Dane Rudhyar taught the Lunation Cycle in reference to eight phases of the Moon. As I studied the Lunation Journey for many years, I noticed that eight "reflection points" in a 4-week period are often too many for the average seeker, who is also involved in the fast-moving pace of "real life." So I will present in this guide the most obvious four phases of the Moon, which occur approximately a week apart in the cycle. This means that every week of the Journey has a primary focus. You will count six phases below. I'm not trying to trick you. Two of them are not active phases for the purposes of this guide. They are gentle reminders from the Moon herself, that a new Lunation Cycle has begun or an old one is about to end.
The New Moon
The New Moon is the beginning of the Journey. It marks the first phase of reflection. Unfortunately the New Moon is invisible in the night sky. Thus we have to either remember when a New Moon occurs, or notice either the crescent or gibbous shapes to remind us that a new cycle has just begun, or is about to end. (See below.)
Since the New Moon cannot be seen, it is often referred to as the Dark Moon. Darkness takes on an entirely new meaning in this context.
Just like the seed that starts its life in the darkness of the soil, or the child that starts its life in the darkness of the womb, all beginnings are in the dark.
Osho – Meditation: the First and Last Freedom – Copyright © 1996 by Osho International Fundation
In the beginning we simply notice and acknowledge a new beginning has occurred. Open yourself to imagination, dreams, and intuition. For it is through these things that the first subtle messages of the Journey will be found.
New Moon Keywords: Emergence and Expansion.
The Crescent Moon
This is the first gentle reminder. When you see a Moon of this shape in the sky, it will remind you that a new Lunation Cycle has begun. This would be a good time to read Zy's new lunation article. Whether you intend to take a Journey or not, here is something to ponder. Surprise! This Journey isn't optional. It is a cycle of nature and happens to all of us whether we decide to pay attention or not.
Something to remember: What begins with the New Moon expands until the Full.
The First Quarter Moon
The First Quarter Moon signals a change in the cycle. Rudhyar observed that this Moon crosses the sky like a scythe in the night. This initiates a crisis of action. It is a reminder to cut away any resistance to the changes, lessons, and challenges brought to us by the new Lunation.
Dane Rudhyar wrote:
[What is required is] a definite severance from the past. If the new direction in life is to grow and prosper, old forms of behavior, thinking, feeling, etc. must be repudiated.
The new direction he refers to is, of course, the direction set by the New Moon. This becomes the goal of the Lunation Cycle. Whatever action we take at this point is based more on intuition and instinct than thought. A time for thinking comes later in the cycle.
I sometimes call this, Saying your NOs. You say NO to anything holding you back or preventing you from moving forward in your spiritual life. It is a "Nike time," so to speak. Don't think about it. Just do it.
First Quarter Moon Keywords: Action and Overcoming.
The Full Moon
The Full Moon reveals whether we have learned what is needed and taken advantage of the opportunities brought to us by the Lunation. If one experiences crisis and chaos, important things have been missed. If the experience is one of fulfillment, you may know that you have done well by Moon and Sun.
Whatever—for better or worse, success or failure—has been produced during the course of the cycle so far is seen in the stark light of the Full Moon; it brings illumination, clear, objective realization.
This Moon is like our mid-term report card. What do you do if the results are less than or different from what you might have hoped? How do you find out what lessons might have been missed? I often suggest that you make the lessons up from pure spontaneity. Perhaps it was this. Or maybe it was that. It could have been (something else). Chances are you will hit it right on the nose, as your intuition is at its height when the Moon is Full.
This Moon also signals a change in the cycle. Whereas the first half of the Journey was based on intuition, now the Moon is traveling back towards the Sun, the light of consciousness. Thus the focus switches to conscious, cognitive process, to thinking and verbal expression. Up to this point you have known without thinking. From this point forward in the Journey, you will think about what you know.
Full Moon Keywords: Revelation and Illumination.
The Last Quarter Moon
The Last Quarter Moon brings us a mandate to take the understanding the Full Moon brought us and express it in some form to others. Under this Moon, we have an opportunity to discuss what was missed or gained during the cycle, to speak of it in the protection and safety of the elishan community—right here, by leaving a comment at the bottom of any page.
The Moon now returns bearing results which must be assimilated and understood. The Moon again is a straight-edged quarter, but the crisis (cleavage) is now at the level of ideals and ideology, of consciousness rather than action: whatever does not harmonize with the growing consciousness and understanding must be repudiated. Dedication to an ideal often sparks this crisis; old assumptions must be at least questioned, perhaps transcended.
It is often at this time that a Calling is heard the strongest: the desire to gather, to speak to friends of loss and gain, joy and sorrow—to speak with absolute honesty and humility. Though the Lunation Cycle was and still is a solitary Journey, it is in this gathering and sharing that we grow.
Last Quarter Moon Keywords: Consciousness, Demonstration, and Reorientation.
The Balsamic Moon
At the end of the cycle, one sees the Balsamic Moon, the inverted Crescent shortly after sunset, following the Sun into the West. This may produce a secret longing for the great, final Journey that will come at the end of days. It is time to let go.
It occurs during the final tenth of the entire cycle, a transition of 'seed phase' between the cycle now ending and the next yet to begin. During this closing phase, the results of the entire cycle are essentialized, concentrated to become the foundation for the future cycle—toward which the consciousness expectantly, perhaps self-sacrificially, now turns.
This is the Moon's second gentle reminder, that an old cycle is ending and a new one—within days!—will begin.
The Final Keyword is: Release.