How do the moon phases work? From the vantage point of Earth we see the near side of the moon caused by locked rotation. The only way we see the far side of the moon is when we send satellites to orbit the moon. The moon does not shine, but it reflects light. When the sun shines on the far side of the moon only, that is when we do not see the moon. This is the dark moon. When the sun shines on the near side of the moon fully, that is the full moon. The rest of the phases occur in between the dark moon and the full moon and the full moon and the dark moon. See diagram below.
We have different types of full moons. Blue moons are two full moons in one given month. There are 29.5 days from full moon to full moon. Therefore each full moon of a blue moon would occur at the beginning of the month and occur again at the end of the month. These blue moons are rare occurring on average once every 2.5 years. The next blue moon is on August 31, 2023. The blue moon has a great amount of energy to work with, so do not miss out! This one also happens to be a super moon which has tremendous energy! A super moon is a full moon that appears to be larger than most other full moons due to its close orbit to Earth. A micro moon is the full moon which has its orbit further from the Earth than most full moons. The next micro moon is February 24, 2024. A lunar eclipse is the Earth’s shadow on the moon blocking it out partially or totally. A lunar eclipse can only happen on a full moon and is not seen the same in different places around the world.
A discussion of the phases of the moon often starts with the waxing moon. This includes the waxing crescent, first quarter moon and the waxing gibbous phases. These phases are associated with the Maiden. In terms of magick, think about things to bring into your life. Some examples are health, wellbeing, love, prosperity, promotion and fertility. Like the moon is growing these are about growth and attraction.
During the phase of the full moon it is good to think about culmination and manifestation. This may be the time when rewards of magick are reaped. This phase is associated with the Mother. This is a wonderful time for a ritual of drawing down the moon. This is a form of trance magick. Here are some basics: Ground and center. Gently gaze at the moon. You will know if it is working if you lose a sense of time. This is a way to get deep into your subconscious and is excellent for when you get stuck and need to solve a problem. Some things you can do to celebrate the moon are to take a walk in the moonlight, dance, journal, express gratitude, meditate, write a letter and burn it, set intentions, clean your space and take a ritual bath.
The waning moon includes the waning gibbous, third quarter moon, and the waning crescent phases. This phase is associated with the Crone. In terms of magick think about release of that which does not sever you well. Some examples are walking away from a relationship, kicking a bad habit, quitting an addiction and overcoming fear. It is also a good time for a cord cutting. To perform a cord cutting, you need two objects: one representing yourself and one representing what you are separating yourself from, which is often a person or a thing. The two objects may be candles, a white one representing yourself and a black one representing the person or thing from which you is being separated. Tie each end of the cord or string to an object. The big moment is when you cut or burn the cord. Do not analyze the remains to figure it out if it worked. Rather bury or burn them. The key to this working is not to look back after cutting the cord. On the day of this post the moon is a waning crescent.
Then we have the dark moon which usually lasts about three days. This is mostly considered to be a time for taking stock, reflection, and setting intentions. Do some self care and have some alone time. It is still a good time to kick something out of your life. This phase offers you a clean slate on which to reset your intentions. After this, we go back to the waxing crescent phase.
Keep a journal of the moon’s phases and how they affect your life. First note what the phase is. How are you feeling? What was your day like? What went well and not so well? What events are happening around you? Not all people react to the same moon phase similarly. One thing you might do that would shed some light on how you feel on a certain moon phase is to look up the moon phase under which you were born.
Doing moon magic is similar to doing other magic. Think about where, how to keep comfortable and your state of mind. For working with the moon a tool you may want to have handy is a mirror in which to look at the moon.
Where do you do ritual and magick with the moon? Outside on a clear night under the moon is ideal. Choose a place you can see it well at the time you are going to do ritual and magick. Get a moon app that tells what phase it in and when. It should also tell you when it rises, culminates and sets. I find it to be very helpful in planning when to do ritual and magick. But what if it is cloudy, raining, snowing or too cold to be comfortable outside? Or what if you live in the city, cannot see the moon because of the buildings or there are prying eyes or safety concerns? A decision needs to be made whether to take the ritual or magick indoors. Due to comfort which is needed for ritual and magick, this may be the best thing to do. Pick a place near a window where you can see the moon if possible and do the magick or ritual there. If you cannot see the moon from the window, use a picture or a representation of the moon on which to focus. This can work indoors or outdoors if you simply cannot see the moon. Can the magic be as powerful when you cannot see the moon? Yes, it can. Remember that the tides still occur if it is cloudy, and that the moon even unseen is powerful. Remember also that the magick happens through you.
What more needs to be said about comfort? If you are too hot or too cold it is hard to concentrate on magic or ritual. If it is a warm day, that velvety robe that looks so magnificent may not be a good option. Think about your digestive system and comfort. Do not eat right before doing magick or a ritual. But if you need to, eat light. This is nothing mystical. It is common sense.
You should have a good state of mind before performing a moon ritual or magick. A ritual bath and a meditation can do wonders. If this is a full moon, consider making moon water. Simply get a chalice, bottle or jar and put fresh water in it. Do not use plastic. Use glass, silver or ceramic ware. Put a piece of aquamarine in it, and set it in the moonlight for a couple of hours. This can be used as part of the bath water for a ritual bath, to anoint yourself or a tincture to drink. This should help put you in a proper frame of mind for a ritual or doing magick.
Honor things that happen monthly such as a paycheck or your menstrual cycle. During your menstrual cycle make time for yourself and to remember that your body is preparing for a sacred event. You are not unclean. Collect this sacred blood and give it as an offering to it to the Earth or a body of water in a special ritual. Allow yourself to bleed freely on to the Earth. This is a time to wear red not to hide it but to as a special way to honor what is sacred about you. This is a great time to go inward and reflect. Cry, feel and release. This is your sacred time.
Enjoy doing magick and ritual with the moon!
I will continue to post on Wednesdays.
Demarco, Stacy, The Enchanted Moon, Rockpool Publishing, 2021.
D. J. Conway, Moon Magick, Llewellyn, 1995.