Definition of moon phases
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The moon appears to wax and wane,
or increase and decrease, through four distinct phases as it orbits around
the earth. The cycle from new moon to new moon takes approximately twenty-nine
days. Because the moon is our closest neighbor, its movement has significant
impact on the earth and its inhabitants. In addition to the obvious changes
in ocean tide, the phases of the moon have been shown to affect planting,
weight loss, growth, epilepsy, and bleeding, to name a few.
The first phase or quarter,
known as the new moon, occurs when the moon's orbit aligns exactly between
the earth and the sun. The two are conjunct with one another. Because we
only see the moon as it reflects light from the sun, when the sun's light
strikes the moon from behind no part of the face of the moon is visible
to earth. The moon is dark for approximately the first day of this phase.
The dark of the moon is a time for reflection, not beginnings. Because
the moon orbits the earth at a faster rate than the earth orbits around
the sun, within a day or two the moon will have moved slightly out of the
exact alignment and we can see the beginnings of a crescent. This is technically
referred to as the new moon. It is a time for beginnings of all kinds.
The sun and the moon are in the same sign and can work together to accomplish
a task with ease.
As the moon continues to move
counter-clockwise around the earth, it will wax to a point where a quarter
of the moon's face can reflect the sun's light. This is known as the second
quarter or second phase of the moon. At this point, the moon has passed
the sun and has moved into a sign three signs ahead of the current sun
sign. This creates a ninety degree angle, or square, between the sun and
the moon. There is tension between the two most important heavenly bodies.
The tension can be harnessed to complete whatever was started during the
If you are observing the moon and do
not know whether the moon is waxing or waning, an easy way to tell is to
determine which side of the moon is lit. If the light is on the right hand
side of the moon and the dark is on the left, the moon is waxing. If the
light is on the left hand side of the moon and the dark is on the right,
it is waning.
The next phase, known as the
third quarter, occurs when the moon has reached a point where the earth
is between it and the sun. The sun and moon are on opposite sides of the
earth and are said to be in opposition. This is the full moon because the
entire face of the moon is lit by the sun's light. The sun and moon will
be in signs that are one hundred and eighty degrees apart. There is great
tension between the two and the time for completion has come. Studies have
shown that blood loss is greatest during the the week before and after
the full moon.
The final phase, before the process
begins anew, is the fourth quarter. The moon has now moved past the opposition
and is waning toward the upcoming dark moon. The final ninety degree square
occurs between the sun and the moon and there is a need to reflect, draw
back and restore energy before the moon loses its light completely.
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