Soon as the evening shades prevail,
The moon takes up the wondrous tale,
And nightly to the listening earth
Repeats the story of her birth;
While all the stars that round her burn,
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.~ Joseph Addison, Ode
There is a traditional verse used as an easy guide to what time the moon phases begin:
The New Moon rises at sunrise.
And the first quarter at noon.
The Full Moon rises at sunset.
And the last quarter at midnight. -- Source: Pagan Gathering
We see Osiris represented by the moon, and by an eye at the top of fourteen steps. These steps symbolize the fourteen days of the waxing moon. - J. N. Lockyer, in the "Nineteenth Century," July 1892 Source: GrannyMoon's Morning Feast
"...the silent city was flooded with the mellowest light that ever streamed from the moon, and seemed like some living creature wrapped in peaceful slumber. - Mark Twain, "The American Vandal Abroad." Source: GrannyMoon's Morning Feast
- Brewer, "Dictionary of Phrase & Fable." Source: GrannyMoon's Morning Feast
“Moon-Drop,” in Latin, virus lunare, a vaporous drop supposed to be shed by the moon on certain herbs and other objects, when influenced by incantations.
- Brewer, "Dictionary of Phrase & Fable." Source: GrannyMoon's Morning Feast
The moon glides continuously through the houses of the Zodiac, passing through each of the astrological signs, from Aries to Pisces. During the brief period -- approximately two days at a time -- when the moon is within each house's dominion, the moon's aspect is influenced by the characteristics of the sign which rules that house. As well as the phase of the moon, the House where the moon is located should be considered when reading portents, planning rituals, or working magick.
The following are some general characteristics of moons within the houses of the Zodiac:
Moon in Aries: Aries is a masculine, mutable fire sign, ruled by energetic Mars. Beginnings, initiative, ambition, personality, and matters of self -- this is a "me-first" sign. This moon is excellent for starting things, but lacks staying power. Things occur rapidly, but may pass just as quickly. Good for fast relief and quick fixes, but don't expect changes to last forever. This is a good sign to be within to begin projects requiring many steps. You will climb high quickly on the ram's agile hooves, but measure your goal carefully or you'll fall.
Moon in Taurus: Taurus is a feminine, fixed earth sign, ruled by indulgent Venus. Personal finance, vehicles, benefits, possessions -- all material things of a personal nature, especially of fine quality and artistic beauty -- are in focus during this moon. Things begun now are more enduring, tend to become more valuable over time, and are persistent and harder to alter. Be careful that you know exactly what you want and whether you want it to last a long time before you ask for it under this sign. Don't be bull-headed!
Moon in Gemini: Gemini is a masculine, mutable air sign ruled by Mercury, in the aspect of the messenger. Relatives, communication, studies, writing, street smarts; things of a social nature are important now. Charismatic but flighty, things begun under a Gemini moon are quickly successful, but are easily changed by outside influence. Things tend to go with the flow of social trends during this time. Be careful not to ask for something you only think you should want, you might later change your mind. Under this sign, you can be in closer touch with others' thoughts and desires. Look for guidance from the like-minded -- your spiritual twins -- but keep in touch with your inner self.
Moon in Cancer: Cancer is a feminine, cardinal water sign ruled by the Moon, which governs the emotions. Under this moon, you may "go into your shell": the hearth and home, mothering, family, and comfort are important now. This sign identifies needs, nurtures and supports growth, and provides solace and safety. Seek protection and healing, for yourself and those you love, under this sign. You will also find that your psychic powers are at their peak under a Cancer moon. This time is not most favorable for making an impact on the material world, but it is ideal for looking inward, seeing the truth of things, and helping others.
Moon in Leo: Leo is a masculine, fixed fire sign, ruled by the Sun -- the ruler of our universe! Drama, love affairs, entertainment, and sports figure prominently under this moon. Leo, the true "Star" sign, favors high visibility and is the sign of showmanship. Vitality and athleticism are strong Leo characteristics; pleasures, recreation, and happy pursuits are ideal activities under a Leo moon. Be a shining star, and don't forget your pets. Under this sign, you can make a strong impact on worldly matters, but be careful to control your aim. Don't roar like a lion if you're really a lamb.
Moon in Virgo: Virgo is a feminine, mutable earth sign, ruled by Mercury, governor of thought. The working environment, services, health, clothing, and accoutrements are in focus at this time. The moon in this sign favors all the little details. Projects involving teamwork and attention to the well being of others will gain strength under this moon. Guard against Virgo's fussiness, but make sure you are following all the rules, or this sign will turn against you! A stitch in time saves nine, but too many cooks spoil the broth!
Moon in Libra: Libra is a masculine, cardinal air sign, ruled by Venus, in the aspect of harmony. This moon is perfect for seeking or restoring balance in marriage, partnerships, and legal matters. The moon in Libra favors truthful self-examination and increases self-awareness. Libra's good nature smoothes interaction with others, and there is special joy in caring for small animals during this moon. Remember, many hands make light work. This is the moon of the Peacemaker.
Moon in Scorpio: Scorpio is a feminine, fixed water sign, ruled by Pluto, governing intensity and passion. Awareness of psychic power may be increased during this time, while emotional energy also becomes intensified. Guard against being swept away by the powerful emotions of this moon. Avoid fits of jealousy or sudden passions, as they will pass, leaving you wondering why you felt such uncontrollable urges. However, if you can harness its power, this moon has incredible energy for exploration of matters of life and death, transformation, ending connections, and passion in all its manifestations.
Moon in Sagittarius: Sagittarius is a masculine, mutable fire sign ruled by Jupiter, the planet of Fortune. This is the sign of luck, and confidence in your activities should be high under this moon. Travel plans and flights of imagination are equally auspicious, and activities requiring physical prowess are sure to succeed with Sagittarian energies giving an added boost. Games and metaphysics are both favored -- remember that the Tarot is also a deck of playing cards!
Moon in Capricorn: Capricorn is a feminine, cardinal earth sign, ruled by Saturn, governor of tradition, law, and order. Business, career, reputation, and honor are all-important considerations under a Capricorn moon. Awareness of the need for structure and discipline are vital when working under this moon. However, once you get business out of the way, remember to introduce some appropriate fun into your rituals to balance Capricorn carefulness with enthusiasm. All work and no play makes Capricorn dull!
Moon in Aquarius: Aquarius is a fixed, masculine air sign ruled by Uranus, the planet of the unexpected. Faithful, idealistic Aquarius showers energies on activities involving friendship, acquaintances, groups, and organizations. Idealistic and unconventional Aquarius favors rituals that are unique, and individualistic efforts towards making hopes and dreams come true. Break out of the routine and make new attachments!
Moon in Pisces: Pisces is a feminine, mutable water sign, ruled by Neptune, governed by imagination. Favorable topics to focus on are inner development, karma, and revelations -- secrets revealed. Under this moon, energies withdraw from the surface to hibernate within, reorganizing and realigning in secrecy. This sign is sensitive and shy of the spotlight, so avoid public displays for the best outcome. This is an ideal time for rituals involving water.
The New Moon is in its aspect of the girl, and the potential of the moon as it hides in the shadow is best expressed by the promise of ancient mysteries recreated within a new vessel. The moon's cycle now parallels the point in life's cycle when girls have not yet reached puberty. Traditionally, the new moon is the best time for beginning anything new, and for spells focusing on clearing out the old for new growth.
Rituals and spell work should be focused on the green and supple energy of this phase with objectives such as motivation, healing, cleansing, decisions, contracts, attachments, business, and money. The New Moon often brings rain, and your hair will grow healthier if you trim it at this time.
During the New Moon, the moon's face is completely in shadow. As the woman's womb sheds its infertile lining with each menstrual cycle in order to prepare for a new cycle of fertility, the monthly cycles of the moon also move into the darkness of a new beginning. As the moon moves in to its Waxing Phase, a tiny fingernail-sliver of light will appear on the moon's right side and the horns of the moon will face left. From the 1st Quarter, the moon will continue to increase as the left half of the moon continues to light. When three-fourths of the moon is lit, it is called Waxing Gibbous. It then continues to increase until it reaches the Full Moon phase.
The 1st Quarter is the first part of the Waxing moon phase, when the portion of the moon's face illuminated by the sun is increasing. This moon is in its aspect of the Maiden, and its potential and promise is expressed through a maiden's purity and innocence, wonder and curiousity, and nearly limitless energy. Rituals and spell work should be focused on the constructive and positive aspects of objectives such as courage, love, friendship, luck, healing, wealth, and personal growth. This is also a good time for the beginning of spiritual journeys.
From the 1st Quarter, the moon will continue to increase as the left half of the moon continues to light. When three-fourths of the moon is lit, it is called Waxing Gibbous. It then continues to increase until it reaches the Full Moon phase, or 2nd Quarter. Upon reaching fullness, the moon begins to wane and grow smaller, and a dark crescent appears on the right side. When the right half of the moon is dark, it has reached 3rd Quarter. When the moon is three-fourths dark, it is called waning gibbous, and its light will continue to decrease until it is completely in shadow and reaches its 4th Quarter, becoming the New Moon again.
The Full Moon is the culmination of the Waxing moon phase, when the portion of the moon's face illuminated by the sun is increasing. This moon is in its aspect of the Mother, and its potential and promise is expressed by the image of the fullness of the womb. The moon's cycle now parallels the point in life's cycle when women become partners and lovers, giving light to the world by providing children for future generations.
Historically, Native Americans of the northern and eastern United States kept track of the seasons by giving a distinctive name to each recurring full Moon, this name being applied to the entire month in which it occurred. With some variations, the same Moon names were used throughout the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior.
Rituals and spell work should be focused on the expansive power and nurturing aspects of objectives such as creativity, dreams, love and sensuality, friends and family, psychic ability, healing, wealth, and personal growth. The full moon is an optimal time for all spellwork. This is a fine time to give birth to ideas and works that nourish the spirit and the body. Lucky energies are high now, so take a chance at success. If you are making changes in your life, keep your eyes open to see how you can move into a more desirable position. Now is the time to get everything running smoothly.
The Last, or 3rd Quarter is halfway through the waning moon phase, when the portion of the moon's face illuminated by the sun is decreasing. This moon is in its aspect of the crone, and the potential of the moon as its round shape slips into shadow is best expressed by the image of an aging woman who is losing the fullness of a woman's body. The moon's cycle now parallels the point in life's cycle when women begin menopause, withholding their energy as they lose their vitality, but leaving as legacy to the young the wisdom and knowledge they've gathered during their lives as they prepare to leave the earth for future generations.
Rituals and spell work should be focused on the disseminating -- spreading as if sowing seed -- nature of this phase with objectives such as addictions, decisions, divorce, emotions, change, and stress. Traditionally the best time for spells focusing on diminishing, doing away with, or getting rid of things.
When the right half of the moon is dark, it has reached 3rd Quarter and the points of the moon are to the . When the moon is three-fourths dark, it is called Waning Gibbous, and its light will continue to decrease until it is completely in shadow and reaches its 4th Quarter, becoming the New Moon again. As the woman's womb sheds its infertile lining with each menstrual cycle in order to prepare for a new cycle of fertility, the monthly cycles of the moon also move into the darkness of a new beginning.
Upon reaching fullness, the moon begins to wane and grow smaller, and a dark crescent appears on the right side. When the right half of the moon is dark, it has reached 3rd Quarter. When the moon is three-fourths dark, it is called waning gibbous, and its light will continue to decrease until it is completely in shadow and reaches its 4th Quarter, becoming the New Moon again.
An eclipse represents the perfect union of sun and moon. In a lunar eclipse, Luna's power is augmented and enhanced by the power of Sol. From ancient times, an eclipse has been considered a portentous event, both auspicious and ominous. During an eclipse, there is a brief period of time when the barriers between night and day are momentarily suspended and the veil between all worlds is lifted. Anything is then possible, and any type of well-considered activity or ritual is favored at this time. Pay attention -- you don't want to be caught doing something regrettable during an eclipse.
The next total eclipse of the moon will take place Nobember 8-9, 2003. It will be visible over time around the world, rising at 4:24 PM EST and setting at 5:54 AM EST.
As it leaves the old and enters the new astrological house, the moon is called "void of course" -- a sort of limbo or dead zone. You should avoid doing anything important -- in life activities or in ritual -- during the brief void of course period.
Resources for above: 2003 Almanac for Farmers and City Folk (book), The Moon, Mystery, and Women, Moon Magick, Moon Days, Phil Konstantin's Indian Moons. the Universal Festival Calendar, and Information on Moon Phases and Esbats
A selection of web pages containing moon rituals and esbat ceremonies:
The Moon, Mystery, and Women
Michigan Pagan Learning Center Esbat Rituals
Ma'at's Moon Magick
The Astral Mall - Rituals
Silver Broomstick - Lunar and Planetary Magick
Solitary Moon Ritual
Enchanted Oak: Rituals
The Timing of Magic Rituals
Moon Watch: Moon Water Tonic and Moon Gardens
Moons and Esbats
Circle of the Goddess: Grimoire of Rituals
The Beautiful Moon
Moon Magick Appellation Programs for your Computer
Moontool for Windows
Lunabar: Lunar Taskbar Almanack
Moon Phase Icon
Pagan Daybook Desktop Dozen Astronomy Calculator
Current Moon Phase Information
Please contact the Editor with comments on these links, other links, or information on dead links.
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