Lunar Cycle Dramatic Structure: Aries New Moon
Complete with writing prompt!
How is a raven like a writing desk?
But one thing I do know: lunar cycles–as well as planetary cycles as a whole–are a heck of lot like a well-structured novel or film.
Bear with me now.
Here are the steps of the “dramatic arc” (thanks, Wikipedia!):
Exposition (i.e. establishing setting, characters, etc.)
Rising action (includes an inciting incident that kicks off the action)
Catastrophe, denouement, resolution or relevation
Although this structure was created to analyze plays, it is also most definitely used in novels, at least those that are more plot driven (I mostly read literary fiction and, call me old-fashioned if you will, but I think novels should always have at least some plot, otherwise…snore).
Here’s an example of this arc in action with the fairytale Cinderella:
Exposition: Cinderella lives with her father and evil stepmother in a well-to-do household. Her two stepsisters are petty, plain and cruel and they are jealous of Cinderella’s beauty and kind manner. The stepmother makes her work as a scullery maid and her wimpy dad does nothing to stop this.
Rising action: (inciting incident) The prince invites all eligible young ladies to a ball, but the evil stepmother refuses to let Cinderella go. Oh, the despair! But wait–a fairy godmother (or little white bird and tree in the original version) come and provides a dress and transforms a pumpkin, mice and rats into a coach, horses and footmen. Cinderella can go to the ball!
Climax: The ball! Who is this mysterious princess that has captured the heart of prince? Even her stepsisters do not recognize her. But at the stroke of midnight, the spell wears off. Cinderella flees, leaving a crystal slipper behind.
Falling action: Cinderella goes back to being a scullery maid as though nothing has changed and the prince searches the kingdom for his beloved with the shoe she left behind. The Disney version speeds things up to the happily ever after rather quickly at this point, but in the Grimm’s original the step sisters try to cheat by cutting off parts of their foot so that the slipper will fit, but the bird warns the prince both times that blood is seeping out of the shoes. Very grim indeed!
Resolution: The prince finds Cinderella, the slipper fits perfectly, they live happily ever after. In the original story, the bird also pecks out the eyes of the evil stepsisters at the wedding, because forgiveness is for chumps, of course.
So what about lunar cycles?
Lunar cycles (and planetary cycles in general, like the Sun Venus cycle that just restarted at the end of last month) follow a remarkable similar arc:
At the New Moon, the scene is set/seeds are planted. What kind of energy are we dealing with, what characters (i.e. planets) come into play, what kind of atmosphere and tension is already built in (i.e. signs, aspects, etc.)?
Waxing=rising action. This comes in three steps:
The Crescent Moon, Quarter Moon, Waxing Gibbous.
Full Moon=Climax and culmination. Whatever was set in motion during the New Moon now reaches it peak.
Waning=falling action. This comes in three steps, with the final being the resolution:
Waning Gibbous, Last Quarter Moon, Balsamic/Dark Moon.
In this post, I compared the lunar cycle to a tree, which also works, but this dramatic arc is very dear to my writer’s heart.
Besides, Mercury in Aries and Mars in Gemini are in mutual reception right now, which means this is a great time to get a lot of writing done.
Therefore, I thought it would be fun to use this lunar cycle as a writing prompt!
New Moon Writing Prompt
Here are the details about the New Moon in Aries, which will take place on April 11 or 12 (depending on your location), 2021:
Sun conjunct Moon in Aries
Moon conjunct Venus in Aries
Moon sextile Jupiter in Aquarius
Moon square Pluto
Mercury in Aries in mutual reception with Mars in Gemini
Bonus: a whiff of the Uranus square Saturn energy when the moon moves into Taurus later in the day
To find out what all of this means from an astrological viewpoint, then listen to the podcast.
As for the writing prompt, this New Moon is the exposition (scene/character setting).
Here’s my summary for what you have to work with here:
The main character is an assertive, action-oriented person (Aries) who is direct in speech and does not shy from conflict (Mercury in Aries), in fact, they relish in debate and heated discussions, whether verbal or written (Mercury in Aries in mutual reception with Mars in Gemini).
They come from an environment that is supportive to their nature (so many Aries planets, sextile with Jupiter) and may be concerned with topics such as feminism, social justice, spiritual truth, etc. (Venus and Jupiter).
Possible additional characters:
They may have a female lover/friend/partner who is very much on the same page with them and has a similar attitude towards assertiveness in relationships and/or action and boldness in the arts (Moon conjunct Venus in Aries)
The same may be true about a father, boss or influential figure they are close to (Moon conjunct Sun in Aries)
They may have a teacher who inspires them with ideas and idealism about justice, philosophy, higher learning or the law and how these may be restructured and analyzed (Jupiter in Aquarius in an overcoming sextile to Moon in Aries).
They may be facing some sort of external or internal power struggle which has a rather dark and foreboding (or underworld) feel to it (Moon square Pluto), but this is not yet at the forefront and/or they may not be fully aware of it yet.
Some sort of (emotional) call towards revolution/anarchy/rebellion/radical change against authority and structure may be on the horizon (Uranus square Saturn aspect being activated when the moon moves into Taurus).
If you’re feeling it, then get started!
Whew. That’s quite an energetic potential exposition for sure.
Sit with it, do some free writing and see where it takes you and what character(s) emerge.
I’ll be back next week with the crescent moon to bring in the flavor of the rising action (=waxing moon).