A primer on Moon Phases

The Eight Phase Lunar Cycle
by David & Sandra Mosley
(also in Spanish and Portuguese)

Observation of solar and lunar cycles is the basis of astrology. The study of these cycles and their phases provides us with a deeper level of understanding of all planetary aspects. Although most commonly associated with the lunation cycle, this eight-phase division is used in many spiritual teachings and can be applied to any of life's cycles.

The function of each cyclic process is suggested by the symbolism of the planets and/or luminaries involved. For example, the movement of Earth and its satellite, the Moon, around the Sun sets the rhythm and marks the steps in the dance of Life. Symbolically our spirituality (Sun) is manifested (Earth) via assistance from the soul (Moon). Each solar cycle is about the expression of our spiritual purpose. The Moon, in its cycle around the Earth, mirrors our daily experience of living. Each lunar cycle is about our response to collective needs.

When working with planetary pairs, remember that the slower moving planet describes the theme of the cycle and the faster moving planet describes how the theme is carried out.


Symbolically, the number 8 represents Manifestation, Form and Physical Reality. Working with the eight phases as stages in a cycle's unfoldment encourages us to view life as a process, emphasizing continuity and evolution.

A phase is a stage in the process of completion. The function of each stage in a cycle is to support the next stage, on through to the end so that the cycle can begin again and continue moving forward.

The type of energy functioning in the phases alternates between Active and Receptive. Since it is a system, no phase functions apart. Along with what came before and what lies ahead, each phase also has a connecting phase. Each Active phase connects to a Receptive phase. There are always echoes and reverberations.

The Active phases are straightforward; choices are made and direction is initiated in the external world. These are the formative phases which define the outcome of the cycle.

The Receptive phases are complex; information is gathered both from the consequences of previous activity and in anticipation of future activity. These are the mutable phases where changes occur internally and adjusting action is planned.

Phase 1 - NEW
The New phase is Active and Spontaneous. It is about self-discovery, beginnings and intent. This phase involves the emotional body. Passion, desire and excitement qualify the outcome of the cycle. At this stage, there is a minimum of awareness and knowledge. Innocence gives it a pioneering quality.

The energy of this phase relates to sight, inner and outer. Since the whole picture cannot be seen, it is a time of vulnerability and doubt. A visionary action is necessary. The function of this phase is to become aware of the intention; later there will be opportunities to revise and reorient.

During the New phase, form your intent; see it and act on it. The question is: What do I desire? It is important to picture your goal; make it emotionally satisfying. Create a visual representation of it that you can look at throughout the cycle. Be clear about your goal without concern about how you will accomplish it. Trust your self and your potential to manifest. Trust your ability to learn and adapt.

Phase 2 - CRESCENT
The Crescent phase is Receptive and Deliberating. It is about developing resources to protect and sustain the vision of the New. This phase pertains to the instinctive body. Intuition, reflex and basic survival mechanisms preserve the imprint established during the New phase. At this stage, a commitment is made to be responsible for attaining the desired goal.

The energy of this phase is stimulated by the senses of taste, smell and touch. There is a struggle to gather adequate information to support the continued development of the cycle. Understanding the motivation behind the desire is vital to the function of planning for its fulfillment.

During the Crescent phase, open yourself to information and plan for action. Ask yourself: What need does my goal fulfill? and How can I guarantee the survival of my vision? Let your instincts guide you. Nourish yourself with your favorite foods. Relax in a bath with essential oils. Allow yourself plenty of hugs. Review your resources, finding the qualities that will help you thrive.

The First Quarter phase is Active and Impetuous. It is about breaking away and seeking individuality. This phase involves the feeling-moving body. The idea is to use body movement to generate energy that can then be channeled into creative expression. There is a sensitivity here that might be expressed in the extreme of wearing one's heart on one's sleeve.

There is often a feeling of being misunderstood. It is important to move beyond the need for approval from others. The activity during this phase must clear away the obstacles so that the vision of the New phase will have space to develop and grow. The function of this phase is to create a secure foundation.

During the First Quarter phase, do what feels right. Act to express your feelings and your independence. Put the past behind you. The question is: What can I do now to initiate the actualization of my vision for this cycle? It is important now to be on the move. Physical action is the key to this initiating energy. Stretch, dance or engage in exercise to alleviate a sense of being blocked.

Phase 4 - GIBBOUS
The Gibbous phase is Receptive and Discerning. It is about developing tools and techniques that serve the original vision. This is a pivotal point in the cycle. It connects directly to the New phase and once again relates to the emotional body. The first feedback is received regarding the goal of the current cycle. At this stage the information is analyzed for relevance. It is a time of questioning everything and seeking new methods that maximize efficiency.

The energy of this phase relates to sight, inner and outer. Still the whole picture cannot be seen. There is a struggle to release judgment and learn self-trust. Confidence of inner vision awakens the power of creation. The function of this phase is to become self-reliant.

During the Gibbous phase, filter and analyze all of the information that you have obtained as a result of your previous actions. Ask: How can my plans be refined? What details have I overlooked? Review your original vision. Look at the picture you created in the New phase. Suspending criticism allows you to see it with clarity, reinforcing your intent. Trust in the process.

Phase 5 - FULL
The Full phase is Active and Integrative. It is about awareness, co-operation and sharing information. This phase involves the intellectual body where detachment supports objectivity. At this stage, illumination brings light to all the dark places; the shadows are exposed.

The energy of this phase is stimulated by hearing, inner and outer. Action must be taken to establish relationship in order for balance to be achieved. The function of this phase is to begin the process of reshaping the goals in accordance with the awareness of the true meaning of the original vision.

During the Full phase you must involve others in your activities. Equal relationships are the key to your awareness. Observe all that is reflected back to you. Ask: What can I do to bring harmony to the situation? Pay attention and listen closely to what you, and others, are saying. When confusion distorts thought, remember that music calms the mind and song gives voice to spirit.

The Disseminating phase is Receptive and Demonstrative. It is about communication, sharing resources and being open to transformation. It connects to the First Quarter phase and also relates to the feeling-moving body. The power of what is felt to be significant is a propelling force for its distribution. At this stage, feelings need to be shared with others.

The energy of this phase pertains to motion. An offering of belief is made. There is a struggle to align the personal vision with the needs of the whole. The function of this phase is to gain perspective.

During the Disseminating phase, share your vision with as many people as you can. The questions to be asked are: How do my goals contribute to the welfare of the collective? and Has my idealism turned into self-righteousness? Review the feelings that prompted the action of the First Quarter and allow yourself to teach what you are learning. Exchange and move energy through team sports or dancing.

The Last Quarter phase is Active and Responsible. It is about reorientation, transition and completion. It connects to the Crescent phase and also pertains to the instinctive body. Intuition and sensory responses to the environment direct the final action necessary to the fulfillment of the cycle's goals. At this stage, the action taken is either a correcting action or the final push needed to realize a successful outcome.

The energy of this phase is stimulated by the senses of taste, smell and touch. Action is essential and evident. The required action calls for a shift from the conservative to the inventive and there is some risk involved in changing the structure which has been built. The function of this phase is manifestation.

During the Last Quarter phase, you are recognized for your accomplishments and must accept responsibility for your actions. Do what you have to do; you know instinctively the proper course. The question is: Where do I go from here? Use what you have accomplished to help others. Tactile, instinctive techniques to release blocked energy include bodywork, manipulation and aromatherapy.

Phase 8 - BALSAMIC
The Balsamic phase is Receptive and Releasing. It is about letting go of the past and turning the thoughts and attention to the future. It connects to the Full phase and involves the intellectual body. As with Full, there is a detachment that serves to give an objective view. Whereas in the Full phase the awareness is of what is, in Balsamic the awareness is of what was and what is to be.

The energy of this phase is stimulated by hearing, inner and outer. The inner voice whispers suggestions regarding the future. The struggle with surrender can produce confusion which threatens to engulf and carry over into the next cycle. Liberation from the past must be attained in order to begin anew with consciousness and clarity. The function of this phase is to clear out the old patterns in preparation for a new cycle.

During the Balsamic phase, withdrawal from the outer world is necessary. This is a time for dreaming, and quiet contemplation. Ask: What do I need to release? and What do I choose to take with me into the next cycle? Allow yourself to heal through meditational practices that incorporate sound, such as chanting, drumming or toning.

These regularly repeated cycles describe the process of creative manifestation. Each new cycle offers the opportunity to know our selves a little better; to become familiar with our response patterns, to practice the expression of our spiritual purpose, and to live life more fully. The balance of spiritual values and material realities inherent in this approach grounds and supports creativity, bringing it to life.

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About David & Sandra Mosley

Zodiac Arts 2011 Moon Phase Calendar

by Sandra and David Mosley

The Zodiac Arts
Moon Phase Journal

employs both ancient and modern techniques for living a well balanced life. Essentially, it's a blueprint for manifesting your dreams. Based on the unfoldment of the 8-phase lunation cycle, it stimulates your imagination while providing an outline for creating the life you want. Coming Soon!

Getting On-Time With Your Life
Getting "On-Time"With Your Life

by Robert Kent Myers
RKM 1996

Lunation Cycle
The Lunation Cycle

by Dane Rudhyar
Shambala 1967

Moon Time by Paungger and Pope
Moon Time

by Paungger and Pope

Mysteries of the Dark Moon by Demetra George
Mysteries of the Dark Moon

by Demetra George

Moon Signs by Donna Cunningham
Moon Signs

by Donna Cunningham

The Book of Houses by Robert Cole
The Book of Houses

by Robert Cole

Additional Resources:
Cosmopsychology I: The Engine of Destiny
by Marc Robertson
AFA 1976

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