep into any situation which seems to be slowing down, getting tired or stagnant, or for which you’ve lost your passion, motivation and inspiration (from projects to bed-partners).
This is also a great night to charge up healing tools, crystals, and other power objects, or anything else you feel could do with a vitality hit. Expose them to the light of the nearly-full moon for a few hours, or even overnight.
Bear in mind that the moon’s amplifying effect, all through the waxing period but especially at the full moon, is indiscriminate. It amplifies everything, both the pleasurable and the undesirable.
When the moon is full, your imagination is greatly expanded, while impulse-control and practical discernment are reduced. This is brilliant for creative activities, sexual pleasures, or general adventures and inventions, but it can also encourage regretful choices, drama, and emotional outbursts where things are said or done that can’t be undone.
Be conscious of this and consider where you take yourself at this time, who you’re with and what you plan to do. Steer clear of your personal temptations and will-power challenges. Avoid friends who have a tendency to make suspect suggestions for a ‘fun night out’. Avoid situations where any kind of confrontation is likely. Only address your projects and activities with positive intent at this time. Celebrate and seek inspiration, but don’t hold difficult meetings.
If any of these (or similar) things are on your agenda, set them aside until the full moon is well-and-truly past, when everything will be more settled, and you will be more in touch with your rational self.
Having said all that, if you select your activities wisely, you can get amazingly powerful support from all three aspects of the full moon.
Absolute Full Moon
The day in the middle, when the moon is completely full, is a plateau period which offers a degree of stillness and pause.
Energy is still incredibly high, but it is no longer moving, and is poised to release, so there is some stability around it.
We have ceased pushing forward, and the time for initiating and energizing is over for this lunar cycle.
Take a moment to appreciate your achievements, no matter how small. Celebrate these, or simply life in general. Engage in any activity that brings you joy and pleasure, and allow the amplifying effect of the full moon to enhance these lovely feelings. Share your experiences and pleasure with others as well.
Your intuition and imagination are heightened at this time but, unlike the intuitive space of the dark moon (which draws you into your body and inner wisdom), this intuitive space is more ungrounded, random and ‘out there’, both while asleep (with more time spent dreaming and more bizarre dreams), as well as in your waking hours.
Reach out for inspiration and allow your creative juices to flow. Have mad tangential conversations about the meaning of life (and enjoy the surprising wisdom that comes through). Have fun in the kitchen with easy company and invent a new meal. Ask your cat to share its thoughts with you (or just spend half an hour playing silly-string with it).
This is also a lovely time for a moon-bath. Give yourself a gentle-energy, mind-expanding, body-nourishing charge-up by simply spending 5-10 minutes under full moonlight. If you stand barefoot on the earth, you can ground yourself and help reduce the full moon’s destabilizing effects. Many nature-based cultures believe that drawing on the light of the moon connects us with own clear inner light.
Releasing Full Moon
The moon has been drawing energy upwards continuously for the previous 2 weeks and, after peaking, the flow now takes a downturn, with a new general dynamic that continues through to the end of the cycle.
The releasing moon, immediately following peak of the full moon, amplifies the dynamics of the waning phase, and gives high intensity support to processes associated with cleansing, release, closure, and resolution.
Use this time to support letting go of anything that is completed, either from the activities of the previous waxing phase or from any other aspect of your life. You may engage in conscious release of emotions, issues, people and situations, or healing therapies to support this. You may clear your energy field of unsupportive patterns. You may declutter or spring-clean your home, or do a sage cleanse. You may also choose to end something at this particular time, if you want especially to encourage it to stay ‘ended’.
All waning-period patterns and activities (explored in the sections below) can be given an extra-strong encouragement during the releasing moon window.
Waning Gibbous phase (Third Quarter): acknowledge, integrate, communicate
This phase begins with the full moon (described above).
The strong downturn of flow at the full moon, now begins to settle into a gentle dynamic that no longer drives us but simply holds us. It allows us to breathe and become more present to ourselves and our experience. The urge to action is transformed from ‘forward and outward’ to an inward flow, which will gradually turn further in as the cycle moves towards the dark moon once again.
In this phase, the attention turns to here-and-now, addressing what was and what is, to acknowledge and integrate what has been developed, learned, or changed, into one’s body and life.
Make the most of this time by reinforcing the changes initiated in the previous cycle, and simultaneously releasing anything that stands in the way of this. Your activities may involve inner reflection, or communication and sharing with others, to explore the angles and outcomes of these changes, and gain deeper understanding.
Or they may involve repetition and practice, to resolve ongoing challenges or for simple habitual reinforcement.
This is also the best time for revisiting and reviewing ongoing activities, projects and directions with the intention to support, problem-solve, clear obstacles, resolve issues, and adapt where needed, so that these may move forward in coming waxing cycles. This may include anything from getting an old appliance repaired, to having a ‘talk’ with your partner to better understand issues, to starting the process of gradually weaning your baby.
You can also begin to prepare the way for anything which needs to be finalized or completed (in the next quarter) by healing and clearing any aspects which may still be likely to inhibit easy closure. A good place to start is simply by acknowledging any things, people, places, activities, attitudes, or parts of yourself, which you want, or need, to say goodbye to, and taking steps to explore and understand how you might begin to release these things from your life.
Clearing and release are key dynamics of waning phase activity, and healing is a key intention in support of these. You could do literal healing work on your body-mind-spirit, but the same intention can be applied to any ‘ailing’ or troubled situation, such as resolving obstacles confronting a project or exploring how to improve a failing business.
For gardeners, this is the time to sow or transplant root crops and bulbs, like beets, carrots, onions, garlic and potatoes, as well as perennials (ornamental or fruiting) like asparagus, rhubarb, and fruit trees. As the moon-flow supports root growth in this phase, it’s a good time for transplanting or dividing in general, and planting cuttings. In alignment with the sorting and clearing dynamics described above, this is a great time for pruning and harvesting as well.
Last Quarter Moon (Completion Moon) and Waning Crescent phase (Fourth Quarter): tie up loose ends
This last quarter flows into the deeply internal phase of the dark moon, where the leaving-past opens a space for the incoming-future. What gentle hold the moon has had softens even further with this completion moon, allowing the dynamic of ‘coming to a standstill’, ceasing or ending, to more fully engage.
Here, we have all the patterns and activities of the previous phase, with increased support for closure, completion, resolution, clearing out, forgiveness and letting go.
Make the most of this time by tying up loose ends, finishing with (anything), closing down projects, forgiving a 10 year grudge, getting rid of old clothes or mementos, putting the finishing touches on a painting, cutting ties with an addiction, signing divorce papers, settling your accounts, finishing a chapter of a book, and just generally putting out the rubbish (or taking a car load to the charity shop).
At this time, the intention is to put behind you anything which no longer fits the person you are becoming or the life you are shaping. The whole waning period, but this phase especially, is all about allowing that which belongs in the past, to finally become the past, and leave a space for all the wonderful new experiences, ideas, and interactions, which are waiting to enter your life.
For gardeners, this is not a time for planting, but instead, for clearing from beds what is finished with. Ongoing harvesting, pruning, weeding, and general tidying up are the activities now. Address pest issues if needed. Focus on improving the soil with nourishment, turning, mulching, or simply resting, and prepare beds for new sowings to come in the appropriate waxing phase.
As the waning moon disappears completely, and you enter the dark moon phase once again, you have the opportunity for another period of deep inner review and reflection …
Same cycle … different day … different you … and so it continues …
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