The Lunar Phases and their characteristics
The lunar phases compare to the growth of a plant, in the same way a plant grows and blossoms in attunement to the natural cycle of nature.
Each lunar cycle begins with a new moon and averages 29.53 days, one lunar month. There are eight lunar phases, approximately 3.7 days long for each lunar cycle.
Our daily experience is covered by each lunar phase with its specific traits. The most potent time when a shift can be felt in our daily experience is during the 24 hour period before a changeover.
The eight lunar phases are listed below with their attributes and how they are expressed in our daily lives. Learning the traits of each phase can offer significant guidance on how to most efficiently proceed in our day-to-day world. For example, it can be very helpful to know which days are the best for creating external events that require action, for magnetic attraction, for relaxation and insight, for the surfacing of inner needs that stimulate change, or to surrender, play and let go.
Each new moon phase begins a new theme, which is set by the sun-moon zodiac and elemental alignment. Any growth we gain from one cycle becomes the seed expressing the new theme in the following cycle, and it continues as we spiral and grow.
I have coloured the titles to highlight the four essential moon phases that are used in this system to help you remember them. Your own practice can be adapted and be more specifically led, when you are designing a session that includes all eight phases. Keep in mind that nothing is written in stone and every session can be adapted to suit the energies at play at that given time in an intuitive way.
NEW MOON: Sprouting 0 ° – 45 °
A New Theme Emerges
At the beginning of this phase, a new idea or concept sprouts forth. It is an inner message, an impulse bursting out of the field of all possibilities deep within the unconscious mind. A place is provided to act on for the unfolding of the idea. The process is one of discovery, revealing a simple idea. It is a perfect time for prayer or meditation, to go within and connect to the Self. To listen, honour and trust your inner world is all that is required now.
Free up Confining Patterns
The second part of the new moon phase, asks that we let go of any limiting thoughts or patterns. Old established ways, based on past experience, surface now to consciously be released, so they don’t interfere with the unfolding of the new idea. Our thoughts change into a more expansive form. Without consciously honouring, accepting with Love and letting go of the old patterns, we will prevent the Self from moving into the expansive growing phase.
CRESCENT: Growing 45 ° – 90 °
Expand the Idea
At this time new possibilities that have not been known before would like to grow. It’s a time of engaging our creativity, integrating it with our intention, to reach its full potential. It is a time of conceiving an attainable plan of action to further progress, a time of inspiration and a time to have faith in the Self to carry out the intention we set at the new moon.
Often, an event outside of the Self creates a challenge or catalyst that serves to provide the motivation to move from the inspirational phase into the action phase. Any hidden fears or doubts may surface to be embraced. If the choice made is not to step into action, the result will be lost opportunity and thwarted growth. Beyond Self-limitation is Self-empowerment. Remember, the Universe totally supports our unfolding journey towards the light.
FIRST QUARTER: Flowering 90 ° – 135 °
Drop all hesitation and take steps toward what inspires you. Inspiration is replaced with trust and knowing. Remember, the flower that is about to burst forth from the bud is not yet visible. Validate this process with physical action and you will be supported. The creative tension caused by the external stimulus is now an opportunity. This is a time for the practical application of your talents and only appears stressful or traumatic when no action is taken. What you are currently putting together is the groundwork for the manifestation of the idea. Simply put, this phase instigates a time to work.
The perseverance to push through is needed in order for the bud to push open. Consistent use of your energy is evidence of your inner commitment to your Self. You are pushing through past limitations of the Self to a new level of Self-confidence and integrating your greater potential with personal will. The flower bursts open.
GIBBOUS: Pollinating 135 ° – 180 °
Attraction and Involvement
This phase brings a strong desire to connect with others. The outer and opposite is alluring. It is a time of exploration and involvement. Flowers not only blossom to reveal their beauty, but their functional purpose is to provide the pollination required to bear fruit. Communication is highlighted with the purpose to be of value to each other, stimulating creativity. Share your vision, what you have been working on. The consistent use of energy against challenging forces can bring clarity and purpose to build your Self up with the essential energy for success.
Vision and Enthusiasm
The second part of this phase, building up to the Full Moon, ripens your efforts into vision and enthusiasm. It is the culmination of opposites that creates the magic to bear the fruit of your passion. The day and night just before the Full Moon are the most potent bringing with them exhilarating energy, a social and alchemical time ofcelebration.
FULL MOON – Fruit Bearing 180 ° – 225 °
Achievement of the Theme
This is a time of gestation leading into the fulfilment of the theme. Relax and allow this to happen, no need to force it as it appears on its own. The purpose behind what you were originally guided to trust and act upon, and how it fits into the greater context of the whole now becomes clear and conscious. Often this is a sobering time, like waking from a sleep.
Movement and Participation
This phase shifts rapidly. A sense of urgency is felt. It is a time to yield the fruits of your actions. It is as if there is more to do than there is time for. Commotion with last minute details seeming to appear from nowhere. Keep cool and accelerate, make any last-minute preparations. A birthing is at hand.
DISSEMINATING – Harvesting 225 ° – 270 °
Manifestation and Demonstration
This is the time for the fruits of our labour to manifest and for lessons to become tangible. The fruit of this cycle could be either in the form of inner growth or an outer manifestation; either way it will support the true nourishment of self and others. Share your fruit, give out that which was learned or created and receive the same from others. Clear expression and disclosing of our gifts yields into the structure of our consciousness an increase in self-empowerment.
There is a sense of completion with the recognition that the past has served its purpose. It is time to leave what is outmoded behind. What you are shedding is essentially a lesser self. Often, events will be drawn to your Self as a final reflection for clarity. Acknowledging the needs of the inner world is essential to create the changes in our life on the outer sphere. Inner awareness provides the fuel to do so. There is now a pull to withdraw from the activity of this entire cycle. Remember, others are in inner need too! Demanding others change is not the solution to your well-being. Allowing mutual space and sharing your insights with respect for everyone’s own insights supports all parties to step up the change that is right for all. This phase completes with becoming aware of what is important to the Self and what is not.
LAST QUARTER – Cultivating 270 ° – 315 °
Begin the Change
Let go of any attachment to the experience of the lunar cycle and the outer stage props that served your growth. This is a transformational time, a time of personal change. Free yourself from former ways of participating in life. This is a time of walking away from that which is no longer nourishing. It is a time of departure, of consciously living your truth. When you do so, you grant permission for others to live theirs. Without making these changes we stay Self-bound in a circle of old patterns of growth. Conscious change, on the other hand, allows you to spiral to a new octave of experience. Now is a time to plough the crops for future fertilizing.
Union into Essence
The second part of this phase results in unification into the essence of all that was experienced so it can become the seed for the next cycle of growth. It is a reflective time of extracting and harnessing what was learned from the cycle, claiming its true wealth and wisdom. It is this seed essence, which is of true value to the Greater Self and will sprout in the next cycle.
BALSAMIC – Seeding 315 ° – 360 °
Focus to the Future
A time for completing any loose ends, making the field of all possibilities smooth and clear, ready for a new sprouting to occur. Dedication and commitment now turn toward the future. We turn away from the past cycle completely and look ahead, preparing for and anticipating the future. Another seed is planted at this time of germination.
Surrender and Play
The end of this phase is also the end of the entire lunar cycle. It leads into the next New Moon. This day requires total abandonment, total surrender, in order to allow the sprouting for the next lunar theme to occur. Let go of all fears, worries and self-judgment. Become empty, like a clear vessel. This is a great time to play and have fun.