Updated: Feb 12, 2020
Author: Michael Erwin
We wanted to share some very simple ways to work with the moon- using waning, waxing, new and full moon phases, as well as traditional monthly full moons, for creating important changes in our life. Please understand that my personal way of working with the moon may differ from others, it is shared here simply for the purpose of bringing inspiration to you and your personal practice. If another way works better for you, that is great. If this method is helpful that’s great too. There is no right or wrong way to work with the moon. All we can do as modern practitioners is to see what others have had success with, follow in their footsteps and see how it works. Your experience will deepen greatly when you begin to bring in your own ideas and practices- this will help with your spiritual growth and connect you to celestial bodies in a more meaningful way.
Here’s a very simple breakdown of moon phases and their uses:
The waning (shrinking) moon is for banishing or releasing anything that hinders us.
The dark (or new) moon is useful for quite contemplation and meditation; digging out past traumas and gaining insight to the darker aspects of our psyche.
When the moon is waxing (growing) it’s time to set new projects in motion and to back them up in the physical realm as much as possible.
The full moon is useful for charging our tools and for us to pay respect for the blessings and helpers, both earth-bound and spiritual.
Let’s take a closer look at the phases of the moon for magical purposes:
The Waning Gibbous (Disseminating) Moon - Drawing Out
The Waning Gibbous Moon is visible in the early morning. The Moon begins to wane the light is fading each night, and energies and thoughts turn inwards. This is a good time to bring all the things to the surface you wish to release. This could all manner of things- how we see ourselves, past traumas and dramas, people we have hurt and not made amends with, or any of our actions that hurt someone. We can also focus on old programming from religion, media or society, our own bad habits and self-created blocks, any hexes or curses we believed were cast upon us, people that we want to sever connections with or anything that is no longer serving us. How do we use the moon at this time to better ourselves? Cry, yell, get angry- let these emotions out in anyway that seems helpful without bringing harm to others. A powerful way to finalize this process is to get these emotions out on paper. You can draw pictures that represent your emotions or just get your rage out in a mind-melting bunch of angry scribble. Writing is another great way to process these emotions- write beautiful poetry or just write harsh words on your paper. The purpose here isn’t to have something perfect come out of these magickal ‘sessions’, more to put these emotions out in a tangible way. This does not need to be done in one session, take two or three days and really get it out the best you can.
The Last (Third) Quarter Moon - Motion
The Last Quarter Moon rises approximately in the middle of the night and sets in the middle of the day. This is when we create magick and ritual to release all of the things we have chosen to free ourselves from at the Waning Gibbous Moon. This is typically done alone but there may be instances when help from other people would be useful. Transformative rituals are particularly potent at this time- physically transforming one thing into another. Design a ritual or follow another’s banishing ritual, there is no right or wrong way to do this, just follow your heart. Now BURN that piece of paper you created on the Waning Gibbous Moon- transform it to ash! As it is physically transformed, you will be siritually changed as well, feeling a rush of freedom, optimism and a longing to create something new for yourself. If you wish, burn some black candles, as many as you wish during this Last Quarter Moon. If you have wronged someone and haven’t made up for it, feel free to contact them (if safe of course) and ask them how you can make things right. We can apologize all we wish, but this is time to take action and makes things good the best we can. When we cannot physically try and make amends, a beautiful random act of kindness would be a worthy sacrifice. Remember, the more you put into this the more you will get back.
The Waning Crescent (Balsamic) Moon - Energy & Release
The Waning Moon has reached its last phase and it is most visible before sunrise. The Waning Crescent Moon is the period between the third quarter moon and the next New Moon. This is a potent time of release magick but it needs some physical energy. Spend some time one night or over the course of a few days creating physical energy. This could be done in a meditative setting with a fast, steady drum beat, within a ritual setting with dancing, singing and chanting or in the physical world with hiking, biking, swimming- anything that creates lots of physical energy to lend a hand to the magick you have created for release.
The New (Dark) Moon - Contemplation
The New or Dark Moon is the first primary phase and is defined as the moment when the Sun and Moon are aligned, with the Sun and Earth on opposite sides of the Moon. No moon is illuminated at this time. This is a time to sit in quiet contemplation and look deep inside the self. It’s time to think about who we are and what we offer to the world. This is a time of solitude and magick is rarely performed. We should spend time alone, reading, meditating or just being lost in thought about who we are and our place in this world. Use this valuable time to access the shadow self, thinking about all of the things you have made the choice to free yourself from and where you will go from here. The energy shifts during this phase, from heavy soul-searching energy to new found optimism at upcoming changes you are choosing to create. What will you be creating for yourself?
The Waxing Crescent Moon - New Beginnings
The Waxing Crescent is the moment a thin sliver of the Moon is visible after the New Moon. The Waxing Crescent Moon is visible around sunset. It’s time to begin projects! Gardeners maintain that this is the best time to plant seeds, and we can plant both physical and spiritual seeds through magickal acts and ritual. Spend quality time thinking about what you will be filling all the spaces you emptied with the Waning Moon. If you worked to banish a bad habit, which new postive habit will you be bringing in? If you banished people from your life, what type of new people would you prefer to have now?
The First Quarter Moon - Action
This second primary phases and is defined as the moment the moon has reached the first quarter of its orbit around the earth. The First Quarter moon is visible around noon. Just as we did at the Third Quarter Waning Moon, this is when we put magick and ritual into action. Create a beautiful ritual to set your goals and changes out to the universe. Call upon any spiritual beings you connect with to help in your endeavors. Write your intentions down on paper and put them out into the world- on prayer flags, tied to a kite, sung or spoken out loud as poetry, song or simple intent. If you really desire these changes put them out in creative way that is all you!
The Waxing Gibbous Moon - Movement
The Moon is now waxing larger as it moves from new towards full. This is the second intermediate phases and gibbous refers to the shape which is larger than the semi-circle of the first quarter, but smaller than a full circle. The Waxing Gibbous is visible sometime between noon and sunset. The next seven days you will find some fantastic momentum but you can help by putting your desired changes into action. Go out and meet new people, do things completely different than you usually would. Shake things up big time- have a party, go dancing, be open to new experiences, it will do great things for your process of change. Treat yourself and those you love and trust to something special during this time. Your desires will start to come to fruition at this time if all was done with the proper intent. A new outlook, a clear mind and massive creativity will begin to flow in great ways, leading to a healthier, happier, more ‘connected’ spiritual life. Continue to fill your personal energy field, your home, your workplaces, the world at large with love, compassion and joy!
The Full Moon - Harvest & Gratitude
The Full Moon appears in the night sky when the Sun and the Moon are aligned on opposite sides of Earth. The Full Moon is visible from sunset to sunrise. This is a great time to of gratitude for all of life’s blessings. Offerings can be made to spiritual beings that you called upon and gifts can be often for friends and family who supported you during these changes. Don’t forget gratitude towards yourself as well. Stand in front of a mirror, look yourself over well- be at peace with your physical form and say some kinds words about who you are now. Fear and stress have now been replaced with comfort and joy and life is for you to take hold of! Be proud, live your life by word and deed and let each action be driven by the love you share for all beings- the world desperately needs you.
Monthly Full Moons:
The names you see come from many sources; Native American lore, historical European sources, early European Settlers in America (Farmers Almanacs) and modern Pagan traditions. Working magick with the monthly moons can be potent for creating specific change.
January: Wolf Moon, Old Moon. This is the first Full Moon of the calendar year, during the season of desolation and death. The Wolf Moon can be seen as a time of both beginnings and endings and is most potent for protection magick.
February: Storm Moon, Hunger Moon, Death Moon, Full Snow Moon. For the native tribes this was a difficult time to hunt as the winter storms still raged but the spring was on the horizon.The Storm Moon is a time to create magick for fertility and strength.
March: Chaste Moon, Worm Moon, Crow Moon, Sap Moon. This month the ground began to thaw and soften, the earthworms reappeared, the songbirds returned, the maple trees were ready to sap- all signaling the start of spring. This month is a time to plant mental seeds of success and hope.
April: Seed Moon, Egg Moon, Fish Moon, Wind Moon. The Seed Moon signals a time of fertility, growth, and wisdom. Magick this month is particularly potent for new growth and wisdom.
May: Hare Moon, Milk Moon, Flower Moon. Young animals begin to appear amongst the thickening plants and blossoming flowers. Magick can be focused on romance and health.
June: Lover's Moon, Mead Moon, Strawberry Moon, Rose Moon. The fruits are ripe and the energy for deepening relationships and success are all around. Focus your magick on long-term relationships and success in your endeavors.
July: Hay Moon, Buck Moon, Thunder Moon. This is the time of the first harvests, when you begin to enjoy the fruits of your labors. This is a great time for prosperity and endurance magick.
August: Wyrt Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Grain Moon. During this time when the large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water are most easily caught. Magick is best performed for abundance and healing of the earth and her creatures.
September: Harvest Moon, Corn Moon. Traditionally, this iso the Full Moon that occurs closest to the Autumnal Equinox. At the peak of the harvest season, farmers can work into the night by the light of this moon. The Harvest Moon is a time to offer magick to help others, with their permission of course.
October: Blood Moon, Hunter’s Moon. This Moon is a useful time for divination and making sure you have put enough away for the lean times ahead.
November: Snow Moon, Beaver Moon, Frosty Moon. The most useful magick is for strengthening your bonds with family, friends and other people you deal with in your daily life.
December: Oak Moon, Long Night Moon, Cold Moon. Use this lunar energy for magick focused grounding, decision making and completing tasks you started.
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