Note: I wrote this popular post several years ago and titled it “Living and Dying Under a Balsamic Moon”. It has been copied in part onto other sites, so you may have found a link to it under that title elsewhere on the internet. Here it is again – I have changed almost none of it since its original posting, so read and enjoy!
Each Moon Phase provides valuable insight into the Soul Plan as revealed in the Birth Chart. There is one Moon Phase, however, so dramatic in its impact that it often seems to be the major force behind the person’s entire Life Plan. Here I explore the profound experience of living and dying under a Balsamic Moon.
The Moon Influences All Life On Earth
The Moon has profound influence over life on Earth, probably in ways we don’t yet fully comprehend. We do know the great seas and oceans pulse in and out in accordance with Grandmother Moon’s rhythms, and it has been known since our earliest human origins that the Moon’s waxing and waning light shining down on Earth creates mini-seasons in life cycles for plant, animal and human life here on Earth. The Moon also apparently helps stabilize Earth’s axis, and there may be other influences we have yet to discover.
In the course of its monthly orbit (circle) of the Earth, the Moon goes through 8 distinct phases marked by how much light it is reflecting from the Sun:
New Moon, Waxing Crescent, First Quarter, Waxing Gibbous, Full Moon, Waning Gibbous, Third Quarter, Waning Crescent also called the Balsamic or Dark Moon.
Each of these 8 phases equals 45 degrees of the Moon’s orbital Circle of 360 degrees which takes just slightly less than one of our calendar months to complete.
One Moon phase lasts 2 to 3 days per month and carries within it very particular energy making it a good “season” for certain pursuits and not so good for others. Gardeners are particularly aware of these seasons in the Moon’s orbit for the planting and growing cycles.
In each lifetime, we are born during one of these 8 Moon Phases, and, like other life on Earth, we seem to be affected, however subtly, by the unique energy of our Moon Phase. It is possible, though not actually known, that we incarnate in a sequence of lifetimes corresponding to the 8 Phases of the Moon. If we are born under the Balsamic Moon Phase in this lifetime, are we going to be born under a New Moon in the next lifetime?
Even if, as many now believe, our lifetimes may be simultaneous, it is likely there is still a bio-vibrational connection through Space-Time which allows a sequence to unfold, albeit in ways we cannot quite comprehend…
In the Birth Chart the Moon Phase is identified by determining how many degrees ahead of or behind the Sun our Moon’s position is found. Some Astrology software identifies this for us, but manually we can find the Moon Phase by counting backwards or ahead of the Sun through the Signs (30 degrees per Sign) to find our Moon.
Each Moon Phase provides valuable insight into the Soul Plan as revealed in the Birth Chart. There is one Moon Phase, however, so dramatic in its impact that it often seems to be the major force behind the person’s entire Life Plan.
I am talking about the Final Phase, the last Sliver of Silver – the Balsamic Moon, associated mainly with Winter, Scorpio, and Pluto along with Capricorn and Saturn. This Moon Phase affects people who have it in their birth chart more than any other Moon Phase I have seen.
There are charts which lay out the number of degrees between Sun and Moon for each of the 8 Phases, but for our purposes here a Balsamic Moon is one that is found between 0 and 45 degrees “behind” the Sun in the Birth Chart. This makes sense, because a Balsamic Moon is the last of the 8 Phases, before the Moon merges with the Sun to become a New Moon.
A Balsamic Lifetime
This is a lifetime in which large parts of the Karmic Web are dissolving. Our task is simply to accept this with grace and pure love. The Balsamic Moon is also the Shaman’s Moon.
Those born under it will be drawn to a spiritual path at some point in their lives, for only the inspiration of Higher Mind – and the guidance of the Higher Self – can make this life of Endings into a profoundly meaningful Journey.
The Balsamic Moon is almost invisible in the predawn sky, having faded to a slim murky crescent. Each month, for about three days before the New Moon, we all live under this Balsamic “Dying” Phase of the Moon…This is when we are most in tune with the Shamanic forces in Nature and within the Human Psyche. Make special time now, with your favorite incense, to commune…
Beginnings and Endings
With the Balsamic Moon, the first thing we notice is that Endings – of relationships of all kinds in particular – seem more plentiful than Beginnings. How can this be? The answer lies in the fact that Balsamic Moon people tend not to begin new relationships so much as they inherit them. This is not the lifetime for new relationships and one often has that odd feeling, on meeting someone: “You look so interesting, but not now, not yet, I have other things to finish and I have no room for you till I do“….
Other people, though, tend to arrive as if they had never left. They seem more like family, whether friends or lovers. These are the relationships that are not, apparently, optional; these we must attend to, and there so often is a sense of drama to the meeting, and as the relationship enters one’s life.
We may “inherit” a friend from our parents, or from another friend who then disappears, leaving us with the new acquisition which may or may not have been someone you would have chosen freely. Even jobs often arrive in a similar fashion, passed to us from another. Despite the Balsamic Moon person’s chosen career or jobs, other working and training opportunities seem to simply walk in and take over.
Like hand-me-downs, these friends, family, jobs, and “opportunities” are all (usually) received with gratitude but also a faint murmur of resistance, if not resentment,not recognized sometimes for many years. We may look back and think….”if I had to do it over again, I would have found a way to close the door….”
As if it were not enough that we keep inheriting situations and people (and we eventually can see “old patterns” here), we also have a tendency to return – Returning to old jobs, old homes, old scenes, and old relationships, sometimes again and again. It takes awhile to notice that without such returns, there might have been little else to fill the gaps…The idea of Return is a powerful one, and as with so many of the mysteries in the life of the Balsamic Moon person, it yields some rich finds when excavated more thoroughly in time…
One thing we can take for granted here. There is a deeply karmic nature to these connections – the Beginnings, Endings, and Returnings. That is what makes the Balsamic Moon Phase unique – it seems designed for a Soul to work almost exclusively on tying up loose threads of old, difficult situations. I have likened this Moon Phase to the Fourth and Final Age – the Dark Kali Yuga – for it seems to off similar karmic opportunities to humanity in the midst of what can seem like Dark Times…
Sometimes karma, like fruit, has to “ripen” before it can be properly removed from the Tree and processed. Not everyone involved incarnates at the same time, for example. When we do, we grab the first opportunity to meet and exchange what we need to – and sometimes that’s about all there is. This goes completely against the social grain, for we expect to cultivate and retain relationships – indeed there is very strong social pressure to do so or be deemed neurotic.
In light of many lifetimes, however, we can at least realize that there are many threads in the fabric we cannot see – and we need to simply trust the feeling; it will usually be mutual.
Scorpio and Pluto * Mystery and Deception
Just because a situation is karmic doesn’t mean it always ends “well” – at least in our limited view. The Balsamic Moon resonates to Scorpio, which, with its ruling planet Pluto, brings mysterious, death-like processes which cannot be intellectually grasped so much as simply lived through.
With the Balsamic Moon, we do not seem to ever really know what was really going on, either during the relationship or when it ended. Motives and activities of others may well remain hidden in a variety of ways, including deception on a grand scale of which we are blissfully unaware at the time.
We may wonder for years “Whatever was going on in that situation?” only to discover through a chance conversation out of the blue, years later, and with someone only marginally involved, a missing piece of the puzzle. ( In my case a DNA test inadvertently confirmed an old story that my Dad (long passed away) was not my biological father).
When we get these pieces dropped into our lives, we ponder the Past in new light and it can been enormously illuminating. We catch a glimpse of a Beginning, a possible Future. But even with the new piece, the puzzle remains incomplete, and even with karmic insights, we will never fully see the whole puzzle in its completed form.
This is good – we begin to see we are not in charge, that we are not the creator of our lives in quite the way we may have been told or encouraged to think we are. We have to sit under the Tree, and ponder the roots, branches, and leaves of Life as a mystery in which we participate, yet are not sole Authors. So we gradually, reluctantly, learn to let go…
For with the Balsamic Moon, even when people, places and situations are gone, they remain behind as our Koans, the transformative devices in Zen Buddhism with which we wrestle intellectually and psychologically until, exhausted, a breakthrough occurs, and we rise above the opposites, outside the riddle, into a resolution which could never have been foreseen.
People, work and living environments remain unsettled and unsettling elements of our life Story until these magic moments, often years later, when we really can, unexpectedly, see forever.
Under the Balsamic Moon, our Life is designed to ensure that we get all that there is to learn, one last sip from the Cup, before it, and its special content, are laid aside forever. There is that feeling, so often, that one must make one last effort in the old relationship or situation. If we do, though, the outcome will seldom be success by any formulation; yet it seems hard, if not impossible, to shut the door on this person, or this job offer, on this old familiar landmark of one’s life, despite the previous disappointments from this quarter.
Gone With the Wind
Finally, though, there will come a time when leaving, or closing that door will seem like the right thing, and the only thing, to do. That may even turn out to be the real lesson – that it is okay to leave, to turn away, to turn down. Is that what the Shaman must learn – that we do not and cannot have the control so many deem the mark of material, psychological and spiritual success?
This would explain why the letting go of such fated entanglements is so very necessary, and so very hard. It feels like Death, and indeed, on many occasions, the person will actually die or the workplace will dissolve and close. A nation-state may end, one’s wealth may evaporate. As in the classic movie – its subtitle was “A civilization, gone with the wind“…In these experiences, it feels as if a part of the Self has died, and there is an inner distress, a scramble to hold one’s Center, and then to see if one can rebuild from the parts that are left.
And all this seems inevitable, like the leaves falling from the trees in late October, like the great snows sheltering the land till the first faint breezes of Spring.
Yet there is another inevitability there to be sensed. Under a Balsamic Moon, we are creating our Future, and catch glimpses of it when we are in the Faerie, or fey moods which border on inspiration but also deep despair.
In our meditations, so necessary in a Balsamic Moon lifetime, we may often be “given” to see how pieces fit, how they are shaping us, and shaping another lifetime….We are rewarded, it seems, for keeping faith and working away at our lessons, for with time, we learn to see as we are meant to see under this Moon.
We must not be disappointed or feel like failures if we don’t seem able to get large new projects off the ground, or keep them afloat once we do. No energy is ever lost – all that work will fit nicely into new currents in other lifetimes. Or it may, in this lifetime, be carefully siphoned off, assigned to other “accounts” – of which we remain blissfully unaware – into which we need make payment….
For now, though, we surrender to what is here, in front of us, sitting at the Window watching the River roll on, going home to the Sea, carrying so many things from our lives. The River knows its destiny – what is leaving our lives is ready to leave.
When the River has gone, We will remain.
When those relationships and situations have disappeared from view, something new, which already feels very Old, will replace them, for a little while again.
To Every Thing There is a Season…Including Death
In a strange, haunting way, the Balsamic Moon prepares us, through many small deaths, for the Death we tend to fear, of the physical body and the familiar world around us.
The Balsamic Moon brings many gifts, Chief among these is the deepening of our perceptions, as we go through such deep Plutonic relationships, intense, short, and characterized by often strange or excruciating endings. We ponder the true meaning of Life in those times; we understand more and more that there are indeed Seasons, and among these is Winter.
It is a lifetime to develop patience, tolerance, faith, and love in the face of losses, and situations which could leave one feeling lost, without a Life Plan, left with mysteries and disillusionment. It is in coping with these that one grows strong, and at last, achieves an inner peace that is without price.
When we experience deaths under a Balsamic Moon, we are offered an entire lifetime of opportunity to come to terms with “letting go” and surrendering in absolute trust and openness to the Flow. Gradually, we get it, that control is not something we actually have, and more importantly, it is not something we need.
When it is time to leave the body, the person born under a Balsamic Moon will have had many rehearsals with Death and its mysterious purposes. We will have had many opportunities to make our peace in and with many Endings. Part of this is releasing those who leave our lives with blessings, holding them close to us in forgiveness and love, giving them all the space they apparently need. We too have needed the space, though we so often did not know why…
The Balsamic Moon teaches us that relationships are for learning, not for owning.
The Balsamic Moon can thus be understood also as the Shaman’s Moon. Those born under it will be drawn to a spiritual path early in life, for only the life of Mind and Spirit can make this life of Endings into a profoundly meaningful Journey.
Only through truly Shamanic healing can such individuals penetrate the depths of their own psyche, and surface with the strength to live another day. In the magically reflective Mirror of the Balsamic Moon, we see at last what is real. In our solitary reflections, we gradually transform in ways we could not have set out to orchestrate ourselves.
And though it can be a lonely lifetime, the Balsamic Moon fits well with the natural (and enforced) solitude of the Shaman. Despite its hardships, the Path under this Moon is the one the Shaman must travel, and this truth makes itself known very early in his or her life. It is possible that under a Balsamic Moon, one will revisits, remember, relive other lives as a Shaman, in Far Memory, so that this is a time of the Transitional Shaman, suspended between ancient and modern, Eastern and Western, Indigenous and Essential forms of Shamanism.
The Shaman encounters Death in all forms. Yet, in surrendering to Death, we surrender also to Life, and this seems, in the end, to be the secret Beginning.
© Carol Leigh Rice 2015 and 2016 and 2021.
Note: Parts of this post have been copy/pasted into other posts or articles on the internet, despite the above copyrights. Please consult with me before doing this, or at least ensure that you attribute the material to Carol Leigh Rice, the author.