One of the most common celestial bodies that modern witches follow is the moon. Throughout history, the moon has played a very large role in pagan faiths and the lives of everyday people. There are many legends and mythological stories that hold the moon as a central figure either as a deity, a divine figure, or a guiding light. In Greek mythology, Selene is a Titan Goddess of the moon. In Norse mythology, Máni is a God of the Moon. There is no one Irish deity associated with the moon, though many have an association with light in general.
For me personally, I follow the phases of the moon in my spellwork sometimes…but we’ll get to that in a minute!
What are the moon phases?
Scientifically speaking, there are eight moon phases. The moon goes through phases due to the shadow cast by the Earth on its surface. Depending on the location of the moon in the sky — and your location on the Earth — the moon can be fully visible or entirely cast in shadow.
The eight phases of the moon are…
- 🌑 New Moon – the moon is not visible in the sky
- 🌒 Waxing Crescent Moon – we see a small sliver of the moon as it grows
- 🌓 First Quarter Moon – we see half the moon as it grows
- 🌔 Waxing Gibbous Moon – we see the majority of the moon as it grows
- 🌕 Full Moon – the moon is fully illuminated
- 🌖 Waning Gibbous Moon – we see the majority of the moon as it shrinks
- 🌗 Third Quarter Moon – we see half the moon as it shrinks
- 🌘 Waning Crescent Moon – we see a small sliver of the moon as it shrinks
For more information on the science of moon phases, see NASA.com.
Following the Moon Phases
Witches follow the phase of the moon due to its symbolic and energetic properties. Of course, how you view witchcraft will affect how you follow the moon phases — if you even follow them at all! Each phase of the moon has been given a different correspondence based on the tradition of witchcraft the witch follows. Each witch is going to be different and the correspondences I have listed here are based on my own experience and practice. There is also one extra moon phase that I include here that some witches do not.
A sliver of silver is visible in the sky, and we know the moon is new. The energy of the moon is neutral due to being right in the middle of the waxing and waning phases. The new moon is a good time for new beginnings, hope, and starting over. It is also a good time for adding energy to goals you already have in motion or setting new goals entirely.
As the moon grows, so does the energy that is associated with it. The larger the moon grows, the brighter it gets in the sky as it is illuminated by the sun. The waxing moon is full of growing energy that is perfect for bolstering confidence, boosting creativity, and positive transformations.
With the night sky fully illuminated by the full moon, we are reminded that everything grows and everything also diminishes. The full moon teaches us that we must work to achieve our potential but not waste it away when the time comes. The energy of the full moon is good for all aspects of spellwork as this is when the energy is most powerful. It is during this time that we may manifest our desires, achieve our goals, and protecting what’s ours.
As the light of the moon begins to fade, so should our intentions. The sky begins to darken again and we are reminded of the things that we should let go and move on from. The darkening sky is also a reminder of those we should forgive and those who don’t deserve our forgiveness. Common forms of spellcasting using the energy from the waning moon include cleansing, moving on, binding, and releasing.
The night sky is dark, and stars speckle the sky. The stars are more visible because the moon is nowhere to be seen. With no light visible from the moon, the darkness is a time of deep reflection and introspection. We rest and take peace with ourselves, remembering to let go of the things that no longer serve us.
The Moon in My Practice
I will be quite honest with you…I don’t always follow the phases of the moon when it comes to my witchcraft. Sometimes I just have to get a spell done as soon as possible. However, if I am planning something specific I will attempt to work with the phase of the moon that correlates most to my intention. It doesn’t happen all the time but when it does, I can definitely tell a difference in the way my spell works.
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