Articles by alphabetic order
 Ā Ī Ñ Ś Ū Ö Ō
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

The eight lunar phases

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Aksho4bhya s1.jpg
Budd aos-60.jpg
Seate detail.JPG
20101107-img 5290.jpg

Phase 1 - New Moon - The side of the moon that is facing the Earth is not lit up by the sun. At this time the moon is not visible.

Phase 2 - Waxing Crescent - A small part (less than 1/2) of the moon is lit up at this point. The part that is lit up is slowly getting bigger.
Phase 3 - First Quarter - One half of the moon is lit up by the sun at this point. The part that is lit up is slowly getting bigger.
Phase 4 - Waxing Gibbous - At this time half of the moon is lit up. The part that is lit is slowly getting bigger. Waxing means to slowly get bigger.
Phase 5 - Full Moon - The side of the moon that is lit up by the sun is facing the Earth. The entire moon is lit up at this point.
Phase 6 - Waning Gibbous - The moon is not quite lit up all the way by sunlight. The part of the moon this is lit is slowly getting smaller. Waning means to slowly get smaller.
Phase 7 - Last Quarter - Half of the moon is lit up but the sun. The part that we can see lit up is slowly getting smaller.
Phase 8 - Waning Crescent - A small part of the moon is lit up at this point. It is getting smaller by the minute.

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.

The Eight Phases

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.

Sweetness. Nurturing. Leadership. Guidance.

Becoming symbolic to others; making others into symbols. Bringers of gifts. Luminosity. We are fresh from the Dark of the Moon—the realm of mystery—still caught up in, and shrouded by, the archetypal perspective.

We radiate powerfully, but we are relatively blind to the subtleties and complexities of the material world, especially other people. Everyone senses that “we know something,” and they are therefore drawn to us. Waxing Crescent

Sun-Moon Angle: 45-90 degrees

Seasonal Event: n/a

Pagan Holiday: IMBOLC/Candlemas

The Extremist

Drive to accomplish and to experience. Hunger. Imbalance. Success—and its costs.

Radiant, infectious hope in the face of darkness. We feel the fierce fires of life burning in us. The idealism of the archetypal New Moon realm is still very strong with us—perhaps blindingly so.

But we are eager to make those ideals real, to bring them into manifestation. Our hair is on fire and our sense of mission is strong. We leap.

First Quarter

Sun-Moon Angle: 90-135 degrees

Seasonal Event: Vernal Equinox

Pagan Holiday: OSTARA/E aster

The Crusader.

Tension between self and group. Concern with justice. Battles. Group efforts; organizations. Sacrifice for group. The abstract, idealistic principles of the archetypal realm collide with reality.

We awaken to The Other—and we feel the power and resistance embodied in it, generally though other people.

The imagery of Christ Crucified abounds. This is the birth of the need for compromise, realism, and teamwork.

Waxing Gibbous

Sun-Moon Angle: 135-180 degrees

Seasonal Event: n/a

Pagan Holiday: BELTAINE

The Helper; The Lover.

Service. Identification with group ideal. Sexual energy.

Support offered to a person or a principle. Generosity. Freud’s “polymorphous perversity.”

We awaken with excitement to the synergistic potentials of team work.

Our ideals are pulled out into the realm of partnership. The exchange of energies—creative or sexual—with other people looms compellingly.

We want to help others shine, and to be swept along in ecstatic fellowship.


Sun-Moon Angle: 180-225 degrees


Pagan Holiday: LITHA/Midsummer

The Healer; The Artist.

Care giving. Familial complexities; divorce. Wedlock as deadlock. Art and creativity made manifest. Nurture. Outward expression of light and dark. Drama.

The corner is turned; the process of turning away from the outer world and returning to the archetypal realm begins—but even as this homesick soul-hunger grows, we find ourselves enmeshed in the paradoxical webs of the world.

The initial New Moon vision has come into full manifestation: it is now real (art and creativity are highly manifest), but it is also compromised, and caught up in polarized stand-offs (which often manifest now in “stuck” relationships).

There is nothing easier to get out of than it was to get into!

Waning Gibbous

Sun-Moon Angle: 225- 270 degrees

Seasonal Event: n/a

Pagan Holiday: LAMMAS

The Shaman.

Deep inner work. Psychic intervention in others’ lives.

Assistance around death, dying, and crisis. Attunement to “primitive” wisdoms. Death and rebirth. Gratitude.

The psyche is still very extended outward into the realm of the manifest, but it now seeks actively to unravel itself from the spider web.

A hunger for liberation from the outer world arises—and corresponds with a hunger to create similar liberation in others. We begin to sense the way home.

Last Quarter

Sun-Moon Angle: 270-315 degrees


Pagan Holiday: MABON

The Pilgrim; The Actor.

Sensing the smell of home. Sweet sorrow. Longing. Romantic tragedy. Solitude. Art as an inner search. Service.

Theater; ritual. The air of death and finality.

The corner is turned; psyche returns to the dark hemisphere of the unmanifest and the internal.

The bittersweet feeling of necessary endings permeates everything. Mechanisms of transcendence move to the forefront—thus, ritual, cathartic theater, and the inner journey of the solitary artist all make themselves felt. Waning Crescent

Sun-Moon Angle: 315-360 degrees

Seasonal Event: n/a

Pagan Holiday: SAMHAIN

The Mystic Wanderer.

Deep psychic sensitivity; possible imbalance.

The Anthropologist, observing us. Ghosts and spirit visitations. Creative, visionary imagination.

Sensitivity to ancestors and the dead.

The psyche goes over the waterfall, feeling the irresistible gravitational field of the spirit realm. The outer world begins to feel dreamlike; the veil between this world and the next becomes permeable and transparent. The “next world” enters us, as we enter it. Ego death.

As above, so below. Look into the sky and observe which phase the moon is in.

Then you will know where you are in the growth cycle of each lunar month. The phase that the moon was in when you were born reflects your purpose, personality, and preferences.

The New Moon is like a SEED planted in the earth.

We cannot see her but she is ready to grow, full of potential and energy for her new journey. People born during the New Moon are impulsive, passionate, and intuitive. They are risk takers and pioneers.

The Crescent Moon is the SPROUT.

The seed has broken through the earth and reaches up as she ventures from the dark, moist earth she has known. People born during the Crescent Moon must break from the past to create their own destiny.

The First Quarter Moon is the GROWTH phase. Roots go deeper, stems shoot up, and leaves form as she creates a new strong body.

People born during First Quarter Moon live a full active life ­ old structures are cleared away providing room for new development.

The Gibbous Moon is the BUD of the plant, the pulse of life tightly wrapped, wanting to expand.

For people born during the Gibbous Moon, their talents lie in the ability to refine, organize, and purify.

They are seekers, utilizing spiritual tools as guides on their path.

She opens and blossoms on the Full Moon into the FLOWER, with the desire to share her beauty with others.

Those born during a Full Moon enjoy companionship and partnership. They desire to merge deeply. Fulfillment and illumination are their goals.

As we go into the darkening phase of the Dissemination Moon, we enjoy the FRUIT of the of the plant¹s life cycle ­ the fruits of wisdom and experience. For people born during a Disseminating Moon, life must have purpose and meaning.

They want to share their ideas with others.

The Last Quarter Moon is the HARVEST phase ­ the plant gives her life so that others may continue theirs.

People born during the Last Quarter Moon have a powerful internal life of reflection and transformation.

They can assume different roles while balancing their internal and external worlds.

The Balsamic Moon is the COMPOST phase, when the nutrients remain in the soil, providing nourishment for the next new seed.

People born during the Balsamic Moon possess the potential to be wise, insightful, understanding, and patient. They are prophetic and unique.