Moon Tracking Using A Moon Phase Calendar

Last week I covered why you might consider tracking the Moon, and shared some different ways to do just that.

Now, I thought I’d share a tool I’ve been using a lot recently, particularly in my New Moon and Full Moon rituals.

Which is… a Moon Phase Calendar. It’s a simple diagram really, mapped out like an astrological chart in Western Astrology. It maps the houses (mine is based on the equal house system) and depending on your rising sign/ascendant, you can map what Zodiac sign falls where.

Rather than mapping the position of the planets on this chart though, I map the New Moon date in it’s particular sign, and the Full Moon date too. 

So this is what it looks like for 2019 for my rising sign (Cancer):

Moon Phase Calendar

Here are the steps to Moon tracking using a Moon Phase Calendar

Step 1: Write/draw your Rising Sign/Ascendant in the place marked by House 1 in the diagram.

Step 2: Continue to fill in the other Signs in order (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces.)

Step 3: Fill in the House that corresponds to each Sign in the table below.

Moon Phase Table

Step 4: Add the dates of the New Moons and Full Moons in the diagram.

Note: There is no New Moon in Cancer in 2019, and two in the month of July.

 

What to do next?

So once you’ve finished filling in your lovely Moon Phase Calendar, you have some options.

Option #1: Forget about it. Yep, I mean put it away until after you’ve experienced the first New Moon in 2019, and you’ve journaled about that day or couple of days either side on the New Moon in Capricorn.

As mentioned in the Moon Tracking post, I believe in the value of reflecting after these notable days, rather than hyping yourself up about the events that might occur.

Part of this reason is pure superstition: the idea that fate or fortune won’t come to pass if you’re expecting it.

The other part is more psychological: I know I’m likely to act in a certain way or be more biased in my thinking if I’m hyper aware of the current astro weather.

This is just something I’m playing with whilst I’m tracking and learning more intimately about how these events affect me personally.

Option #2: If you’re less prone to overthinking and want to embrace the power of ritual a bit more, then I recommend using this calendar like you would any other, and possibly integrating it in your main calendar.

For example, adding a note on iCal or whatever you use, that yep, Jan 5th = a full solar eclipse in Capricorn, which happens to be your 6th house. Then you can reflect on what it means to have Capricorn in your 6th house, the house that signifies health. 

Does it mean you want to release unhealthy patterns or habits and implement a new exercise regime? Is there a lesson to be learnt in how you’ve spent the month since the last Full Moon?

If you are looking to honour the lunation in a more proactive way, here is a guide that you can use to work with the Moon and this Calendar:

Meanings & Tips for Understanding the Moon Phases

New Moon

This is the time our sky is at it’s darkest: our Moon is hiding behind the Sun.  From our perspective, the Sun and Moon are in the same Zodiac sign – at the exact same degree – and therefore, the same House. It’s a time when our ego (the Sun) and our emotional self (the Moon) are sitting down for tea; they are meeting. I see this as a good time to start something new, set intentions, and focus on external matters. Your desires – conscious and unconscious are in alignment, and you may experience harmony that helps drive you forward.

Full Moon

When the Moon reaches its maximum reflection of light and sits in the opposite sign and degree to the Sun, we have a Full Moon. Unlike the New Moon where they are in the same place in the chart, a Full Moon sees a stand-off on opposite sides. This can feel like tension between our ego and our emotional self, and emotions may run high. You may feel more sensitive than usual. Use this time to observe and release unhealthy emotional patterns or habits, and show care towards yourself. Spend time with loved ones, get out into nature and journal about your experience.

Month of Journal Prompts For Every Moon Phase

Eclipses

Eclipses are like super-charged New or Full Moons. It’s when the Sun and Moon are taken offline, allowing for dramatic changes to be made. They can feel like a rug that’s been pulled out from under you. The best you can do is to see the potential for growth, change and course correction, and reflect on what the eclipse brought you. The sign and house the eclipse falls in will provide a clue to what changes may come and where they are likely to show up. Be easy on yourself at these times.

Houses 

In astrology there are 12 different Houses, each describing a particular area of life. Some Houses deal with the outer world and other houses describe the inner or more psychological plane. The House where a New or Full Moon will occur is specific to you, based on your Rising Sign. This is deserving of a post all of it’s own, but until then, you can refer to posts like this which describe the Moon in various Houses.

Signs

Finally, you have the 12 different signs of the Zodiac. Just as the Houses describe what life area that particular lunation will affect, the sign the Moon is in will give a hint towards how that affect will manifest; it’s flavour or the nature of it. Again, this is a bigger topic than I can fit in here, but you can get an idea of the Moon in different signs here.

As a rule of thumb, a formula I use for understanding how a lunation might affect me is:

I will feel (because it’s the Moon) pragmatic (because it’s in Capricorn) about my health (because it’s in my 6th House).

Of course, there’s much more to this, depending on your other planets and the aspects they make and what sign they’re in but… you get the picture.

Special Considerations

Pay particular attention to lunar events happening in your Sun, Moon, and Rising signs, as you’re likely going to be more effected by these.

I’d love to know how you get on with your Moon Phase Tracking and if you have any questions about how to use the calendar, or want a more in-depth chat about how the Moon might affect you over the course of the next year, feel free to get in touch.

How To Track The Moon

Why Track The Moon?

Self-awareness

This process requires you to keep a journal, which in my experience is incredibly helpful for building self-awareness. Just noting what happened in your day can, over time, help you see patterns over time. In turn you can become more aware of what’s working and what causes disruption in your life. From there, you can adjust either in taking different actions or changing your reactions.

Intuition building

These patterns I just mentioned, over time, create something I’m calling intuition. This is a tricky word because people have lots of different interpretations of it, but in this case I really just mean a deep knowing, that might feel like it’s coming from your subconscious (and maybe it is) that isn’t a result of reading a book or watching a Youtube tutorial.

One way to build this inner knowing, is through pattern recognition. The study of astrology, in this case, is a great way to start to note those patterns and in turn, build intuition.

Guide your yoga practise

Naturally, I recommend using the Moon to guide your yoga asana practise, partly because I know how important it is to physically honour the waxing and waning of your own energy, and the Moon is a great external guide.

I have a daily yoga practise, and much of the time it is self guided. If left to my own devices, I’d likely hurt myself (and have done in the past.) I forget that just because I was full of beans yesterday, doesn’t mean I’ll be as energetic and limber today.

When I connect to an external source, I can honour that need for balance much better. And let’s face it, the Moon is a lot more fun than a reminder on your phone or note on your calendar.

That said, do keep in mind your own intuition will become an even better guide than a simple note of whether the Moon is in a ‘yin’ sign or a ‘yang’ sign. As you start to track the Moon, you might find that your own bodily patterns are more intricate, and need a different system.

Fortunately, that’s exactly what tracking the Moon will allow you to do.

Connection to… something bigger

Finally, and one of my core reasons for learning about astrology, is to connect with something bigger. The sky has been, for thousands of years, our way to do just that.

However you choose to see the connection between the above and below, it’s hard to deny the sense of meaning you feel when you get to experience that unity.

Noting that when the Moon was in Sagittarius, you happened to feel an emotional need for freedom and space, for example, might help you make sense of what may sometimes feel a random and chaotic existence.

For that alone, tracking the Moon is well worth the time you invest.

How To Track The Moon

There are various apps to track this, which I’ll list at the end of this post, and you can always go to astro.com and click ‘Chart of the moment’ to see where the Moon is.

Tracking the moon

I’ll list a few different ways to do this, each more complex (but also rewarding) than the last!

Option #1: Track The Moon Phase

This is probably the best place to start for most, because it isn’t difficult to find out what phase the Moon is in. Heck, if it’s a clear night you could just look up.

Ezzie Spencer introduced me to this idea before I really ‘got into’ astrology beyond a hobby, and I started to track the Moon as a way to plan my week in terms of rest and work. My main reason was to get my hormones back in check, and after hearing Ezzie’s story, I figured it could work for me.

As someone who struggles to ‘back off’ and take rest, whether it’s in the gym or at the laptop, just having an external marker to remind me when to slow down and when I can drive forward, is a huge help.

There are 8 phases of the Moon – New Moon, Waxing Crescent, First Quarter, Waxing Gibbous, Full Moon, Waning Gibbous, Last Quarter and Waning Crescent.

You can find different rituals or practises to honour each of these phases (or check out my journal prompts) OR you could simply track your own life events and note what Moon phase you’re in.

Here’s a list of some Moon phase significations, though I’d encourage you to track and try to spot patterns that are true for you. Even if you just paid attention to the New Moon and Full Moon, you’ll undoubtedly get a lot from that outer guidance.

Option #2: Track What Sign The Moon Is In

The Moon moves through a zodiacal sign every 2–3 days, which definitely gives the Moon a different vibe. A Moon in Cancer is going to feel very different to one in Virgo.

What I also like about tracking the Moon through signs, is how speedy it is. You don’t have to wait a whole month to start to tune into that zodiac sign vibe, yet it’s just long enough to feel it’s effects.

Option #3: Track What Aspects The Moon Is Making

The idea of this is to look at any planet the Moon is connected with, within 3 degrees. So if the Moon is at 7 degrees of Gemini, and Neptune is at 9 degrees of Pisces, then a square is happening and you have something to work with.

It’s well worth checking out this video from Adam at Nightlight Astrology, as he goes through the interpretation of a Moon transit:

Option #4: Track All The Above Overlaid On Your Natal Chart (!)

You might have an idea of your birth chart or natal chart (and if you’d like to delve into that further than a free chart online will allow, feel free to check out my offerings). You might now also have an idea of the current Moon phase and transits.

But how are the current transits effecting your own chart? Your own astrological blueprint? This article is a great step-by-step explainer for working out how the current transits map onto your own natal chart.

Houses are the most important things to look at when you interpret these Moon transits, as they will tell you what area of your life is being affected.

However, planets also transit signs (Aries, Taurus, Gemini etc.) and make aspects to your natal planets (conjunction, trine, square, opposition etc.) so there is plenty to keep you busy here!

Additional Moon movements of note: Lunar Mansions, Lunar Days and Void-of-Course periods. 

How To Set Up A Moon Tracking Experiment

I learned this from Adam Elenbaas of Nightlight Astrology, who has videos on his experiments on tracking the moon, and are well worth a watch.

The key is to not think about the Moon during the experiment. The more you think about the Moon while you’re tracking, the more likely you are to (1) throw off your findings – as you’ll start to ‘make’ things happen even subconsciously to match the Moon and (2) go crazy! Well, there’s a chance you’ll become a bit of a hypochondriac if you’re checking your tracking app every hour to see what ‘should’ happen.

In short, to run a successful Moon tracking experiment:

  1. Pick a short period of time, 2-3 days to track
  2. Journal carefully every day you track about the day’s events
  3. Only check the Moon transits and phases after your experiment period

Once your experiment is up, pull up your tracking app or online tool and compare your journal with the map of the sky. Ideally, you’ll have exact or close-to-it times for each event you recorded, as the Moon moves pretty quick and aspects will change throughout the day.

Month of Journal Prompts For Every Moon Phase

Journal Prompts for Moon Phases

If you’re new to astrology, just Google what you see. If you aren’t sure what a balsamic Moon can signify, Google it! If you don’t know what Moon conjunct Uranus means, Google it!

I can’t recommend this enough for learning about astrology and the possible interpretations (there are a LOT!) of the planets and aspects are.

Some resources I’ve found helpful:

Moon giant – great for tracking the Moon phase – probably the best designed, clearest of the web apps for this.

Lunarium – a calendar displaying the phases and signs the Moon is in, as well as lunar days, the mansions of the Moon, void-of-course periods and the apogee and perigee moments for any month.

Luna Solaria – a free app for iOS and Android that gives you a beautiful, real-time view of the Moon, telling you the sign and phase it is in.

Astro.com – excellent site with lots of options for viewing the current sky.

In conclusion…

Tracking the Moon can be a great way into understanding the significance of certain positions of the planets above, as well as paying greater attention to the connection in your own life to them.

It’s a matter of opinion, but I find a lot of meaning when I connect to the sky in this way, and it seems to help me be a lot more compassionate for the circumstances I find myself in.

What Does The Moon Do? Fact vs. Fiction

I recently had a heated debate with a friend about the impact of the Moon on our little lives down here, and had to sit with the realisation that I *might* not have all my facts straight about the Moon. Questions like what is the Moon, and what does the Moon do exactly, really got my Googling and I’ve come away with a better understanding of that thing in the sky, as well as some of the myths and legends surrounding her.

What is the moon?

This is probably a good place to start, and quite a fun place, given the conspiracies hanging around that orb.

Here’s what we know:

  • She’s massive. The Moon is nearly a third the size of Earth, the 5th largest Moon in our solar system. The other planets with Moons that size are massive gas giants. Neptune has a Moon closest in size to ours, but is four times the size of Earth.
  • She’s musical. When the Apollo crew released the lunar module in 1969, it’s impact with the Moon caused their seismic equipment to register a continuous reverberation like a bell for more than an hour. The same effect occurred with Apollo 13’s third stage which caused the Moon to ring for over three hours. This gives weight to the argument the Moon is hollow.
  • She’s metallic. Rocks have been found to contain brass, mica, titanium, and elements uranium 236 and Neptunium 237, not found naturally on our planet.
  • She’s independent. Not completely, but the idea that the Moon simply orbits the Earth, just ain’t so. There’s another point, the Earth-Moon Barycentre that both the Earth and Moon revolve around. If Earth disappeared, the Moon would continue to orbit the Sun pretty much as it does now.
  • She’s a mystery. We don’t know how she got to us: some say a giant impact knocked off the raw ingredients for the moon off the primitive molten Earth and sent her into orbit. Some say we stole her from Venus. Some say she’s older than Earth, others say they were born at the same time. No wonder conspiracies are so captivating…

What does the Moon do to us?

Full Moon Mania

This was the source of the debate betwixt me and my friend, as I suggested that if a full Moon could affect the number of people who enter emergency rooms worldwide, then surely she has an influence on our own mental wellbeing.

It’s the stuff of horror movies: the howling werewolf in the light of the full Moon, and there even appeared to be evidence from studies on Full Moon behaviour. However, these are likely flawed. A study published in 1982 reported traffic accidents were more frequent on full Moon nights than on other nights. But… they forgot to take into account that in the period under consideration, the full Moons they studied were more common on weekends, when more people drive. When the authors re-analysed their data to eliminate this confounding factor, the lunar effect vanished. Whoops…

So where did the Moon come from? Well, there’s a plausible reason, and one you might have experienced in your own life. Before we had outdoor lighting, the bright light of the full Moon would have had quite an impact on our ancestors’ sleep. It deprived people who were living outside of the darkness a good night of sleep requires. We know that sleep deprivation often triggers erratic behaviour, particularly in those with certain psychological conditions, such as bipolar disorder, so it seems understandable that the full Moon has been linked to a heightened rate of bizarre behaviour.

No excuses for yelling at your neighbour on the next full Moon then, so long as you get a good night’s sleep.

Tidal pulls

One of the reasons I (and many others) believe the Moon must have such a strong effect on humans, is the classic: the Moon’s gravitational pull creates tides. And tides are big! And humans are mostly water, so… the Moon must affect us similarly!

This too is a bit of an old wives tale. The Moon has a mighty gravitational pull, yes… but only on open bodies of water, like the oceans and seas. Not on enclosed water, like inside us.

But it’s still pretty cool, and super strong, depending on what phase the Moon is in. Spring tides, for example, are particularly strong tides that occur when the Earth, the Moon and the Sun are in a line (during the full moon and new moon phases.) Hence the dramatic sea you might see (heh) at these times of the month, adding to the lunar drama.

Keeps us steady

The earth’s axial tilt is only as steady as it is (between 23 and 26 degrees) because of our Moon. Contrast that with Mars, whose axial tilt varies from about 15 degrees to about 35 degrees over time!

Fun Fact for numerology geeks (like me)…

You could place 108 Moons between us and the Moon and 108 Suns between us and the Sun. How neat is that? It’s also why the Moon and Sun look roughly the same size to us from Earth.

Coincidence or otherwise, it’s a pretty mind-boggling fact that is worth marvelling over when you gaze up.

 

…It’s up to you

So whilst the tides, our tilt and our sleep may be affected, the Moon isn’t exactly the most in-your-face luminary in the sky. Unlike the Sun, she doesn’t give us an excuse to go on holiday, or make us slap on sunscreen at certain times of year (or all year if you’re a redhead like me.)

The Moon is subtle.

But that doesn’t mean she ought to go unobserved, unnoticed and unacknowledged.

Until relatively recently, the Moon played a much bigger role in societies mundane lives.

The Vedic people (c. 1750–500 BCE) would do ‘Surya Namaskar’, or salute the Sun, every morning. They saw the Sun as much more than just a big fireball in the sky. To them, it was the representation of a god, Surya — the deity of the Sun.

Vedic culture also tracked the Moon very carefully. Today, some of us are keeping this tradition alive, noting the astrological sign the Moon passes through on her travels. Since the Moon moves relatively quickly, we get to acknowledge her placement through all 12 signs of the Zodiac over the course of a month. This is an excellent calendar to keep track of that.

The term ‘Hatha yoga’ literally means to unite the Sun and Moon. Taking this concept further, the philosophy of the Vedic people states that the Sun and the Moon rule the ida and pingala nadis (right and left nostrils respectively) — the active and passive breath, the hot and cool, the yang and yin.

If you’ve tried alternate nostril breathing (nadi shodana) then you’ll know how powerful embodying this metaphor really is, on a real, physical level. Regardless of the story or the science, this stuff works. If it doesn’t work for you, or you have a snotty nose, then leave it behind!

The point isn’t to shove the philosophies down your own throat, but to sample them, taking what you want, and leaving the rest behind or for another time.

 

Other ways to work with the Moon

If you’re still with me, and willing to sample and explore other traditional approaches to working with the Moon, here are some things to explore:

  • Yoga for the Moon phase – this is a great way to sync your physical yoga practise up to the Moon. Again, the yogic tradition honours this; Ashtangis typically taking days off on Moon days.
  • Journaling – I’m a big fan of journaling anyway, but sometimes I get stuck for what to write about. Setting intentions, letting go of old thought patterns or habits – these are all great topics you can journal about depending on what phase the Moon is in.

Month of Journal Prompts For Every Moon Phase

Journal Prompts for Moon Phases

 

  • Use it to garden – I can’t pretend I’m of the green-fingered variety, but I love the idea of timing your gardening activities to the Moon phase, and there’s plenty of evidence from various cultures to explain potential benefits of doing so.
  • Acknowledge when it’s Void of Course – this is something Horary astrologers take into consideration, but it might be worth considering in your own life. The idea is that when the Moon enters a new zodiac sign, there is a pause, a period in which the Moon is thought ‘Void of Course’, and a time that is rather inauspicious for action-taking. It might be worth downloading an app like iLuna for iOS and iLuna for Android.

 

In conclusion…

The Moon is undoubtedly mysterious, and whether you want to believe in or just act like you believe in her magic is up to you. Personally, I think my life is richer when I look up and take note of her size, shape and luminosity and when my routine – whether it’s action taking, yoga, resting or journaling – has her as my guide.

 

Sources:

http://www.thelivingmoon.com/47john_lear/02files/Earths_Moon_and_Human_Evolution.html

https://io9.gizmodo.com/is-the-moon-a-planet-1064356920

https://www.space.com/22966-earths-moon-from-venus.html

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/lunacy-and-the-full-moon/

https://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2013/08/08/the-top-5-things-wed-miss-if-we-didnt-have-a-moon

https://www.lunarium.co.uk/articles/void-of-course.jsp

Geppi, Sam. Yoga and Vedic Astrology: Sister Sciences of Spiritual Healing (Essentials of Vedic Astrology Book 1)