Lovely Luna, bright and bold, glowing with the power of old… She is called by many names, worshiped in many ways. Few would argue that, whatever name you give her, the Moon is the guiding light of Witches and Pagans. She fascinates and enchants; guides and empowers. We plan our spells and plant our gardens by the phases of the Moon.
The waxing and waning Moon have very different energies. Under waxing Moon the light is increasing, and the time is right to build, grow, and create. Under waning Moon the light is decreasing and the time is right for endings, release, depth and darkness. It is very similar to the increasing light of the waxing year from Yule to Midsummer, and the decreasing light in the waning year from Midsummer to Yule. In fact, the phases of the Moon mirror the Wheel of the Year.
Beyond waxing and waning, the Moon phases are commonly broken down into quarters. These quarters are associated with the seasonal sabbats. (New Moon – Yule; First Quarter Ostara; Full Moon – Midsummer; Last Quarter Moon Mabon) Like the other four spokes in the Wheel of the Year, the other four Moon phases are rarely acknowledged except in the esoteric or astrological.
The 8 phases of the Moon are:
- The New Moon Phase from 0º to 45º is the first half of the New Moon Quarter – it begins with New Moon. The New Moon Phase is a time of excitement, new ideas and beginnings, forming goals, and self-discovery.
- The Crescent Moon Phase is from 45º to 90º and is the second half of the New Moon Quarter. It is often called Waxing Crescent, especially in astronomy. The Crescent Phase is a time of activity, developing resources, and forward momentum.
- The First Quarter Phase from 90º to 135º is the first half of the First Quarter. The First Quarter Phase is a time of individuality, planning, structuring, and manifestation.
- The Gibbous Moon Phase from 135º to 180º is the second half of the First Quarter – it is the last few days before Full Moon. It is often called Waxing Gibbous, especially in astronomy. The Gibbous Phase is a time of analysis, perfecting, refining and achieving.
- The Full Moon Phase from 180º to 225º is the first half of the Full Moon Quarter – it begins with Full Moon. The Full Moon Phase is a time of awareness, objectivity, and endings.
- The Disseminating Moon Phase from 225º to 270º is the second half of the Full Moon Quarter. It is often called Waning Gibbous, especially in astronomy. The Disseminating Phase is a time of communication, openness, and sharing resources.
- The Last Quarter Phase from 270º to 315º is the first half of the Last Quarter. The Last Quarter Phase is a time of transformation, acceptance, and learning.
- The Balsamic Moon Phase from 315º to 0º is the second half of the Last Quarter – it is the last few days before Full Moon. It is often called Waning Gibbous, especially in astronomy. The Balsamic Phase is a time of quiet, withdrawal, and incubation of ideas for the next cycle.
By the Light (and Dark) of the Moon is a 9 part series focusing on the magick of the lunar cycle. The first post is the introduction. Thereafter, each month, I will post a new article exploring one phase, in depth.