by Robert Wilkinson
Most who have studied astrology have heard of the Lunar Phases, but exactly what are they and what do they mean?
Today will be a brief introduction to the subject. While there will always be more to discuss, the information you’re about to read may help you to understand your chart, and when applied to the progressed Moon’s movement through the signs, it will yield even more insights about how your “progressed feelings” and “progressed up close and personal experience of life” is being shaped.
According to astrology, the Moon has 8 phases, and each spans 45 degrees. Your natal Lunar Phase is measured by the Moon’s distance from the Sun. Depending on which 45 degree span it falls, it puts the accent on a certain “Soli-Lunar relationship,” which is how you actualize your light and purpose through a certain type of temperament and the associated process.
Practicing astrologers can also apply these phases to the progressed Moon’s passage over the natal Sun, as well as the natal Ascendant. These phase shifts give insights into how the Sun and self-image find different forms of expression throughout the process that occurs after those conjunctions. It can obviously be applied to any other planet the Moon conjuncts, showing phases of how the form of those planets takes shape over time.
As the progressed Moon always takes 27+ years to make a “whole cycle” from conjunction to subsequent conjunctions, the major shifts always happen at the squares and opposition to whatever it conjuncted. So the conjunction to the Sun marks a point of beginning a new 27 year way of expressing light. The conjunction to the Ascendant marks a point of beginning a new 27 year way of expressing the self-image we develop throughout our life.
The progressed Lunar Return always marks a point of completing old feelings, old ways of experiencing life, old needs, and old cares. So we re-set progressed illumination forms when the progressed Moon conjuncts the natal Sun, we re-set progressed self-image forms when the progressed Moon conjuncts the natal Ascendant, and we re-set our personality package when the progressed Moon conjuncts the natal Moon.
The 8 phases are: New Moon, Crescent Moon, First Quarter Moon, Gibbous Moon, Full Moon, Disseminating Moon, Third Quarter Moon, and Balsamic Moon. These 8 phases make up the 360 “whole cycle” of the zodiac.
The progressed Moon spends 3 + years in each of these phases, with the exact length of time determined by how fast or slow the progressed Moon is moving. I’ll now give you a few notes on each, taken from “The Handbook for the Humanistic Astrologer” by Michael Meyer, one of the all-time great works for those into Humanistic Astrology.
0-45 degrees waxing from conjunction
Temperament: Subjective, impulsive, instinctive
Process: Projection of one’s personal ideals and concepts on the outer world
45-90 degrees waxing from conjunction
Temperament: Self-confident with a need to make an impression on one’s world
Process: Challenge old forms left from previous cycles, move from personal emphasis to individual concern.
First Quarter Moon
90-135 degrees waxing from conjunction
Temperament: Strong willed, ego building this lifetime, potential to be ruthless
Process: Builds structure to serve the being in actualizing objectives and purposes; feels urgent need for direct action
135-180 degrees waxing from conjunction
Temperament: Mental and associative; questioning and searching for a revelation or illumination.
Process: Introspection; personal growth and the need to contribute to society creatively.
180-225 degrees (135-180) waning from conjunction
Temperament: Open and full, functionally objective and fulfillment oriented, mainly through relationships
Process: Fulfillment through relationships, with a danger of being in extreme relationships where it’s “all or nothing.”
225-270 degrees (90-135) waning from conjunction
Temperament: Assimilative, evaluative, innovative
Process: Dissemination of what one learns and experiences; need to inspire other and release new ideas.
Third Quarter Moon
270-315 degrees (45-90) waning from conjunction
Temperament: Future oriented and inventive; can be inflexible and too forceful.
Process: Embodies personal ideals and philosophy into organized systems or institutions; applies universal principles to practical affairs.
315-360 degrees (0-45) waning toward next conjunction.
Temperament: Future oriented with awareness of how the past affects the future; feelings of destiny at work, self-sacrifice for the future growth of others
Process: Releases seed ideas to assist future growth; imparts visions of the future to the world.
Just knowing these phases of relationship can help us orient toward larger cycles of change going on so we can understand the place and function of the transitory shifts in focus we’re going through at any given chapter in our lives. And even just knowing one’s natal Lunar phase can help us understand a lot about why we do things the way we do.
© Copyright 2013 Robert Wilkinson