The CUSP Moon Cycles
As you can see, the CUSP Spiral of the Year is centered around the solar cycle through the year, taking us through the seasons, touching on each solstice and equinox and the touch points in between in a smooth progression to create major change in our lives.
But what of the smaller or more immediate changes?
From the first moment that humans looked up into the sky, they felt an intense draw to the ever-changing moon. While the Sun offers us assurance and reliability, easing up into the sky each day and dipping behind the horizon every evening, lengthening and shortening the days as the earth moves around it in orbit, the moon reminds us on a more immediate basis that all things are transient. The moon rides its month long cycle, showing its bright, full face and then gradually turning away again to leave us in the darkness.
All faiths have been fascinated by the moon and most have included it in the fiber of their belief system in some form, either in parables, direct practice or even in placing the dates of their major holidays.
Our biological function is very much related to the moon. Many women find that their menstrual cycles are attuned to the cycles of the moon. Gravity is stronger at the time of the Full Moon and this slightly increased pull can cause a woman who is poised on the bring of childbirth to go into labor as the baby weighs heavier against her ripened cervix. Farmers have, for centuries, worked the fields on the Full Moon because of its bright, generous light during the harvest time of the year.
In CUSP, the moon cycles are the microcosm of what we are doing on a bigger level with the Spiral of the Year. It begins in the darkness, just as December takes us into the first spark of light, and progresses to full zenith, just as June brings us to the strongest point of the sun. Then it begins to slip away, little by little, just as a few minutes of light are shaved off of each day from June through December until we find ourselves in the darkness again.
Just like the sun, however, the moon shows us that all things work in cycles and that out of the darkness, will come light and out of the light, will again come darkness. It is a comforting reminder that we are never “stuck” and that movement, even unseen, is always in play, taking us ever forward.
The sun is very prominent and bright in our lives and we are directly dependent upon it for our survival. It boldly provides us with heat and energy, assists our crops in the field to grow and gives us necessary Vitamin D. The sun can pleasantly warm us with our rays or just as easily burn us. The moon, however, is more gentle and subtle, quietly slipping through its phases. Changes in the character and appearance of the sun occur almost without detection by the naked eyes, whereas the moon moves much more quickly and each night we can note the change in what we are able to see.
Sometimes, we have goals in our lives that require a more immediate return than what a yearly progression would allow. If we need to have our electric bill paid or a work-related conflict to resolve, we usually do not want to wait until March to plant this goal and reap it in August. Change needs to come much faster.
Lore tells us that each full moon has an energy that comes with it and for us, that ties into where we also are in the solar calendar. Each moon is a celebration of the point of the year where it occurs, gently encouraging us toward the macrocosm of our overall yearly goal while also allow us to put energy toward more immediate goals.
Honoring the moon as it moves through its cycles is yet another way of celebrating ourselves and our place in the natural world, as well as honoring the cycles that move through our own bodies and human lifestyle.
The CUSP Moons Defined
COLD MOON: This Full Moon occurs between December and January in the sign of Capricorn. The theme for this moon is “Joy.” Winter is at its strongest point and is about to loosen its hold on the world, allowing us to return to a warmer, kinder time. Throughout Winter, it was often unknown who would survive and who would not. At a time when there was no central heat and when animals often became desperate in their search for food, danger ran high. Those who were not attuned to the cycles could suffer from “cabin fever” as they react to the limitations of movement created by cold, ice and snow. Livestock were vulnerable to the elements and sometimes, a sense of urgency for survival would develop around this time if the stockpiles from the harvest were beginning to dwindle. Reaching this Full Moon was a turning point that brought with it an assurance that warmer times were on the way. December gave us a heartwarming time to spend with friends and loved ones, being reminded of their value in our lives and sharing gifts as tokens of our affection. Coming from the glow of that familial closeness, our spirits are heartened and we feel our own inherent strength move within us, preparing us for the physical work that is to come. The Joy of the Cold Moon takes us through our time of “The Spark” and allows us to awaken within ourselves the dreams of a new life that will come in the fall with harvest and gives shape to our goals for the coming year.
QUICKENING MOON: This Full Moon occurs between January and February in the sign of Aquarius. The theme for this moon is “Awakening.” It heralds in the first signs of warmth returning to the land and the sign of Aquarius gives us creativity, originality and awakens within us new ideas and new approaches to life. As the Earth quickens and comes back to life, so do we as our ideas begin to flourish around the new spark of an idea that will become our goals for the year. We begin to dream and to plan and to long for a new way of being in the world. The coming Spring can be sensed, if not yet felt, and this allows us to have faith in the unseen and believe that things can be different if we will them to be. We begin to build our hopes around the ideas and inspirations that have come into our head regarding ways we can change our lives in the coming year. We feel the stirring of excitement and a slightly premature eagerness to get moving. The “Awakening” energy allows our a clear understanding that our hopes and dreams can take form and manifest positively in our “real” lives rather than just live in our heads.
STORM MOON: This Full Moon occurs between February and March in the sign of Pisces. The theme for this moon is “Desire” as we solidify the goals that were born at Winter Solstice when the Spark brought the idea into on the radar of our mind. Because Pisces is very mutable and adaptable as a sign, the energy around this moon allows us to weather the storms that come into play as we receive our confirmation and redircts from God as to what to plant in Spring. It also encourages us to use the brewing storm of our desire and passion for what we are harvesting in creative and inventive ways while still remaining attuned to the natural flow and progression of the year.
WIND MOON: This Full Moon occurs between March and April in the sign of Aries. The theme is “Change” as the winds of change blow into our lives to prepare us for the planting that is taking place. As soon as the determination of what to plant is solidified, The Universe begins to clear the way and prepare our lives for the acceptance of this harvest as a reality. The Wind Moon sweeps clean the debris in our lives that would pose as obstacles to the manifestation our of harvest and prepares our hearts and spirits for the change that is to come. Aries is also a sign of fierce self-protection and determination which helps cement our intent on the harvest that is to come and commit us to the process of manifestation of those desires.
TOWER MOON: This Full Moon occurs between April and May in the sign of Taurus. The theme for this moon is “Perspective.” It is a moon of complexity and contradiction, yet it works effectively toward its purpose of adapting us to the new way of being in the world that was ushered in by the Wind Moon before it. Taurus is a sign that relishes in creature comforts and physical luxuries. After the Wind Moon initiated widespread changes to ready the “fields” of our life for the harvest that is to come, the Tower Moon gives gives us the ability to find comfort in the change and accept that what appears to be destruction and devastation is actually working in our favor to ready the playing field for the incoming harvest energy. The Tower Moon gives us strength and fortitude right when we need it most. We often interpret change as “bad,” but the energy of the Tower Moon allows us to settle into the change and prepare for the exciting ride that is to come over the busiest months of the year that are now upon us.
STRONG SUN MOON: This Full Moon occurs between the months of May and June in the sign of Gemini. The theme for this moon is “Strength” as the strongest physical time of the harvest year is broached. This moon bellies up to the longest day of the year and heralds in the waning of the Sun’s strength as the days now become shorter. The crops are in the field and the harvest is nearly assured. The sign of Gemini gives us adaptability and quick thinking to problem solve on the fly and bring swift resolution to problems. The power of the Sun, the most powerful astrological male aspect, is at its height and so the emphasis is on all things associated with male processes: strength, action, logical/practical approach and fierce determination.
BLESSING MOON: This Full Moon occurs between June and July in the sign of Cancer. The theme of the moon is “Awe and Anticipation.” We are now seeing the “crops in the field” and get a glimmer of how our harvest will manifest. The first rewards of the harvest are visible and that rewards our faith with strong assurance. Certainly, any manner of destruction could still affect the crops in the field, but we can see results and know that what we are doing is real and generates real results. Inevitably, whether this is your first CUSP harvest or your twenty-first, there is always a startled feeling of awe when you first see the results of your crops in the field and know that the process is definitely underway. It is a time to celebrate our blessings and invest faith into the outcome of our planting. The sign of Cancer is very mother-oriented and this is a wonderful time to connect to Mother Earth and give thanks for all that Nature provides to us.
CORN MOON: This Full Moon occurs between July and August in the sign of Leo. The theme is “Gratification.” The harvest is now beginning to deliver its very first results, which are those that come of our own hands and our own effort. Corn is often the first plant to yield fruit and it is celebrated in many cultures as the symbol of First Harvest. During this time, manifestation is particularly potent and can happen in the blink of an eye. In reality, during Harvest time, if you want a tomato, you go out into the garden, pick it and eat it. It is a time of instant gratification with little or no wait or process required for reward. It is essential, therefore, that we be especially careful in mind and deed during this time. The sign of Leo gives us great expression and joy in the face of the work required by Harvest.
HARVEST MOON: This Full Moon occurs between August and September in the sign of Virgo. The theme is “Harvest.” As the first harvest is being gathered, we learn how it has fared and how to put the early results of our harvest to best use. The sign of Virgo gives us organizational skills and discernment of how to use the harvest to the greatest advantage. The Harvest Moon hangs full and golden on the horizon and provided illumination for continued work in the fields even after darkness fell. It is a time of celebration and anticipation as the time of the First Harvest approaches a close and the Second Harvest of Mabon broaches. Harvest Moon can be exhausting and demanding as often the actions required of us seem to exceed the time and energy we have to invest. As the heavy Harvest Moon hangs in the sky, we are reminded that we are not alone and that our efforts invested into the Harvest are proportional to the bounty we will receive. If we do not go out into the fields and work hard, our harvest can rot in the field. Harvest is not going to walk its way up to our door and crawl into the larders on its own. Tremendous work and time are required to create a successful harvest.
BLOOD MOON: This Full Moon occurs between September and October in the sign of Libra. The theme is “Balance.” As the harvest time slows down for the upcoming dark of the year, we seek inner balance for the adjustment to be made. Libra gives us balance and emotional detachment for objectivity and discernment. As the Second Harvest dawns near the time of this moon, the energy of The Boon comes into balance with the overlapping results of our own efforts. This is a glorious time of blessings and bounty and we can begin to see that the end of our hard work and sacrifice is in view. The Blood Moon refers to the sweat and blood of our own brow and hands that we have invested into the Harvest and the degree of perseverence required to successfully and fully complete the harvest year. The balance is now coming into play and we will be able to rest as well as work as we begin the descent into the dark of the year.
MOURNING MOON: This Full Moon occurs between October and November in the sign of Scorpio. The theme is “Mourning.” As the harvest ends, we mourn the things that did not manifest and the things we released at All Hallows. Even though our goals are realized, we sometimes do not react well to change, even positive change. If we have been asked to sacrifice something in order to gain our harvest, it is during this time that we mourn that loss. One of the basic laws of existentialism says that “Every choice is bittersweet.” If we choose vanilla ice cream, we may briefly mourn not having the strawberry ice cream. When we choose one thing, we inevitably un-choose something else. That is part of the balance that came to us through the Blood Moon. The Mourning Moon is efficient enough to recognize that as humans, we need to acknowledge and grieve the parts of our life that were changed in order for us to receive the bounty of our harvest, as well as the chance to work through the parts of our Harvest that may not have manifested for our own greatest good. The sign of Scorpio gives us both the passion to grieve and the resilience to recover.
LONG NIGHT’S MOON: This Full Moon occurs between November and December in the sign of Sagittarius. The theme is the “Descent.” It is time to welcome the quiet repose of Winter and the introspection that is to come. Sagittarius gives us the spirituality and insight to explore or inner selves and reflect on what has occurred and plan what is to come. As the Strong Sun Moon celebrates the most powerful male astrological symbol in our Heavens, the Long Night’s Moon heralds the energies of the Moon, the female archetype. Rapidly changing and mutable in comparison to the Sun, the Moon hides her face and goes into seclusion for part of the month and beams down upon us in full glory at other times. The weather is cooler now, leading us inside both physically and emotionally. During the dark of the year, we get to know ourselves better through spiritual exploration and understanding. Where the Strong Sun Moon represented the greatest physical energy of the year, the Long Night’s Moon is all about emotional and internal strength. We descend down into ourselves and explore all of the hidden passages and dark, recessed corners of our psyche to emerge in the Spring clean, clear and ready again for action.
BLUE MOON: This Full Moon occurs between the year and between the worlds. The Blue Moon is the second Full Moon in a month (since there are 12 months and 13 moons in the lunar year, this can happen at any time and usually happens once a year) and is magical time when we slip away from the beaten path to celebrate, dance, drum and manifest ”one of a kind” moments. This is the time to make a special, ethereal wish and slip between the worlds into the time of the unseen and unimagined. It’s a great time for asking for a special boon or blessing because the theme of this moon is “Extra” since it is an “extra” moon. Treat it as the joyful, magical gift it is and expect the unexpected!
How To Use The CUSP Moons
FULL MOONS: Humans react to what they see and a a result, the Full Moon may be used as a time to either celebrate what we have received that has come into full manifestation (The Full Moon representing the “full result”) or to begin a manifestation process that will remove some obstacle from our life as the moon decreases in visible size in the coming weeks.
NEW MOONS: New Moons in CUSP are used for internalized work that often takes the form of meditation, visualization and relaxation exercises and chakra balancing work. We may also use the New Moon to start a manifestation process that will culminate at the Full Moon if there is something that we would like to bring into being.
By using an almanac or calendar, you can easily determine in what sign the moon will be full or new and what the sun sign is for that time period. The attributes of those signs will influence the energies of that time and feed into the strength of your purpose for that moon phase.
For instance, let’s say that the Blood Moon which occurs in the sun sign of Libra has a Full Moon in the sign of Pisces. The theme of the Blood Moon is “balance.” We are heading into a transitional time as First Harvest evolves into The Boon and the Libra sun sign helps us to embrace that balane as the seasons change and the inherenet energy of that time shifts. Pisces, being a water sign, is very mutable and flexible with change, so that allows us to bend in the wind and remain standing during this time of transition. We are also adjusting to the Harvest we have received and the new life it has generated. Our approach to the Full Moon could then be based around these themes of adaptability and balance. Just as water (from the influence of Pisces) always conforms to its container, we can work on conforming to our own environment and releasing our own expectations in favor of trusting what is there.
That embraces the Harvest aspect of the Full Moon, but what about the “working” angle for manifestation? What if you want to do some “Rut Now” work to manifest money for your electric bill. First, it is important that you back track away from specifying a way that the situation be resolved. While it is normal for us to jump to a foregone conclusion that to rectify the electric bill problem, you need money. Not true. What you actually need is for the electric company to be happy with you. Your Moon work would involve focusing on the energy of the time, which is a theme of balance, mutability and adaptation. You could envision that your account is “balanced” and that you and the electric company be able to achieve balance in what you have and what they need. That then opens doors for either unexpected money to show up to pay the bill or for adjustments to be made on the part of the electric company to bring your account current. After you have done your Moon work, call the electric company and find out what kind of hardship plan or payment plan you can enter into. Once you have the definitive answers from them, going up the chain of command if needed, you will know the final ways manifestation could occur. Once you have set the wheels in motion and followed through to the best of your ability, relax and know that the situation is rectified, even if you cannot yet see the results.