The New Moon
The New Moon is the beginning of the Waxing cycle, the sacred marriage of Moon and Sun, Yin and Yang, Night and Day. For three days the Moon becomes invisible. Astrologically we say that the Moon is now conjunct the Sun (on the same degree of Longitude along the Ecliptic). Every month the New Moon occurs in a different Sign. So the Aries New Moon in March/April is always followed by the Taurus New Moon in April/May and so on. New Moons are symbols of new beginning and represent a great time to start something or make important changes in our lives. The energy is right for everything new you would like to try.
In the garden this is traditionally a time to begin sowing and planting because the increasing Moon light will help plants to emerge and flourish. Moisture becomes more and more available as the light of the Moon intensifies, up to the Full Moon. Traditionally however no sowing or planting are recommended within twelve hours of the phase itself.
The Crescent Moon occurs half way through the first week of the Waxing cycle, when the Moon is transiting 45 degrees ahead of the Sun and looks like a beautiful crescent in the western sky after sunset. Psychologically this is an enthusiastic time, in which lots of ideas crowd our mind and we may feel that the sky is the limit. It is a slightly naïve Moon time, but also one full of hopes and dreams (the bright crescent shows now the shadowy sphere of the future Full Moon. The energy of the Moon however needs maturing at this stage and grounding. The first difficulties may appear, the first chinks in the armour; but the challenge is not strong enough yet for us to build up on it.
In the garden this is an excellent growing time: everything can go in now, but in particular leafy vegetables and all plants that we grow for their above the ground parts, but only when the Moon is transiting through the very fertile Water Signs or the productive Signs Taurus, Libra and Capricorn.
The Moon is now 90 degrees ahead of the Sun, a right angle, very powerful. We meet some serious obstacle on our way. The goal is still strongly in view (Full Moon) but something or someone seem intent at stopping us or hinder our progress. This is the most critical point in the waxing period. It is important that we meet the challenge now, but it is also essential that we don’t go to war with people around us, blaming them for our difficulties, which are instead just a natural phase of our journey. There is something a bit black and white in this Moon’s position and the attention is perhaps focused too much on outside circumstances.
In the garden this is the demarcation time between the first and second weeks of the Moon cycle, an important boundary, because different types of plants can now go in, those we grow for their fruit or seedpods (tomatoes, beans etc.). The Moon needs also to be transiting a fertile or productive Sign.
The Moon is waxing, 135 degrees ahead of the Sun, only 45 degrees or three and half days to the Full Moon. The Moon shows a strange shape now, like a rugby ball. Our goals are becoming more clear and we can power ahead, not too concerned about possible obstacles on our path. The power of attraction of the Full Moon proves irresistible.
In the garden as in life there should be plenty of activities and a sense of urgency, least one should waste the great energy available at the moment. When the Moon transits a very fertile Sign like Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces, or a productive Sign like Taurus, Libra and Capricorn in this phase practically every plant and seed can go into the garden successfully. This is the middle of the second waxing week. Ideally, after sowing or planting leafy vegetables in the first week, we should be busy putting in those plants we grow for their fruit or seedpods (tomatoes, beans, etc.).
At Full Moon the Moon has reached a distance of 180 degrees ahead of the Sun, becoming diametrically opposed to it, with planet Earth in the middle. This is symbolically harvest time, when we reap what we have sown in the waxing period. We might experience success or failure, but either way we are coming to some important realization. The cycle has now reached its half way mark and is at its most intense. Like the New Moon a fortnight earlier this is also a time for new beginnings, not in the naïve, tentative way of the New Moon, but in a more mature and conscious way.
In the garden the Full Moon is a great divide: before the exact phase the increasing light and surging energy are particularly good for Annuals and above the ground crops; after the phase Perennials, Biennials, Trees and Root crops are more suited. Traditionally no sowing or planting are recommended however twelve hours before or after the phase itself. Some authors suggest even 24 hours.
The Moon is now on her return journey. This phase occurs three and half days past the Full Moon. It has been given this name because this is a time for spreading and sharing the knowledge or realization we have gathered at the Full Moon. It is the first step on the inner journey which began at the Full Moon, but it can still be an active time in the world too, with the need to reach out to others. The Moon has past her prime, but her still strong light is a reminder of her recent fullness.
In the garden, despite the rapidly diminishing Moon light, this is a productive time for growing things and also to apply slow release fertilizer. The fact that these are the last available days for planting before the Last Quarter should work as an incentive to get going. Favourite plants to grow during this first week of the waning cycle are the Perennials, Biennials and Root Crops because the Moon energy is being stored underground in anticipation of the resting period not too far ahead.
If the First Quarter presented us with external challenges to overcome in order to achieve the goal promised by the Full Moon, at the Last Quarter we feel that whatever bar our progress is within us and not without. We can now take responsibility for our life and circumstances. The battle needs to be fought with oneself and not other people. Both Quarters are crucial times that suggest division and strife, but while at the First Quarter we could find refuge in the illusion that the cause of all the problems was someone or something else, now we can clearly see how we contribute to whatever crisis we may be experiencing. The Moon is now 90 degrees behind the Sun, another right angle. The friction generated by the inner dialogue could be very creative if you don’t let it depress you.
The Moon is 45 degrees behind the Sun, only three and half days to New Moon. The Moon light is decreasing rapidly and the lunar energy is now being stored as nutrients in the seeds of future plants. It is also the calm before the storm of activities of the New Moon. Time for contemplation, self reflection and healing. The title Balsamic Moon is derived from the word ‘balsam’, unguent which helps to relieve pain and cure ills. During this time we could distil the essence of our past experience, from the last New Moon up to this point, reflect upon what we have experienced and learnt, getting psychologically ready for the cycle which is about to open. This is a spiritual phase, more suitable for meditation and relaxation than action.