Common section

Chapter 17

The Lunar Advantage: Using Astrology in Daily Life

In This Chapter

bulletBenefiting from the phases of the Moon

bulletTuning in to the Moon in the signs

bulletUsing the Moon in the houses

bulletSurveying the top five lunar influences

bulletWondering about the Moon void-of-course

Do you know where the Moon is right now? Without looking out the window, do you remember its phase? Can you name the sign of the zodiac that it inhabits? Do you know whether it’s waxing or waning?

Don’t feel bad if you don’t know the answer to any of these questions. Except when the Moon is full, most people don’t have a clue about where it is or what it’s doing. But thousands of years ago, men and women on every continent worshipped the Moon and were attentive to all its phases. In those early cultures, storytellers created a cast of lunar deities, each of whom reflected a different phase of the moon. In Greece, for example, tomboy Artemis, patron of girls, was a goddess of the New Moon; Hera, queen of the gods, and Demeter, mother of Persephone, ruled the Full Moon; and Hecate, a goddess of a certain age, reigned over witchcraft and the waning lunar crescent. Unlike ourselves, the people of long ago who worshipped those goddesses observed the Moon carefully and were fully aware of its location. Over time, they discovered that the monthly journey of the Moon as it waxed and waned both reflected and supported the pattern of human activity.

That ancient knowledge is within your grasp. When you understand the Moon and its fundamental changes, you can choose dates that strengthen your intentions, avoid dates that could lead to frustration or failure, and live your life according to the rhythms of the cosmos. This chapter tells you how — and when — to seize the day.

Timing Your Actions by the Light of the Moon

How many phases of the Moon are there? It depends on who you ask. In India, astrologers identify 27 “lunar mansions.” The great 20th century astrologer (and musician) Dane Rudhyar counted eight phases: New, Crescent, First Quarter, Disseminating, Full, Gibbous, Last Quarter, and Balsamic (no relationship to the vinegar). Ancient goddess worshippers, like their contemporary Pagan and Wiccan equivalents, generally acknowledged three phases: waxing, full, and waning. Today, most people recognize the following four phases of the Moon:

bulletNew: A time of increasing energy and new beginnings. New Moons are especially powerful when they coincide with solar eclipses, something that usually happens twice a year.

bulletFirst Quarter: A time of growth, friction, and action.

bulletFull: A time of illumination when ongoing situations come to a head, emotions are heightened, and major events take place. Full Moons are especially dramatic and revealing when they’re also lunar eclipses.

bulletLast Quarter: A time of completion, release, and fading vitality.


By taking note of these natural rhythms, you can time your activities to maximum advantage — and you don’t need an astrological calendar either. Just glance at the Moon whenever you’re out at night, and soon, knowing its phase will become second nature to you. Table 17-1 describes the approximate appearance and orientation of the Moon along with the actions best suited to each phase.

Table 17-1 What to Do by the Light of the Moon

Phase of the Moon


Recommended Activities

New Moon

Invisible at first; then it

Begin; make wishes; set


appears as a sliver with

goals; start projects; plant


the tips of the crescent

seeds; initiate endeavors.


pointing east. Rises at


dawn, sets at sunset.


First Quarter Moon

A semicircle with the flat

Take action; develop


side facing east (on the left)

projects; take essential


and the curved side facing

steps; make decisions;


west. Rises at noon. High in

deal with conflict.


the sky after sunset. Sets


around midnight.


Full Moon

A glowing orb. Rises at sunset.

Assess progress as


High in the sky at midnight.

emotions run high and


Sets around dawn.

things come to fruition;


make adjustments; deal


with the fallout.

Last Quarter Moon

A semicircle with the flat

Finish up; wind down;


side facing west (on the right)

reflect; retreat.


and the curved side facing


east. Rises at midnight. High


in the sky before dawn.



Once a year, there’s a New Moon in your sign. Regardless of whether it comes before or after your birthday, the highly charged period between those two days is ideal for setting yearly goals and taking the initial steps toward fulfilling them. If the New Moon happens to fall right on your birthday, congratulations. The coming year promises to be a time of new beginnings.

Using the Moon in the Signs

A helpful way to stay in sync with the Moon is to track its journey through the zodiac. To do this, use the Moon table in the Appendix, which tells you exactly when the Moon changes sign for every year from 1930 to 2012. Or get an astrological calendar. Personally, I wouldn’t be without one.


Although the Appendix has the minimum amount of information you need to follow the Moon through the signs, astrological calendars contain a great deal more. Two of the best are Llewellyn’s Daily Planetary Guide and Jim Maynard’s Celestial Guide or Celestial Influences Calendars. These calendars, both of which are available in a variety of sizes, also tell you the phases of the Moon, the aspects it forms with other planets, the timing of eclipses, and the exact moment when the Moon enters each sign of the zodiac. If you can’t find these calendars in your favorite bookstore, visit The Astrology Center of America at to order them.

Knowing the location of the Moon is a lot of fun. Over the years, I’ve found that I enjoy certain lunar placements more than others. As a writer, I love Moon in Gemini. I always hope to accomplish a lot on those few days — even though experience has shown me that Moon in Gemini pulls in out-of-town visitors and unavoidable engagements more than any other sign and sets the phone to ringing in a way that seems beyond my control. Nonetheless, when I do sit at my desk on those days, the words pour out.

I love Moon in Virgo, too: It’s ideal for taking care of business — and cleaning the house. I’m not the most efficient person on the planet, but you’d never know it on these days.


Watching the Moon as you go about your everyday activities casts them in an interesting light. But I want to emphasize the importance of doing this in a casual, nonobsessive way. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting so involved with the heavens that you lose sight of events right here on Earth.

That said, here’s how to make the most of the Moon’s journey through each sign:

bulletMoon in Aries: Be bold. Assert yourself, start short-term projects, do anything that requires a blast of energy and a spark of courage. Watch out for temper tantrums.

bulletMoon in Taurus: Be practical. Begin long-term projects, garden, pay your bills. Concentrate on jobs that call for patience. Listen to your body. Take a walk in the woods.

bulletMoon in Gemini: Converse, read, write in your journal, take pictures. Buy books, magazines, and stationery. Run errands, take short trips, change your mind.

bulletMoon in Cancer: Stay home. Cook, redecorate, call your mother. Spend time with people you love. Shop for antiques. Walk on the beach. Go outside and gaze up at the stars.

bulletMoon in Leo: Let the good times roll. Be romantic, cavort with children, learn the tango, attend the theatre, throw a party, dare to approach high-status people. Be confident.

bulletMoon in Virgo: Take care of the mundane. Scrub the floor, visit the dentist, go to the vet, attend to the nitpicky details you otherwise avoid. This might not sound fun, but the Moon in Virgo is incredibly useful — and it comes around every month.

bulletMoon in Libra: Indulge yourself. Go to a concert or museum, do something artistic, have a beauty treatment, smooth over disagreements. Form a business partnership. Sign a peace treaty. Get married.

bulletMoon in Scorpio: Expect intense encounters. Have sex, see your therapist, read a mystery novel, file your taxes, pay your debts, get insurance, investigate anything.

bulletMoon in Sagittarius: Explore. Travel, attend a class, talk to a lawyer, pursue spiritual or philosophical interests, take a bike ride, go the gym, alter your routine.

bulletMoon in Capricorn: Be businesslike. Print out your résumé, prepare a contract, do tasks that involve corporations or other large organizations. Talk to an older person. Investigate the past. Do your duty.

bulletMoon in Aquarius: Socialize. Volunteer for a cause. Go online, buy software, get together with friends, see an independent film, visit a planetarium. Do something unusual.

bulletMoon in Pisces: Relax. Meditate, take a nap, space out, listen to music, go swimming, analyze your dreams. Have an intimate talk or a good cry.

Getting advice from the Internet

A perceptive monthly or weekly horoscope can help you align yourself with the cosmos. Here are two of my favorites:

bulletSusan Miller’s Astrology Zone: Her monthly forecasts, available at, are warm, motivating, deeply informed, and amazingly specific. She discusses New Moons and Full Moons and is especially savvy about eclipses. You can’t go wrong.

bulletRob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology News- letter: He doesn’t talk about the planets or use astrological jargon. He tells stories — parables — and they don’t always hit the spot. When they do, they reverberate in the mind for days. Check him out at

Tracking the Moon in the Houses

Tracking the Moon through the houses of your birth chart is another way to tap into its power. However, you can only do this if you know the time of your birth and have identified your rising sign or Ascendant. (For instructions on how to figure that out, see Chapter 11.)

Say, for example, that you have Leo rising — that is, Leo on the cusp of your first house. When the Moon is in that sign, it’s traveling through your first house. Once it swings into Virgo, it enters your second house. And so on.


At any given moment, the Moon is in one sign of the zodiac and one house of your chart. If you want to get persnickety about it, you could figure out exactly when the Moon will hit the precise degree of each house cusp. But who has time for that? Not me. I suggest that you simply note the sign on the cusp of each house. When the Moon enters that sign, that’s your cue to turn your attention to the matters of that house. For example:

bulletMoon in the first house: Do something for yourself. Get a haircut or a manicure. Schedule an interview, a first date, or a presentation at work. Your visibility is high, so present yourself with flair. You’ll make a positive impression.

bulletMoon in the second house: Greater security means greater peace of mind. Practical and financial matters demand your notice. Pay bills. Meet with a financial advisor. Have a yard sale. Make important purchases. And if you’re involved with construction in any way, get to work.

bulletMoon in the third house: Feeling restless? Run some errands. Go to the library. Gather information. Make phone calls. Talk to the neighbors. Get together with brothers and sisters. Take a short trip. This position favors reading, writing, and anything having to do with school.

bulletMoon in the fourth house: Focus on home, family, parents, and the past.

bulletMoon in the fifth house: Romance, recreation, creative pursuits, and anything having to do with children are enhanced during these few days.

bulletMoon in the sixth house: The emphasis is on work, health, and the routines of daily life. Clear your desk. Organize your files. Catch up on everything you let slide. Also: Start a diet. Go to the gym. Get a checkup. Take care of yourself.

bulletMoon in the seventh house: If you’re married, set your needs aside and focus on your mate. If you have a business partner or you deal with the public at large, put your attention there. This house is all about cooperation, but it also rules your adversaries. When the Moon is in the seventh house, other people are in control — like it or not.

bulletMoon in the eighth house: When the Moon is in the domain of sex, death, regeneration, and other people’s money, you could have an affair, rob a bank, visit a mortuary, or just — you know — see your shrink, perhaps about your compulsive behaviors or feelings of dependency. Whatever you do, the emotional charge is likely to be intense. This is the house of transformation.

bulletMoon in the ninth house: Anything that involves publishing, education, religion, or the law moves forward now. It’s all about expanding your vision. Traveling to faraway places definitely helps.

bulletMoon in the tenth house: The emphasis is on career, community affairs, and your public image. Send out your résumé. Give a speech. Be in the world.

bulletMoon in the eleventh house: See friends. Let them remind you of your most cherished aspirations. Or join a group. Whether it’s the Audubon Society or the Democratic Party, you benefit from the association.

bulletMoon in the twelfth house: Retreat. Rejuvenate yourself with solitude and sleep. This is the house of the unconscious and of self-undoing. So heed your dreams — and don’t do anything rash.

Making the Most of Momentous Lunar Influences

The Moon cruises through the zodiac faster than any other planet, so worrying about it as it spins through one sign after another can drive you crazy. Most transits of the Moon make no difference whatsoever and can be safely ignored. Nevertheless, a few monthly lunar transits offer opportunities that are too valuable to miss. Here are the top five monthly influences:

bulletThe Moon in your Sun sign: Your personal power is at its peak. You are your most charismatic self during these few days, making them a fine time to schedule important meetings, blind dates, or anything that requires you to be at your outgoing best.

bulletThe Moon in the sign opposite your Sun sign: Your personal power is weak. You’re at the beck and call of others, and your plans are likely to be scuttled or interrupted. Expect interference.

bulletThe Moon in your Moon sign: Your emotions flow freely, whether you want them to or not. You’re more sensitive and easily hurt than usual, but you’re also more attuned to emotional subtleties and unconscious motivations. Listen to your intuition.

bulletDark of the Moon: At the end of the lunar cycle, the Moon is so close to the Sun that it’s invisible. During this period of decrease, attempts to launch new ventures fizzle, and hopelessness often abounds. Instead of exerting yourself in a fruitless attempt to influence events, put the finishing touches on undertakings that are nearing conclusion. Also, get plenty of sleep, secure in the knowledge that the New Moon means a fresh start.

bulletNew Moon: Make wishes, set goals, and inaugurate new projects.

Finally, I want to mention one other momentous lunar influence: the eclipse. If you’ve ever watched an eclipse, you know how eerie it can be. A solar eclipse, which takes place during a New Moon, literally turns day to night. A lunar eclipse, which happens during the Full Moon, seems to erase the Moon from the sky. No wonder ancient people told so many myths about them.


Followers of astrology also have myths, one of which is that eclipses always bring bad news. That’s flat out false. But people are afraid of change, and change is what eclipses are about. When an eclipse — or a series of eclipses — hits your chart, it brings a burst of cosmic energy that can shake things up. I’ve seen eclipses usher in hideous divorces, and I’ve seen them bring true love. Eclipses slam some doors shut — and open others. And sometimes, they do nothing much at all . . . until later. An eclipse can have a delayed effect.

A good astrological calendar will tell you when — and where — to expect an eclipse. Notice its location by sign and by house. Those are the areas where change is on its way.

Avoiding the Void

Picture this: The Moon spins into a new sign — let’s say Taurus — and begins to connect with the planets. It conjuncts Jupiter in the evening (a splendid sight), trines Venus a few minutes later, squares the Sun the next morning, opposes Mars at noon, conjuncts Saturn during All Things Considered, and then sextiles Mercury. After that . . . nothing: No more major aspects. A few hours later, it enters Gemini, and the process begins anew.

That span, between the Moon’s last major aspect in one sign and its entrance into the next, can last anywhere from a few seconds to a day or longer. During that time, the Moon is said to be void-of-course. If the word “void” makes you nervous, you sense the problem. When the Moon is void-of-course, things fall apart and judgment goes awry. Though ordinary activities are unaffected, business deals made during that time tend to crumble, and decisions, however carefully made, turn out to be wrong-headed.

The usual advice for a void-of-course Moon is to postpone anything important (like a job interview, wedding, or presidential campaign) and to avoid jumping into anything new. But let’s get real: You’d have to be unnaturally vigilant to live that way. The Moon goes void-of-course every couple of days, and to worry about it on a regular basis is insane. I used to dismiss it entirely. And then one day a publisher called out of the blue, asked me to write a book on a subject I love, and requested a meeting. I agreed to the suggested time even though the Moon was void-of-course. The meeting couldn’t have been more exciting. We hit it off perfectly, saw eye to eye on everything, and enthusiastically agreed to terms. Yet the project died. Would it have made a difference if I’d scheduled the meeting for another time? Perhaps not. Nonetheless, after that disappointment I began to pay attention to the void-of-course Moon, and I have found that it does indeed have an effect.

Still, most of the time, I ignore it. But when I’m scheduling an event I care about, launching a long-term enterprise, planning a vital interview, or making a large purchase (cars and appliances count; paperback books don’t), I check my handy astrological calendar and — if at all possible — I avoid the void.

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