The next black moon cycle begins on 23rd July 2017 with the actual black moon occurring on 21st / 22nd August 2017, which is also a solar eclipse.
(Editor's Note: This article was first published in July at the beginning of the black-moon-month-cycle, but since we are now approaching the actual black moon, we are re-featuring the article due to its pertinence at this very moment. Wishing you a wise and enlightening black moon solar eclipse experience.)
Most people have heard of a blue moon but black moons tend to get less attention, despite their equal significance. Just as a blue moon is the second full moon in a solar month, a black moon is the second new moon in a solar month. This means that during the sun’s passage through one zodiac sign the moon is new twice, with the second of those moons designated a black moon.
Because a new moon occurs when the moon is in the same zodiac degree as the sun, both of these new moons occur in the same sign as each other. Black moons occur roughly every two and a half to three years and are always preceded a month earlier by a new moon in the first one or two degrees of the same zodiac sign.
A black moon has nothing to do with Black Moon Lilith, the latter being the point on the moon’s orbit furthest from the earth (known as lunar apogee).
So what’s the significance of a black moon?
Ordinarily, and in general terms, a new moon is a time of fresh starts: the silence from which new beginnings are born. In the darkness of a new moon we can instinctively sense the stirring of new life and prepare to facilitate its arrival. If we’re anticipating a new start or a process of change in some area of our life, contemplating its development at a new moon can be most productive.
Action is not called for at this time, but instead a quiet turning within to contemplate and nurture the roots of our burgeoning creations. These roots may take many forms from material resources, to significant relationships; from a well thought-through plan to faith in a process whose outcome remains unclear. Indeed, we may need all of these and more to prepare for our next step.
The seductive darkness of a new moon invites us inward to draw from our own wisdom. Our energy levels may be relatively low and it is often best to avoid commitments that require great investments of physical energy. The natural tendency in darkness is to retreat, hibernate and rest, ready for the gradual return of the light as the moon waxes towards full. The beginnings heralded by a new moon may have gestated over days, weeks, months or years. Every new moon bears personal significance for each individual, alongside its collective influence and meaning.
A black moon is a particularly powerful new moon which augurs a significant new phase. We can use its energy to prepare for shifts in our inner and outer worlds so powerful they may change the very course of our life. Each black moon signals the beginning of a new cycle which lasts until the next black moon, two and a half to three years later, so these are powerful moments in time which can markedly influence the coming years. It is therefore wise to use their energy well!
How do we use the energy of a black moon well?
We begin at the first of the two new moons – a month prior to the black moon – which helps us discern how to best use the black moon energy. This first moon is a time of intense quiet, to be spent as still as possible. A time to listen, not speak; to reflect, not act; to go within, not be drawn without.
This moon invites us deep within to discover there the entire universe and know our self as a microcosm of the macrocosm – a thread woven through time and space by the unfolding of life in, through and around us. This moon prepares us to ignite, at the black moon, the sparks of creativity, wisdom, patience, fortitude and commitment which fuel the engine of a life fulfilled.
New opportunities occurring just prior to or at this first moon may falter before they’ve begun. A much-anticipated new start may fast lose its shine leaving us discouraged and disoriented. This is a common experience at the beginning of a black moon cycle, so there’s no need for panic! We then have a month to instigate any necessary alterations before the black moon arrives and a new phase is born. The first of the two new moons is simply paving the way for the real fresh start at the black moon itself, highlighting where final adjustments may be needed and plans require a final review.
Whether we sense the coming change as a gentle breeze or a mighty storm, this initial new moon encourages us to embrace the approaching unknown, allowing it to trickle or flood through our life as it must and will. We are on the brink of profound change and commitments made now will be potentized a month later by the black moon.
It can be especially difficult to open our heart to unwanted change: the end of a relationship, the loss of a job or a much-loved home, illness, death… So many things impose themselves against our will. If this is our lot at the beginning of a black moon cycle we can best use the energy of the first moon to invite faith, courage and hope into our lives, even as they feel so far from us.
Remembering that we don’t have to feel courageous to be courageous can be very helpful now! Simply dragging ourselves out of bed to face another lonely day may be the most courageous act in our lives.
Likewise, boundless faith is not required to be faithful: merely trusting that the next breath will come, the next heart-beat, can be an act of faith when all hope is lost. And hope is not about Pollyanna happiness and positive thinking but a recognition that life moves in cycles, fluctuating within them as it goes.
Everything changes, no matter how stuck and intransigent things may feel. At such times, hope simply whispers a quiet reassurance that nothing remains the same. Even the darkest, longest night eventually turns to day.
Once the black moon arrives, a shift in the fabric of the universe is underway, often manifesting as a new life theme that develops and matures across the coming two to three years. Our attention may shift to new interests and/or occupations. We may meet new people or drift from old ones.
What once seemed so important to our well-being loses its appeal and we find deep inner shifts reflected in changes we once could never have contemplated. This is no ordinary new moon but the birth of a whole new phase in our life, which will unfold in ways that can be hard to predict at first, but which, in retrospect, make perfect sense when reviewed from a vantage point of garnered wisdom in a year or so’s time. Then we can see where we were, where we are and where we’re heading in relation to the themes of the defining black moon.
So how do we identify and work with the themes of a black moon?
Each black moon occurs in the same zodiac sign as the new moon that precedes it and its themes are largely dictated by the qualities of that sign. The next black moon occurs on 21st / 22nd August 2017, with the first new moon occurring on 23rd July. This black moon is also a total solar eclipse, giving it even greater power. This is a VERY important and influential moon! Its cycle continues until the next black moon cycle in Cancer, beginning in June/July 2020.
The 2017 black moon and solar eclipse occurs in the sign of Leo, highlighting the following issues for our reflection:
- How deeply do I dare to love myself?
- How readily do I express love and appreciation and to whom?
- How intensely am I prepared to engage with others?
- How honest am I (with myself & others) about my strengths and weaknesses, gifts and challenges?
- How well do I make room for others in my life?
- How much attention do I demand from others and do I offer the same level of attention to them?
- How well do I recognize my contributions to the lives of others and their contributions to my life?
- Do I recognize the benefits I receive from raising others up or do I demand the limelight for myself alone?
- Who am I when I’m alone? Who am I when I’m in company?
- When I seek to lead is it because I know the terrain and can guide others with wisdom and grace, or because I need to be in a position of control?
- How do I open my heart to life and how can I open it wider?
- How do I use my divine authority? How do I respond to the divine authority of others?
- In what ways can I inspire others to be their authentic self?
- How deeply do I respect myself even when things are not going to plan?
- Does my life glorify ego or illuminate the divine?
- How well do I comfort myself in times of rejection?
If you’re familiar with your birth chart you can work with a black moon more specifically by observing where both new moons fall within it. The affairs of the house or houses in question will be of great importance during the month framed by these moons. And the house of the black moon specifically shows where in your life its themes will develop in the following two to three years. As a backdrop to this, the house in your chart ruled by the moon (that is the house with Cancer on its cusp or contained entirely within it), reveals another key area of burgeoning growth.
Furthermore, the expression of any planets within the zodiac sign in question will be both tested and amplified during the month between the two moons, revealing some of their most potent issues which will then be worked out more deeply in the ensuing two to three years.
Likewise, planets aspected by the moon as it journeys from its first point of newness to its second will be triggered and potentized by the energy of a black moon cycle. This may result in some challenging moments for sure, but within those challenges profound insights await revelation, leading to the potential for significant change.
To Sum Up..
Black moons are relatively rare but precious, events which augur the birth of a significant new life cycle. Considerably more potent than your ‘average’ new moon, this cycle is a defining one in terms of our future direction and the change it augurs in our lives.
A black moon comes in two parts: the first new moon which provides an opportunity to contemplate coming changes and make any necessary adjustments in current plans, and the actual black moon a month later, which signifies the birth of new beginnings and an important fresh start.
If we are thirsty for change in our life, eager to discard old and tired ways to make room for new life, a black moon is our unfailing ally, providing the impetus and focus to embrace and bring about effective and long-lasting change.
If, on the other hand, we fear unavoidable change, this moon holds our hand and places iron in our soul, assuring us we have what it takes to navigate difficult terrain ahead and find, in due course, more solid and fertile ground. Either way, a black moon is to be honored, respected and embraced for the bountiful gifts and opportunities it brings.
This article was originally published
About the Author
Sarah Varcas is an intuitive astrologer with a passion for applying planetary messages to the ups and downs of everyday life. In doing so she aims to support people in their personal and spiritual development, making available celestial wisdom which may otherwise be inaccessible for those without astrological expertise. Sarah has studied astrology for over thirty years alongside an eclectic spiritual path spanning Buddhism, contemplative Christianity and many other diverse teachings and practices. She also offers an online (via email) Self-Study Astrology Course. You can find out more about Sarah and her work at www.astro-awakenings.co.uk.