Lunar phases arcWhat magick when?  Timing of magick and ritual is a very personal thing, but there are traditional correspondences that will help you understand the energy of each phase of the moon.

This is an overview of times in which performing certain magickal workings and celebrations may be appropriate.  Although the cycles of the moon are not exactly 28 days, these four phases of seven days each will suffice for most needs.

When you wish to work full moon magick, it is generally accepted that it is proper to do so anywhere from three days before the actual full moon to three days after the actual full moon.  This is a total of seven days that 'Full Moon energy" is present.

Because the energy of the moon is considered to be "full" during these seven days, it makes coven meetings easier to plan, relieving the pressure of coordinating the schedules of several people.

The full moon is the traditional time for Esbat celebrations for many Witches and other Pagans.  The full moon illuminates the night for a wonderful ambiance during rituals, and it lends its energy to magick and celebrations.  The moon reflects the light of the sun, balancing polarities and showing a magickal presence.

When you wish to work magick under the new moon or 'the dark of the moon', the procedure is similar.  Three days before to three days after the new moon are considered acceptable new moon working times.  Again, this is a seven day period.

Some Witches and other magickal practitioners view the new moon phase as a time to plant the seeds of new ideas, or to start new projects that will then grow as the moon waxes.  Others see it as a continuation and enhancement of the waning moon energy and perform works of lessening, repelling and banishing.

Moon phases for energy and Lunar PhasesIt is interesting to note that a few traditions also perform Esbat rituals for the new moon, and these are often held in the daytime.  When the moon is new, it is overhead during the daytime.  Note in the image to your right (you can click on it to enlarge) that 1 represents the new moon.  At this time the sun is illuminating the earth during the day and we see (or rather normally don't see) the shadow side of the moon.

It is also important to mention that a few magickal traditions refer only to the three days prior to the new moon as the 'dark of the moon' and generally do not perform magic at this time.  It is regarded in these trads as a resting time, and the time of Hecate's rule.*

The waning moon is the time when the moon is changing from full back to new.  Energy and magickal workings of decrease are done now, such as ridding a person of disease.  When you wish to work magick under the waning moon, you can start as early as the day after the actual full moon, but it is usually more effective to begin the fourth day after the actual full moon.  This provides another seven day window in which to do your workings.

The waxing moon refers to the time when the moon is changing from new, or black, back to full.  Works of increase and drawing are done now, such as gaining physical energy of health for a person.  When you wish to work magick under the waxing moon, you can begin as early as the day after the actual new moon, but it is more effective to begin the 4th day after the actual new moon.

Still confused?

Try to remember each of the four phases used the most in magick as lettered in the picture above:  Full Moon C, New Moon A, Waxing Moon B, Waning Moon D. Each of these four energy phases consists of seven working days for a total of 28 days in a lunar month.  Each group of seven working days are days considered generally appropriate for work under the influence of that particular moon phase.  These are general magickal and intuitive times, not actual lunar phase times.  (The focus here is on the energy you are working with, not the technical aspects of the phases which are described below.)

If you don't like to do all that counting, try this:
Look at the moon every night. When the crescent sliver is on the right (with the horn tips pointing to the left) such as in number 2, it is waxing or getting full. When the sliver is on the left like in 8 (horn tips pointing right) it is waning or disappearing.

Technical Details:

In the image above, each phase of the moon is numbered.  The moons illustrate how each phase appears from our perspective here on Earth.

  1. New Moon
  2. Waxing Crescent
  3. First Quarter - half moon
  4. Waxing Gibbous
  5. New Moon
  6. Waning Gibbous
  7. Third Quarter
  8. Waning Crescent

After number eight, the cycle continues around back to one.

References & Resources

* This belief has somewhat increased in popularity through the work of Silver RavenWolf, particularly her book, To Ride a Silver Broomstick.  Practitioners who follow RavenWolf's writing are often referred to as, "RavenWolf Wiccans."

See also:  The PaganPath Almanac - Find upcoming dates and times for Sabbats, eclipses, Esbats and other events.

References & Resources is a consolidated notes, footnotes, comments, links and references section at the end of most articles on PaganPath.  This area contains some links that are off-site so we cannot control the content of those pages not on the site. If you discover broken links, please report them to Friday through the Contact Us area, or Members may connect with Friday through Private Messaging, phone or email.


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About the Author
Author: FridayWebsite: http://PaganPath.comEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Author & Academy Instructor
Friday is devoted to writing books and articles on a variety of Pagan subjects, and is the instructor of the online PaganPath Academy. She has studied and practiced the Craft since 1987, and worked as a professional tarot reader and vice president of a national psychic network for several decades. Currently, she is now a practicing herbalist and ordained minister. As a Master Gardener with a deep interest in permaculture, she is developing the PaganPath Sanctuary with her partner. This long term community project is an edible landscape demonstration, orchard and educational facility for future generations.

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