One thing you probably know about Witches – we work our magic by the light of the moon! In fact it may be something which drew you to the craft in the first place. But you might also be wondering how exactly you align your magic with the phases of the moon. Let me guide you through the maze of the magic of the moon!
1. Observe The Moon
The simplest witchcraft rituals are often the best. Just looking at the moon is a magical act and a divine communication in and of itself.
It doesn’t need to be complicated – just go outside and look! Gaze gently, see every shadow and every line. See how the light diffuses around it. See how it illuminates the world and the night sky. Just watch without expectation or assumption about what might happen. Breath deeply and enjoy!
Why is the Moon important in Magic?
The Moon’s gravitational pull controls the tides of the oceans – and you can see with your own eyes the power and the magnatude of those waves crashing upon the shore. It also effects the energies of the land. The serpent energies rise with the growing moon and wane back again as it recedes. The plants ebb and flow their powers from roots to leaves with the phases of the moon.
But it also controls the tides within us. The power it exerts on us is more subtle but just as powerful if you learn who to ride the tides.
As the moon travels around the earth it shows to us just a small part of itself at any given time. A small amount illuminated by the light of the moon. A reflection of one of its aspects. And each aspect highlights a slightly different magical energy within the witch. Learning to recognise these energies is the first step in working moon magic.
Even just being aware of the lunar cycle is a magical act. In fact one of the very first exercises I recommend to new witches is to go outside every night and track the moon. Just 5 to 10 minutes is all you need to commit to this. Just stand outside and look up. See how easy witchcraft is?
It is important to know not just what phase it is, or what the best type of magic during that phase is, but also how it ACTUALLY feels. And by that I mean how it feels to YOU. So the second part of that exercise is to write in a journal how you feel. What emotions have been prevalent that day. And how you feel when you just gaze up at the moon.
Watching the moon is better than any app. Better than any almanac or dates added to a diary. These give you knowledge but not the power. Standing beneath the moon every night for a whole lunar cycle will do something for you that I cannot explain. It will align you to one of the most powerful sources of energy available to a witch.
And whilst it may seem difficult to know which exact phase its in then there are clues. The shape of the moon. The Direction the Horns point. The times its visible – they all go together to build up a picture. I’ve added these clues to the quick run through of phases below.
The first phase of the Moon is the New Moon. It starts at moment the moon begins to grow – to wax. Of course the moon isn’t actually growing – but to us on earth it appears to grow. The amount of light which it reflects and directs towards us is increasing.
Another definition of the New Moon is the moment at which the moon becomes visible in the sky again. This is slightly later, but is possible to note without recourse to almanacs or online apps which I think is important when you are first beginning witchcraft. Start simple. Get fancy later!
As the beginning of the cycle it is good for magic which is concerned with beginning things. New projects. New phases in your life. New Starts. Its also a great time for magic to help you see things afresh, from a new perspective. It brings clarity and focus of thought. As the tiny silver of light appears, so concentrated on a tiny point, so your thoughts can be trained into that razor sharp focus.
When you plant the seeds of change at the New Moon they will grow and manifest through the lunar cycle – and indeed a lovely way to mark the new moon to plant actual seeds as part of your spell work.
If you are interested in moon gardening then this is the time when the waters are low in plants too. The power concentrated in the roots. So as well as planting seeds,gathering roots at this time for use in herbal preparations is very potent.
The first phase of the increasing moon. During this week less than half the moon is lit – and in the Northern Hemisphere it grows from right to left. Meaning the horns of the crescent point left. (For the southern hemisphere flip this!)
During this phase the moon rises in the day, around lunchtime, and so it sets early in the evening too. You probably won’t see the moon if you are looking for it in the early hours of the morning. A mistake many new withes make is to go outside about midnight and wonder where on earth the moon is! The easiest time to see it is shortly after it gets dark.
Pro-witch tip: An easy way to tell the moon phase is the time of day you see the moon in the sky whilst it is still light. If its in the afternoon it’s a waxing moon!
Like the new moon which kicks off this phase the Waxing Crescent is perfect for magic to beginning things, to nurture new ventures to give them a strong start. A spell started at new moon can be boosted during this time and encouraged to start growing strong roots.
The second week of the lunar cycle is called the Waxing Gibbous Moon. It starts as the light passes the perfect semi circle stage and lasts until the Full Moon. The Moon is still growing in the amount of light it reflects and you should start to easily feel the building of energy.
As it continues growing right to left the horns of the cresent disapears. It starts to set later each night – so you will start to see it in the sky after midnight during this phase.
This phase is for magic really focused on growth – for giving a boost to projects that might have stalled a little, or to push projects that are almost complete up that final hill. Whenever you need a spurt of generative energy this is the phase to go for. For more advance project planning you could even plan this phase into your timeline knowing the universe will provide you will a little boost to get over the final hurdle!
Ah now we get to the bit you KNEW was really magical!
This phase of the moon is the easiest one to recognise – a full bright silvery circle of light! But judging the exact moment of fullness by eye alone isn’t easy. For this reason most witches utilise a 3 day window around the exact point to work their magic
The moment of fullness may also not be at night! The full moon in August will be just after lunch. So timing your rituals becomes a matter of personal compromise. You have to decide what matters most to you – being as close as possible to the astrological moment of fullness, or the energies and atmosphere of working at night? Personally I cant get into the mood to do any moon rituals when it is still light! So midnight is always the time I choose. The night directly before if possible before the tipping point into the next phase.
At this point in the lunar cycle the moon is generally visable from sunset until the following dawn. So visible all night. Perfect for illuminating all that outdoor dancing!
Which is why this is the most common time for witching! It’s the time that really pulls on us. The height of the moon tide – and indeed the ocean tides which the moon controls. As they rise so do the waters within us. It pulses and the energy is unmistakeable once you have experienced it.
Its traditionally a time for celebrating the Divine – commonly in pagan circles this is often the Goddess as the moon is seen as female. However in traditional craft many see the moon as Male. Its something you have to decide for yourself. But years of conditioning from the mainstream can make it difficult to really perceive for yourself.
You can do just about any magic at this point – anything which requires a serious punch of energy! It’s a great time to bring things to fruition – either long term projects or the things you began at the new moon. Dream work is also powerful at this time so get your journals out.
Also a good time to consecrate your tools. You can charge tools that you want charging with moon energy. But think carefully on this. It adds MOON energy – and not everything needs that kind of energy. (For example I don’t really understand the craze for charging all your cystals at the Full Moon. They are surely the very opitimy of earthly energy……)
If you are moon gardening, with the high tides of water and sprowl, the leaves and flowers of plants are the best to gather in at this time.
And finally, many witches report an increase in sex drive at the full moon! So if your partner (if you have one) is doubtful of the benefits of your path here’s your chance to influence them to positive ways of thinking!!!!
For ideas for celebrating the full moon check out this post, 10 ways to Celebrate the Full Moon.
As soon as the full moon begins to wane, or to begin its apparently reduction in size, the wanning gibbous phase begins. During this period you won’t see it in the sky until late – probably after midnight. But you may see it in the sky after sunrise. So the moon in morning sky means its waning!
The light reduces from right to left and the moon continues its journey around the earth.
Our magic turns to reduction, decreasing and removal. If you have something to let go of now is the time to start lessening its grip on your life. To begin the process of saying goodbye.
It’s a good time for slow removals – of things which take time, or you need time to adjust to. Or things which take longer – you give them a first shove now, and build up the pushing action as the cycle progresses.
The final quarter of the cycle – about week 4. Sometimes in traditional craft the Waning Crecent is known as the old moon. The horns of the crescent start to appear again. This time pointing towards the right. (You know, whenever I talk about the horns of the moon I start to feel a little bit more of that masculine moon energy…)
The energy builds again during this phase of the moon – but it is very different from the energy whilst built in the second half of the waxing phase. It is becoming more internal. The feel it in your gut type of energy. The energies start to concentrate within you, pushing inwards instead of outwards.
Things to focus on – spirit communication, work with ancestors, endings that need to be slightly quicker (including banishing) and magic really focused on removal. Either the final effort needed. Or a a single huge big shove out of your life!
This is the phase of the moon when the moon is not visible in the Sky. It reflects no light. For me this is the moon uncovered. No longer reflecting the light of the sun, it is entirely lunar energy.
When the moon is dark, we see what is behind. The lack of light reveals as much as the full moons light illuminates – for me this is truely the time of the Wild Lord of the Forest.
Often you will be advised not to do much magic during this phase of the moon. I don’t entirely agree, its a good time for protection magic or even for cursing. After all we are operating under a cloak of darkness, which is exactly what you need to place your wards and take action you don’t want to be seen.
The concentrated internal energies of the Dark Moon, and the lack of light focused upon you make it the perfect time for shadow work. I also use it for spirit travel, for crossing the hedge out of this world. But generally it is a time for physical rest and withdrawl from the outside world.
Thats a lot of information to take in all at once! I urge you to try the exercise I mentioned at the beginning of the article and commit to going outside every night and look at the moon through every phase of the cycle. Each week re read the descriptions of the phase, but importantly write down how you are feeling. If you find they don’t match then trust your instincts. Dig deeper to see why you feel differently.
You can repeat this every month and you will powerfully align with the magic of the moon, putting you on the fast track to doing some very highly charged moon magic. Enjoy!
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