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Musings on the Full Moon 4
A regular rhythm

by Rebecca Brents


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The eternal rhythm

Like the New Moon, the Full Moon forms on a predictable schedule. Not a regular schedule. The time intervals vary. But we know when it will happen, because we can calculate it. That makes it "close enough" for most of us & our various, general purposes. In general, the Full Moon forms about once a month -- on average every 29.53 days. This interval is called a synodic month.

In practice, the Full Moon formed about 14 - 15 days following a New Moon. Technically, both the Full Moon and New Moon (month after month) form at a precise time (the way we measure time ... by clocks) when the required alignment is completely exact. For the New Moon, this means the Sun & Moon occupy exactly the same degree & minute of arc in the sky (or in the zodiac -- same difference to astrologers.)

For the Full Moon, the Sun & Moon are faced off exactly opposite one another -- in exactly the same degree & minute of arc in opposing Zodiac signs. You can see this in the sky, of course, as the Full Moon forms every month. As either the Sun or Moon rise in the East, the other sets in the West. The Sun's light, reflecting off the Moon's total surface, is what makes the Moon "full."

At other times of the month, the Moon only can reflect part of the Sun's light -- because that's what its position & angle allow. This position & angle changes from one night to the next (one hour to the next even) ... which is why the Moon goes through what we call "phases."

The Full Moon in Astrology: Basic Stuff | Quick Notes on the Full Moon


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Appearances & measurements

The Moon appears full about three nights a month ... because when we're just "eyeballing it," the differences between one night & the next aren't sufficient that we can actually see them. And again, except for that brief moment when the alignment is exact, even the full moon isn't perfectly full ... technically. It just looks like it.

In fact, when the Sun & Moon line up very precisely -- in the right place & on the same plane -- we get an eclipse. A Solar Eclipse forms at the New Moon; a Lunar Eclipse forms at the Full Moon. These aren't exactly rare, but they aren't real common either. (Think about how often this phenomenon even makes it into the news. See what I mean?)


full moon

Full Moons & folklore

Back in the days of yore (meaning "a long time ago" -- in the days before clocks & electricity, let alone the internet) various cultures gave distinct names to the Full Moon that formed in a particular "month." Sometimes those names applied to the whole month when each occurred. Some of these designations are interesting; some are familiar.

In our folklore, we've usually latched on to the ones used by the Algonquin Indians ... a series of tribes whose territory covered a vast expanse from New England & the east coast of Canada to well beyond Lake Superior & the Great Lakes region. European settlers, following that custom, created some of their own names -- some of which stuck.

Some Full Moon names correspond to seasonal markers & conditions -- which may or may not show much imagination. So the Harvest Moon forms near the end of the growing season. This name belongs to the Full Moon that forms nearest the Autumnal Equinox -- which falls around September 21 every year. The Harvest Moon is generally in September, but it can be in October.

No surprise, in the Northern Hemisphere, the Full Moon in December is the Cold Moon. The Full Moon in May is the Flower Moon.


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Musings on the Full Moon Series

Musings on the Full Moon 1 -- Working with our closest celestial neighbor ---> It happens every month ---> The Full Moon is an unmistakable sight, one of the heaven's most awesome shows. There is at least one full moon every month. Every 2 - 3 years we get a second one in a calendar month. In all, we get 12 - 13 a year. The Full Moon is the visual climax of the Moon's monthly tango with the Sun -- the point at which the Moon and The Sun oppose one another in the sky. As one rises in the East, the other sets in the West -- and for a couple of days before and after the exact peak, as I said, the display is spectacular. The Full Moon is the point at ....

Musings on the Full Moon 2 -- Conflict and confrontation ---> Musings on the Full Moon 1 Part 1 ---> A conflict of opposites ---> For obvious reasons, Astrologers see the Full Moon as an opposition -- an aspect of confrontation and projection, and it is one of the highlights that graces every sign. Every month as the Full Moon forms, the Sun in one sign -- and the interests and qualities it represents, confronts the Moon in the opposite sign -- with a conflicting agenda of needs and desires. Somehow under the Full Moon, you have to find a balance point ....

Musings on the Full Moon 3 -- A different, special energy ---> Musings on the Full Moon 1 Musings on the Full Moon 2 ---> Full Moon energy is real & different ---> Over the years, I've written lots of stuff about full moons, the visual spectacle they provide, the special energy they carry ... & why they have such a notorious reputation. "Logical types" insist the whole idea is silly, that Full Moon energy is no different than any other. They say, "It's all in your head," like that solves the problem. It's one hazard of life on the ....


The Full Moon
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* Shadows in the Moonlight -- The Full Moon and its Testy Temper ---> The Sun Opposing The Moon Who you are now vs. who you used to be ---> The aspect of the Sun opposing the Moon is the classic celestial show the rest of the world calls The Full Moon. In Astrology, The Full Moon highlights tension between two conflicting desires, ambitions, requirements, or sets of values -- each a necessary part of life, and each somehow a problem for the other. In this, as in all oppositions, you need a compromise to try and meet the needs of both elements. Here you're working with ego desires, personal ambitions, and your wish to feel important and valuable ....

* Fractiousness and Fracture Lines: The Full Moon -- The crisis is predictable. It happens every month. ---> One of life's great divides ---> All Full Moons involve some kind of conflict. Usually, as the Full Moon forms ... and for several nights following, you feel pulled in two directions at once, required to try and serve two masters ... no matter how impossible you know that is -- logically. Life's demands in two opposing / competing areas become equally insistent and intense. They are always familiar. You've played this game before. Maybe you live with them constantly. (Were you born under a Full Moon? Do you have oppositions in your Natal Chart? Do you have a partner, friend or ....

* Full Moon Conflicts -- Full Moon Tension through the Signs ---> Full Moon Conflicts ---> Aries Sun / Libra Moon = My ambitions, my drive for self-definition, my need to assert myself and my independence vs. my need to take other people into account, my desire for meaningful partnerships, my habitual efforts to compromise, keep the peace, and get along. When stressed, the attitude of the Aries Sun is aggressive, bossy, and self-centered, and that of the Libra Moon is manipulative and pouting. Taurus Sun / Scorpio Moon = My income interests, my property rights and possessions, my desire to use my resources for my own benefit vs. ....

* Full Moon / New Moon? Or New Moon / Full Moon? -- Variations on the rhythms of life ---> Different rhythms ---> It's a subtle difference, I admit, but it's there nevertheless. Life's psychological rhythm has a different sequence, depending on whether the New Moon in a particular sign forms first, followed about two weeks later by the Full Moon in the opposite sign ... or whether the Full Moon forms first, followed then by the New Moon lining up with the Sun in its sign. Knowing where to put your attention and when simply helps you navigate your way through life's currents, eddies and slipstreams more easily. So, this is a situation where "details count" ... and so do ....


Learn more about The Moon in Astrology
These are the index pages to all our articles
on this topic.

The Moon in Astrology -- Articles Index
The New Moon in Astrology -- Articles Index
The Full Moon in Astrology -- Articles Index
The Dark Moon in Astrology -- Articles Index
The Void-of-Course Moon in Astrology -- Articles Index


Go to
Today's Everyday Astrology


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Last updated December 19th, 2021

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