Book review

Moon Tides, Soul Passages, by Maria Kay Simms

Many astrology books are published that explain various transits, progressions or natal aspects. Few of them come with their own program to help you calculate exactly when these aspects occur. Moon Tides, Soul Passages is one such book. It comes with its own CD, compatible with either Windows-based systems (Windows 95 and above), or for Power Macs that have Virtual PC installed.

The program itself is very simple. Enter your birth data and a starting date for the forecast, and it lists all dates for your progressed moon phases. If you're looking for a complete astrology program, this isn't it. It won't tell you your rising sign, and won't print your natal chart. But for serious astrologers who are interested in studying their own moon phases, or who want to enhance their consultations by including interpretations of lunar progressions in their readings, it is invaluable. The time you save calculating progressed moon phases is worth the price of the book. Not only that, but the program also displays the exact date and time for each of the eight yearly sabbats in your time zone.

A progression is calculated according to the premise that one day equals one year. Progressed planets at age 30, for example, are calculated for 30 days after the birth date. So, if you were born with the moon in Aries and it entered Taurus two days later, then at age two (roughly), your progressed moon is in Taurus. If you were born at 15 degrees Scorpio, then at age 15 your sun sign has progressed into Sagittarius. Progressions show how we gradually grow, learn, and change over time. Natal influences form the foundation of who we are, but few people remain static their entire lives. The person born with moon in Aries, for example, has a natural tendency toward impulsiveness. As they grow, however, they learn to rein in their natural impulsive tendencies. Although our natal chart defines our basic behavior, we always have the choice whether or not we want to express it.

This book focuses strictly on the moon's movement in our life. Aside from the sun, the moon is the most visible heavenly body. Beginners start learning astrology by reading about sun signs, but the moon, which governs our emotional life, childhood memories, and subconscious and unconscious drives, is an equally important influence in our lives.

The premise of this book centers on the phases of the moon, and how they influence our lives. It defines personalities according to the phase of the moon you were born in, and explains how our own progressed lunar phases influence the events in our lives and the choices we are faced with. The person born at the new moon, for example, has a different approach to life than the person born at a full moon. The complete lunar cycle encompasses eight phases, similar to the eight annual sabbats of the year. From new to full is one half of the cycle, and from full to new is the second half. Cut each of these halves in two, and you get the quarter moons. Less familiar to us are the one-eighth phases. The balsamic moon, for example, represents the last few days before the new moon. This phase of the moon is a time for weeding, and generally for finishing things. People born during a balsamic phase tend to be more introspective, and are typically more in tune with unseen forces than those born at the new moon, or between the new and full.

Progressed moon phases are also important, and Simms explains these as well. When your progressed moon is full, for example, "something in your life that has been building over the years comes to a point of culmination that you can see and define." She provides examples from lives of notable personalities. During President Clinton's progressed full moon phase, he was faced with the public scandal over his affair with Monica Lewinski. Ronald Reagan was elected President during his progressed full moon phase. Senator John Kerry announced his candidacy for President one month after entering his progressed full moon phase.

There is a wealth of information in Moon Tides, Soul Passages. Not only does Simms explain natal and progressed moon cycles, she delves into eclipses, transits (the current daily movement of the moon), and prenatal lunar cycles. She recounts various life stories to provide examples of lunar cycles, and even offers sample rituals for the lunar phases, eclipses, and for other purposes.

Run the program on your own birth data, and print out the information. With the list of your lunar phases in one hand and Simms' book in the other, look at your life and see how the patterns of the moon's movement has manifested. Then, look to the future to see when the next cycles begin, and what the possibilities are. It's a reference book to read and reread.

Moon Tides, Soul Passages
By Maria Kay Simms
With software by Rique Pottenger
Starcrafts Publishing, Kensington, NH, 2004
ISBN: 0-9762422-0-6