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The Lunation Cycle

Here are the names and brief definitions of the lunation types. This is from the Astrodienst web site, and their dictionary:
From Astrodient's Dictionary

The divisions of the lunar cycle -- usually four or eight. The names of the phases reflect the shapes of the Moon as viewed from the Earth.

  • New Moon - 0 (to 45) of the cycle (or conjunction to waxing semisquare):
    birth, emergence, new beginnings, new directions.
  • Crescent Moon - 45 (to 90) of the cycle (or waxing semisquare to waxing square):
    expansion, struggle, crystallization of ideas or direction.
  • First Quarter - 90 (to 135) of the cycle (or waxing square to waxing sesquiquadrate):
    a crisis point in the cycle, expression and activation of ideas or direction.
  • Gibbous - 135 (to 180) of the cycle (or waxing sesquiquadrate to opposition):
    analysis and evaluation, the overcoming of obstacles.
  • Full Moon - 180 (to 225) of the cycle (or opposition to waning sesquiquadrate):
    culmination, fulfillment, perfect realization.
  • Disseminating - 225 (to 270) of the cycle (or waning sesqui- quadrate to waning square):
    demonstration and performance, distribution.
  • Last Quarter - 270 (to 315) of the cycle (or waning square to waning semisquare):
    crisis of consciousness.
  • Balsamic - 315 (to 360) of the cycle: (or waning semisquare to conjunction):
    release from the past, preparation for and commitment to the future

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The following are Leyla Rael's essays on the lunation cycle in Dane Rudhyar's book The Lunation Cycle,

We should expect to encounter any and all kinds of actual happenings in people's lives associated with various lunation phases. No particular events "go with" or can be expected at the time of particular phases. If the astrologer fully understands the principles underlying the structure and development of the lunation cycle and the meanings - the role each plays in the overall lunation - of its various phases, he or she should also be able to see the same principles of unfoldment operating in and through a person's life. Whatever happens in a person's life during a particular phase of the lunation cycle, it plays the same role in the development of that life as the phase does in the cycle.

Thus, when we apply the progressed lunation cycle to life and life-events, we are dealing primarily with turning points and phases of life rather than with specific dates at which "something" more or less specific is supposed or expected to happen. While the exact date when an aspect between the progressed Sun and progressed Moon occurs may be significant, the apsect itself should be thought of as a station, as a steppingstone marking the beginning of a period which has a particular quality and purpose in the overall life-pattern. In this way, we use the progressed lunation cycle as a structure, as the ground against which we can see and meaningfully interpret the ever changing, ever varied figures of life-events and conditions.

Progressed New Moon

Key Word Emergence

The age at which the progressed New Moons occur is very important. Also significant is whether a particular New Moon is the first, second, or third experienced during the life. We must not forget that each progressed cycle builds on, has to overcome the inertia of, and must assimilate the negative remains of the preceding cycle or cycles.

The progressed New Moon is often a particularly subjective and/or confusing time in a person's life. This is because he or she is not yet in a position to understand exactly what is happening, what its implications and ultimate purpose may turn out to be. These things do not usually begin to become clear until the time of the Crescent phase, some 3-3/4 years following the New Moon, or if the New Moon is experienced very early in childhood, not until the time of the First Quarter. An outstanding event or change in life-condition may or may not be outwardly apparent at the time of the progressed New Moon. However, in retrospect, a person can almost always identify an important trend in his or her life as having subtly begun around that time. It is a time of inner reorientation.

Whatever happens around the time of the progressed New Moon, it can be interpreted as trying to set the stage for important life-developments which will become clear later on. Whether the stimulus is obviously external or subtly internal, the person's response to it is usually quite spontaneous, instinctual or even compulsive; a new power is operating, and needs to operate, in his or her life. Unless his or her patterns of response have already been deeply ocnditioned or perverted, the entire being responsds freely to the new necessity. The key quality to cultivate during this life-period is openness.

The Zodiacal sign in which the New Moon occurs, whether it is in the same or succeeding sign as the Sun at birth, the Sabian Symbol for the degree on which it occurs, if it contacts planets or an angle in the natal chart: all these can provide significant clues as to the nature and meaning of the 30-year cycle just beginning. A chart can be drawn for the progressed New Moon, for the time at which it actually occurred at the place the infant experienced it.

It is interesting to note that in the life of the painter Pablo Picasso, his two most signficiant works were painted at the times of the two progressed New Moons he experienced: Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907) marked the birth of Cubism in painting, and it followed Picasso's extremely introverted "Blue Period", which coincided with the Balsamic phase ending the previous cycle. Guernica (1956), Picasso's moving and historic statement about the Spanish Civil War, followed another Balsamic period in which he had stopped painting altogether.

Crescent Moon (45-90 degrees waxing)

Key Word Expansion

During this phase, life-events tend to begin to make clear the general direction of the cycle having started at the progressed New Moon. As the person emerges from the subjectivity surrounding the time of the New Moon, he or she may encounter a shock when forced to deal with the "real world" - perhaps because it resists the establishment of the new life-direction barely beginning to take shape in his or her life. At the semisquare between the progressed Sun and Progressed Moon, the confrontation bewtween forces representing the person's past and his or tentative and developing future may be quite sharp. Whatever happens during this period, it can be interpreted as tying to force such a confrontation so that the "ghosts" of the past cycle can be "exorcised" and the new life-direction fully and freely committed to at the time of the First Quarter square.

During the latter part of this phase, around the time of the sextile between the progressed sun and progressed Moon, the new life-direction should begin to stabilize, and, almost magically, opportunitiees for developing in the direction of the new cycle, for giving form to what it implies, naturally present themselves. The challenge of this life-period is to recognize these opportunities for what they are and courageously, in spite of "pastward resistance", to take hold of them.

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First Quarter Moon (90-135 degrees waxing)

Key Word Action

This is the time in the cycle when the new life-direction has definitely to be established as a fact in the life. As committment and the capacity for autonomous action grow, the past must be entirely repudiated to make way for the establishment of a new way of life. As the square between the progressed Moon and progressed Sun approaches and forms, the life-period is often experienced in a way that can be best described with a metaphor: one is driving a speeding car around a sharp turn; the momentum of the car pulls it into the curve automatically, but midway through it the driver must take control and deliberately steer through the remainder of the course. The momentum of life-events likewise often leads a person to a definite turning point or crisis at this time, during which he or she has the opportunity or is forced to make important decisions or commitments. The keywords here are courage and confidence. As the progressed soli-lunar trine approached, one is often challenged and in some form given the opportunity to integrate the new direction into a fully workable way of life.

Gibbous Moon (135-180 degrees waxing)

Key Word Overcoming

The Gibbous phase tests the commitment made or life-direction established during the First Quarter. It is often a period of intense, productive activity, but the element of struggle to persevere in one's chosen or apparent way of life may be quite strong. One has to live with the decisions one has made (or which have been made for one), and adjust to everyday realities in keeping with the new cycle. Flexibility and perseverance are key qualities to cultivate during this period.

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Full Moon (180-135 degrees waning)

Key Word Fulfillment

This is the "change of gears" point in the cycle. The symbolical seed planted at the time of the progressed New Moon now flowers. It can mean deep fulfillment and the beginning of a new process of consciousness growth, or - if the challenges of the first hemicycle were not "squarely" met - it can reveal the relative failure of the cycle, producing a deep seated disturbance. Whatever occurs at this time is meant to help us become clear and objective to what has happened throughout the cycle thus far, to force us to consciously face the basic issues of our lives. Detachment, clear vision and a sense of acceptance undderlying a now-beginning search for meaning are to be cultivated during this period.

It is not at all unusual for a progressed Full Moon to coincide with a period of apparent defeat. Richard Wagner's first opera was quite unsuccessfully produced at this same period of his life, yet he went on in subsequent cycles to create works that utlimately changed the course of Western music, opera and theater. The fact of defeat is not paramount; what matters most is the meaning we give to our apparent failures.

Disseminating Moon (135-90 degrees waning)

Key Word Demonstration

Linking with others to generalize one's experience is often an important feature of this period. The desire to demonstrate one's now-realized capacities, to make one's efforts meaningful in terms of a larger social frame of reference, can be an important step in coming to understand and assimilate what has been "revealed" by the symbolical light of the progressed Full Moon. If one is shocked or diappointed by what one has seen, a period of reforming or even revolutionary activity may follow. The soli-lunar trine occurs early in this phase, and it provides the challenge and opportunity to begin to integrate what has happened in the first hemicycle and what has been "seen" at the Full Moon into a workable philosophy of life. As the Last Quarter square between progressed Sun and progressed Moon approaches, an ideological struggle may emerge and intensify. The entire cycle thus far must be integrateed in understanding, and the process of reconciling opposing philosophical trends begins.

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Last Quarter Moon (90-45 degrees waning)

Key Word Re-orientation

While the progressed New Moon can be likened to the implantation of a seed out of which the new cycle develops, and the progressed Full Moon to the symbolical flower, the Last Quarter phase refers in the same analogy to the fruit - to the harvest of the cycle. In human terms, the harvest of a cycle is a harvest of meaning, of understanding. While the First Quarter square sought to establish forms in and through which the cycle could be embodied and culminated, the Last Quarter square seeks to tear down whatever has by now served its purpose and become obsolete. Whatever does not harmonize with the growing consciousness and understanding must be repudiated; this is a time to begin to let go. The challenge is to know what to let go of. The progressed soli-lunar sextile gives to the growing consciousness and philosophy of life an opportunity to establish themselves as ideals underlying the coming new cycle.

Balsamic Moon (45-0 degrees waning)

Key Word Release

This is often a particularly introspective or withdrawn part of the cycle. It often needs to be, as a period of "emptying" is necessary before a new cycle can begin more or less afresh. The artist may not paint, or may produce extremely subjective works, the guru's folowers may disperse, or the politician's constituency may desert him. What matters now is not external, but again within the experiencer. Based on the experience of the now-ending cycle, his or her whole being begins to yearn for a new cycle of experience in which to satisfy the need or solve the new problem becoming inwardly focused during this phase. What presents itself as a potential answer to the new need as the progressed New Moon approaches is summoned and conditioned by the quality of consciousness, capacity for action, depth of vision and of faith evoked by the now fully assimilated ending cycle.

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