BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS
After studying the nature of (astrological) cycles for so many years I learned rather profoundly that it can be hard to recognize the difference between beginnings and endings. They frequently, if not always, happen at the exact same time. It is a matter of perspective. The key is to honor both equally as a significant time, showing no preference. There is an ancient teaching that goes something like, “as the beginning, so is the end”. Time constantly varies according to the way we perceive it in the moment and also according to a divine plan of which we may be quite unaware of.
I also learned, also profoundly, that there are many cycles happening at the same time, some longer than others, some shorter. And so as you begin to identify the differences between varying lengths you also begin to integrate them into a balanced way to live. Also, you begin to see the relationships that one cycle has to another. This awareness allows you to prioritize your activities in ways that feel good. When time flows you can really appreciate the utter beauty and magnificence of the universe. There is order within chaos, and there is chaos within order. Ultimately there is choiceless awareness that feels like peaceful balance.
WHY WE START WITH THE LUNAR CYCLE
The lunar cycle is long enough for you to learn about yourself deeply, and also short enough for you to experience immediate feedback to your newfound knowledge.
Cycles come in varying lengths of time. Using the orbits of the known planets around our sun as a starting point, we begin our measurements with Earth which takes exactly 365 days, 6 hours and some 14 minutes to travel its elliptical path around the sun. The speed with which the Earth travels varies according to the distance away from the sun, speeding up as it gets closer and slowing down as it travels farther away. Each planet carries with it, its own anomaly or individual orbital characteristics that set it apart from the other planets. This dance of the earth around the sun we’ll call the Solar Cycle.
The Lunar Cycle, of course, represents the length of time it takes for the moon to orbit the earth or 29.531 days (the mean length of a lunar cycle). (Go here for a time lapse photo of the lunar cycle. http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap010218.html) Each planet cycles around the sun at its own pace in its own way.
Reconnecting with LUNAR rhythms can be an important first step in either gaining or relinquishing control in our lives and thereby reducing stress. Astrology can be an important tool in establishing this reconnection. Within the astrological body of knowledge is a clock that suggests universal time principles and also information that will help you to reconnect to the internal, intuitive clock that lies deep within.
Scientists, researchers, and astrologers have all documented the effects of the moon on life on earth. This fact is no longer disputed. All one needs to do is check the weather patterns or the records at the hospital or police station to see the effects of the full moon phase. Whether these effects are a result of gravity, electro-magnetic energy, or sunspot activity is not important for our purposes here. What is important is that we become more aware of the rhythm of the cycle that prompts our actions. Reconnection to the lunar cycle as a time-management tool will help to smooth out all of the stresses that our modern day world has created.
HOW TO USE THE LUNAR CYCLE
Even if you are new to this concept it is very easy to begin aligning yourself with lunar time. Depending on the cultural differences between different astrological systems the entire cycle (360 degrees of something) can be divided into as many pie-shaped phases as you like. For the purposes of this book I am going to use the Eight Phase division of the circle yielding time periods of 3.5 days for a 28 day lunar cycle. The Vedic astrologers using a different methodology refer to phases as nakshatras and recognize 27 of them
First check a newspaper and/or calendar to see when the next New Moon phase occurs, that’s a good time to investigate something new! Each phase lasts approximately 3 days, give or take about 10 hours. The phases that are most important at first are the new, full, and quarter points. The others will become more apparent to you after you have become familiar with the most dynamic ones. A good idea would be to mark your personal calendar or daytimer so that you are reminded what phase is current.
At first, just noticewhat is going on during each phase. You might want to make a few notes in a journal to refer back to later on. During these early stages while you are still learning the most important thing is to just become aware of what types of events are happening and how those events fit into the larger scheme of your life. One of the rewards of following the lunar cycle is the ability to discern the importance of any singular event. A seemingly insignificant event can take on added importance if it occurs during particular phases. After a couple of cycles, you might then attempt working with the phases and begin to plan your time accordingly. I often receive questions on the best time to begin new projects, and the answer to that is not a simple one.
THE BEST TIME TO BEGIN NEW PROJECTS
First you need to consider the nature of the project. Is it something that is done routinely? If so, are you very clear about the results you are looking for? If the answers to these questions were yes, then the full phase of the moon would work well. If, on the other hand, you are beginning something totally new and you’re not sure about outcome, then sometime between new and first quarter would be better. Please remember that there are other planets circling with energies that might hamper or help your plans. If you are working on something that is very important to you it would be best to consult the advice of an astrologer who can give you a bigger perspective on the timeliness of your choice. The lunar phase is best applied to things that are part of your daily life.
COMING TO COMPLETION
Not everything can become completed in a 28-day lunar cycle. Some things take a little more time! The symbolism of the phases still works. During the new phase, a project might spontaneously take a new turn. The quarter phases will continue to bring change, crisis, and challenge. The full moon brings clear perspective to everything and always signals a good time for negotiation and discussion. And, of course, no matter what we are working on one needs downtime to rejuvenate. Balsamic phases are an important part of every cycle.
The lunar cycle is visible. You can look into the night sky at any given time and see ‘what time it is”. The visible reflection of the moon is like a giant clock in the sky.
This visible cycle is what I call ‘generic’ time. When the moon is full in the sky, it is a full phase for everyone.
However, there is another cycle that is occurring at the same time and that cycle is happening on a more internal or personal level. Each of us, individually, have our own personal clock or cycles that are apparent only to ourselves. Sometimes our personal cycles coincide and complement the outer, external, generic cycle. And sometimes our personal clock conflicts with the generic, visible cycle creating a challenge for us to integrate our personal life into the whole of the population.
Here’s where Yoga enters the picture.
Stay tuned for more excepts from: A Teacher’s Manual.
Om shanti, peace to all beings.