American College of Vedic Astrology Header Home

The Moon's Monthly Cycle

By Angela Pennington

The Moon represents our mind, emotions and the ability to understand and socialize with others. Being karaka for ‘mother’, our intuitive process and capacity to nurture and be nurtured is found here. A favorable Moon will make the native good at communicating and listening and mindful of the comfort levels of other’s. The native will take initiative to help people develop themselves intellectually and physically. A favorable Moon reminds me of loving mothers, attentive teachers and compassionate nurses.

An unfavorable Moon leads to an overall emotional instability. Unstable emotions make it difficult for the native to socialize and connect. There is difficulty in nurturing. Withdrawn or overly emotional, these qualities may manifest as boundary issues resulting in chronic victimization or co-dependance. Trouble giving and receiving. An unfavorable Moon reminds me of people who lack mental clarity, those who stay in emotionally abusive relationships and people who always see the “glass half empty”.

The Moon is viewed as a Lagna in chart interpretation and for the student Jyotish, understanding the Moon’s cycles and sub-cycles can be a daunting task. After all, favorability and strength seem to dictate not only one’s level of consciousness, but the ability to raise the consciousness and integrate new found knowledge.

The Moon moves quickly, transiting approximately one rashi every two and half days, equivalent to one bhava or two and a quarter nakshatras. Additionally, throughout this cycle the Moon is growing in light or disappearing into darkness, while simultaneously moving through various elements and mythologies in the zodiac. Its no wonder why this visible luminary remains an enigma.

In order to begin to understand the Moon or “Chandra”, lets examine the most obvious movements of the Moon; the waxing and waning cycles.

Waxing is commonly referred to as the bright half of the cycle also known as “Shukla Paksha”. During this fourteen day sub-cycle, Chandra is (New, Dark) moving from dark to light, away from the sun, getting brighter and gaining strength.

The waning or dark half, “Krishna Paksha” is the opposite and again a fourteen day sub-cycle. At this time, Chandra is (Full, Bright) moving from light to dark, towards the sun, getting weaker. Together, these two cycles create a twenty eight day journey.

Jyotishis consider a growing Moon more supportive of events generally, then a Moon going dark. This is supported in BPHS, Vol. 1 Chapter 3, Parashara states:

“ A decreasing moon is a malefic while the remaining full moon is considered a benefic”. He also states “ From the 8th day of the dark moon upto the 8th day of the bright moon, Moon is a malefic and is technically called “Ksheena Chandra”. She is very weak on the 14th and 15th days of the dark fortnight. From the 8th day of the bright moon upto the 8th day of the dark, Moon is benefic.”

If we count the New Moon as day one and the last day of the cycle twenty-eight, Parasharas wisdom can be interpreted as:

Days8 - 22Benefic
Days23 - 7Malefic
Days28 and 1Moon is closest to Sun and at its weakest

Modern interpretation:

Days1 - 3Waxing ~ Malefic ~ Unsupportive
Days4 - 7Waxing ~ Ok ~ Struggle
Days8 - 22Wax / Wane ~ Benefic ~ Very Supportive
Days23 - 25Waning ~ Ok ~ Challenge
Days26 - 28Waning ~ Malefic ~ Unsupportive

The Moon, having no light of its own, reflects the light of the Sun. In myth and folklore, the dark Moon has been associated with graves, monsters and impending doom, basically our deepest fears. However, various myths also imply, the brave souls who descend into darkness can ultimately achieve enlightenment.

Dark Moon seems to offer this spontaneous youthfulness, a creative energy that is not yet bound by rules. Yet, as the Moon begins to reflect the light, it becomes more aware of others. The Moon is growing up. Perhaps learning in order to achieve one’s aims it must “play by the rules”. This requires removing obstacles, creating acceptable conduct and transmuting this thought process into workable action. Through this development, the Moon is less a victim of impulse and more a creator in the physical world. The adult full Moon feels strong and powerful, knowing how to set and achieve goals. Enjoying the fruits of it’s labor. Yet, as the Moon’s light visibly fades, any false sense of power becomes obvious. This begins the journey of reflection. Decisions are questioned, the happiness factor sets in and gnaws from the core. In this aged Moon, re-examination and integration have pushed this new found knowledge beyond the conscious and straight into the unconscious mind. Again, the cycle begins.

Understanding the qualities of the Moon in a chart is crucial to an effective and accurate consultation. Here’s a helpful check list to help you determine the nature of the moon:
  1. Check the Rashi of the Moon. Is it in a friends sign? Exalted, moolatrikona or debilitated?
  2. Is the Moon dark or light?
  3. Is the Moon conjoined or aspected by other planets?
  4. Is the bhava the Moon is placed in strong or weak?
  5. What is the strength and favorableness of the Moon’s dispositor?
  6. What Nakshatra is the Moon in?
  7. What is the condition of the Moon in the Navamsha?
  8. What are the Yogas?
This discussion of the general movement of the Moon barely scratches the surface of the lunar cycle. For the purposes of this article and length of read, I have intentionally omitted the Nakshatras, Drekkanas and Panchanga.

By Editor Angela Pennington


Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra Vol. I
Elements of Vedic Astrology Volume 1 author Dr. K.S. Charak
Beneath a Vedic Sky author William Levacy
Mansions of the Moon author Kenneth Johnson

Angela Pennington Biography:

Angela PenningtonAngela Pennington is a full time student of Jyotish and lives in the Seattle area. She has completed the ACVA Level I course and is completing ACVA Level II towards her certification.

Throughout her career, Angela has owned three small business’s in import/export, computers, and metaphysics. She is a Tarot Reader and popular teacher in Goddess studies.

Angela was our first Student Editor, now editor, for the ACVA News and is a member of CVA ( Council Vedic Astrology )

Angela Pennington Contact Information:

Angela Pennington
(206) 412-7837

Go Back