Bill Jarosin Presents: Moon-Phase Astrology at Tree of Life

The Yule Moon
 December 5, 2010 – January 4, 2011

The fourth and last full moon after the 2010 autumnal equinox (and just fifteen hours before the winter solstice) is called the Yule Moon or, depending on the tradition involved, any number of other names: Oak Moon, Cold Moon, Long Nights Moon, Moon before Yule, or Birth Moon (this last according to Annette Hinshaw in Earthtime Moontime). The Yule moon will usually be the third full moon after the autumnal equinox, but occasionally a fourth moon falls within a season, as it does this year. (The third moon of a four-moon season is called a blue moon, which some people name as the second full moon in a calendar month.)

The underlying idea in northern-hemisphere cultures is “dying down of the dark” into the new light, the re-birth of the sun on the winter solstice. The moon, long in the sky, lights our way through this dark (hence the alternate name of this lunar cycle, the Long Nights Moon). It is the time of shortest days, but suggests that with the moon as our inspiration, we imagine renewal and keep faith in cyclic returns. It is a time to pull in, yes—winter cold draws us down and deep, waiting for the thaw, but warmth remains within out hearts and homes.

South of the equator, or in warm climates to the north, it is still a time for re-thinking and reconnecting to life. (I thank Annette Hinshaw, in Earthtime Moontime, for these seminal ideas.) In the north, one understands the potential dormant in winter; to the south, one acknowledges the full blossom of the past half-year’s development, which culminates with their summer solstice, recommitting to life amidst summer’s splendors but on the cusp of the sun’s decline (December 21).

The Lunar Eclipse

This season a lunar eclipse occurs with the Yule Moon, visible in its entirety from North America. More on this at NASA’s Eclipse Page and in my column, below.

The Phases

As mentioned in the introduction, the four quarter phases are discussed here. They are 1. new (in the heart of the dark moon, though some argue that “new” should refer to the first sign of the crescent sliver), 2. first quarter, 3 full, 4. last quarter—and 5. the dark moon. The crescent phases are incorporated, where noteworthy, into the quarter information.

As to general meanings, the waxing phase, when the moon is growing towards full (in new and first quarter moons), indicates a time for imagining, planning, and expansion; the waning phase, when the moon appears to diminish in the sky (full and last quarter moons), suggests the harvesting of one’s actions and the dispersing of one’s endeavors. More specifically, the new moon is a time for vision, listening, planning; the first quarter is for action, when the seed sprouts, resistances overcome, or (to change analogies) when the plane takes off; the full moon is the time of greatest interaction with the world, the manifestation of one’s intentions, the ripples of one’s decisions riding out in a circle; the last quarter is a time to refine, consolidate—and the dark moon is the fallow ground, a letting go, the days and nights of rest. All of this, however, being of the moon, emphasizes the inner dimension, or emotional tone, of one’s actions—the purpose behind the act, the heart within the word.

Dates given below are for the “height” of each phase, based on angle to the sun. Exact times on the 24-hour clock are given for GMT (Greenwich Mean Time: London), EST (Eastern Standard Time: New York), and PST (Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles). In practical terms, though, there is no precise delineation from one phase to the next; expect about one day either side of the date for a “coming into” that phase and a “passing onto” the next; allow two days either side for the full moon.

December 5
New Moon in Sagittarius (13°)
17:36 GMT, 12:36 EST, 09:36 PST

New moons cannot be seen; they are “held inside” the sun—conjunct, in astrological jargon. From the Earth’s viewpoint, the sun and moon are aligned (though usually not precisely with the Earth; that would be a solar eclipse). The day before and for about a day afterwards here, December 4 – 6), a New Moon is more specifically called the Dark Moon, a time to retrench, rest, re-imagine, and get ready. This is not primarily physical, except as our spirit and emotions are carried in energetic patterns within the body. It is a time for introspection, a retrospective upon the previous cycle. Should you actually stop the day and withdraw? No. This phase is a time or remembrance, a time to include reflection in (and on) one’s daily activities.

Specifically, it’s a Sagittarian darkness afoot. How can that be? The insistent fire and desire of The Archer (Sag) in a time of retrenchment, fallow ground, patient waiting? Well, this being the Yule Moon (and the solstice upon us), it’s time to make ready, let thought fly, pull memory home, and put desire into vision and imagining of what not just the coming lunar month could be, but the new solar year (on January 1) as well. What would you like to do and desire to experience? Who would you love to love? For the next week, as the crescent moon comes into tremulous reality, bring your wishes to embodiment, feel the pulse stirring again. Plan a midnight festival, so to speak—your own re-birth, your gift-giving of heart and soul to the world. Re-commit to your own values, goals, pleasures; consider how you might share them with others. What has gone lagging recently? What needs re-planting or pruning? Get ready to act on this, to make room for the light to return into the “vehicle” (your own dreams, intentions, and decisions) that you prepare now.

December 13
First Quarter Moon in Pisces (21°)
13:59 GMT, 08:59 EST, 05:59 PST

With the inner preparation, the dream-making, you have begun. It’s time to put these flowing perceptions and intentions into some material form, especially if it allows for a flowing, changing desire, for “adaptable wishes.” At first, let emotions guide you; that which you dream and desire—who (and what and where) can receive and embody this? What available form is at hand—for today, for the lunar month, for the new calendar year? Think small and big at once: daily pleasures and yearly satisfactions. Whatever you choose, take heart, add fire, and stir. As the moon waxes gibbous in Taurus (grows three-quarters full), let those new-moon intuitions flower, find the vehicle in the outer world that matches your intentions and driving skills; or, as an alternative analogies, find the vase for the bloom, the plate for the meal, the walls for your house—all this as “walking meditation.” It is a time to imagine onto the world, your new home.

December 21
Full Moon in Gemini (29°) and Lunar Eclipse
08:17 GMT, 03:17 EST, 00:17 PST
(PST: eclipse begins 22:30 December 20, ends 02:00 December 21)

The height of the Yule Moon energy is at hand, broadened and deepened by the lunar eclipse. “Full” means replete, available. That which has risen in meaning in the last two weeks will shine forth now. Gemini is power of thought to be flexible, far-reaching; it implies a wide net to capture fish—the information that you have sought, at your feet.

But the moon enters Cancer barely an hour after the eclipse, sending your new life of heart and mind into home-building, safety-seeking, and private pleasures. Over the next week you will find mirrored in others your own face, what you have made inside coming back outwardly. But you will feel that energy, too, change as the disseminating moon (declining, three-quarters full) moves into Leo, where it’s time to ride the inner roar, the great joy of accomplishment and full control of your emotions, intentions, pleasures. Enjoy this while it lasts, and think: “How does this also give joy to others?” But why consider such a thing from the confidence of a roar? Because the moon rides on through Virgo, which asks that you apply this creation you have become to the needs of others. Appropriately, this is good a preparation to let go of ownership, the general meaning of the last quarter moon.

December 21
Winter Solstice
23:39 GMT, 18:39 EST, 15:39 PST

The sun moves into Capricorn today, which imparts an earth-rooted energy to the waning mood of the moon. This is appropriate support for the sober (though not somber) consciousness suggested as appropriate for activities advised under the last-quarter and dark moon phases. That the sun moves into a new cycle at the time of the full moon carries the significance of layered, more energized, “re-birth”—solstice, full moon and lunar eclipse. Truly a new beginning; look out for that Yule Star blazing in your own life, the recognition that a corner has been turned, a year reclaimed from unconsciousness, a fallow field upon which a new understanding will emerge.

December 27
Last Quarter Moon in Libra (6°)
16:18 GMT, 11:18 EST, 08:18 PST

The solstice has come; the sun is reborn in the chilly “manger” of the night. It is time to review and reflect, to consolidate lessons learned. The last quarter moon occurs in Libra, a harmonizing energy; it values discernment and consideration of others. What has your “project” brought “unto others”? How can it (your own wishes and gifts) be brought into finer attunement with the needs of those you love; or, if it’s missed a beat, how can you recover? However, consider this passionately, not analytically, because the moon rides on into Scorpio under its last crescent phase (the balsamic moon). This is where you actually let go, pull back, see what you have wrought. Is it good? Does it need tinkering, a further commitment of time or energy? Think on these things. But get ready to rest.

January 2 – 3
Dark Moon in Sagittarius

We have returned full circle to Sagittarius. Time to retrieve the arrow and see what target has been hit and how close to the mark. Revise, regret if you must, but reset the odometer for a new lunar cycle. Sleep. Dream. The new moon will enter on a solar eclipse January 4 in Capricorn—earthy and ready to lock horns or paw the ground, ready to get on with things in the next lunar phase.