A Witch's Guide to the Moon
The moon. Every witch keeps it in conscience. Nearly every religion seems to have something to say about it. In science, history, religion, even in architecture, the moon has come to show its importance and status. Babylonian astronomers in the 5th century BC recorded a lunar cycle, and back in 4th century BC, Chinese Astronomer Shi Shen created a guide regarding the prediction of lunar eclipses. Civilizations like the Han Dynasty thought the moon to be a driving force, while many Native American tribes associated it with female divinity. So, with all this in mind, how can we use and understand the positioning of the moon to better our witchcraft today?
First, we have to understand a lunation. A lunation is a roughly 30 day cycle, from new moon to new moon. The word moon actually comes from the word month. Ancestors used and understood the moon phases to tell time. Each phase lasts a few days to the naked eye, though the moon is really only in each phase for a brief second. It appears the moon stays in a certain phase due to the time buffer in which we on earth see the light. The New Moon represents the start of a new cycle.
So, exactly what does each cycle mean, and how does it correspond with the craft?
New Moon - The new moon is a time of new beginnings. The Sun and Moon are aligned, leaving the moon dark and invisible to our eyes on earth. It will also rise and set around the same time as the sun. It is a time to start new projects, jobs, friendships, and to seek new intentions. Starting a diet, trying to kick an old habit, or redecorating will all be made easier by the energy given by the New Moon. Wishing upon a New Moon is also a good way to bring in some luck.
Waxing Crescent - Also known as the ‘young moon,’ the crescent begins the move towards a full moon. A small, sliver shaped section of the moon is illuminated. Plans or goals that were made during the New Moon can be solidified and worked towards, and often clarified.
First Quarter - The first quarter moon is a small pause from the motivation and working to balance oneself out and discover possible mistakes and holes in plans and ideas we had made. Now is a time to focus and fine tune little things in your life. Meditation and introspective journeys are at hand.
Waxing Gibbous - Also known as the three quarter moon, the waxing gibbous is ¼ away from becoming the anticipated full moon. Spells for success and goal reaching work best, especially in relation to the project you’ve been working on. Think about positive spaces and constructive magic–bringing in money, romance, etc. If your project so far has failed, the Gibbous will help recharge it.
FULL MOON - The full moon. Esbat. Regarded highly as the best and most effective time to cast spells, lore and tales have surrounded the mysterious full moon for centuries. It is a time of heightened psychic awareness, in which everything comes together, including family, friends, plans, and ideas. In Wicca, the full moon is the mother’s moon, and in folklore, the full moon represents divine female power. Divining is especially powerful during a full moon. It is a perfect time to make Moon Water and to perform any exciting or lengthy spells you’ve been working on.
Waning Gibbous - As the waning begins, so does the shedding of old or toxic things in your life. Removing bad habits, curing illnesses, quitting bad jobs, ending addiction, or even breaking off relationships can be planned or started. This is also the time of the goddess Demeter.
Last Quarter - Continue banishing work here, especially focused on your emotions and negativity. Remember things you want to improve and save them for the upcoming new moon, but for now, simply make room for them.
Waning Crescent - The final waning phase before the start of a new cycle, now is a time to confront head on what is causing chaos in your life. A little hexing here and then, if such practice coheres with your beliefs, might just work out during this moon phase.
Lunar Deities: Phoebe, Artemis, Selene, Hecate, Chang'e, Sin, Mani, Tsukuyomi, Ibis, Chonsu, Thoth, Set, Chia, Wadd, Elatha, Luna, Nepthys,
The Moon Tarot
The moon tarot invokes the unconscious, introspect, and discovery. The face of the moon is half seen, symbolizing pregnancy and the mystery of the soul. The rays of light represent creation and power, and are a vital symbol of life. The animals, perhaps a wolf or dog, sit opposite of a river, mouths lifting to howl at the moon. This can represent the cutting of ties with someone close, and is especially poignant in the idea of hiding or forgetting ones ancestry. A crustacean sits in blue water at height of a pond, symbolizing hidden emotions and sensitivity. The water flowing towards the moon along with the crustacean and dogs rising towards it can be seen as a unity of self. The water at the bottom, where the crustacean sits, is drawn in by the moon, evoking female cycles, as well as passage from life to death and vice versa.
This will most likely be updated and added to, but for now, here this is! I hope this can help somebody out.