Have you ever happened upon a book passage that perfectly illustrates a concept you were just thinking about, and it oh-so-helpfully supplies the right little nugget of information to propel you along your path of understanding? This is one of my favorite forms of synchronicity, or meaningful coincidence, and I love that tingly goosebumps feeling it imparts—the sense that the world is conspiring to help me grow. It's no surprise, then, that I love the practice of florilegia, which is the gathering of different passages around a single theme and collecting them in a special book. The name translates literally to the "gathering of flowers."
A number of medieval florilegia have survived, compiled by early Christian monks, and it's fascinating to see which passages from a mixture of religious and secular sources were chosen to be painstakingly copied by hand, sometimes accompanied by intricate illustrations and elaborate initials. It's worth Googling a particularly striking example from the turn of the fourteenth century, the Rothschild Canticles, which can be viewed in its entirety online, down to the fantastical creatures frolicking in the margins and the full-page illuminations, still alive with breathtaking color.
A Lunar Take on Florilegia
The practice of florilegia continues to hold value for expanding your self-awareness and gaining traction on your goals, and one way that I've chosen to adapt the practice to these ends is through the creation of what I call a "Moon florilegium." To make your own, you'll need a book in which to compile your findings, and it can be as simple or as fancy as you like. While not required, you might find it helpful to select a book that allows you to insert additional pages as needed. From there, you'll choose a method of dividing up the book so you know where to place your entries. My version, which I’ll outline below, is divided by Moon signs (e.g., Moon in Virgo, Moon in Pisces, etc.), but you could also divide your florilegium by Moon phases, sticking simply with the New Moon and Full Moon or getting more granular by listing out each distinct phase: New Moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, Full Moon, waning gibbous, last quarter, and waning crescent. Clearly label each section, and feel free to illustrate or incorporate collage elements to the pages to lend extra flair to your book.
Regardless of the categorization method you use, the basic idea is this: During each Moon phase or sign, you'll make note of things that capture your attention, and for our purposes, we're going to expand beyond written texts as possible sources. In your Moon florilegium you can compile passages from books, a description of a captivating image, a song lyric, something a friend says to you, a message from a tarot card you pulled that day, a memorable dream, a snippet from your daily horoscope, and so forth.
If you'd like to arrange your florilegium according to Moon signs, divide your pages up by the signs of the zodiac: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. And even if you don't organize your book by signs, you can still add a little notation next to each entry, such as an astrological glyph indicating which sign the Moon was in at the time, just in case you want that information later. (And the reverse can be done if you arrange your book by signs: Add a little Moon symbol to notate which phase the Moon was in for each entry in case that's useful to you later.) You'll need a calendar, app, or Google to check which sign or phase the Moon is in before adding material to your florilegium so you can file it under the proper category.
What's the point of doing this? Well, I've found that I'm drawn to different things as the Moon travels through the signs and phases, and it can be quite eye opening to look back over time and see common themes emerging in my florilegium. I might notice that when the Moon is in Aries, I'm attracted to quotes, songs, and tips that motivate me to get a jump on any projects that have been relegated to the back burner for far too long. You can also look to where Aries is in your natal chart to see if this offers additional clues. For instance, in my chart, Aries is in the fifth house, which, among other things, relates to creative projects, so it makes even more sense why my energy would be oriented toward moving projects forward during this time. And knowing this, I can plan ahead for the next Moon-in-Aries phase, scheduling the start of an important project to capitalize on my natural creative flow.
You might also make a note of any supports that were particularly effective for you during a sign or phase. For instance, maybe you used passionflower essence when the Moon was in Cancer, and you found that it dramatically soothed your anxiety. This is great information to have! Add it to your Moon-in-Cancer section for future reference. And just like in the example above, you could also check to see where Cancer falls in your natal chart to see if that provides further insights. Maybe it's in your first house, which relates to the image you present to the world. Your florilegium entries might uncover that when the Moon is in Cancer, you struggle with heightened anxiety around what people think of you. Knowing this, you now have options as to how you support yourself, such as remembering to use that anxiety-soothing passionflower essence or not hosting a live workshop until the Moon has exited Cancer and you’re naturally feeling less self-critical.
If you find the natal chart angle helpful, you might choose to add a note next to each Moon sign in your florilegium indicating which house this sign rules for you, perhaps jotting down a few keywords for each house. Here's a list to get you started:
Weaving Together Your Inner Threads
Perhaps one of the most useful benefits of keeping a Moon florilegium is that it weaves together what might otherwise be scattered threads, and I've learned that this lends power to my choices and actions. For example, I began noticing that around the Full Moon I was drawn to things that helped me look at reality in mind-bending ways. I found myself listening to a podcast on quantum physics, and in particular, the many-worlds interpretation that suggests timelines branch at each quantum event. Rather than possibility A happening and canceling out possibility B, both are simultaneously occurring, each existing in their own branch of the universe. I jotted down a few snippets from that podcast in my florilegium. Then, later that day, a friend mentioned a concept she'd just learned about in her Human Design community called "timeline jumping," and into my Moon book it went. Finally, as I was scrolling through Netflix, I saw a trailer for the show Russian Doll, which stars Natasha Lyonne caught in a bizarre time loop. (Think Groundhog Day in New York City but with more chainsmoking and a shocking way to die every time.) The trailer lingered in my mind, so I wrote about it in my florilegium.
Reading this summary of entries after the fact, the obvious connections smacked me right in the face, but in the midst of going about the rest of my life, I didn't notice how strongly I was orbiting around the concept of the squishiness of time. But once I did, I was inspired to work this into my spiritual and goal-setting practices. Through a handful of experiments, I discovered that the Full Moon is a great phase for me to work on projects or initiate mindset shifts that bend the ordinary constraints of time, which might allow me to finish a project way sooner than I would've expected or make radical jumps in my personal growth. It's a time when I'm less likely to resign myself to thoughts like, "Well, I guess that's just the way things are," and instead, I'm open to creatively pushing boundaries and ditching limited thinking in service of more expansive living.
I could also capitalize on this energy by scheduling my therapy session around the Full Moon, because I'll be more likely to make quantum leaps in self-awareness and the shifting of patterns. Or perhaps I'll task batch stuff that ordinarily leaves me feeling bogged down, struggling with the sensation that it's taking forever and a day to finish. During the Full Moon phase, I often find myself motoring right along, crossing things off my to-do list like a boss, so it's great to take advantage of this to complete tasks that might otherwise feel like a grind during a different phase. It's also fun to schedule hangouts with philosophically minded friends so we can tumble, headfirst, down the rabbit hole of weird concepts and trippy possibilities. I've had more than a few successful creative ideas come through thanks to these mind-expanding conversations around the Full Moon!
Learning to map your own internal ebbs and flows through the organizing, synthesizing power of florilegia allows you to tap into your innate power phases, while going easy on yourself if you're trying to do something during an ill-suited time and it's not working as well as you'd like. Rather than beat yourself up in the latter case, you can flip through your florilegium to see if there are any tips or clues that can help you make better use of this time. In the moment, I'm always convinced that I'll remember this stuff when I need it, but when I flip through my florilegium later, without fail, I find little wisdom nuggets that I'd totally forgotten about but that end up being just what I needed that day.
The Art of Bibliomancy
You can also use your florilegium for bibliomancy, or the art of divination with books. Place your hands on your florilegium, close your eyes, and take a few moments to calm and center yourself, connecting with your book. Then, ask your question and flip open the book to a random page, letting your eyes fall to a particular entry. If you assume that whatever guidance you need is contained within this material, how does it speak to your question? Are you inspired to think about things in a different way or take another action than you normally would? The more you use your florilegium, just like any divination tool, the more attuned you become to it, and the more useful its responses will be.
Another way to use your Moon florilegium for divination is to pair the book with your tarot or oracle cards by using the book as a surface upon which to do your readings, allowing the book's Moon-aligned energy to enhance your awareness so you can tap into deeper threads of meaning. You can do readings specific to the Moon's current phase or sign (for example, "What's most important for me to know right now while the Moon is in Scorpio?") by opening the florilegium to the related section and using the book as your portable divination surface.
Tailoring Astrology to Your Inner Tides
When I was first learning astrology, I discovered that my Moon florilegium was a great way to personalize general astrological information, which then made it much easier to remember. Given that studying astrology is a bit like learning a whole new language, I was happy to take whatever help I could get! By categorizing information within your florilegium by Moon signs, you start to get a clearer sense of the "flavor" of each sign for you personally. Rather than trying to memorize a list of general associations, you're gradually building a picture of how you experience each sign. If you like, you can write some of the traditional sign correspondences at the top of each section in your florilegium, which will allow you to compare your lived experience to the conventional wisdom.
For instance, you might do some research and learn that the Moon in Gemini is related to communication, processing and exchanging information, learning, and making connections with others, so you write those keywords at the top of your Moon-in-Gemini section. Over time, you collect material for this section by noticing what grabs your attention—quotes, song lyrics, powerful dreams, etc.—when the Moon is in Gemini, and you notice that you're really drawn to stuff about public speaking in particular.
Maybe you find yourself Googling how to do more effective Facebook live videos, and in one of the trainings you watch, a quote really grabs you, so you record it in your Moon florilegium. That night, you have a dream where you're trying to talk over your high school's loudspeaker, but the microphone isn't working and you wake up feeling incomplete. When you look back over your Moon-in-Gemini entries, you see the theme of meaningful communication in the public sphere, and then you realize, "Oh, right! Gemini is in the tenth house in my natal chart." The tenth house relates to, among other things, your reputation and public roles, so this emphasis on communication in the public arena makes sense for you, and it helps you learn not only the qualities of Gemini but also the characteristics of the tenth house. Knowing this, you might schedule public-facing events while the Moon is in Gemini, capitalizing on your naturally outward-flowing, communicative energy during this phase.
If you're thinking, wow, this seems like a lot of work, keeping track of the Moon's signs and phases—well, it can be somewhat intensive. And that's kind of the point. Keeping a Moon florilegium is an act of committing to tracking the Moon's comings and goings, which in turn puts you in touch with your microcosmic ebbs and flows and how they interact with the macrocosmic tides. By engaging in this practice of compiling and using your florilegium, you're valuing the forces above and below, within and without that don't operate strictly according to linear time.
In the busyness of daily life, it's easy to become overly fixated on what's next and where we're headed, crossing off "just one more thing" from our to-do list, yet never feeling like we're progressing fast enough. A Moon florilegium reminds us that in addition to linear processes, we operate through cyclical flows as well. For me, this relieves the steam valve of pressure around being ceaselessly productive, because the Moon is a powerful symbol of the proper times to move and groove and the natural phases for rest and incubation. Both are valuable. As you learn to attune more deeply to your unique expression of these cycles, your life unfolds with more ease and fluid power.
Excerpted from Llewellyn's 2023 Moon Sign Book.