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Astrologer Moses Siregar III

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Post by Moses on Dark Moons,
Balsamic and Third Quarter Moons
Copyright 2000-TodayMoses Siregar III

First Post 11/17/00
Discussing People Born During 'Dark Moons'

This is a really important topic, especially in light of needing to modernize the understanding of the lunar phases.

Yeah, the dark moon before the new moon, which is called the balsamic moon, is probably the hardest. True. The third quarter moon, which is the phase before the balsamic moon is probably the next hardest. And both are in the waning half of the lunar cycle. But there's so much more to say.

It is largely a matter of perspective. The purpose of the last two (of eight) lunar phases is to prepare for death, like the last fourth of a life. The intention is (1) fundamentally spiritual, not material (2) to leave behind the seeds of one's life for others. When someone is born under these phases, their life takes on these qualities, but the balsamic is stronger than the third quarter in both of these respects. If worth is measured by what produces spiritual awakening, then these phases are gold. It's like the 6/8/12 houses as they are understood in Vedic astrology. They're extremely difficult at times, but spiritually they are probably the most powerful houses for creating transformation.

Since the intention of these phases are spiritual, these phases are largely about the transformation of the ego, and so they are somewhat inimical to the normal flow of (material) life. However, if one is prepared to burn up one's karma in the fire of life, and set aside one's karma through selfless service, then these lunar phases can become the most enlightened. By giving up the false addictions of this world, dedicating oneself to awakening, and making oneself available to the Universe, these phases can become the most wonderful of all. But that's a Herculean task. Luckily, we've all got a little Hercules inside. If you are born under these phases, or are going through these phases by progression (and you would want to also look at the Progressed Moon to Natal Sun, not just the Secondary Progressed Moon to the Secondary Progressed Sun), and you are holding onto the values of your lower-self, then these phases are sheer torture. Luckily.

I was born during the balsamic moon, as are almost the majority of the best friends I've had in my life (it can be said that balsamic people only truly relate to other balsamic people), and there is a definite purging that you can see in all of us. But these are people who are also undergoing a major metamorphosis into a more enlightened consciousness. A balsamic person who holds onto lower values and habits is indeed going to go through incredibly challenging life experiences. It's similar to Pluto aspects; my earlier post on 'Moon-Pluto Esoterica' paints a pretty good picture.

The New Moon is indeed a totally different story. The New Moon is like a free ride in comparison to the balsamic and third quarter. The balsamic is about endings. Finishing karma. Leaving behind the seeds of one's self for others. Yes, it's often depressing until you cross over to a certain shore. The more we can cross over to the other shore, then the more life feels like a free ride, because you could say that the Higher Self is now in control. But we must learn the lesson of letting go. If a balsamic moon person is looking outside of themselves for happiness, security or peace, then that balsamic person can expect a hearty serving of suffering. There is no permanence for a balsamic moon until they realize deep down in their souls that there is no permanence in this world. Then there may be more stability. To live a successful life as a balsamic moon, you've got to be a little idealistic.

The third quarter Moon is like the preparation for the balsamic moon. The third quarter follows the disseminating moon, which is the high, fun point of the entire lunar cycle. In the disseminating moon, everything comes up roses. The disseminating moon contains Sag/9th house if you look at it from a natural perspective, and that's a good way to look at it, because the disseminating moon is a blast. But it ends. Then comes the third quarter; the party's over--at least if you are still clinging to the ego-gratifying attachments of the disseminating moon phase. And such clinging is practically inevitable. What you learn at the third quarter is some significant degree of failure, and that humbles you. That's the point.

I know a lot of third quarter moons, and the thing that I notice about every one of them is that their ambition to disseminate something to the world (leftover attachments to the disseminating phase) fails to some significant degree. They have to become humble. They have to begin to let go of what ego thinks it wants and needs. The third quarter moon is like the preparation for the balsamic moon. The person must meet this failure head-on, let go of their desires, and open to Spirit only for direction. The fact that the third quarter moon naturally contains Capricorn/10th house shows how difficult this can be, however. The third quarter is where Capricorn ambitions must fail and become humble. Tough task, but of course it can be done.

The balsamic moon naturally contains Pisces. This increases the pain and sorrow, but also the potential for spiritual surrender, which is the only way to live a balsamic life gracefully. Suffering happens. But eventually, if a balsamic person aligns with the Truth, this blackness can truly become golden. Few are those who enter in

So be careful with these last two lunar phases. If one's heart is set on nothing short of true liberation, these phases are like a best friend. If not, they are very challenging for the ego that hasn't changed its orientation towards spiritual matters.

And as for the other two lunar phases in the waning (second) half of the lunar cycle, the Full Moon phase and the Disseminating phase, both of these phases are relatively swell, in comparison. The Disseminating is the best of them all from a perspective of ease (it contains Sagittarius), and the Full Moon is relatively easy-going, and all about relationships (it contains Libra). Whereas the Crescent moon (containing Gemini and half of Taurus) is largely about confronting inertia and laziness, and the First Quarter moon (containing Cancer) is loaded with dramatic crises. So some of the waxing phases are tougher than some of the waning phases, in my opinion.

I also have recommended reading for the lunar phases on the free astrology course and the recommended reading page of my website, for anyone interested in learning more.


11/22/00 Response

Dear Moses

I read your postings about the 3rd quarter phase and failure. I'm
struggling with the concept. I've brought to mind 3rd quarter folks that
I've known and do not see them as failures. Are you suggesting that they
have to face the experience of failure? Are you perhaps suggesting that
failure is inevitable for them? Isn't that true for everyone who is human?

Perhaps the 3rd quarter phase is about letting go of control and allowing
life to evolve.

BTW I find the balsamic phase is a visionary. One who wants to see only the
self, afterall, when you are outside in this phase as well as in the new,
you cannot visually see others. Still, the balsamic longs to understand
what else is out there and develops a circuitous perception of looking at
everything, without physically seeing, then taking action. At any rate,
that is how I see this phase, in contrast to the new moon where the desire
to take action is often so great that they dive in without the internal
exploration of what else might be involved.

disseminating moon, signing off


11/24/00 Response from Moses

I definitely agree. Many of the Third Quarters I know are largely outwardly successful, but I always notice that their desire to disseminate something fails in some significant way. I think this is because it's part of the nature of this phase to become humbled because ego must be relinquished to meet death openly, and death is the final destination of life and the lunar cycle. A lot of ego stands to be cleansed after the disseminating phase, which comes before the Third Quarter. So failure is very, very good from a spiritual perspective here. I went through a third quarter progressed lunar cycle about two years ago, and during the middle of this year Ii have gone through another (because it is very important to view the progressed lunar cycles from the perspective of both the progressed and the natal sun). This last time was of course very difficult, as was the first, no doubt a "crisis in consciousness." Interestingly, the concept of 'failure' kept appearing in my life this last time. One day at a lunch i was having with a few friends, I decided to have a card drawn from the Osho Transformation Tarot to give us a message for the meal. It was the card called 'Failure.' Well I read it out loud anyway, and it was kind of creepy, but there it was again. What I remember from the card was Osho saying: Failure is you minus God. Success is you plus God. At the time it sounded like a strange formula, but now I know what he was saying. Success is being closer to God or Enlightening. Failure is going further away from God and Enlightening. That's the key to the Third Quarter. Yes, it is an externally oriented phase in some ways; the phase naturally contains Capricorn. But the more important thing for Third Quarters, especially as their lives go on, is that they begin to measure success spiritually rather than materially or according to fame.

What I really noticed after going through these two Third Quarter lunar phase progressions, is that a lot of ego has been eliminated from my approach to disseminating, and I am more aware when ego is present. It's been a process of refining my approach to my work, and having it take on a higher vibration by having me step more out of the way. The transition from six years of disseminating energy (because of the two different cycles) to third quarter energy is quite a blow. But if you've got some spiritual guidance in your life you realize that it is deepening you, and that even your work is deeper. It's a phase of maturing (Capricorn) in so many ways.

I finally got up my pages on the lunar cycles on my site, and i'm pretty pleased with them. They include some new and some restated analogies. If you haven't seen 'em, you'd probably like them, especially if you read through the lunar phases in order so you get a sense of the cyclic process. It's under section 2 of the course at

And back in the days of the election:

> These things are decided in advance, then a show is made to make them
seem to have happened by accident.

I have been wanting to say that I really liked that one. I couldn't agree more.

Thanks everyone, for the positive feedback on the dark moon post!



11/24/00 Response from Moses

> Dear Moses

I read your postings about the 3rd quarter phase and failure. I'm
struggling with the concept. I've brought to mind 3rd quarter folks
I've known and do not see them as failures. Are you suggesting that
have to face the experience of failure? Are you perhaps suggesting that
failure is inevitable for them? Isn't that true for everyone who is

Much of what we look at in astrology is true for everyone, but moreso for some than for others. If we look at astrology with the lens of "isn't that true for everyone?" then we'd lose a lot of our art. Yes failure is inevitable for everyone, but for some, such an experience might be more particularly related to their deeper life purpose, and even quite noticeable if you look deeply enough.

When I see the third quarter people that I know, I also do not see them as failures. What I do see is that their desire to disseminate something to others fails
in some significant way. Not necessarily overall, but in some meaningful way.

The perennial astrological wisdom on the Third Quarter includes such ideas as, "crisis in consciousness" and "reorientation." The idea is that the disseminating phase comes before this one, which is the highpoint of Life, and the Third Quarter is about "turning away" from this abundant and expressive soul-cycle, and hopefully focusing more internally than externally, although the external is still very much happening throughout this phase. But even though external activity is still strong, the real purpose of the third quarter is for consciousness to let go of its fixation on the external world and turn inward. Rudhyar's plant-cycle analogy of the disseminating phase is that this is where the plant gives its fruit to the Earth. The same analogy for the Third Quarter is that this is where the plant begins to die. There's a world of difference between the two, of course.

So some kind of failure, or inability to charge full steam ahead into ever-greater dissemination, is pretty much necessary for Third Quarter people, or people going through a third quarter lunar phase progression, to reorient. It's like everything's coming up roses, for the most part, during the disseminating phase, and it seems like it's just going to continue to expand, and expand, and expand--and then it suddenly stops. "Surprise!" says the Universe. That's what makes it a crisis in consciousness. But after the adjustment in consciousness has taken place, things can begin to move again, but with more humility and less attachment to it all.

The Third Quarter is the inevitable change to this disseminating expansion, because unless that expansion halts for at least a little while, the ego will expand and expand and expand. But ego-expansion is not the purpose of the last fourth of the lunar cycle; the purpose is ego-humbling.

So Third Quarter people are by no means inevitable failures, but their life inevitably involves some strong kind of failure to disseminate something to others. Maybe it's just that their ambitions only go so far, and then it's like the universe puts a cap on it (for a while?). The consciousness then has to accept this, and look deeper than an attachment to greater fame and social success.

So while failure is certainly inevitable for all of us at different times, it is meant to play a more key role, and be more of a challenge, for Third Quarter folks. Mainly they seem to deal with this increasingly as their lives go on, turning more and more inwardly after initial reluctance to do so.

By the way, I find that we really start to feel an on-coming change in our progressed lunar phases right at about three months before it literally occurs. And since you've heard me say this a number of times, that you have to look at the progressed moon to the progressed sun AND the natal sun, these changes happen an average of every two years, and they are some of the most fascinating life cycles to watch. It's also interesting that they cycles get farther and farther apart as we get older, because the natal sun and progressed sun get farther apart as we get older.