A new moon teaches gradualness
and deliberation and how one gives birth
to oneself slowly. Patience with small details
makes perfect a large work, like the universe.


I came into manhood during a tumultuous era not unlike the present, a time when sensitive people everywhere anguished at what a popular song of the day referred to as “Mother Nature on the run in the 1970’s.” Another song of the day proclaimed: “somethin’s happenin’ here, what it is ain’t exactly clear, there’s a man with a gun over there, tellin’ me I got to beware….”

As a young man In the midst of such foreboding, troubled at what I took to be a huge death wish within our species, I felt deeply that the world was being ravaged by a military-industrial system gone berserk! The Viet Nam War convinced me of that. I knew instinctively that my very survival depended on being able to resist the imperatives of the Dream of Endless War manifesting everywhere around me and it was in the midst of such a realization that I had the very good fortune of encountering one of the great “Renaissance minds” of the 20th Century,
Dane Rudhyar.

An accomplished musical composer, poet, visual artist, actor and philosopher, Dane Rudhyar is perhaps most well known for having almost single-handedly reformulated astrology for the modern era. Rudhyar was born in 1895 and by early in the 20th century, he saw that humanity was undergoing a momentous transformation of consciousness calling for the emergence of a fundamentally new type of mind -- a mind able to embrace a global, spiritual awareness unconstrained by culture or creed. He called this new mind the Mind of Wholeness and very early in his career recognized astrology as a useful means for its development. Useful, that is, only if that astrology was thoroughly revised and reformulated for modern minds, a task Rudhyar embraced for over half a century. At the center of his new astrology Rudhyar placed the
lunation cycle, the cycle of Moon phases resulting from the changing relationships between Sun, Moon and Earth:

In order to become pervaded with, and an incorporation of the spirit, one must begin to work with that in which spirit manifests. One must begin to think and feel in terms of relatedness and of individualized wholeness. One must deal, astrologically speaking, with cycles of relationship rather than with cycles of positions. And the most characteristic of the former, the one most deeply impressed upon the common experience of humanity is the lunation cycle, made apparent by the phases of the Moon.



Rudhyar revealed the synodic cycle of the Moon (lunation cycle) to be a key to understanding the human psyche at a deeply archetypal level. He showed that by calculating the phase relationship between Sun and Moon at the moment of a person’s birth, we can determine for that person what Rudhyar called the "lunation birthday". It is a birthday that aligns with a specific phase of the Moon that reappears every 29.5 days. It is a symbol of the naturally harmonious integration of masculine (Sun) and feminine (Moon) energies at the core of each and every Earth person. For this reason, I call it our "inner androgyne " and to seek its conscious manifestation in our lives is to adopt an alchemical life, a life of transformation. It is to embark on a mythic quest described by Rudhyar in his book Culture, Crisis and Creativity,:

How does one become co-creator of the new myth? Always at first by the individual manner in which one straightforwardly meets one's own crises within the context of the collective crisis of Western man. The myth-maker does not meet his crises in terms of strictly personal circumstances and idiosyncrasies; he sees in them symbols; he expands their meaning until they begin not merely to reflect, but bring to a personal focus, the crisis of his culture and, perhaps in the larger sense, of humanity. He lives a symbolic life. But it is the kind of symbolic life that fits in and gives meaning to a crisis situation; it is therefore a life of transformation, an alchemical life, a hierophanic life, revealing of the sacred nature of the world crisis.

Within Rudhyar’s lunation cycle model of consciousness, the Sun stands for the active and initiating masculine principle empowering our core life energy and will. The Moon signifies the passive, receptive and nurturing feminine force birthing our memories, dreams and reflections. Sun is the firey Father principle, Moon, the watery Mother principle. Earth is the Child born of the union of Mother and Father, of fire and water. Sun is ever-new direction and purpose, pure potentiality. Moon is the process of forming and re-forming that potentiality into concrete manifestation. Earth is need yet unfulfilled. It is the present moment. It is the integration of process and potentiality.

In his article titled A New Type of Lunation Guidance, Rudhyar evokes the universal nature of the lunation cycle dynamic:

The phases of the Moon are symbols of the basic steps in the cyclic process of distribution, by the Moon force, of the solar power received by the Moon when conjunct the Sun (New Moon). They are not really expressions of changes in the Moon itself, but of changes in the relationship between the Sun and the Moon. They are phases in the soli-lunar relationship, phases in the activities of bi-polar life. All that belongs to the field of "life" on earth is affected by these phases; and this field covers an infinite variety of activities, spreading from the biological realm to the psychological, from instincts to those psychological "drives" which are mostly compulsive and which, when frustrated, degenerate into "complexes" and the like.

The Lunation Cycle

When depicted as a two-dimensional mandala as shown above, the lunation cycle reveals itself as the fundamental archetype of all cycles of relationship. It graphically depicts the changing relationship between a relatively faster moving body (ie. Moon) and a slower moving body ( ie. Sun), as viewed from Earth. The relationship begins whenever those two planets occupy the same degree of the zodiac. As they separate from that point of conjunction, the arc between them increases, successively generating what, in astrology, are called aspects. Aspects are important arc encountered along the cycle of unfoldment from 0 to 360 degrees.

Through understanding the essentialized, abstract structure of the lunation cycle, we can begin to anticipate the timing of predictable stages of growth and development for cycles of any length. Ideally, this will bring us into conscious alignment with the universal harmony inherent in all cyclic processes—what the ancients called “the music of the spheres.”

All cycles of relationship unfold through the discrete stages of process implicit in the lunation cycle. Any number of divisions is possible but Rudhyar chose to divide the cycle into eight stages as shown in the following summary:

  • New: Emergence - generation of new tone; struggle from the past.

  • Waxing Crescent: Expansion – dynamic impetus; challenge from outside.

  • First Quarter: Action – decisive action, forceful expression.

  • Gibbous: Overcoming – vigorous growth, objective awareness.

  • Full: Fulfillment – realization of purpose, conscious participation.

  • Disseminating: Demonstration – performance of vision, challenge inside.

  • Last Quarter: Re-orientation – conscious change, in-gathering of past.

  • Balsamic: Release – commitment to future, return to subjectivity.


Useful in a wide diversity of applications, Rudhyar's eight-fold schema is especially helpful in clarifying the nature of one’s own lunation birthday, one’s inner androgyne. For example, I was born just five days after a New Moon. This makes me a “waxing crescent phase type” and according to Rudhyar, a waxing crescent type is here to expand into full and concrete existence, some new idea or image:

Here we see the new impulse for action, or quality of activity, theoretically released at the new moon, as it challenges the old in a more or less intense struggle. This leads usually to self-assertiveness, faith in oneself and an eagerness to overcome obstacles in carrying out an inwardly felt command or vital urge.

In 1975, three years after the republication of Rudhyar’s Lunation Cycle, a trio of astrologers published a new book called Phases of the Moon. In that book, Busteed, Tiffany and Wergin dramatically extended Rudhyar’s lunation cycle work by integrating it with a much prior visionary work by Irish mystic poet W.B.Yeats. Within the resulting synthesis, the lunation cycle is divided not into eight but rather, twenty-eight sectors. Within that context, my lunation birthday is that of a “phase 5 type” whose life-long challenge is “To seek out rare adventures:”

He is a corrupter, disturber, wanderer and founder of sects and peoples, and works with extravagant energy, and his reward is but to live in its glare.


Looking back over the last fourty years, I see that true to phase I found my way into the heart of a great adventure. It is an adventure in consciousness that continues to guide me deeper and deeper into the mystery of my own becoming. Thankfully, early contact with an exemplar such as Rudhyar provided me with an enduring metaphor for the whole of what I was engaged in. The metaphor is that of a seed.

Rudhyar's own lunation birth phase is located in the "dark Moon" or final sector of the cycle. This is metaphorically the realm of the seed and "true to phase" for Rudhyar, the seed became the central icon of his life. Anticipating the precarious position humanity was moving toward, he wrote about the important emergence of “seed men” and “seed women,” men and women who “have the vision and courage to wait, and to, in some way through their lives, through their example, and through whatever they leave after their deaths, become the seeds of the future world.”

In the seed the essential characteristics of the plant are contained, but in a condensed, hard, stolid manner, haunted, as it were, by futurity. The life of the seed falling on the autumnal soil is a "heroic" life, and ends in the supreme ritual of germination — the gift of self so that future vegetation might be born.

Dane Rudhyar

For those of us who heard Rudhyar’s clarion call and were moved to follow his example, a crucial choice presented itself: whether to follow the noisy drums of Empire and become a cog in its obsolescent machinery, or to follow the beat of our own drum, listening deeply to the wee small voice within for our surest guidance. The latter, of course, is a road less traveled and it is clearly the one I took. I have no regrets. It is, for me, what indigenous elder Don Juan Matus calls "a path with heart:"

Anything is one of a million paths. Therefore, a warrior must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if he feels that he should not follow it, he must not stay with it under any conditions. His decision to keep on that path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition. He must look at every path closely and deliberately.There is a question that a warrior has to ask, mandatorily: Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. However, a path without a heart is never enjoyable. On the other hand, a path with heart is easy – it does not make a warrior work at liking it; it makes for a joyful journey; as long as a man follows it, he is one with it.





Discover Your Natal Moon Phase

Moon Phase Calculator

Lunar Planner's Interactive Moon Calendar



Lunation Journal

Lunation Council by Dwayne Rourke

A New Type of Lunation Guidance by Dane Rudhyar

A Brief Overview of Dane Rudhyar's Approach to Cycles by Nicki Michaels

The Progressed Lunation Cycle by Frédérique Boele

Lifetime Lunar Phases - Chart service providing a list of the various progressed Moon Phases that take place during your lifetime. Based on the work by Dane Rudhyar.

LUNATION PLANNING: Nature's Own Time-Management Tool by Michael R. Meyer

The Lunation Cycle by Arlen Kramer

The Lunar Planner by Nick Anthony Fiorenza

Lunar Fertility: "You are fertile at that time of your cycle when the moon is at the same lunar phase as when you were born." Free lunar fertility charts here.

CyberWorld Khaldea includes free online ephemeris.

Rudhyar Institute for Transpersonal Activity

Dane Rudhyar Audio Archives includes 43 minute talk by Rudhyar re lunation cycle.

Aurora Press - major publisher of Rudhyar books.

The Sidereal and Synodic Months - animated explanation..

Lunar phase explanation on Wikipedia.

The Phases of the Moon: Their Essence and Astrological Meaning by Alexander Kolesnikov

What Is My Nature? See It Revealed In Your New Moon Before Birth by Michael Meyer