(Originally appearing in the Crow’s Calling)
In this second part, we continue looking at the planets and their influences over our lives, mythology and ritual.
The Moon is one of the most magical of the heavenly bodies. One of my first experiences with magic was a simple Moon ritual, but I remember the awe of the clouds parting to reveal the full Moon as we called to it. Feeling its silver light shine down upon our group somehow awakened something within me, something primal, as I thought of my Stone Age ancestors looking to the Moon for guidance. I was moved to follow the path of the Moon and learn more.
Technically not a planet in the strictest astronomical terms, it is viewed as a planet astrologically and magically. As the moon moves through its cycles, only one side can be seen illuminated, retaining its mysteries and secrets from us. The surface of the Moon is not covered by atmosphere, so any craters created are not worn away by erosion. The ancients associate the Moon with our emotional and karmic memory, where everything is retained. Air and atmosphere are symbols of the mind, reason and logic. The Moon’s magic influences none of these, focusing on the emotional issues of the element of water. It is by far the closest body to the Earth and exerts a great deal of power. Visually it looks quite large in the sky, though in actuality we know it is much smaller, particularly when compared to its fellow luminary, the Sun. Magically it plays an equal role with the power of the Sun due to this optical illusion. With the Moon, appearances can be deceiving, and one must always be vigilant with perceptions. The Moon card in the Tarot is often associated with illusions and falsehoods. The Moon reflects the light of the Sun, not generating its own light, inspiring reflection and introspection.
The gravity of the Moon influences the tides of Earth’s oceans. More subtly, the Moon pulls on the water in our bodies, and the etheric and astral bodies, increasing intuition, energy and sometimes craziness, giving rise to the word lunacy. Anyone who works with the general public or medical profession can usually attest to unusual activity the nights of the full Moon. Astrologically the Moon “rules” or influences the sign of the crab, Cancer, as the ocean mother. Cancer is obviously connected to the ocean, but through the symbol of motherhood. Cancer is the protective nourishing Mother. The Moon also rules the parts of the body that hold water and life, associated with motherhood. The breast and womb are ruled by the Moon, as well as the stomach, for the stomach and digestive system is the source of life and nourishment. The chakra of the Moon is the second, or belly chakra.
The Moon has long been associated with the Goddess, through the oceans and through the phases of the Moon as maiden, mother and crone. The Moon embodies two basic energies, waxing and waning. Spell work is often determined by the energy of the Moon. When the light is growing, the Moon waxes. Waxing Moon energy is to manifest and receive. As the darkness grows, the Moon is waning. Waning Moon energy is to banish and dispel. The Moon’s cycle, or lunation, can also be divided into four quarters. The entire cycle takes about 28 days, like the typical menstrual cycle. In that time, the Moon moves through all twelve signs of the Zodiac. It is the only planet to move so quickly through each of these twelve energies. Ancient and now some modern planners plant, fish and build by the sign of phase of the Moon.
When the Moon starts its first quarter, it is waxing. We see a crescent of light on the right side of the Moon. Here we find the maiden, symbolized by the huntress Artemis and her silver bow. Artemis is the protector of women and children and patron of wild animals. Diana is the Roman goddess of the first crescent. Now is the time for magic with long-term goals. Plant seeds for the future and build a foundation.
When the Moon’s light has grown halfway full, we enter the second quarter. The second quarter continues to the full Moon, associated with the Mother. In Greece, the goddess Selene, pulling the chariot of the Moon is also a full Moon goddess. She visits her sleeping lover, briefly causing the darkness of the Moon. In Rome, Luna fulfilled the same role as full Moon goddess. As we build up to the full Moon, do magic for more immediate manifestation. The closer you are to the full Moon, the more powerful your magic will be. When the Moon is full, it will be at its zenith at midnight, sending down its most magical power. That is why the midnight hour is considered the witching hour. Witches would often gather at midnight to celebrate the Moon.
As soon as the Moon reaches its peak of illumination, it begins to wane, and enters the third quarter, a time for removing unwanted influences and illness. When the Moon is half dark, we enter the fourth quarter, associated with the Crone. The Crone is very powerful, but uses that power inwardly. Crone goddesses, such as Hecate, are often guides, particularly at the crossroads of life. As the Moon goes completely dark at the end of the first quarter, we have a time of the most powerful protection and banishment magic. We then begin again at the first quarter, repeating the cycle. Thus the crone rules over death, rebirth and regeneration.
Many goddesses are associated with the Moon and her various cycles. The Great Mother Isis, often pictured in white holds great power over magic and the sky as well as the land. Bast, the cat headed goddess, is also a ruler of the Moon and night. Inanna, Sumerian Queen of Heaven is an earth, star and lunar goddess. Celtic goddesses of both light and darkness carry lunar associations, such as Cerridwen, Arianrhod and the Morgan.
A few male deities are considered lunar, including the Egyptian Thoth. His magical power and clockwork precision are traits of the Moon. The Norse looked to Mani, the boy pulling the chariot of the Moon as his sister pulled the Sun. Likewise, in Japan we have Tsuki-yomi hiding from his sister the Sun goddess Amatarasu, in their palace of the sky.
As we look at the attributes of the Moon, we can find key words associated with the energy. Magic and psychic powers are primary, so the Moon can influence almost any type of magic or divination. Goddess energy and feminine power are strong with the Moon, as well as emotions, intuition and karmic memory. Illusions, perceptions, crossroads, dreams, animals, protection and change are all in the realm of the Moon.
To further draw the Moon’s energy into your life and rituals, use these correspondences.
- Color: silver, light blue, yellow, lavender
- Metal: silver
- Minerals: Amethyst, Aquamarine, Beryl, Cat’s Eye, Chalcedony, Herkimer Diamond, Moonstone, Mother-of-Pearl, Pearl, Quartz, Sapphire, Sea Salt, Selenite
- Herbs: Adder’s Tongue, Agrimony, Allspice, Aloe, Angelica, Anise Seed, Apple, Ash, Benzoin, Birch, Broom, Cabbage, Cactus, Camphor, Carnation, Cedar, Chickweed, Coconut, Cucumber, Cypress, Daisies, Dill, Dittany, Duckweed, Eucalyptus, Fir, Ginger, Grape, Honeysuckle, Hyacinth, Hyssop, Jasmine, Larkspur, Lemon, Lemon Balm, Lemon Grass, Lemon Verbena, Lettuce, Lily, Lily of the Valley, Magnolia, Maple, Mesquite, Milkweed, Mistletoe, Moon Flower, Moonwort, Mushroom, Myrrh, Myrtle, Oak- White, Onion, Orris Root, Papaya, Parsley, Peach, Pear, Peony, Peppermint, Poplar, Poppy, Pumpkin, White Rose, Rosemary, Rowan, Sage, Sage-White, Sandalwood, Scullcap, Sea Weed, Sesame Seed, Silverweed, Spearmint, Star Anise, Thistle, Tulip, Turnip, Walnut, Water Lily, Watercress, Willow, Wintergreen, Witch Grass, Witch Hazel, Wormwood, Yarrow, Yerba Mate, Yew
(Be sure to consult a reputable medical herbal before using any herbs topically or internally.)
Although you can plan your rituals by the phase of the Moon, or by planning them on the Moon’s day, Monday, you should be vigilant of the Moon’s void of course. Notated by a v/c in most magical and astrological calendars, this period denotes a lack of grounding with the Moon’s energy. People feel “spacey” and most projects and spells started at this time will not bear fruit. Void of course simply means the Moon is not making a special angle, called an aspect in astrology, until it enters the next Zodiac sign. The Moon is considered void of course until it enters the next sign. The void of course is usually brief, but its length varies each time, depending on the position of the other planets, and the closeness of the next zodiac sign.
Numerologically the planetary periods are divided into cycles of 52 days. In the general calendar, the lunar cycle is May 12 to July 2. For your personal lunar period, count 52 days after your birthday to start and 52 days later for the ending period. When in the lunar cycle, general or personal, it is a time of slower moving energy, creating short term or immediate change and completing current work. Starting new projects or jobs is not advised.
A fun and simple ritual to attune yourself to the Moon is Moon bathing. At the next full Moon, simply sit outside in the direct light of the Moon. Meditate, pray or simply relax, basking the in the light of the Moon. Most people who resonate with the Moon will carry with them this refreshing, energizing and creative energy in the days to come.
* A Salem Witch’s Herbal by Laurie Cabot. Celtic Crow Publishing.
* Archetypes of the Zodiac by Kathleen Burt. Llewellyn.
* Astrological Magick by Estelle Daniels. (Samuel Weiser)
* Astrology From A to Z by Eleanor Bach. Evens and Company.
* Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs and Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic, by Scott Cunningham. Llewellyn.
* Lifting the Veil: Practical Kabbalah with Kundalini Yoga by Gurunam. Rootlight Publishing