Moon Magic by Tansy Firedragon (Rachel Patterson)
Her silvery form floats majestically across an indigo sky…with radiance and luminescence…breathtakingly beautiful…she is the Moon.
She is powerful, beautiful and full of mystery and intrigue, she has inspired poets, dreamers and authors and brought about images of magic, inspiration and of course the darker aspects of vampires and werewolves.
The Moon in all her glory and all her phases plays a huge part in many pagan pathways and in working magic. By observing the phases of the moon and how she affects our moods, our energies and emotions we can learn a huge amount about our inner selves. Once we learn how her energy challenges us we can learn to work with the flow rather than against it, it can bring balance and harmony into our lives.
A lot of groups will celebrate the Esbats, it is a word that actually means ‘joyfully celebrate’, for pagan folk an Esbat is a coming together of like minded people to celebrate the phases of the moon, usually the full or the new moon, to work with the energies of that phase, to learn, to train and to teach and for myself and my group it also involves celebrating of the feasting kind.
I am sure you all know that the moon has several cycles, the main phases are waxing (crescent moon building up towards a full moon), full moon (when she is in her full glory) and waning (crescent moon on the fade to dark). The basic ‘rule of thumb’ for magical workings is waxing for new beginnings, new projects and planning, the full moon is excellent for divination, reflection and transformations, then the waning moon is a good time to release, cleanse and get rid of bad habits.
You can then add to that the new moon (when there is no moon to see), waning crescent (or balsamic), the waning gibbous (or disseminating), waxing gibbous and waxing crescent and the dark moon. Basically it is ever changing and there is continual variation as the energies are always on the move whether it is growing or decreasing. Each phase has its very own particular and specific energies. You can also sneak in a blue moon too and then we can add eclipses, see how many different phases there are?
I always encourage people to keep a moon diary, this is a good way to see how she affects your moods and the way you feel and think. It doesn’t take very long each day, try it for a month and see what happens. Just jot down each day how you feel, what mood you have been in and how you have reacted to situations, then align it with the moon phase. Look back over the month and I am pretty sure you will see a pattern.
The moon phases can also be aligned to the seasons, to the turning of the Wheel of the Year, think about the phases and what they mean and then correspond them to the seasons, they all fit perfectly.
We also associate the three main phases of the moon with the triple Goddess, the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone corresponding them to the Waxing, Full and Waning moon. You can also do the same with the male aspects of the God using the Youth, the Warrior and the Sage.
Every culture over time has given names to the moon for each month of the year, depending on what region, the season, the weather or what animals and plants are around at that time. For instance January can be the Wolf Moon, the Quiet Moon, the Snow Moon, the Cold Moon, the Chaste Moon or the Moon of Little Winter (and many other names) depending on where in the world you are.
Our Kitchen Witch Coven has celebrated the moon according to the Celtic Tree calendar, it is a relatively new invention but it works for us. Based around thirteen Ogham trees each period is given a tree and the magical qualities that are associated with it, so for instance December 24th to January 20th is the Birch tree which corresponds to a time of rebirth, regeneration, new projects and new endeavours. It is a time to look towards the light again and a time of change. It also gives us a different focus for rituals (other than the eight Sabbats) and actually allows us an excuse for extra rituals (and ritual cake).
There are thousands and thousands of deities, each and every one with different energies and characteristics but some of them are specifically associated with the Moon and moon magic. Some of my personal favourites are Arianrhod, a Welsh Goddess of the Dark Moon, the stars, reincarnation, prophecy and dreams. Cerridwen, Welsh Goddess associated with the Full Moon, the Goddess of wisdom, inspiration and intuition. Innana (often known as Ishtar) Goddess of love and War, Queen of the Heavens and Earth and the Full Moon, she is the Goddess of seduction, sensuality, wisdom and the magic of life and Yemaya an African Goddess of water, the sea, feminine energies, healing and the Moon.
There are some male moon deities such as Thoth, the Egyptian Moon God of magic and wisdom but I think you will find there are more Goddesses associated with the Moon as it is such a feminine energy.
I work a lot with totem animals and there are Moon power animals which will work with you in the dark of night and on any Moon quests and Underworld journeys, although many moon power animals tend to be nocturnal that isn’t always the case. Some obvious ones are bat for transformation, past lives, illusion and releasing bad habits, black panther for depth of vision, psychic sight and inner knowing, owl for wisdom, magic, freedom and makes an excellent underworld guide and maybe some less obvious ones such as snake for magic, mystery, rebirth and protection, and dog for protection, communication and the underworld. All of them have their own magical energies and all of them work wonderfully with night magic and as underworld guides.
Most people will probably be familiar with their own horoscope sign, even if you can’t make head nor tail of astrology. Your sign is usually referred to (in newspapers and media) as your ‘star sign’ when in actual fact it is your Sun sign. You were also born under a Moon sign too. The Sun travels through all the signs of the Zodiac, but the Moon (and all the planets) also travels through them. The Moon’s passage through the Zodiac signs takes just under 28 days. If you can work your magic when the Moon is in a specific sign of the Zodiac then it will add a huge amount of oomph to your working.
Gardeners have often worked with the moon phases to plant. You can find almanacs that list what to plant and when, in line with astrological timings. The Moon affects the tides of the oceans so it stands to reason that it has the power to affect plants and how they grow.
The Full Moon especially is excellent for working with divination, as is the Dark Moon. The power of the Moon heightens our psychic senses. Moon divination can be as simple as water scrying. Take a bowl, it doesn’t have to be fancy it can be a normal cereal or dessert bowl, but it works better if it has a dark colour inside, fill it with water and sit preferably outside but it can be inside, all you need to do is make sure that the moon can be seen reflecting on the surface of the water. You can drop a silver coin into the bottom of the bowl to add to your reading or sprinkle some herbs or drops of ink onto the surface of the water to help create images. Clear your mind, un-focus your eyes and see what messages and symbols the reflection of the moon brings to you.
The Moon and her power bring us so many ideas and opportunities to work with; moon cords, moon phase magic, moon spells, moon crafts, divination, moon amulets and charms, the list is endless and only limited by our imagination.
The moon is so powerful and so wonderful, work with her and she will open up a whole new world of magic for you…
Previously published in the Magical Times magazine.