Since the dawn of humankind people have looked toward the moon for strength and power. The moon is associated with feminine energy providing nurturing, giving, and receptive abilities. Anyone who has worked in a hospital or as a police officer knows of the power and the influence of the moon over humanity. Anyone who has been to the ocean and has watched the tide come and go realizes the enormous effect the moon has over the Earth. In popular culture both in films, TV and books, Witches, Sorceries, and Wizards are often portrayed as performing magical acts under a bright full moon.
The moon has no light source of its own. When we see the pale white light it is the sun reflecting off the surface of the moon. We on Earth can only see one side of the moon. The moon orbits the around the Earth but does not spin itself. We have only seen pictures of the far side of the moon from unmanned satellites and the Apollo moon missions.
To human eyes it appears the moon shrinks and grows becoming full once a month and disappears. In reality the moon appears to have cycles due to the Earth shadow blocking the light from the sun. The moon appears to change shape as it passes through Earth’s shadow. The cycles of the moon take about 28 and half days giving us a full moon once a month. Every couple of years there are two full moons in a given month, one early in the month and one toward the end of the month. They are often referred to as a ‘Blue Moon’ and have extra power for spells. The Blue Moon is often seen as a divine gift for very special spells.
As the moon ‘shrinks’ from a full moon to a new moon (some refer to this as ‘The Dark Moon’) it is known as ‘Waning.’ When the moon begins to grow larger again it is known as ‘Waxing.’ Simply the cycles of the moon are divided into four quarters, first quarter, second quarter, third and fourth quarter. Each quarter lasts about a week.
The waning moon is a good time to perform spells to reduce or diminish. The waxing moon is an excellent time to perform spells to increase or have a great effect.
The first quarter begins with the new moon or dark moon. The moon rises early in the morning and sets around sunset, rising and setting a little later each day. After about the third day you can see a tiny sliver of the moon low in the western sky after sunset.
The second quarter is the halfway point from new moon to the full moon so half of the moon is visible, rising at mid-day and setting around midnight.
The third quarter is from half a moon to the full moon rising at sunset and setting at dawn.
The fourth quarter begins halfway from a full moon to the new moon, rising after midnight and setting around noon.
As the Earth and moon orbit together it appears as if they pass through the constellations of the Zodiac. The moon passes through a sign about every two or so days and by the end of the month has passed through all 12 Zodiac signs. Many feel each sign has specific energy and power for spells. There are many who are very specific about the cycles of the moon and the Zodiac sign it appears to be in for preforming spells. I personally feel this is very confusing and convoluted and can be simplified. But many feel timing of spells and its power to work is very important.
For many years I was confused by the term, ‘Moon Void of Course.’ Simply it means the time it takes for the moon to pass from one Zodiac Constellation to the next one. This time can be a couple of days to a couple of minutes. Many feel no spells should be performed during this time because the moon cannot provide any energy for the spell. I read it is like trying to use a cell phone while traveling through a tunnel. There are people who figure out these complex astronomical calculations and publish them for people to use.
The Willow is often associated with the moon and as I stated in a previous piece, Willow makes an excellent magic wand using the full power of the moon. Other magical herbs used in moon spells can be Adders Tongue, Aloe, Lemon Balm, Bladderwrack, Buchu, Cabbage, Calamus, Camelia, Camphor Resin, Chickweed, Club Moss, Coconut, Cotton, Cucumber, Dulse, Eucalyptus, Gardenia, Gourd, Grapes, Honesty, Irish Moss, Jasmine, Lemon, Lettuce, Lily, Loosestrife, Lotus, Mallow, Mesquite, Moonwort, Myrrh, Papaya, Poppy, Potato, Sandalwood, Purslane, Turnip, Willow, and Wintergreen.
I have only scratched the surface on Moon magic. I find the study of it totally fascinating. It differs a little from tradition to tradition, but in all cases the power of the moon cannot and should not be ignored!
In my novels, 415 Raspberry Picket Trilogy, the characters often use the power and energy of the moon for spells and to strengthen their witchcraft abilities. I was surprised when the publisher realized the importance of Moon Magic in the novels and decided with my permission to put a representation of a full moon on each of the three covers!