Table of content
- 1 Cycles of opportunity for the evolving soul
- 2 The annual solar cycle through the 12 zodiacal signs
- 3 The sun and the moon within us
- 4 The lunar cycle – and the monthly ebb and flood of energies
- 5 New moon, a new beginning: The full moon, a culmination
- 6 Group meditation at new moon and full moon
- 7 Full moon meditation
Cycles of opportunity for the evolving soul
Did you know that during a full moon the veil between the material and spiritual world is at its thinnest? You, as a transcendent soul, gaze downwards trying to illuminate your personality in the material world.
By Kenneth Sørensen
One of the great cycles of opportunity for anyone dedicated to personal and spiritual growth occurs during a new moon and a full moon. This is not a new idea – historically, all the major religious traditions have aligned spiritual festivals with the solar and lunar cycles – but, today, many of these religions are struggling to attract the newer generations, who are typically finding other ways to connect with the source of their innermost being.
Meditation during the new moon and full moon, as well as during solar and lunar eclipses, the equinoxes and solstices, are becoming significant moments for individuals and groups to approach spiritual realities without needing an orthodox theology to support them.
Perhaps you have already tried to meditate during one of these significant times, or maybe you have noticed you get influenced during a full moon one way or another. In this article, I will seek to explain why this is so by offering some essential insights into these cycles of opportunity so you can maximise your personal growth and expand your service in the community.
In this article, I will discuss the lunar cycle in relation to the zodiacal energies that arise as the sun passes through the 12 astrological signs during the year. To understand why the lunar cycles are essential, we have to think in terms of energy. You have probably noticed that you are living in a world in which physical, social, psychological and spiritual energies impact you from all sides.
These are the energies you feel when you experience emotions, thoughts, physical sensations, images or flashes of intuition – we are embedded in a continual flow of energies in the all-encompassing energetic ocean of life. I provide an overall perspective on this idea in my article Psychosynthesis and Psychoenergetics, so I will not go into it too deeply here, however, let me add a small note. Roberto Assagioli, the founder of psychosynthesis, wrote about the fifth force of psychology – which he called psychoenergetics, also know as energy psychology; it is a type of psychology that is a natural extension of humanistic and transpersonal psychology about which Assagioli wrote the following:
“The aim of psychoenergetics is… to investigate all forces existent in the universe and their interaction:
1. The physical energies, starting from the sub-atomic level and extending to the astronomical, galactic level.
2. The biological energies, the organisers of living matter.
3. Specifically psychic energies of all qualities and at all levels.
4. Spiritual, transpersonal, transcendent energies.” (2)
As you can see from the above, there are many types of energies that must be taken into consideration when we look into this matter.
Astrology is one of the emerging ‘sciences’ which offers an explanation for the energies that Assagioli refers to. Indeed, both Assagioli and C. G. Jung were students of astrology, so we might conclude that astrology is a part of the new psychology. Put simply, an understanding of astrological energies and the solar and lunar cycles will offer a key to understanding the psychological nature of the different energies in our lives, providing us with an energy weather forecast, so to speak. Let us take a deep dive into this idea.
The annual solar cycle through the 12 zodiacal signs
The first idea we need to grasp is how the sun’s passage through the 12 zodiacal signs activates the archetypical energies of each of the signs. (The sun is not moving through the signs, it is the Earth orbit around the sun which makes it seem so; however, the effect is the same.) The sun is a symbol of the creative life force in everything, from inorganic matter to the highest life forms. Historically, the sun has been known by many names: The One Life, Spirit-in-Action, The Illuminator, The Evolutionary Drive Toward Unity, The-Will-To-Be, The Solar Logos, etc. The sun brings LIFE: wherever it is present, the life force causes energies to blossom in nature and in humanity. The sun is linked to your true identity, i.e. who you are at the deepest level of meaning: You are a point of light and life in the totality of being. This is the basic assumption.
When the sun enters Aries for the spring equinox on the 21 March, springtime begins. As spring flowers burst into life, the psychological atmosphere also changes – we can feel the energies of Aries and its ruler Mars come into prominence within the psychological environment, and we are likely to feel an urge to take action, to try something new or to become more extroverted. Likewise, throughout the astrological year, whenever the sun moves into a different sign, a different energy will be activated – for example, when the sun moves into Taurus, the Taurus energies of strength and reliability will be activated in you, and so on with each sign – and we can be mindful of this and meditate on these different energies as they arise. Let this idea concerning the solar cycle be enough for now, and let us turn our attention to the lunar cycle.
The sun and the moon within us
The moon’s passage around the Earth in a 28-day cycle also has significant meaning in astrology. The different phases of the moon are determined by how much sunlight the moon reflects, depending on its specific place in orbit around the Earth. This physical fact has an important bearing on your inner world, as we shall see below.
If the sun is your spiritual essence – i.e. the pure life force that drives your evolution through all the stages of development – then the moon is a symbol of your personality. The moon rules the inner forms through which you express your identity: your mental, emotional and physical bodies. However we are not our bodies, this concept is at the core of psychosynthesis philosophy: I have a body, but I am not my body; I have emotions, but I am not my emotions; I have thoughts, but I am not my thoughts; I am a living, willing, loving observer – a centre of pure consciousness and will. The sun is a powerful symbol of this centre, because it is the centre of the solar system, the illuminator and life-giver: as above, so below.
If we call the sun your essential Self, then we could call the moon your reflected self. From a psycho-spiritual point of view, the moon should reflect the light of the sun, as above; however, it rarely does so in our inner world. Rather, our thoughts, emotions and physical actions very often reflect the conditioning we have received from our outer environment, particularly our family heritage and our culture.
The moon represents your sensitivity and ability to adapt to the world by forming long-lasting habits that enable you to cope with your environment; the moon provides you with an ability to bond, to become attached and to receive nourishment from all outer lights. The moon refers to what you have become through identificationwith the conditions of your past; by contrast, the sun is the gateway to what you might become in the future when you turn inwards and tread the path of individuation of the Hero or Heroine.
When you are identified with the moon, you are attached to your past conditioning and crave approval and affirmation from the suns (individual personalities) in your environment. The moon symbolises, from this perspective, your bondage: your need to validate your identity through external things and objects. However, this does not have to be so: the moon (your attachments and reflectability) can be purified – your behavioural patterns can be aligned with the sun – and you can begin to respond to life through your deepest self. This happens gradually if you work on it and enables you to become a solar-infused personality; you can recalibrate your sensitivity (moon) so that it starts to reflect the inner light instead of all the exterior lights – the moon can start to reflect your true inner sun.
The sun and the moon need each other, they have equal value; without the moon, we could not reflect our solar nature – we need this persona (mask) through which to express our divinity, but the mask must be created in our own image, and not show a likeness that has been given to us or that copies others.
So we can see that, in astrology, the two luminaries are central archetypical forces that have a deep significance for us all.
The lunar cycle – and the monthly ebb and flood of energies
Let us now turn towards the two major phases of the moon, namely the new moon and full moon phases. A lot could be said about the other phases but I will restrict myself to these two.
We know that the moon influences the tide – tides are caused by the gravitational forces exerted by the moon and the sun and the rotation of the Earth. The lunar cycle also affects psychological energies – a fact that is recognisable to anyone who meditates regularly. To understand why this is so, it is important to understand the astronomical aspect of the cycles.
At new moon, the moon is, from a physical point of view, between the sun and the Earth, blocking and restricting solar rays from influencing the Earth and the sentient beings on our planet (see illustration). In this phase of the month, the energies of the moon are more potent than the sun and this affects your psychological environment, as we shall see later.
At full moon, the moon is physically distant from the direct influence of solar rays, and its whole surface is illuminated by the sun. During this time, the energies of the sun are stronger than the energies of the moon, and this also has an affect on your inner life.
New moon, a new beginning: The full moon, a culmination
The moon’s phases must be understood in its total cycle because they are intrinsically linked to each other. According to astrological wisdom, new moon is a time of new beginnings. A new cycle starts and a new set of energies are set in motion, according to the astrological sign in which the new moon occurs. At new moon, instinctual forces of the personality are at their heights and ready to be impressed by new ideas, habits and actions.
New moon is a time when you can give birth to and fully embody any illuminations that you received during the previous full moon, which means the new moon is a potent time for taking on new initiatives and for sowing seeds that can grow and blossom at the next full moon, 14 days later.
Let me offer a practical example. If you start a meditation cycle at a new moon with the purpose of manifesting a new soul quality in your personality, such as love, will or joy, it is important to continue with the same theme throughout the 28 days. In this way, you can fully initiate, illuminate and embody the new quality.
The 14 days after new moon will be a deep in-breath of the quality you meditate on, culminating in an illumination at full moon when you become aware of the deeper meanings and nature of that soul quality.
During a full moon the veil between the material and spiritual world is at its thinnest? You, as a transcendent soul, gaze downwards trying to illuminate your personality in the material world. At this time, the solar energies are at their peak and the soul is able to take advantage of this situation and reach out to the personality.
The aspiring personality can successfully approach the soul 24 hours before the exact culmination of a full moon, and if you can maintain a silent and receptive mind then illumination can occur, very often in the form of a spontaneous revelation or a direct intuitive knowledge of the theme you are meditating on.
During a full moon, a door is opened to superconscious levels of awareness, and you can appropriate this moment fully by reserving this day for silent observation and reception.
That which is set in motion during a new moon comes to completion, or moves out into what might be called a climax, at the following full moon. The moon’s influence is at its lowest at this time, and its instinctual forces are temporarily reduced to the person who is consciously lifting their awareness towards the soul level at this time. And for people who are identified with mass consciousness, the culminating energies at this time can create a tension that can provoke a fight, flight or freeze reaction in response to the pressure.
The next 14 days, after full moon, is an out-breath of what you have received, during which you come to embody the quality you have been meditating on so it can be fully reflected in your personality.
A new moon can be a challenging time because inertia means old personality patterns will resist the birth of any new types of energy that you are trying to bring in. Whenever you decide to change a habit or express a new part of yourself, you are often confronted with the fear of the unknown and the inertia of past repetitions.
You should, in particular, pay attention to the three days before the dark moon, when the resistance residing in the subconscious stirs up opposition, typically generating fear, laziness, irritation, anger and frustration.
It is also essential to consider the astrological sign where the new moon and the full moon are happening because this sign will add its qualities to the energetic environment. It is easier to develop, for example, courage, extroversion and assertion when the sun goes through Aries than at any other time of the year.
The above-mentioned cycle has been described mostly in terms relevant for an individual approach to spiritual development during the lunar phases. However, there are also huge benefits to working with the lunar cycle in group meditation.
Group meditation at new moon and full moon
I have already presented the benefits of group meditation in my article Group Meditation in a Time of Crisis, so there is no need to repeat myself here. However, let me say a couple of things about the astrological energies available to groups.
Remember, it is the sun that is the great activator of energies: the sun brings life, illumination and progress wherever it focuses its powers – it is the evolutionary force of renewal. When the sun enters an astrological sign and connects with a planet by aspect, it generates new energy, which creates the prominent energies of that particular time.
The moon is the storehouse of memories – it symbolises the past, the already conditioned patterns of the subconscious, for the individual as well as the collective unconscious. However, the moon also symbolises the non-exposed film of the psyche, which is ready to be impressed by a new solar impulse.
At new moon, we have the sun and the moon in the same astrological sign – let us say it is the new moon of Aries. This is a time of year (21 March – 20 April) when your subconscious relationship to anger, assertion, survival, action and courage is activated. You are being influenced by a new powerful stimulus to renew yourself: the old thoughtforms (moon) will collide with the new energies (sun) and you have an opportunity to act in a new way and set a new cycle in motion.
When a group comes together for meditation at new moon, it is wise to work with the embodiment of the qualities of the particular astrological sign – in this case Aries – as this will help us to impress our personality (moon) with a new type of action and to implement it physically in the days that follow. At this point we can experience a conflict between the higher qualities of the sign (idealism, courage) and the lower expression of the sign (aggression, dominance).
Fourteen days later, when we come together as a group at full moon, the sun is in one sign (Aries) and the moon is in the opposite sign (Libra). Now the group enters the superconscious phase of Aries when we can be illuminated by the full tide of Aries’ energies activated by the sun in the sign. The surface of the moon will be reflecting the solar energies focused in Aries back onto the Earth, and its energies can be temporarily reduced by the aspiring personality or group. However, the type of memory we are now up against is related to Libra.
The lower aspects of Libra very often relate to a fear of conflict, attachment to social validation, and an inability to take independent action, because attachment to Libra’s energies makes us linger and procrastinate over important decisions while we are seeking to balance our needs within our environment. These qualities are oppositional to Aries and can be illuminated and transformed during this phase so they no longer resist our ability to act independently.
At full moon, we seek to synthesise the energies of the two astrological signs involved, while focusing on receiving the inflow of the solar energies which are at their height at this moment. Accordingly, the contemplative phase of full moon meditation is significant, being a time of silent reception during which the group eye listens in unified awareness to the downgazing group soul, which brings illumination.
Some groups don’t take into consideration that the surface of the moon reflects solar rays during a full moon, so they focus their meditative effort on the moon sign instead. This is a grave mistake, in my opinion, because they will miss the superconscious solar phase of the particular sign.
The result can be too much immersion and exposure to subconscious waters, which leads to a drowning in emotionality. A healthy cycle includes an ascent to superconscious renewal (during full moon) and a descent, or embodiment, of that which has been received (during new moon).
When people come together as a group and align their forces around the new moon and full moon phases, we participate in the global in-breath and out-breath of the planet. We learn to adjust our lives to fit the life of the whole and become a part of the natural evolution of death and resurrection, letting go and taking in; we become conscious cells in the living and loving organism of planet Earth, our home, where we are supposed to build a lighted house for all sentient beings.
Let me conclude this article with a meditation that can be used as a group meditation at full moon.
I wish you a promising and beneficial meditation practice.
Full moon meditation
Choose a theme for your meditation that is linked to the meaning of the astrological sign of the sun for the time of year when you will be meditating. In this way, you will be co-operating with the planetary cycle of inflowing and outflowing energies that exist between the Earth and the solar system.
Make yourselves comfortable, close your eyes and let go of the day’s events, becoming fully present in the Now.
Become the observer, noticing your body’s various sensations. Accept all sensations with a calm mind.
Observe your emotions and mood. Don’t try to change anything, just observe.
Step back; become aware of your thoughts and inner chatter, and let them go. Do not try to alter your thoughts, but simply let them pass like clouds crossing a clear blue sky.
Observe your awareness and focus on its source. Recognise yourself as the observer.
Move your attention to the heart centre and connect with the sun in the heart. Feel it softly and gently embracing everything that you are. Sink into and rest in this loving being that empathically contains your personality.
Draw a golden stream of energy from your heart centre up to the centre of your brain. Here, you see a sun that illuminates your inner consciousness. From here, let your consciousness extend across the global network of Souls.
Now let the energy from the head centre rise up to a brilliant sun of love and wisdom that is over your head. This sun is your innermost being. Connect with the heart of your innermost being in complete self-forgetting.
Be completely still and sink into the heart of this sun: the solar being who is who you are.
Now bring your focus back to the heart centre – or to the silent centre of your brain – and here take refuge.
Focus on the theme of your meditation, connecting fully with these energies.
Connect with the silence, and open yourself up to the astrological energies that are available to humanity at this time of the year that you have chosen to meditate.
Be receptive to group illumination by holding your mind in the silent presence of your focus.
In your mind’s eye, see how the sun and the Earth are connected by a pillar of golden light that links the heart of the sun to the core of the Earth.
Visualise solar power and spiritual energies flowing into the world’s consciousness through this pillar of light.
Say the blessings out loud or silently within yourselves
Blessings to all beings in the North,
Blessings to all beings in the South,
Blessings to all beings in the East,
Blessings to all beings in the West. Blessings to all beings above,
Blessings to all beings below.
 The sun is not moving through the signs, it is the Earth orbit around the sun which makes it seem so; however the effect is the same.