a woven jute cord pattern is on a white table. Purple flower petals are laying around a white candle, gold bell, and wooden board with black moon phase designs woodburnt onto it.

Understanding Moon Phases and Their Importance in Magick

One (honestly quite accurate) stereotype that just about everyone has heard is that witches love the mfing moon. We just can’t get enough of it, and with good reason too. The moon held great importance to our ancestors, and it can be a great way for us modern pagans to get into a habit of living in a more introspective and magickal way.

The moon cycle, and particularly the full moons, was a way of tracking the seasons and the growth of crops. They were also a way to track the passage of the year, and which phase of the cycle of life much of the world around us is in.

The moon is also known for its influence on the tides and, since we humans are made up of 60% water, it’s a pretty safe bet to say that the different phases of the moon affect us too.

The seven phases of the moon in a star-filled black sky 

Photo by Anderson Rian on Unsplash

The Phases of the Moon

As you probably learned in a science class somewhere back in your elementary days (with Oreos if you were lucky!), there are eight phases that make up a full moon cycle. Each cycle lasts about 28 days, and yes the fact that this number of days matches up fairly well with the human menstrual cycle absolutely has some significance! We’ll get into that a little bit more later, but first, let’s take a look at each of the eight phases of the lunar cycle and their magickal significance.

New Moon: This is the phase where the moon is not visible in the sky. It is completely hidden from the Earth

Waxing Crescent Moon: In this phase, we can just barely begin to see a sliver of the moon in the sky.

First Quarter: True to its name, this phase is where we can see the first quarter of the full moon present in the night sky.

Waxing Gibbous: We are starting to see quite a bit of the moon in this phase but it isn’t quite full yet in this phase.

Full Moon: This phase is where the moon is completely visible to us in the night sky. These nights are often some of the brightest because of the glow of the entire moon being present for the Earth.

Waning Gibbous: The moon isn’t completely full any longer, but we can still see quite a bit of it in this phase.

Third Quarter: Similar to the first quarter phase, we can see a quarter of the moon. This time, however, it is the opposite side of the moon from the one seen earlier in the cycle.

Waning Crescent Moon: The quarter of the moon seen in the third quarter phase has now decreased to just a sliver of what it once was. Soon, the moon will disappear from the sky for the cycle to begin all over again.

One thing that you may have noticed as you read through each of the phases of the moon is that the moon will grow and fade away as it goes through each of the phases. There are numerous ways that we can apply this to our magickal workings as well as our magickal view of life.

The most important way that we can apply this, however, is through the use of sympathetic magick. You may recall our discussion on sympathetic magick in this post, but you can hop over there now for a refresher if need be. Basically, though, sympathetic magick is the practice of using a particular thing with a corresponding energy to affect some other thing.

One classic example of this is the use of poppets or dolls to represent someone you want to do a magickal working on. Another example would be a ritual for a good hunt where our ancestors may have worn the hides of animals and done carefully choreographed moves to reflect the movement of a particular animal. By acting as the animal they are charging the hunt itself with the magick needed for success.

So then how do we apply this principle to the phases of the moon?

One of the most simple ways is to look at what the moon is doing to decide on what we should be doing. For example, if we want to increase something it’s best to do a spell work to that effect when the moon is growing. This would be anything from the first quarter to the third quarter. If we want to decrease something in our life such as a bad habit or a toxic relationship, we would want to do magick to that effect when the moon is fading in the third quarter and beyond.

The new moon and full moon are a little different. As the moon is absent from the sky on the new moon, it is a good time to abstain from any spellwork. Some witches use the few days of the new moon phase to rest or to prepare for the upcoming moon phase. The full moon, however, is thought to be a time of generally heightened power. This is a good time to do spellwork on something that needs a little extra oomph of power. Some witches like to use the full moon phase as a chance to evaluate the way things have been going and to work to consciously release things that just aren’t working.

Living by the Cycle of the Moon

One thing you might begin to notice about the actual lifestyle of many witches is that there are numerous natural cycles that tend to show up in your studies. For example, the nine-year cycles found in numerology. These cycles are believed, by some, to be something that we as witches can align our lives with to be more attuned to the natural world around us and to be more attuned with the natural flows of power both around and within us.

When we align our energy with that of the natural world around us, life begins to flow with ease. We are no longer fighting against natural energy patterns and astrological cycles. Rather, we begin to plan and act on spellwork at just the right time for maximum effect.

The different phases of the moon cycle, much like the quarter and cross-quarter holidays (you can find more on that in our Wheel of the Year post, coming soon!), can also be seen as a “checking in” point. They are a great time to work with tarot or your preferred divination tool. They are also a great time for meditation, journaling, and sitting with whatever may be going on in your life to determine how things are going and how, if needed, you can refocus your energy for better results or more peace.

Be sure to join our Discord community to be the first to know when we have a new moon phase meditation available, head over to our forum to discuss ways that you live by the cycle of the moon, or post a ritual on your profile to help others connect more to the full moon! We would love to hear how you use the cycles of the moon in your magick and spiritual life.

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