Shine On, Silver Moon

Photo by Alfredo J G A Borba – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58447865

Have you ever simply stared at the moon as she rose? The moon is magnificent when full and near the horizon. She looks larger. Often, her color is more pronounced. She commands our attention, and she gets it. When you find yourself in a place where there is little light contamination and the moon is full, you can walk easily without fearing you’ll make a misstep. You see shadows from the light it reflects from the sun. In the city, it is difficult to see how much light the moon provides for us, but step into a place where people aren’t lighting up the sky and you will be awed by the moon’s power.

One of the things we enjoy in our majickal life is the rhythm of the moon. Most pagans hold full moon rituals of some kind. Others hold new moon rituals, and still others do both. But what is so important about the moon that we would take the time to stop and do a ritual in her honor?

Since humans looked up into the sky, the movement of the moon has fascinated them. Like the sun, it gives light. As with the sun, its movement is regular and predictable. The moon takes about 27 ½ days to orbit around the earth, but the time between new moons (when the sky is dark) is about 29 days. While the sun projects light, making it a masculine force, the moon reflects light, making it a feminine force. Despite what you may have heard about the “man in the moon,” pagans know the moon as She. Some goddesses associated with the moon are Diana and Luna (Roman), Artemis, Hecate, and Selene (Greek), Cerridwen (Celtic), Chang’e (Chinese), Coyolxauhqui (Aztec), Hekate/Hecate (Greek), and Sina (Polynesian).

The moon affects us in many ways. She exerts a tug on us. Many people find it difficult to sleep when there is a full moon, even with blackout curtains. For others, the dark or new moon exerts a pull on their senses. But the regularity of her appearance, and her relationship to our bodies, particularly women’s bodies, makes her an important part of our lives.

Many things are calculated by the moon. Easter, for example, is celebrated on the Sunday that occurs on or after the first full moon after Spring Equinox. Its date moves because the moon cycles don’t directly correspond to the way we have split up the months. Planting and harvesting are often completed according to the cycles of the moon, and many societies before the current era counted time in terms of lunar, not solar cycles.

Did you know that each moon has a name? A blue moon, for example, is one that is the second full moon in a month, and a black moon references the rare occurrence when February has no full moon at all. Other moons are named according to the month in which they occur, and the type of moon affects the kind of ritual pagans choose to do. Moons that occur in the spring are our favorites: April’s Pink Moon, May’s Flower Moon, and June’s Strawberry moon.

Different phases mark the changing of the moon. This image at NASA demonstrates how the moon goes to full and back to dark. It’s interesting that while many languages read from left to right, the moon goes from dark to full by filling in from right to left. Perhaps that’s another thing that makes the moon so fascinating for us.

Pagans group the phases together as Dark Moon, Waxing Crescent, First Quarter (when there’s a half-moon showing), Waxing Gibbous, Full Moon, Waning Gibbous, Last Quarter (another half-moon on the opposite side), and Waning Crescent. At Awen’s Cauldron, we do our majick based on the phase of the moon. We find the power of the full moon to be best in charging the bath salts, tea, and other items included in our ritual boxes.

On this day, Tuesday, August 6, 2019, the moon is in her Waxing Crescent phase, growing toward full. This is a good time to do majick that calls on something to increase. If you want to lose weight, for example, you’d cast a spell to increase your willpower. But if you want to decrease your appetite, the Waning Moon would be better as spells cast during a waning moon are better centered on pushing things away. The New Moon is a good time to set intentions for yourself, while the Full Moon is a time to see how those intentions have borne fruit. Although some pagans avoid majickal workings at the Dark Moon, it can be a powerful time. Some say that the Dark Moon is when She is showing her true face to us, without reflecting another’s light, so it is a good time for introspection and reflection, focusing on one’s own needs and thinking ahead.

There’s no one way to celebrate the phases of the moon. But if you want to start living a majickal life, the simplest way to do it is to mark the phases of the moon. Get a calendar that shows when each phase is. When the moon is visible, take some time to step outside and be with her. You will feel the majick in the air, beckoning you to join. Look upon her and be at peace.

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