A Moon cycle is the length of time it takes the Moon to revolve once around the Earth.
A complete lunar cycle lasts 29.5 days.
Some people may tell you that it’s more like 27 days, which is true. This IS how long it takes for the Moon to cycle once around Earth. BUT because the Earth has moved along just a little on her orbit around the Sun, She needs to travel for just over two more days to reach the same relative position once again.
Moon Cycles and Phases
During her cycle, the Moon moves through four distinct phases, and these are usually separated further into 8 phases, which are:
The beginning of the lunar cycle, the New Moon corresponds with sowing a seed in the fertile dark.
Waxing Crescent Moon
An emergent time of delicate growth.
First Quarter Moon
A quarter of the way through the lunar month, the first quarter can bring a challenge of some kind.
Waxing Gibbous Moon
Closer to Full than new, the waxing gibbous Moon has a reaching, “almost there” quality.
Opposing the Sun, the Full Moon phase is climactic and illuminating.
Waning Gibbous Moon
Waning gibbous, this Moon is losing light but still has strength. it’s a time of harvest.
Last / Third Quarter Moon
Three quarters of the way through the lunar month, the third quarter can bring a challenge of some kind, usually to be felt internally.
Waning Crescent Moon
This crescent is darkening and delicate, retreating into the quiet stillness of the New phase once more.
The Moon Cycle
Each one of the phases of the Moon looks different in the sky. They show up at a different time of day or night (so the waxing crescent will always be seen in the morning sky, never in the early evening, for example). Each phase emits a different kind of energy to the one before, and each has a distinct effect on the way we live our lives here on Earth.
Together, they form the complete cycle which represents so many of the other cycles of growth and decay on our planet.
Moon Cycles and Astrology
Usually, every time the Moon moves around to become new again, She is ‘reborn’ into a different zodiac sign to the one before.
As the Sun moves into a different sign each month, and the Moon is new when She and the Sun are conjunct, this makes sense. So the January New Moon is usually in Capricorn (unless occurring after the 19th – see below!) And the New Moon after that, in February will most often be in Aquarius. The Moon calendar progresses in this order:
- Aries (March 20 – April 18)
- Taurus (April 19 – May 19)
- Gemini (May 20 – June 19)
- Cancer (June 20 – July 21)
- Leo (July 22 – August 21)
- Virgo (August 22 – Sept 21)
- Libra (Sept 22 – Oct 21)
- Scorpio (Oct 21 – Nov 20)
- Sagittarius (21 Nov – Dec 20)
- Capricorn (Dec 21 – Jan 19)
- Aquarius (Jan 20 – Feb 18)
- Pisces (Feb 19 – March 19)
Because each Zodiac sign has different strengths, qualities, and spheres of influence, the whole of the lunar cycle will be influenced by the sign it began in.
What’s really magical about this is that it gives us all the opportunity to use the prevailing lunar energy to focus, for one complete lunar cycle, on a single area of our lives.
RELATED READING: WHAT’S THE SPIRITUAL MEANING OF THE NEW MOON PHASE?
As well as the importance of knowing the sign in which the Moon starts her cycle, where she peaks at her Full Moon phase is also relevant. Full Moons bring culmination and illumination. So the sign where this powerful part of the Moon cycle occurs can indicate where in YOUR life things are coming to fruition or being revealed.
RELATED READING: WHAT’S THE SPIRITUAL MEANING OF THE FULL MOON PHASE?
Lunar Calendars Change From Year to Year
They are (almost) completely overlooked in modern calendars, except for things like Easter, Ramadan, and Chinese New Year, which are still dependent on the moon cycle.
Yet this ancient rhythm lives within us. It lives most clearly in the sacred menstrual cycle of women, yet once you start to look for it, you’ll see it reflected back at you in many, many other cycles of nature.