The Moon, what a beauty she is. A symbol of the Goddess in all her aspects from the waxing Maiden of youth and new beginnings or the fullness of the Mother whether it is from childbirth or life itself. To the waning crone, aged wisdom and beauty within, the ending of a cycle only to be reborn again as the youthful waxing Maiden Moon.The Moon governs not only our tides and cycles of growth of this planet we are caretakers of, but it also controls our emotions, magick, dreams and desires. And since the human body is made up of 70% water, it is not surprising that our emotions are affected. The Moon also is a consistent keeper of time, whether it be for farming, gardening or magickal purposes. Farmers move livestock according to moon cycles, gardens are made, plants and root crops are picked and all depending on what part of the cycle is relevant. In Witchcraft we utilize the energies or phases of the moon according to what task is at hand, banishing during the waning, new beginnings on the waxing and Esbats on the full.
In the Southern Hemisphere our Moon cycles will look different in our skies to those in the Northern Hemisphere. .
The Dark Moon
Three days before the New Moon is the period known as the Dark Moon. You cannot see this moon but nevertheless it is there. Traditionally magick is not practiced during this time although many Witches use it as a time for banishing and /or strengthening their own energies. A time to also look into the deeper mysteries within ones own life.
The New Moon
The New Moon is between the Sun and the Earth, the Moon is 0-45 degrees ahead of the Sun. Not visible for the first two days, she rises and sets with the Sun. Sun/Moon energy brings concentrated power. Sow the seeds of intention, ideal Moon phase for conception on all levels.A time for personal magick, healing and consecrating and cleansing ritual tools.
Waxing Crescent Moon
The Moon is 45-90 degrees ahead of the Sun. When the fingernail of the Crescent Moon appears, the first tender shoots of intention emerge. Set things in motion. Energy is rising, now is time for action. This is the time of new growth. Healing, increase, and new beginning spells should always be performed during the waxing Moon. Ideal for initiations, blessings and purification rituals.
First Quarter Moon
Rising at Noon and setting at Midnight, the Moon is 90-135 degrees ahead of the Sun. Light and dark are in equal balance. Consolidate and give form to projects. Be creative and deal with any challenges that may arise.
Waxing Gibbous Moon
The Moon is 135-180 degrees ahead of the Sun. Light increasingly dominates as Full Moon approaches. This is the best time for assertive perseverance. Evaluate and analyze progress.
The Earth is between the Sun and Moon. The Moon, rising at sunset and setting at dawn, is 180-135 degrees behind the Sun. At Full Moon celebrate the complete flowering and full manifestation of what was visualized at the New Moon. Esbat celebrations. Extra energy is said to be given for those spells made on the night of the Full Moon. This strength is said to continue for three days either side of this Moon. Full Moon magic can also consist of all types of magic, be it healing, banishing, love, protection or animal magic. It was and still is considered a great time of personal power and magic for those who menstruate on a full moon.
Waning Gibbous Moon or Disseminating Moon
The Moon rises at mid-evening, sets at mid-morning and is 135-90 degrees behind the Sun. We harvest the results of our endeavors.
Last Quarter Moon
Rising at midnight and setting at noon, this Moon is 90-45 degrees behind the Sun. Time to clear out anything that hasn´t worked or isn´t needed.
Waning Crescent Moon or Balsamic Moon
The old Moon, Hecate, 45-0 degrees behind the Sun, rises at 3am, then later each day until she disappears into the Eastern dawn, just before the New Moon. This phase is ideal for distilling past wisdom into new ideas for the future. Rest and regeneration. Banishing disease and negativity as well as protection spells should be practiced while the Moon is waning. (the Moon moves from Full to Dark. ) A time for releases old fears, banishing, ailments, negative patterns, bad habits and helping to dissolve relationships that are no longer needed.
The Blue Moon
This is a magickal time, and one that should be celebrated. "Once in a Blue Moon," this is when there are two Full moons in any given month. The second Full Moon being known as a "Blue Moon." Another way a Blue Moon is explained according to the old Farmers is: Each season had three Full Moons, now if a season had four full Moons, then the third moon was known as a Blue Moon. On very rare occasions due to atmospheric disturbances the Moon actually appears blue.
ESBATS AND THE WITCHES LUNAR CYCLE
Esbat comes from the French word "esbattiere" meaning to frolic. And frolic we shall. An Esbat is the time when the moon is in its full phase, a time of celebrations, magic, mystery and plenty of witchery. The Goddess is honoured in her full form, symbolic of the Mother, nurturer and fruition. A time when magic is performed to enhance our lives and paths. We join together in ceremony and ritual, mediate, pathwork, share in foods and create crafts and other items to enrich our already magickal lives. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let´s look at the Moon phases within the Wiccan Lunar Cycle.
THE BLOOD MOON
Also named the Hunters Moon, This Moon came at the time when the Harvest was over and the winter season was beginning. Villagers and farmers knew what the winter would bring and that they would need food and warmth to help them through the long periods of cold. The farmers also could not house all animals over the winter as this would take a lot of extra feeding from their crops. Many animals were slaughtered and this in turn gave warmth (from their skins) and food from their flesh. All parts were used and nothing was wasted. Bones would be made into tools and horns and skulls were used as vessels to carry water or ale. The people believed that the Moon became red due to the blood shedding and thus became known as the Blood Moon. This is a time when we today have our Sabbat of Samhain, a time that honours death and those who have passed on through to the Summerland, be they human or animal.
THE SNOW MOON
As we have come into the winter season, this Moon symbolizes the lands and the icy grip that is upon us all and when the first flakes of snow were said to fall. Whether or not we have snow, it is certainly a cold time. This is when we begin to hibernate, reflect on the past and draw from old experiences.
THE OAK MOON
The Full Moon nearest the Winter Solstice is called the Oak Moon. The Oak Moon symbolizes the Oak Tree with its branches in the physical world reaching towards the light, while its roots are in the darkness of the underworld, the spiritual. A time to tap into ancient knowledge and wisdoms.
The Moon after the Winter Solstice/Yule is called the Wolf Moon, a time of our deepest winter. The name is attributed to when our ancestors would hear the howling of the wolves and see them beginning to venture out of their dens in search of food as they were driven by hunger. Call on the Wolves energies for their teachings.
STORM OR BEAR MOON
This Full Moon sits above us while rains fill the skies, melting the snow and sending wildlife for cover. However underneath the earth, the energies are stirring as awaiting their entrance with the coming of the Spring. A Moon to remember the forces of Nature and to honour Bear magick.
CHASTE OR SEED MOON
Chaste is a word meaning "pure" and with the season of Spring, this is a time of new beginnings, birth, initiations and blessings. A time to sow the seeds of intention, including within the garden.
Associated with fertility and Spring, the Hare symbolizes playtime, fertility, mating and fun. Remember to smile and have fun.
Dyad means "Twoness or "otherness" The Dyad moon is during the time of Beltane and the joining and consummation of the Gods and Goddesses. The Sacred marriage of the Deities when they join their two forces together and become one. Honour the Deities and their union.
This was a time when meadows (meads) were mown and honey filled the farmer´s bee hives. "Mead" a favourite drink of the ancients was made from the honey and offered a nutritious, healing and magickal drink for all those who did partake. Include honey dishes during your Esbat foods.
Wort is an old Anglo Saxon word for Herb. This was the time when the herbs were full in the gardens and across the lands. Gathered and prepared they were made into elixirs, potions and lotions for later use.
The Barley Moon symbolizes the harvest within the land and our own lives. The ancient grains that have sustained us with their energies of rebirth, protection, healing and from going hungry. A Moon to honour all grains.
HARVEST OR WINE MOON
The moon nearest to the Autumn Equinox represents the harvest that is so abundant within the lands. The extra light helped the farmers work later into the evening harvesting their crops. The grapes are full and ripe and ready to be made into wines. A time to rejoice in the harvest and what nature has given us, enjoy in the elixirs from the vine and drink a toast to the Harvest.
Set a silver goblet filled with spring or rain water outside on the night of the Full Moon. Allow the water to soak up the lunar rays. (The water must be bought back inside before the sun comes up.) Add the Moon Water to baths, potions, spells especially healing spells or drink as you need it to encourage healing and lunar energies.
To 10mls good quality pressed oil add,
3 drops lemon oil
2 drops gardenia oil
1 drop jasmine oil
Seal and gently turn the bottle thirteen times. It is ready to use. Store in a cool place and use to anoint altar objects, candles and your third eye to
encourage lunar energies.
4 oz butter
4 oz icing sugar
1 tsp almond essence
1 c ground almonds
8 oz flour
1 tsp baking powder
Cream butter, icing sugar and almond essence together, beat in egg. Stir in ground almonds, mix well. Mix in flour and baking powder to make a stiff dough, chill 30 minutes. Pinch off small amounts of dough and shape into crescents. Bake until lightly golden in a 180°C oven, approximately 13 minutes.