In Vedic Astrology, the moon has vast and expansive powers. Her changing shape and position can influence everything from our moods and relationships, to our career and finances. As we move through our lives, the cycles of the moon can also impart key spiritual lessons.
Considered the divine mother of all life on earth, the moon’s celestial beams infuse us with the fuel we need to manifest and activate our life’s purpose. Like the Hindu goddess Kali-Durga, the moon holds the shakti, or divine feminine energy, that keeps life on earth flowing and moving.
The moon’s rhythm as she orbits the earth is called the lunar cycle, and it regulates everything from the ocean tides and the growth of crops, to menstrual cycles and the behavior of animals and human beings. One lunar cycle is about a month long — exactly 29.5 days (in fact, the word month is derived from moon).
In Vedic Astrology, the moon is said to represent the mind. While the sun—the moon’s opposing pole—represents the infinite and unchanging soul, the moon represents the constant motion of the mind as it navigates the ups and downs of human experience.
The moon and the sun represent not only night and day, mind and soul, but also feminine and masculine. As with most spiritual traditions, in Vedic Astrology the moon is considered feminine. Women throughout history have derived a great deal of power from the lunar cycles, performing ceremonies and rituals timed with the moon’s natural rhythms.
While the moon is considered to have a feminine nature, in Hindu lore she is represented by a male deity, the moon god Soma. Soma is another word for the elixir of immortality that the gods pursue for its rejuvenating properties. The moon is said to contain this life-giving elixir, and her celestial beams shower the earth with nectar, nourishing the plants and supporting life.
Once a month, when the moon is opposed the sun, facing it directly, we have a full moon. This polarity is so powerful that there are birds that sing and corals that spawn only on the occasion of a full moon. The new moon occurs when the moon disappears into the solar rays and conjoins the sun in a divine marriage of oneness.
Following the cycles of the moon can be helpful for understanding aspects of your own life’s journey, and providing insight into what may be occurring on multiple levels.
5 Key Powers of the Moon
- 1) New Moon — The beginning of a new lunar cycle is like hitting a reset button. A whole new cycle of life begins, and a fresh energy emerges for the next 29.5 days. The days surrounding the new moon are a time for reflection, recovering from the past, and reconnecting to your feelings.
In Vedic astrology, the nakshatra — or Vedic lunar sign — is very important. It determines how a lunar cycle will express itself, and its themes, symbolism, and meaning can set the tone for the entire month to come. The 27 Lunar Nakshatras represent the 27 sections of the sky, also known as “birth stars.” Calculate your Vedic Birth Star and get a free guide.
- 2) Waxing/Brightening moon (Shukla Paksha) — The two weeks spanning from the new moon to the full moon are the most beneficial for growth and expansion. The brighter and fuller the moon grows, or waxes, the more supportive and nourishing its rays become.
The waxing moon supports a positive and upbeat energy that helps projects and activities to succeed. While the moon waxes, it’s a good time to envision the future, commit to taking action, work on projects, plant seeds, and even cut your hair (it’ll help it grow back thick and healthy!).
- 3) Full Moon Purnima – Purnima, or the time when the full moon peaks, is the highest expression of the moon’s light and energy. A full moon can increase intuition and clarity, and open the mind to receiving subtle messages. You may feel more extroverted, or physically and mentally energized, in the days surrounding a full moon.
The full moon is an auspicious time to launch new projects, gather with friends, and celebrate life. It can also increase fertility — statistically, more babies are born on full moons than new moons. Full moons also offer a burst of spiritual energy that can amplify the power of ritual and prayer. (Tip: If you use crystals, the full moon is a prime opportunity to recharge them in direct moonlight, or in a glass of water.)
Full moons can also create an overabundance of mental and spiritual activity, however, prompting restlessness, insomnia, or irrational behavior. In fact, the word lunatic derives from luna, the Latin word for moon.
The nakshatra, or Vedic lunar sign, where the full moon falls in the sky, is fully charged and expressed at this time. Calculate your birth nakshatra and get a free guide.
- 4) Waning/Diminishing Moon (Krishna Paksha) — In the two weeks spanning from the full moon back to the new moon, the moon shrinks to a sliver and rises later every evening. The darker and smaller the moon grows, or wanes, the less auspicious she becomes.
The waning moon is a good time for weeding gardens, cleaning out closets, and disposing of things you no longer need. It’s also an ideal time to cut cords, end toxic relationships, and surrender bad habits. Doing a cleanse, detoxing your diet, and simplifying your schedule are also supported at this time.
- 5) Dark Moon — The Waning Crescent, or Shivaratri — The two days before a new moon are considered the darkest and most dangerous part of the lunar cycle. On the metaphysical level, the end of the lunar cycle symbolizes death and closure, which are associated with Lord Shiva. You may feel tired, moody, or introverted around this time.
The dark moon begins each lunar month on the 14th day of the cycle. In Vedic tradition, this day is known as Shivaratri. The final hours of the dark moon are called Amavasya Tithi, and are associated with Kali, the dark and compassionate goddess of destruction. (Tip: Wear light colors on dark moons, especially whites and creams, to protect the mind from depression and anxiety.)
The dark moon is an opportunity for doing inner work, releasing grief, letting go of the past, and connecting to your ancestral spirit guides. Fasting, meditation, and resting are all supported during this time. It’s said that the dark moon can inspire transcendental visions, prophetic dreams, and deep insight into your past and future.