Moon Phases and Magical Workings

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Magical Workings for The Full Moon

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Image by Victor Walsh Photography/Moment/Getty Images

For many Pagans, the cycles of the moon are important to magical workings. It's believed in some traditions that the waxing moon, the full moon, the waning moon and the new moon all have their own special magical properties, and so workings should be planned accordingly. If your tradition follows these guidelines -- or if you think you'd like to time your magic based upon the phase of the moon -- here are some tips on what sort of magic to perform during the various lunar stages.

The Full Moon

The full moon is the point at which we can see an entire side of the moon. For magical purposes, many modern Pagans consider the full moon to include the day before and the day after a full moon, for a total of three days. If your tradition requires you to follow the phases of the moon for your magical workings, this is a good time to do rituals focused on personal growth and spiritual development. Some examples would include:

For many Pagans, this is also a time to celebrate with an Esbat ritual. Dorinda is an eclectic witch who lives in Nevada, and she says, "Once a month, during the full moon, I drive out to the desert about half an hour away. There's a spot that I go that's really off the beaten path, and I can stand up on a hillside and watch the moon rise, and it's just magnificent, because there's no one out there but me. It's always a very meditative experience, and I can really feel the connection that my body has to the full moon, as well as connecting on a spiritual level. This is when I call upon the gods of my tradition, ask for intuitive guidance, that sort of thing. I always feel so refreshed and aware afterwards, it's almost hard for me to get to sleep when I get back home."

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Magical Workings for the Waning Moon

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The waning moon is a great time to shed excess baggage. Image by Kaz Mori/Imagebank/Getty Images

The waning moon is the period during which the moon goes from full to dark once again. Like the waxing moon phase, it lasts approximately two weeks. In many traditions of Wicca and Paganism, this time of the month is used to do "baneful" magic -- that which sends away, gets rid of or destroys things you no longer wish to be burdened by. Some examples would include:

Aarik is a Pagan practitioner who lives in New England. He says, "For me, the waxing moon is a time each month when I let go of all the baggage that has built up over the past few weeks. The moon is fading and dwindling, so it's when I do a simple ritual to unleash all that negative juju into the aether around me. I get rid of anything that's bad, hostile or toxic, so that with the next moon cycle, I can start over fresh."

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Magical Workings for the New Moon

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Use the new moon phase to focus on inner harmony and rejuvenation. Image by Kris Ubach and Quinn Roser/Collection Mix/Getty Images

The new moon is sometimes tricky to work with because you can't always see it during this phase - it will appear as a very faint crescent of silver low on the horizon, if you can see it at all. For approximately three days during each lunar cycle, after the moon has waned, it goes dark before waxing again. In many magical traditions, this is considered a fallow time, in which one rests and rejuvenates before beginning more intense magical workings again. In other traditions, it's a time to do magic related to wish fulfillment. Some examples might include:

  • Cleansing and purifying of the body and mind
  • Rituals that designate sacred space
  • Any magic related to inner harmony and peace

Reader KelloYello says, "The new moon phase is a period where I don't really do a lot of specific magical workings. I focus more on mindfulness during this phase, and get in touch with my inner self, and reaffirm my personal spiritual guidelines and goals. I try to live in a way that allows be to be my true, authentic self, and this is the moon phase where I remind myself of that."

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Magical Workings for The Waxing Moon

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The waxing moon is often a time for "positive" magical workings. Image by JTBaskinphoto/Moment/Getty Images

The waxing moon is the period during which the moon grows from dark to full. It takes approximately fourteen days for this to happen. In many magical traditions, people use this time of the moon to perform "positive" magic -- in other words, magic that draws things to you, or increases things. Some examples would include:

JanieDoodle is a reader who lives in North Carolina, and follows a practical magic belief system based in the folklore of her mountain ancestors. "This is the moon phase where stuff gets done," she says. "Anything I need or am lacking in, I bring it right to me during the waxing moon. As the moon gets closer to full, so does my wallet, my larder, and my garden."

Moon Phases and Tarot Readings

Can the phase of the moon influence your Tarot readings? Just like any other magical or metaphysical practice, some people believe that timing is everything – or at the very least, something. This means that if you have something specific you need to focus on – and it’s not a matter of immediate urgency – then doing your reading during a certain moon phase could definitely enhance the results you get, as well as your own intuitive skills.