The Moon as a Symbol

The moon is brought up a lot in Paganism as a tool, as a symbol, and as a spiritual guide.  For many practitioners she is a source of divine inspiration and admiration.  There is a lot of symbolism around this celestial object, often associated with its moon phase.  Observing the moon is considered a spiritual practice, one I encourage.  This is just a quick guide to the symbolism of the moon although there are several books on the subject (see below!).

The waxing moon occurs from between the new and full moons.  I like to establish it from the day after the first sighting on a waxing crescent to the day before the full moon.  In its archetype, the waxing moon depicts the White Goddess or the Maiden: free-spirited, untamed, and young.  Diana, Greco-Roman Goddess of hunt and children, is the major deity associated with this phase.  In magic workings this is a good time for increasing energy and gaining.

The full moon occurs for three days in the lunar cycle.  You can feel it in your bones as well as see it in the sky.  She is the Red Goddess or the Mother: creating, nurturing, and powerful.  The deities associated with this phase are Tsukuyomi and Selene, Shinto God  and Greco-Roman Goddess (respectively) of the Moon.  All magic can be performed at this part of the cycle.

The waning moon is from the first sign of decrease in the moon until it is no longer visible.  The Black Goddess or the Crone represent this time: wise, introspective, and empowered.  Hecate, Greco-Roman Goddess of magic and crossroads, is the deity of the waning moon.  Releasing and banishing magic can be performed at this time in the cycle.

The dark moon is when the moon is not visible in the sky.  It is the darkest energy in the lunar cycle.  Some people believe that no magic can be performed at this time, but I think it is a universal time similar to the full moon.

The new moon is the first visible crescent of the moon in the new cycle.  She is associated with new beginnings in both spiritual and magical activities.

Further Reading:

Everyday Moon Magic by Dorothy Morrison

Grandmother Moon by Z Budapest

© Ariadne Woods

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