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Creating rituals around the energy of the Moon has been an ancient tradition across cultures for millennia. All around the globe, all beings watch the same moon brighten our night sky and become slowly swallowed, only to miraculously begin to grow again. Each phase of the Moon describes a different energy or quality, either building or receding, and special rituals can be performed around every phase to call in those specific energies.
Whether you are a solitary witch or part of a coven, these are the phases that are most commonly recognized. Every year we receive calls and emails from women looking for the coming year's We'Moon datebook, anxious to get their copy so they can plan holy day festivities and moon rituals. Our planner pinpoints the moment the moon is full or new, so you can be as precise as you desire. Keep in mind that those times are noted in pacific time, so if you are in a different time zone, you'll have to do the math.
"The Moon is an astonishing companion on the human journey. She both lights the way and invites us into the dark."
-Bethroot Gwynn © Mother Tongue Ink 2017
These are aspects we may keep hidden safely away from the rough edges of the outside world. Or perhaps you are an emotional creature, freely sharing your love and sorrow. Vulnerability is an attribute of moon priestesses. Water is the moon's element, energies of emotions swelling and receding. Deep feelings and sometimes tears, our emotions elementally expressed, are welcome in the moon circle
First Crescent © amara hollow bones 2013
Find out what moon phase and sign you were born under, and look up what sign the moon will be in to add more nuance to your ritual and intention setting. The article linked above is a fantastic reference, and you can see what sign the moon is in in the pages of We'Moon, either the wall calendar or the daily planner. Example: If you were born on a full moon in Leo, and you are preparing for a Full Moon ritual while the moon is in Leo, get ready for some dramatic performances, with you in the limelight! This would be the perfect Full Moon to start a series of Moon Circles with a group. You would be in your natural charismatic element, bathing others in your love-light, for an excellent start to get the moonthly circles rolling. Let the current moon sign inform the elements of your ritual.
Rituals come in many shapes and sizes, and there are infinite variety of ways to harness the energies of the Moon
This is going to be a very basic outline. There are many resources about how to prepare a ritual, so if this is new to you, hunt down a little more info. We were inspired by The Hoodwitch's page on New Moon Rituals. All of the information and advice we offer comes with the basic caveat: "Do what you will, and let it harm none." Intentions, spell and rituals can be powerful magic, and you don't want to regret your actions if the rule of three (or nine or ten, depending on your belief) comes back to bite you in the tail. Fair warning ;-)
A ritual could be as simple as lighting a candle, or as in-depth as a long, fully scripted group extravaganza. Your ritual may include howling at the full moon, or sitting in contemplative silence. You may envision gathering with friends around a fire or taking a solitary moon bath. To turn any action into a ritual, use your power of intention setting and make that intention reflect out bright as the stars on a dark New Moon night.
There are many guidelines and recommendations for rituals but if you are not finding one that resonates, try doing something uniquely you and celebrate your individuality!
Elven Alchemist & Bast © Lindy Kehoe 2017
If you're new to ritual creating, or are looking for some fresh ideas, we've expounded on each of the steps.
Ask yourself why you are doing this ritual and what you would like to gain. Get very clear about the intentions you are setting. You may be creating this ritual for a specific need, like calling creativity back into your life, or to send empowering energies to front-line activists. You may have a recurring intention for many rituals in a row, like healing mind or body, creating abundance, gratitude. Find out what sign the Moon is in. Working with the energies of that sign will strengthen the power of your magic. Not sure what you would like to focus on? The moon sign can help guide you.
Writing your intentions down can help solidify them. You can use a moon calendar (may we suggest a We'Moon journal?) and record your intentions and track manifestations. See which phases or signs seem more powerful for you.
This is your sacred focal point, and much like creating a ritual in general, can be as elaborate or simple as you desire. Choose significant items to integrate into your ritual. This can be any item or natural artifact that has meaning to you or your goal. Personal items gather power into your ritual, as does the mere act of researching and choosing which supplies to bring to your Moon ritual altar. Research herbs that resonate with your cause and integrate them into your altar and ritual.
Bring a candle. Various colors hold various meanings, and colorful candles brings both light and energy to any ritual. Choose a candle in a color that resonates with your magical intentions. Candles have power in and of themselves. Journals are also great tools for writing down intentions or experiences and ideas that arise during your ceremony. Include any crystals or stones that resonate with your intention, and add those to your altar, or place them in your pockets.
It’s important to set the space, both body, mind and environment. Prior to beginning your ritual, make sure the space your are inhabiting is clean or decorated for your ritual. Draping a chair in velvet for you to sit in, vacuum the rug you sit on. It's important to honor both your body and your space for magic to brew!
Clean your body, whether that be in rose-scented water, or anointing your body in the dirt from your favorite forest hideaway. Many light a pot of herbs and bathe in the the smudging smoke. A fun cleansing practice can be interpretive dance, especially in the context of a circle of sisters. What does gettin' clean and clear look like for you? If the spirits of the east are offering it, a good wind bath can blow away any cobwebs lingering behind your ears.
If this is a group ritual, an energetic portal is often designated, and as participants pass through on their way to their places in the circle, the cleansing act is performed in the portal.
Clear your mind and let your focus shift to your ritual and the intention at hand. Leave the distractions of mundane life for later, so they don't intrude on your task. This time is for you.
I've seen this done in very formal and informal ways. Go with what feels right for the particular ceremony you've set up. This is the time to recognize and welcome the entities in the spirit world. You can invite them into your sacred circle, and ask to borrow some blessings and assistance in the task ahead. Most commonly, the spirits of the directions are called in, with their attending attributes and elements. This is an opportunity for group participants to add their flare to the ritual. Additionally, you may want to invite some gone-befores to be part of your circle. Giving each participant an opportunity to say aloud the name of an ancestor they would like to honor or recognize in this space is often very meaningful to the whole.
In casting the circle you are creating a sacred container in which to work your magic. Once the circle is cast, your ceremony has begun in earnest. You have the attention of the spirit realm.
With your intention clear in your mind, shoot it out into the universe like a bright flaming arrow! Write it down in a journal or say it out loud! Solidify it in your body. Sing a song with your intention or create a beat on your thighs with the words reverberating through your soul.
If it's a group ritual with varying intention, participants can write their intentions and place their scrap of paper on the altar. Or perhaps everyone chants their intentions in a marvelously blended cacophony until the drummers begin to pick up the beat.
Any way you choose to, get your intention out into the open, ready to be super-charged.
This is a where you can have a lot of creativity and freedom. Stomp about, make music, listen to a song and do an interpretive dance, sing loudly, chant methodically. Imagine your intention inside of your sacred container, and stir this cauldron ever faster, ever stronger, until you sense this energetic hurricane has reached its peak. . . and then release it with dramatic flare. Watch as your bright and humming intention flies up and up higher into the air, and atomizes like fireworks. Trust that the Universe has received your calling, and will will put your intentions to the best and highest use.
You have just made a big petition to the universe. What the universe does with your request is yet to be seen. Ground your energies by literally or figuratively touching the earth and giving back the power that the elements and helper spirits lent you. Take some deep breaths in silence, and allow your mind to settle and prepare to come back to present reality.
If you have invited ancestors or entities from the spirit realm, now is the time to thank them for their participation, and let them go if they wish. It's nice to have a formal, repeatable ending, as this signals to your mind and body that you're coming back into now-time. The most common that I know is "May the Circle be Open." You can find audio recordings and lyrics easily online.
There's something very bonding and powerful about expressing your magic through voice. Alone or in a group, singing, chanting, or speaking poems or invocations that express your intentions invites more power into your ritual. In a group setting, commonly known circle songs can have a powerfully bonding and spiritually moving impact.
Chanting, in particular, can be a powerful energy raising tool. You can borrow one, or make up your own. Repeating the chant over and over, louder and louder, faster and faster . . . this can be a strong pot-stirrer, as you raise the energy in your cauldron of intention.
You can find resources online, if you don't have song keepers in your circle. KeepMusicPagan is a youtube channel with a number of circle songs and chants, some familiar, some new to my ears.
The We'Moon datebook is a good resource for poems and invocations. It can be used as an oracle by letting the book drop open, then reading aloud the poem it happens to land on.
Cauldron © Sophia Rosenberg 2008
The New Moon is dark because the Moon is so close to the Sun that none of the lit side of the Moon is available for us to see. Imagine that, a Full Moon just for the Sun to enjoy. Ah, but we bask in the magical shadow of dark moon time.
The New Moon is a time to plant seeds. This is a time of new beginnings—the start of the lunar cycle and a great starting point for intention setting! Reach out, start a project, dream big! Create your rituals around that which you want to expand.
“The New Moon—the fertile dark, from which life springs anew. Unseen seeds swell and crack in the moist soil of darkness, rooting toward deep growth...
This is a great time to manifest a dream, a longing wish or plant the seeds for a new project. As the Moon grows in light, so will your intentions you set during this time.”
-Excerpt from the Call for Contributions for We’Moon 2022: The Magical Dark
The New Moon promotes new growth and gives you a fresh start to the lunar month ahead. Starting a garden during this time helps establish strong roots in your plants and in yourself. Dirt work is always cathartic and grounding during this Moon phase.
Set goals or aspirations during this phase that you would like to work towards or bring into your life. As the Moon grows, your actualization gains power to eventually root in your reality.
It may sound like a conflict is brewing when we say planets are in opposition, and indeed, that is not unheard of, but for the most part, planets in this position (the farthest apart from each other in their respective orbit) some synergetic collaboration can occur. Ever hear the phrase "opposites attract?" Sure! This dynamic tension between the heavenly bodies have the power to pull the tides.
Dark Spirits Roam Free © Glenda Goodrich 2015
When the Moon and Sun are in opposition, the Sun is so far away from the moon that the full face of our nightly companion is lit up. Perhaps distance does make the heart grow fonder!
The Full Moon embodies self-expression and action! It represents completion, illumination and celebration. This is the apex of Moon phases, the mountain peak. We have traveled far, and now is the time to rest, and look back on our accomplishments, or at what we have left behind, as the case may be.
How much have you grown this past month, honor the small and large victories. What questions arose this past month, or need to be illuminated further? What losses need to be honored? Is it time to let go and move on, or should you build a shrine to remind us for a time of what is now in the afterworld?
The opposing energy of the Sun (ego, or self) and the Moon (inner-self, subconscious) can cause tension or even explosions of emotions. Because of this tension, this is a great time to express yourself creatively, and your rituals can reflect this.
Meditate under the full Moon to ground yourself, to illuminate burning desires or questions you might have. This is a time when answers and questions flow between inner and outer worlds.
Gratitude is important during this phase. Have gratitude for the culminations of the intentions you may have set during the New Moon, recognize your movement and yourself.
While the New Moon phase is often solitary and independent, the Full Moon is a great time to gather and be with your community. The New Moon is a time to set your intentions, while the Full Moon is a celebration of your manifestations, however small.
Alice's Bear Hills II © Carol Wylie 2003
Burning intentions in fire or letting go of emotions that no longer serve you are often seen as Full Moon rituals.
As the light of the Moon grows, we foster the things we hold dear, we tend the fires of our hearth. As the Moon grows dark, we release and let go. Cleanse the space, the mind and the body.
The Moon travels her 29 1/2 day path around the the Earth, showing us her many phases all along the way. Sometimes it's difficult to predict the exact day the moon will be full or new. You can easily look it up online, or use a moon calendar like We'Moon. Our wall calendar and day planner both give a visual representation of the moon for every day. We mark the days that the moon is New or Full and include what sign the moon is in, as well. Here is a sample of the various information contained on our day planner page:
We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For © Emily Kell 2016
Visit our Magical Arts blog post collection to browse through our constantly updated collection of interesting and informative posts about witchcraft, magick, astrology and celestial influences like:
and shares some tricks of the trade
Highlights of our desk top date book include information for every day:
If you cannot be on the frontlines, yourself, do what you can to protect and support those change-makers on the front lines. Use your magic for the good of all, may it harm none.
So Mote It Be. And So It Is.
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