This is an article written by an astrologer named Christine Arens about the lunation cycle and how to apply it.
Subject: HOW TO USE THE LUNATION CYCLE
I. USING TIME
If you follow an aspectarian - or list of daily aspects - in a general ephemeris, you know that times are listed in Greenwich Mean Time. The times given here are listed in Eastern Standard Time. To determine the exact minute the aspect affects you, you will first need to adapt. the listed time to the time zone where you live. Remember to adjust for Daylight Time by springing forward one hour during the summer months.
Once you have the standard time of the zone where you live, you can determine the exact minute of the peak of each aspect by noting how many degrees of longitude you are east or west of the local time zone meridian. (For Central Time, the zone is 90 degrees west of Greenwich; for Mountain Time, the zone is 105 degrees west of Greenwich; for Pacific Time, the zone is 120 degrees west of Greenwich, etc.) For each degree you live away from the standard longitude, you will need to adjust the listed time by four minutes.
Example: Chicago is in the Central Time zone, which is one hour EARLIER than the Eastern Time listed with the aspects. Therefore, the planetary energy peaks one hour before the listed time. The exact longitude of Chicago is 87W39. This is 2 degrees and 21 minutes of longitude away from the Central Time zone of 90 degrees west of Greenwich. For each degree, we need to make a further adjustment of four minutes. For Chicago, this adjustment would be approximately 8-1/2 minutes (2 degrees and 21 minutes of longitude times 4). Since Chicago is EAST of the center of the Central Time zone (90 degrees west of Greenwich), we need to ADD this adjustment to the listed time. Remember as you move east, the time is later and, as you go west, the time is earlier.
II. USING ASPECTS
You will note that you do not see aspects for every day in the month. It doesn't mean that "nothing is happening." What it does mean is that things are "shaping up" for the next major aspect - news that you may get tomorrow or the next day. Just like the weather, it's a lull before the next heat wave or storm system. Use these days as days as you follow your general routines - before the next major event comes.
On the other hand, some days may have two or three - or more - major aspects. You know from a single glance that lots of things will be happening on these days. If you note the times of the aspects, you will have a good idea of how to structure your day - morning for one activity, early afternoon for another, and so on. Using this guide to planetary energy can be especially helpful on busy days.
III. USING THE LUNAR CYCLE
The only planet - or really luminary - not included in the Lunation is the Moon. The Moon moves very quickly, spending only about 2-1/2 days in each sign. Along the way it is continually making aspects to the slower moving planets, and very quickly moving into new aspects.
The Lunation, rather, is geared to the cycles of the Moon. From the New Moon to the Full Moon each night the Moon is increasing the amount of light it reflects from the Sun. This is a two-week cycle when you can begin activities - especially activities relating to the sign of the New Moon. From the Full Moon to the next New Moon, the Moon is decreasing in the amount of light it reflects. Use this two-week cycle to complete projects and wrap up loose ends. Note that the Full Moon is usually the "peak" of the cycle - it is the end of "building up" and a time for "winding down." Wait for the next New Moon to start things going again.
IV. PLANETARY ACTIVITY
With the above-mentioned exception of the Moon, the Lunation provides information on the three major activities of all transiting planets. These activities are:
A. When a planet changes signs
Consider first the planet which is involved, and what it represents in general. Take into your consideration the sign it is leaving, and more importantly the sign it is entering. Some planets work better - and more freely - in certain signs. For those of you who are more advanced, note if the planet is in its own sign, its exaltation, its detriment, or its fall. This will give you an idea as to how the planet will work in general.
B. When a planet makes a major aspect with another planet
We must begin our consideration by taking into account the type of aspect involved: hard aspects (squares and oppositions), soft aspects (squares and trines), and conjunction (emphasis).
1. Hard aspects
A hard aspect is one which you cannot avoid. A decision must be made and action must be taken; even your decision not to act is an action. A square can be considered an obstacle in your path which must be overcome, or in some way accommodated. An opposition shows two entirely different paths which in some manner must be reconciled. It works in the same way that two magnets repel. each other. The best way to describe its effect is you need to somehow be in two places at once.
2. Soft aspects
A soft aspect is usually not so easy to see. By nature things will run well and smoothly, and you hardly seem to notice a good aspect is really helping things along. Sextiles bring you opportunities, where what you do will determine how favorable the outcome will be. The more energy you put into the aspect, the more benefits you will receive from it. A trine is just plain good luck - no matter how things may be going, they will naturally fall into place. A trine by nature is protective, and even when heavy planets are involved, good can come from the aspect.
A conjunction is usually considered as an independent aspect - neither hard nor soft in and of itself; the conjunction emphasizes the area in which it falls. Again like a magnet it draws energy to itself. Whether this energy is positive or negative depends on the planets in conjunction, and the aspects the conjunction makes to other planets in your own chart. This aspect points the way and says, "Pay attention here!"
4. Parallels and counterparallels
Parallels and counterparallels activities are not included in the Lunation listings. You can, however, find these listings in more complete aspectarians, such as those which appear in ephemerides. Planetary parallels and counterparallels function in a manner similar to that of conjunctions and oppositions. Parallels tend to show their strongest effects with planetary conjunctions. Counterparallels show their strongest effects with planetary oppositions. Parallels have the effect of the closer planet's "blocking" the second planet in conjunction - similar to, but different from, the effects of a solar eclipse. Counterparallels working with a planetary opposition tend to "polarize" the Earth (and you!) between the planets involved.
C. When a planet changes direction
This is probably the most singular and important listing in the Lunation. In fact, centuries ago astrologers developed their own branch of mathematics to determine planetary changes in speed and motion. This branch of math is named calculus, and is now used for many things beyond the movement of planets.
However, you don't need to be a mathematician to know when and where planets make their station points - the zodiacal location and the time of the change of direction are noted for you. It is extremely important to note whether the planet is moving from an apparent retrograde motion to direct, or if the planet is turning retrograde. While we know that planets never really go backwards, a retrograde planet does not function as clearly and easily as it does when it is direct.
As with its mathematical counterpart, the station point is referred to as a "critical" position. You can count on a turn in events if a planet changes direction.
V. WHEN PLANETARY ACTIVITY AFFECTS YOUR CHART
After you have considered the general nature of the daily activity you find in your Lunation guide, look to see what HOUSES are involved in your own chart. This will identify the areas of your life the planets will be directly affecting. If the activity falls in aspect to a planet in your own chart, this planet and house will also be involved in that day's events. If, in fact, the activity falls conjunct within one degree of a planet in your natal chart, THIS ASPECT WILL AFFECT YOU.
It is likely, however, that you will have no planets within one degree of the transiting activity. Consider then whether or not you have any natal planets which fall at the same degree - even if they are in other signs. See what aspect this natal planet makes to the daily activity.
Good aspects to a natal planet will help good transiting aspects. Hard aspects to a natal planet can make a difficult transiting aspect worse. It is, however, within your ability to use these transiting aspects for your own greatest benefit.
If you have a good transiting aspects in good relationship to planets in your own chart, use your own "natal" ability to make the most of the transits for your benefit. If good transiting aspects make hard aspects to your chart, let the benefits work on their own - your action could "gum up the works!"
If there are difficult transits in good aspect to your chart, you may be able to capitalize on a situation - be the knight in armor there to save the day (and benefit yourself, too!). When you have difficult transiting aspects in hard aspect to planets in your natal chart, you can be sure that outside problems will affect you as well; you can at least be prepared before you are confronted with a situation.
Transiting activity shows areas of change in your life. Because planets are continually moving onward, an orb of one degree is the best way to determine whether or not an aspect will directly affect your life. Using an orb of up to three degrees may sometimes be helpful, but an orb of one degree will always show where the action involves you. The Lunation is meant to highlight the major planetary activity, and give you enough information to determine how directly you are influenced by transits.
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