Thursday, August 6, 2009
Moon Phases in Traditional Astrology & Talismans
It's important to take various systems on their own terms and not apply a "this is the only way to do X" attitude at the same time realizing that not all methods are equally valid.
I had an amusing conversation with a client who had consulted a Vedic astrologer and was told that she was "actually" a Pisces [ie Sun in Pisces] not an Aries [or vice versa, I can't remember]. I replied that that was like when I was in Europe and they told me I was "actually" a shoe size 30!
Modern magic will often suggest that the New Moon and Full Moon be used for benefic ritual. When, however, we switch to traditional astrology, we need to recognize that our approach is different.
The waxing and waning of the Moon also includes the aspects of the Moon to the Sun. The New Moon is the Moon conjunct the Sun, and thus a period of approximately 17 degrees before and after the conjunction where the Moon is under the Sun's beams, a minor affliction. Plus an approximately 8.5 degrees before and after the conjunction where the Moon is combust, a major affliction. See Lilly on Accidental Dignity
Thus right before or right on a New Moon is not a good time for benefic ritual or talismans.
Similarly, a Full Moon is the opposition of the Moon and the Sun. Again, this is considered to be an affliction. "...consider, how many ways the Moon comes to be so ill-affected...The 3rd is when she is posited in any of the combust degrees, of which the worst are: those 12 degrees which are before the degree which is directly opposite to the degree in which the Sun is, wherever she shall happen to be..." Guido Bonatti, 5th Aphorism, Book of Astronomy
Again, since the Moon is afflicted, this is not appropriate for benefic ritual.
Of course, traditional astrology does consider the waxing and waning of the Moon. Picatrix says,
"Wherefore draw your attention to that which we have said before concerning her being] fortunate and infortunate, increasing [waxing] and diminishing [waning]in light, because after separating from the Sun she secures his strength then she moves to be in a sextile, square, trine and opposition aspect. And she receives strength from the stars and planets when she is connected by the aspects we have mentioned before.
And if you find the Moon increasing in light then her strength and power is good and useful in all works to bring about increase and if you find the light [of the Moon] diminishing it is suitable and harmonious for all works in which you wish diminution.
And after the Moon separates from the conjunction of the Sun [New Moon] all the way up to a sinister [against the direction of the signs] square until it arrives at an opposition [Full Moon] it is always good and harmonious for buying and selling, trials and asking for the repayment of debts, debates and councils for everything you require.
And after separating from the opposition of the Sun and crossing to the dexter square all the way to the conjunction of the Sun it is good and appropriate to [pay] for debts that you owe and for those who keep possessions to return them to others and for wisdom and for asking and inquiring into truth. "
Picatrix, Bk II, ch 3.
Traditional astrology does take into consideration the Moon's phases, but integrates their use along with a variety of other considerations.
So, it is important not to assume that what one has learned in one system can be simply imported into another. This is true of modern astrological technique and magical timing methods, both of which differ from traditional astrology.