Inspired living

Are you affected by the moon’s monthly cycle? Find out

Are you affected by the moon’s monthly cycle? Find out what this means

Credit: Benjamin Voros

Modern astrologers identify eight different phases within the longer monthly Moon cycle. As the Moon moves through her phases, she changes shape and size, sometimes growing and increasing, other times shrinking or staying hidden.

Each moon phase has its own feeling and focus, and is better for certain things and less helpful for others. Firmicus Maternus, writing in the 4th century CE, said, “The innermost parts of the human grow when the Moon grows, and when she begins to lose light they languish, fatigued in body; when she (the Moon) grows again, their power of growth comes flooding back.”

The eight moon phases or cycles

New moon phase Set intentions for the new lunar month; start something new. Fresh energy, as well as renewed focus on the future. Begin a new project.
Crescent moon phase Growth and energy for new projects helps encourage progress. Welcome developments or support help you move forward.
First quarter moon phase A phase of action and assertiveness. Be decisive and bold; push past challenges. Overcome a barrier or find a solution to help you take the next step.
Gibbous moon phase Refinement and perfection. Improvements help you keep growing and thriving. Work hard for a big goal which is now within reach.
Full moon phase Achievement, culmination. Insight and revelations. Seeing what you have been blind to. Success and being visible or seen.
Disseminating moon phase Sharing and connecting. Draw on your wisdom and past experiences to help or inspire others. Great for teaching and learning.
Third or final quarter moon phase Check in to make sure you’re on an authentic path. Adjustments that get you back on track are possible. Walk your talk.
Balsamic or dark moon phase Rest, retreat, hibernate. Low key, low energy, so hide out or take a break. Rest your body and take time to process recent events.


Following the moon phases or cycles

You, especially your physical body and your innermost self, that is, your emotions and moods, respond unconsciously to the call of the Moon.

As the Moon begins a new cycle, in the new moon phase, you might feel inspired and motivated for new endeavours. When the Moon reaches her critical turning points, especially the first quarter and third or final quarter phases, you may reach a critical turning point or find your motivation for action and progress is high. As the Moon slips into her darkest phase, the balsamic phase, and becomes invisible in the sky, you too may want to pull back, spend time alone or catch up on rest to recharge.

Tuning into the Moon’s phases each month can add a magical dimension to your life.

The Moon takes approximately 29 days to complete a full cycle of the sky and to move from one new moon to the next new moon. The Moon spends about three to four days in each phase. Some phases are obvious, like the full moon, where the Moon rises as the Sun sets, at her biggest and brightest. Other moon phases are subtler, like the tender crescent moon phase, or the balsamic moon phase, where the Moon is just a tiny sliver of light in either the pre-dawn (crescent phase) or evening sky (the balsamic or dark phase).

Tuning into the Moon’s phases each month can add a magical dimension to your life. The Moon’s cycle can guide you towards a life lived according to natural rather than human-made, rhythms.

Waxing & waning: of growth & sharing

The two most obvious moon phases, the new moon and the full moon, mark the major turning points in the Moon’s cycle. At the new moon, the Moon is reborn after uniting with the Sun; she moves forward carrying the essence of growth, accumulation and progress. After the new moon and until the full moon, the Moon is in her waxing period, where she is growing in size and getting brighter each night.

At the full moon, the Moon stands opposite the Sun, in her brightest glory. The main celestial lights stand equal and this is a time of maximum brightness and insight. Revelations are common under a full moon. Tides run higher and emotions swing between extremes.

From the full moon until the new moon the Moon then shrinks, getting smaller and less bright each night. This is a phase of sharing and release, where the focus is on completion and giving back rather than building up. The waning cycle of the Moon is about shedding.

The zodiac signs & the planets

While every new moon offers the chance for a fresh start, and every full moon heightens emotions and brings the potential for insight, each new and full moon has a unique feel and flavour, depending on the zodiac sign in which it occurs.

Each year there is at least one new moon and one full moon in every zodiac sign. Since there are 13 lunar months in a calendar year, there is often one sign that has either two consecutive new or full moons in it each year. For most signs, there is just one new moon and one full moon that energise them each year. In addition, each new or full moon is flavoured by any planets that influence the new or full moon (which together are known as lunations).

Eclipse seasons

Every six months there is also a six-week period known as an eclipse season. Any new or full moons that occur during the eclipse season will be an eclipse. An eclipse is a special type of new or full moon; eclipses are especially intense and can trigger more dramatic events, experiences and emotions. Eclipses happen when the Sun, Earth and Moon align on the same plane. In astrology, eclipse season is defined by the Sun being within 18 degrees of the north or south node.

You, especially your physical body and your innermost self, that is, your emotions and moods, respond unconsciously to the call of the Moon.

In 2018, the mid-year eclipse season begins on July 9 and ends on August 17. In that period we will have three lunations, which will all be eclipses. These include the solar or new moon eclipse in Cancer on July 13, a total lunar or full moon eclipse in Aquarius on July 28 and another solar or new moon eclipse, this time in the sign of Leo, on August 11.

Working with the lunations

The qualities and themes of each lunation (new or full moon) will influence the day of the lunation and the two weeks that follow, until the next new or full moon occurs and its energies take over. To help you make the most of the moon energies this season, here’s your guide to energies and influences of the upcoming new and full moons, including the eclipses.

New moon in Gemini, June 14, 5.43am (all times listed for Eastern Standard Time)

The Gemini new moon feels like a breath of fresh air. Gemini is an air sign and has a light quality that encourages movement and connection. This is a curious new moon that might see you reach out to connect or network with someone interesting, or start a conversation with someone you see every day.

The planetary ruler of Gemini, Mercury, is also the ruler of this new moon. You might think seriously and deeply about a commitment or brainstorm solutions for an issue that’s on your mind, especially as Mercury faces off with Saturn at the time of the new moon. You may need to keep a promise or work hard to meet a deadline.

Innovation will be possible as Mercury also connects with Uranus in Taurus. You might find a quick or inventive solution to a problem you’ve been working on, or realise how you could better incorporate technology into your life. This would be a great new moon (and the two weeks after) for writing, all kinds of communication projects, setting up meetings, networking, brainstorming and generally dealing with documents, schedules or plans for the future.

Full moon in Capricorn, June 28, 2.53pm

This full moon has a serious quality, as it’s in the practical sign of Capricorn and conjunct stabilising Saturn. Clarity is possible under this grounded full moon, which can help you get clear on what projects and people are worth committing to and which people and projects aren’t good enough for what you’re after.

You may get a reality check under this full moon or in the two weeks that follow that helps you see the truth about a current situation. Long-term plans, especially relating to security, are highlighted and you might decide to consolidate your efforts onto one or two important areas. The strong Saturn themes at this full moon can help you ditch distractions, get focused and start working to create something that will stand the test of time.

New moon (solar) eclipse in Cancer, July 13, 12.47pm

A fresh start at home, with family or in your living situation will be possible as the new moon eclipse in Cancer helps prompt forward movement in your domestic life. Cancer is about home, family and nurturing, so in the next two weeks you might spend more time with loved ones or make your home a nurturing and restful sanctuary.

... every full moon heightens emotions and brings the potential for insight ...

Self-care may become important, especially around nourishing your body, as through quality food and by making sure you get plenty of rest. This eclipse carries themes of transformation; it may trigger permanent and profound change thanks to the involvement of Pluto, planet of rebirth. End anything that has become toxic or destructive as it’s a great eclipse for moving on from any troubles from the past.

Full moon (lunar) eclipse in Aquarius, July 28, 6.20am

This total full moon eclipse is arguably the most dramatic astrological event of 2018. It has a fiery feel as Mars is extremely close to the eclipse, which adds a combustible quality. Tempers may flare and heated exchanges are likely. The two weeks following this eclipse may bring a sudden decision or a liberating event.

Freedom, independence and authenticity are highlighted and this eclipse may inspire you to question traditions and entrenched habits in your life. You might spark a mini rebellion as you strive to live more authentically. The old gives way to the new. If you’ve been restless for a while, this eclipse can prompt you to make the first move to create change that may ripple out into your life.

While having the adoration of others sounds good, what you may really need now is the self-respect that comes from having the courage to live your truth, especially when it takes you down the path less trodden.

New moon (solar) eclipse in Leo, August 11, 7.57pm

There’s a golden quality around as the new moon solar eclipse in Leo highlights creativity and self-expression. You might celebrate a personal talent or connect with your inner king or queen. This eclipse has a regal feel, which can help you remember your strength and prioritise your own projects.

Leo is a sign of luxury and a new moon in Leo is a chance to remember your standards and, if necessary, reset them. Jupiter in Scorpio forms a strong angle to this eclipse, adding confidence and encouragement, especially for taking a meaningful leap of faith. It might be tricky to balance courage with caution now, but this eclipse — and the two weeks that follow — is perfect for stretching outside your comfort zone, trying something new and backing yourself for success.

Full moon in Pisces, August 26, 9.56pm

This season closes with a soulful full moon in Pisces. This dreamy full moon can remind you of the importance of downtime and relaxation, and the value of taking a break. Pisces loves to escape reality and routines.

This inspiring full moon is a great time to slow down, take a break or escape your everyday duties, either on the day of the full moon or in the two weeks following. Go slow and go with the flow. This is a full moon in a water sign, which makes it more emotional and a great time to get in touch with your feelings.

The Pisces full moon has an especially magical quality as it forms an unusual and positive kite pattern with Saturn in Capricorn, Uranus in Taurus and the Sun in Virgo. This cosmic kite can help you unlock potential or discover a new artistic talent. Sharing your compassion or creativity with the world can lead to unexpected but welcome developments.


Kelly Surtees

With more than 14 years in private practice, Kelly Surtees is experienced, warm and insightful. She loves exploring astrology’s history as well as escaping into the ocean. Kelly’s passion for astrology is infectious, and her specialty areas include career and life direction, health and fertility, love, health and happiness. Kelly is an expat Aussie who lives in Canada most of the year.