Modern Moon Rituals III: Some Odds and Ends
As I wrote Moon Rituals I and Moon Rituals II, a lot of interesting facts jumped out at me that would have made those pieces just too long. I wrote them down, not really intending to make anything of them, but since there came to be so many I realized they should definitely be shared. Here we go, in no real order...
- What the heck is Moon Void of Course?
If you have an astrological planner, you might’ve seen this little notation (also abbreviated as Moon VC or simply VC) occurring with regular frequency. I sure noticed it in mine, and I also noticed a pattern that I definitely wanted explained. The planner I use indicates transits, including the way-important matter of what sign the Moon is in for each day. The little “VC” thing kept showing up when the Moon was ‘between’ signs. Hmmmm, I thought, but I didn’t have the time to further pursue it until I came across the term again while researching for the Moon Rituals series.
It turns out that Moon Void of Course is a fairly common astrological phenomenon, and it indeed happens when the Moon is slated to change the sign She currently resides in — generally Void of Course Moons only last for a few hours during this change. So, the thing about this is that astrologically speaking the Moon moves fast. Like, changes signs every 2.5 days or so fast. So that explains why Void of Course moons happen often, and exactly how quickly they're over with as well (my astrological planner notes the times, but not for my time zone, so remember to double check whichever calendar you've decided to use to track the Heavens and see if there's any math you might need to do to determine exact timing), but are they worth fretting over? Conventional astrological wisdom holds that you should hold off on any new business ventures or making any major decisions until the Moon is once again on Her lovely course through the Heavens, and it's awesome if that's possible, but let's be real, putting everything on hold for a few hours every couple of days isn't always going to happen.
For myself, it's enough to roughly know that the energies for the day are going to be a bit all over the place as She moves out of one sign and into another, and to remind myself that She has not lost Her way — the Moon will always continue moving through the sky and around us. When Void of Course Moons happen and you can't reschedule your life around it, take some deep breaths and don't stress. Be easy with yourself and with all around you, and know that shortly the scattered energy will resolve into the new sign.
- Each Moon has a name!
This one’s more widely known, but I love the names that have been given to the Full Moons (sometimes called Esbats). Our most recent Full Moon arrived on January 28 in Leo, and it was known as the Wolf Moon. I am not certain of the cultural origins of the names for the Moons, as there are a few variants floating around, but I am fairly confident that they are not part of any closed practices, so I’m writing them on my wall calendar. Here are the rest of the Esbats for 2021, in convenient table format.
- Moonlight is reflected sunlight
My partner is a hobbyist astronomer and I could listen to him speak for hours about the Heavens (oh wait - I have!). So this wasn’t as much of a surprise to me, but I did find it difficult at first to square with a Witchy mindset. If you strictly follow the science of it, it all makes perfect sense - but, a part of me wondered, doesn’t this effectively say that the Lady’s power is not her own, only a granted reflection of that of the Lord? I couldn’t believe that, not when I’ve seen so much proof of Her power throughout my life.
So I journaled on this for a long time and read everything that I could on the matter, from scientific texts to treatises by Pagan authors that I do and don’t care for, just to make sure I was getting all of the information possible. Here’s what I’ve come up with for my personal path, and if it makes sense to you, you’re very welcome to it too.
Essentially, moonlight illuminates the nighttime. No matter the source of the Moon's light, She provides it for us. If there were no Moon to reflect, the Sun's light would do us no good during the night. Moreover, the Moon has more to bring to bear than simply light; recall that the Moon also exerts force and power over Earthly events such as the tides through force of gravity. Her power is not diminished by reflecting the Sun's light — it is expressed by so doing, and more.
- Why didn't I title this article "ephemera"?
While "ephemera" has come to be known as "bits of memorabilia that aren't expected to last long," astrologically speaking, the root word "ephemeris" refers to giant books where all of the planetary movements and trajectories were gathered together. To cast a chart, or even check the day's transits, required tons of searching and quite a bit of math. Old school! I'll stick with my day planner for the moment, how about you?