8 Phases of Lunar Transformation
A way of working with planetary influences is to actually follow their movements in the sky and reflect on their current archetypal filters (what sign they are in). One of the simplest ways to engage with astrological concepts and begin a journey into greater kosmognosis — as Astrologer Adam Sommer often refers to as a type of cosmic intuition/knowing — is to engage with the Lunar cycle: the Moon’s relationship to the Sun as it travels around the Earth.
As the Sun reflects light onto the Moon, a process of transformation unfolds. We can liken this to our growth through 8 stages during a 29 1/2 day period, during which the Earth travels about 45 million miles around the Sun.
To study the moon’s cycle is to reflect on cyclical nature, ecology, and the alternation of growth and decay, birth and death. I’ll relate the Lunar cycle broadly to the human and plant lifecycle to evoke a greater understanding of its impact on the human psyche and general patterns for life on earth.
You may first want to understand what the Sun and Moon mean astrologically and archetypally. However, even a general reflection on the Lunar cycle can inspire a more intimate relationship to energetic life, wholeness, and the law of impermanence.
Nothing is more constant than change. As I’ve become more interested in embracing the change in my life, various paths to more conscious transformation have made their way into my conscious.
Evolutionary Astrology (EA) is one of those paths to consciously relating to transformation. The Lunar cycle is a specific study within the growing field of EA that can reveal a more immediate relationship to cosmic cycles at large. The Lunar cycle can give quite an accurate depiction of the subtle, daily shifts in human experience on an emotional level.
A Larger Perspective
Remember, we live on a planet. Astrology is the symbolic language of describing the “seasonal temperaments” of personal and collective human nature from the perspective of our planet and other planets in our solar system, including the luminaries (Sun & Moon). To understand our cosmic seasons is to understand the synchronous seasons of our psycho-somatic-spiritual complex. And our emotional changes reflect these seasons.
“We are born at a given moment, in a given place and, like vintage years of wine, we have the qualities of the year and of the season of which we are born. Astrology does not lay claim to anything more.” — Carl Jung
In ancient practices and various indigenous cultures, the Moon has been a model for navigating the planet’s energy wisely, including traditions in India (Ayurveda & Yoga), China (Traditional Chinese Medicine & Taoism), and North & South America (Shamanism), to name a few.
The quest for [Lunar] wholeness points humanity to align with natural laws and forces beyond our control, deepening a sense of belonging within the interconnected, interdependent cosmic matrix.
The Lunar cycle begins with the New Moon, grows to a Full Moon, and completes as the dark and nearly invisible New Moon sets again. The Moon that takes shape is based on the directly sun-lit portion as seen from Earth. Traditionally, tracing the Lunar cycle was important for farmers to tap into the best times for planting, pruning, and harvesting.
Knowing what phase the moon is in can also assist in planting the right behavioral seeds, pruning old ways of operating, and harvesting the rewards of your intentions. It’s a way to connect with the larger web of nature extending beyond the Earth and your true Self.
Generally speaking, connecting to a phase in the Moon’s cycle is best within 48 hours after its exact alignment. Let’s explore each major turning point.
1. New Moon
At the New Moon, there is a new beginning — a seed germinates underground. This is a time of birth or rebirth. In an overarching sense, this represents actual birth — separation of self from Oneness of spirit—the end of an old chapter and arrival of a new one. This is a potent formational time for the subconscious or time in which the unseen may feel more accessible.
Therefore, reflecting on your shadow world could be useful. It’s a time where an inward focus may bring your shadows — fragmented or disowned parts — to the surface, so writing or contemplative practices are useful.
This time is ideal to begin projects that you feel instinctively attracted to initiating, so follow impulses that are close to your heart to start something new. At the same time, the pull of energy is downward, evoking a sense of fatigue, thus inviting time for rest and recovery.
It’s actually most ideal to harvest plant medicine that requires the roots of the plant to be used during this time because the pull of nutrients into the earth for seeds and roots is strongest.
What of the old needs to release? What of the new are you learning and integrating? What feelings or aspects of yourself might be asking for acknowledgment or recognition?
2. Waxing Cresent Moon
As the seed begins to sprout, the Moon enters a Waxing Crescent phase, indicating a challenge for growth as the “new” integrates with the “old”. In terms of human development, this is early conditioning — the deeper, older parts of ourselves meet new experience and a developmental and transformational tension persists.
This is more of a design phase of the cycle, suggesting a time to set an intention. Make your aim known and clear, whether verbally, written, or otherwise. Initiation of an idea or project is in prime order at this point. You may seek the perspective from others, your immediate environment, or nature’s inspiration to gain momentum.
What’s newly forming from the old? What of the seed intention is beginning to make its way into the world? What action can you take? What or who may offer you advice or a new angle?
3. First Quarter Moon
Then the First Quarter forms. The roots and stems develop and break bindings in order to develop further. This “crisis in action” marks a mile marker on the path to full maturity. This upsurge of energy can be likened to you launching into the world in pursuit of a new goal. Let’s say you’re on the way out of college or beginning to mature as an adult.
It’s not a bad time for planning. What is needed to further manifest your intention?
Create an action plan that may begin to transpire naturally as you receive clarity on a direction or new way of being. Energy is rising. Emotions stir. Deliberation is more necessary. Intuition becomes more fully developed. Your gut instincts can guide you.
What needs to change? What needs re-evaluation? What big steps can be planned for and might be pressing on the horizon?
4. Waxing Gibbous Moon
The Waxing Gibbous phase marks further development and growth leading to the formation of flower buds and the markings of progression. The solidification of your life path is visible and closer to center.
This is a time for actually implementing your plans to realize your potential or a new potential.
Connection to others or to ideas is imminent and recommended. The advent is of brilliance transpiring.
Manage any distractions from what’s blossoming. Synthesize your lessons so far and adjust as needed. What knots need to loosen to make room for what’s needed or growing to fruition? What can continue to catalyze your growth?
5. Full Moon
Then at the Full Moon, the plant is in full bloom. There is a great sense of completion and wholeness. The gifts of completion are about to be spread. There is fulfillment and consummation. This is a revealing and emotionally impactful time. At this time the moon is gravitationally pulling nutrients upward. Medicine is at its highest in the topmost portions of the plant.
This is a time for feeling and realizing abundance. Maximum growth is at the precipice. Energy is up, and it’s harder to sleep. Social engagement can reach a peak in desire or form. Expansion of all kinds can take place.
A climax or culmination is possible and likely, so make use of the heightened emotional energy. In a larger sense of human development, this may correlate to an apex in life experience, career, or community involvement.
During this time, a greater, unbiased sense of objectivity can be present, allowing for the “enlightened observer” within you to see whether what’s manifested, manifesting, or close to manifesting matches your heart’s content. If it does, your intention, plans, evaluations, management, and persistence are beginning to pay off. If it doesn’t — your stirred up and triggered — you may realize that what your calling in needs more creative direction.
What has been illuminated to you? If you feel fulfilled, how can you celebrate your growth and success? If you feel less than content, reconnect to what’s inspiring.
6. Disseminating Moon
Soon thereafter, the Disseminating Moon — Waning Gibbous — takes the Full Moon’s place, in which the plant almost bears its fullest capacity for fruit. Abundance is present, so reaping gifts, teaching, and sharing wisdom follow.
Expansion ceases, but the deepest ripening ensues. Care still to your crops while you reflect how to fully reap what you’ve sown. Begin letting go of whatever may block these efforts. You may begin to integrate all the new changes, but your culminated efforts may demand a greater service to the larger whole. What might you begin to offer in service or by teaching to the collective?
This time marks a state of significant transmutation. The clear view that you’ve gained is paramount and ripening for an offering. And simultaneously, whether realizing it or not, you’ve changed. At the core, you may feel this shift leading you to give or seek guidance, as a transition is near. Interconnection and reciprocity are in order.
Are there any obstacles in the way of yielding your best results or self? How might you share what you’ve experienced and learned to others? What might you let go of?
7. Last Quarter Moon
Then the Last Quarter arrives. Fruit ripens and falls. A reorientation is needed. This “crisis of consciousness” marks a time of integration. Perhaps you retire. Your active passage slows down almost completely inviting deeper reflection of the entire cycle. Older age requests a grander view of the world at large. What worked well and what didn’t?
Complete and bring to closure any loose ends. In fact, completion is the keyword here. And seeing how far you’ve come is imperative to an effective reflection. Honor yourself and others, properly digest your experiences and take full responsibility for your actions and the outcome.
What lessons have been learned? How can this experience inform your past, future, and present?
8. Balsamic Moon
Shortly after, the plant withers and dies, or the solidified roots hold strong for the Spring Equinox. Seeds make their way into dormancy again and await a new beginning. The Balsamic phase reigns (Waning Crescent).
Themes of death (and ego death) persist. Something is making its way out. The process nears completion. An emotional dynamic or outmoded way of being released. The seeds of rebirth are being planted again. An end of some kind may near.
Energy makes its way down again, prompting self-care, the preparation for a new cycle, and an invocation for utmost gratitude.
Whatever gave way this time makes way for the beginning of the cycle next time. The New Moon approaches again. The seeds of the last cycle drop and reside deeply into the earth with pieces of thematic uncoverings and unravelings from the last cycle.
This is a time to focus inward again to truly reconnect with your core, feel your strength, and see the greater perspective of what is most important to you. This isn’t the best time to initiate. Rather, let go of attachments to make room for what dreams continue to burn at the core of your heart.
What patterns need to die? What of the past needs to release to make room for your greatest aspirations?
Transformation as a Conscious Path
Connecting to the Lunar Cycle consciously means embracing change more consciously. As the ebbs and flows of nature continue to ebb and flow, the world may greet you with surprise and even dis-ease but you are tuned in with a greater cycle and able to calculate well enough to catch the waves of life worth riding.
Sometimes, what’s in store or at stake is unexpected and unknown and chaos seemingly persists. And in our culture, there is a tendency to lose touch of your creative force of innocence. It can be hard to feel into the big picture before core belief systems have been formed. It can be easy for awareness and empowerment to lose a strong foothold when you're narrowly focused.
But knowing when to plan, when to execute, when to celebrate, and when to rest makes the process of change more palatable. Sometimes permission is all you need, and I’ve found that feeling the subtleties and nuances of a greater cosmic cycle result in greater balance and health, less stress and burn out, and more joy and connection. And there is always an opportunity to start anew.
Above all, Kinan’s passion is activating human potential through areas of technology, health, and psychology. He strives to push human innovation to the limit and actively participate in the evolution of consciousness.
Kinan believes we can achieve this primarily in the ways we communicate intelligently, software being a backbone to global interconnectivity and the transformation of self-destructive behavior being the bridge to greater human connection and empowerment.