Almanac devotees are familiar with the formidable list of agricultural and farm husbandry chores that can be done successfully under the right Moon phase. These include planting potatoes, making cheese curds, and cutting hay. I keep my Moon Sign Book handy just in case that five-pound bag of potatoes under my sink begins sprouting and demands to be planted. Its listings of Moon phase and the zodiac sign for each day are useful for all sorts of practical matters. For instance, if I substitute the word grass for hay, I know when it's time to mow my lawn!
After Bibles, almanacs were the second publication to roll off the newly invented European printing presses around CE 1439. Society was primarily rural then, and had a long tradition of coordinating agricultural activities with the phases of the Moon. Our agricultural ancestors also had health and grooming concerns similar to our own; that's why we've inherited their knowledge about the best phases of the Moon to have haircuts, visit the dentist, and begin a new business.
Although our forefathers and mothers had the same physical, moral, and spiritual strengths and weaknesses as we do, they didn't emphasize personal development as much as building character and community. Personal goals were not an issue for them and the phrase "self-development" wasn't used often—if ever—in the earliest almanacs.
However, it is a huge waste of moonbeam power to ignore the Moon and her phases when pursuing a primary focus of modern humans: self-improvement. Luna can provide the cosmic support needed to give up bad habits or incorporate good ones into our daily lives. Almanacs are not just for growing potatoes and going to the barber anymore: we can use their information to locate the correct lunar energies and gather cosmic support for personal enhancement projects.
Resolutions to be better humans are not just for New Year's Eve anymore. Some goals of modern men and women have developed into full-blown self-help industries, complete with personal coaches, television programs, famous authors, and publishing houses. They fall into two main categories.
Break Bad Habits at the Full Moon
The first category of goals focuses on problematic behaviors that should be decreased or abandoned completely for our own well-being or the well-being of our families and the planet. Curiously, it is easier to notice these in other people than in our own lives. Some habits have become perennial favorites: smoking, overeating, addictions to chocolate and high fructose corn syrup—aswell as caffeine, alcohol, various drugs—and using plastic bags.
Self-improvement gurus also target the overuse of television and the Internet ("Help us!!! We can't stop blogging!!!"), and cell phones that are glued to our ears ("Help us!! We can't stop talking!!!"). Former President George W. Bush told Americans that we are addicted to oil ("Help us! We can't quit driving!!!").
There are also intangible addictions—the ones that make elderly relatives nervous and drive roommates crazy. We always promise them we'll quit. These might include impersonating politicians, beat boxing, and watching King of the Hill reruns.
We can and should tap Luna's assistance when giving up negative habits. The formula is simple and easy to remember, too: to eliminate a negative behavior, stop doing it on the Full Moon, when the Moon is decreasing. Throw away your cigarettes, cigars, lights, matches, and even those 1960s collectible ashtrays when the Moon is full. Do not ritually bury them in your backyard because it will be too convenient to dig them up again at 3:00 AM tomorrow morning, by the light of the Full Moon. Stop addictive behaviors during the Full Moon and they will eventually disappear from your memory bank, not easily, but much easier than you might expect.
Once those negative habits have been purged, they can be replaced with positive ones. Forming new positive habits keeps us from being bored with all the free time we have because we no longer have to stand in snowbanks to smoke cigarettes in January or play computer solitaire for hours on summer days in June.
Adopt Healthy Habits at the New Moon
The second variety of self-improvement goals are those we believe make us better individuals. These aspirations usually include daily exercise and reinforcing our bodies with a healthier diet. Setting and reaching career goals, obtaining financial security, athletic excellence, having a great marriage, and being a superior parent are also popular self-development goals. It's a long list; we can use the help of the Moon to become this super-achiever. (Though a personal trainer wouldn't hurt, either.)
Following that must-do list, add-ons fall into the, "I must develop my God-given talents" category and include learning to speak fluent Chinese and climb Mount Everest. It's best to focus on only one of these at a time—Moon energies are powerful but there's only so much that can be accomplished in a few weeks.
Finally, there is a category of goals labeled, "I want to become more spiritual and, overall, a better person." The path of this goal includes meditation, journaling, fasting, and other spiritual disciplines promoted by faith communities.
Begin practicing the new behaviors when the Moon is New. Often, positive goals are attempted in the same time period as we are decreasing the bad behaviors. Realistically, it's better to concentrate on giving up one negative behavior first. That's enough to deal with. Start adding positive replacements about six weeks after the "quit date" for a negative habit, and do it at the New Moon.
It's an Interesting Idea, But Why Should I Do It?
The basis for coordinating activities with the phases of the Moon comes from this simple but profound belief: life events go more smoothly when coordinated with the cycles of nature. We already follow the cycles of the Sun. Humans sleep better at night than during the day, as anyone who works second or third shift will attest. With the exception of those hardy souls that mark the New Year by jumping into icy lakes, most of us know we’ll have a better, more relaxing swim when snowmen are not watching.
Going a step further is giving attention to the cycles of the Moon, which is not that much of a stretch from planning activities around the sunshine and seasons. Moon phase electional astrology does require a bit of research and planning, but the technique is simple: look in the Moon Sign Book to find the phase of the Moon, and coordinate your habit-breaking and -forming goals to the signs and phases. The best way to find out if the Moon phase approach "works" in your life is to try it!
Refining the System
To add a cosmic layer of insurance to your next self-improvement project, consider the keywords associated with each zodiac sign.
If the habit you want to increase falls under the influence of one of the signs below in the "Increases" column, note the associated zodiac sign. Consult the almanac and find the next New Moon in that sign. Mark the date as the right one to begin new behaviors.
Is there a behavior you'd like to discontinue? Check the "Decreases" column below for a match. Look through the current Moon Sign Book for the Full Moon in the related zodiac sign. Mark your calendar for that date as the best "quit date."
May the Moon shine on all of your efforts!
|Aries||Independence||Bad habits in general|
|Taurus||Spirituality, financial success||Rigid thoughts and behaviors|
|Gemini||Learning, adaptability||Smoking, lack of concentration|
|Cancer||Family ties, emotional maturity||Overeating, alcohol use|
|Leo||Self-mastery, creativity, romance||Drug use, gambling|
|Virgo||Efficiency, good nutrition||Worry, negative self-talk|
|Libra||Cooperation, social ties||Conflict, social obstructions|
|Scorpio||Mutual trust, exchange||Score-keeping|
|Sagittarius||Active lifestyle, good study habits||Unfocused activities|
|Capricorn||Career goals, maturity, wisdom||Procrastination, work problems|
|Aquarius||Humanitarian goals, teamwork||Emotional detachment|
|Pisces||Charity, psychic abilities||Sleep disorders, escapist behavior|
Article excerpted from Llewellyn's 2010 Moon Sign Book. Click here for current-year calendars, almanacs, and datebooks.