Rethinking the Monthly Lunar Look-ahead

Before I get into the subject of today’s post, here is an interesting web-site that shows the eight cardinal and ordinal phases of the monthly lunation cycle as named by eminent astrologer Dane Rudhyar, in terms of the percentage of visibility, making it possible to pinpoint  when a given sub-phase “perfects” during the month in question.

These are the phase-change dates for the January-February 2018 lunation cycle:

New Moon – January 17 (0% Visibility)

Crescent Moon (Waxing) – January 21 (25% Visibility)

First Quarter – January 24 (50% Visibility)

Gibbous Moon (Waxing) – January 27 (75% Visibility)

Full Moon – January 31 (100% Visibility)

Disseminating Moon (Waning) – February 4 (75% Visibility)

Last Quarter – February 7 (50% Visibility)

Balsamic Moon (Waning) – February 10 (25% Visibility)

I’ve been working with my Lunar Month Look-ahead spread for roughly a year now, and during that entire time I’ve been struggling with making sense of the trump cards in the highly fluid situations defined by the succession of lunar phases. It finally struck me that transits of the Moon by themselves aren’t about the kind of major life-changing events signaled by the trumps, they’re indicative of fast-moving and usually superficial developments that effect daily life in a momentary way and then fade. Even real-time aspects formed by the transiting Moon to the other planets aren’t especially revealing unless they act as a “trigger” for important patterns in one’s natal, progressed or solar return horoscope. In this sense, the phases of the Moon and its transiting aspects present opportunities for minor adjustments in  one’s response to emerging or ongoing circumstances. They should be given little more weight in the big picture than one accords the routine daily draw: more as tone-setters than event-predictors in most cases.

The point of this preamble is that it may be much more profitable to exclude trump cards from the deck when performing the monthly lunar forecast, since they can be more trouble to interpret than they’re worth in real-world terms. Even further, for someone like me who has very few interpersonal encounters on a daily basis, it may be a good idea to remove the court cards from the deck as well. This leaves the 40 minor cards, which are already recognized as being focused on day-to-day affairs of an unexceptional nature. This allows the scope of  lunar phase changes to be scaled to the ordinary range of mundane events. In reality, having a potent negative minor card like the 10 of Swords appear in a particular three-day window carries much the same import as receiving the Tower, especially when using the Thoth deck with its title of “Ruin,” so the message will come across without having to “swat a fly with a sledge-hammer.” If thought necessary, a follow-up reading may be performed to more thoroughly analyze the sensitive period using the full deck and a more topic-specific spread. (This one would work well: I revised my spread template accordingly to recognize the foregoing observations.

I performed my Lunar Month Look-ahead for the January-February 2018 period using only the 40 Minor Arcana of the Tabula Mundi Colores Arcus deck, with reversals.

All images © 2015 M.M. Meleen

One of the most fascinating aspects of this spread is a symbolic one: at the time of the Full Moon on January 31, the Moon in the sky will be in the sign of Leo. The 7 of Swords in the Full Moon position of the layout corresponds to Moon in Aquarius, the sign opposite to Leo, and is titled “Futility.” The card in the New Moon position is the 7 of Wands, titled “Valour,” which is assigned to Mars in Leo. There is a kind of “reverse polarity” going on here, with the Full Moon card directly at odds with both the zodiacal position of the late-January Full Moon and the sign of the New Moon card. This does not bode well for harmony between January 31 and February 4.

The 7 of Wands in the New Moon position implies an adventure. The number Seven represents a step in a new direction, leaving the complacency of the Six behind. However, in the rush to escape boredom, it isn’t always a carefully considered step. The proper placement of that first step must be clarified before setting out, and in the dark of the New Moon this is dauntingly difficult. The instincts are all that can be relied on.

The 4 of Disks in the Waxing Crescent position shows the errant adventurer landing squarely on all fours, hugging the ground for dear life. Seriously, though, this is a card of consolidation, and suggests “bringing home the bacon.”

The 9 of Cups rx (reversed) in the First Quarter position implies abundance denied or at least deferred. The card is titled “Happiness” and its correspondence is Jupiter in Pisces, the sign of its traditional rulership. It is difficult to impart any negativity to this combination, so reversal here is seen more as delay than denial. The stress of waiting for something good to arrive is the worst that can be expected.

The 8 of Cups in the Gibbous position suggests that what is received after the disheartening wait will be less wonderful than expected. Although the title “Indolence” implies slothful indifference, there is a sense of muted disappointment and dejection in this card. That apathetic yawn isn’t a convincing one.

The 7 of Swords in the Full Moon position implies that there is no hiding from the discouragement brought on by dashed expectations. There isn’t even the consolation of “making the best of a bad situation.” Time to grit the teeth and drive forward into another new phase of development, this time  adopting the less impulsive and more clear-eyed perspective of Swords.

The 2 of Swords rx in the Disseminating position conveys an unpleasant aura of cerebral constipation. The card is indecisive at best, and reversal completely thwarts any initiative it might muster. The title “Peace” in this case would be better stated as “Mental Exhaustion.” The intellectual curiosity suggested by the 7 of Swords looks like it will step off in an unproductive direction and then falter.

The 4 of Swords in the Third Quarter position brings a momentary pause to reflect and reconsider the lay of the land. Since the quarterly phases carry the stressful implications of an astrological square, this looks like a time to lay low and wait for the clouds to part.

The 6 of Wands, titled “Victory,” in the Balsamic position ends the month on a high note. It caps a two-week period of anxious hand-wringing with a decisive sense of accomplishment. The forced patience of the 4 of Swords is ultimately repaid with appreciative enthusiasm.

Overall, this looks like an unsettled month that brings more pain than pleasure. The rewards that are eventually delivered look nothing like those that were anticipated. The 6 of Wands at the end offers recognition rather than the outright ease and comfort favored by the 9 of Cups, which is not necessarily a bad trade-off.  The two anemic Cups followed by three uninspiring Swords suggest being adrift in the doldrums for most of the month, but the 6 of Wands symbolizes a “new broom that sweeps clean.”

One thought on “Rethinking the Monthly Lunar Look-ahead

  1. Pingback: The Virtue of Simplicity | Parsifal's Wheel Tarot & Astrology

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