Working your Magick With Lunar Cycles
WAXING / WANING
The first, and probably the simplest way to follow the lunar cycle is to pay attention to when the moon is waxing, or getting bigger or growing, and when the moon is waning, or shrinking or getting smaller.
In that, all you need to know is the two turning points:
While the moon is growing larger, think about your magic in terms of growth, attraction and increase. Ask yourself what you want to draw more of into your life. Think about what you want to nurture in your personality to encourage it to become stronger.
The waxing half of the cycle begins as a barely-detectable sliver at the New Moon.
Over the next few days, the sliver grows during the Crescent Moon phase.
The mid-point, when we see a half moon is called the first quarter or waxing half, when the illuminated half is on the right and the shadowed half on the left.
The Gibbous phase is named for the bulging appearance of the moon as it continues to grow full.
During the waning half think about magic in terms of decline, banishing and releasing. What things are holding you back, that you can let go of. What in your life is causing you pain or challenging you. What sort of obstacles do you need to remove.
When the circle of the moon is fully illuminated we call it a Full Moon.
The next phase is a waning gibbous moon and then at the waning half moon or third quarter moon, the light half is on the left, with the shadowed half on the right.
More and more of the Moon is covered in shadow as it wanes back to the Crescent, and then completely disappears.
THE DARK MOON
This window of time before the moon is visible again is the Dark Moon. Once the sliver of moon returns, the cycle begins again.
FOUR WEEK-LONG QUARTERS
You can also look at the lunar cycle in terms of quarters and each quarter is about a week long. The cycle begins the same way, with the New Moon.
THE FIRST QUARTER
There is still the waxing and waning halves but the first week of waxing is the first quarter. This is the time between the New and waxing half moon. This first week is for intention setting.
Anytime that you have a chance—because we are busy modern witches and we have to find time for witchcraft practice—during that first quarter of the lunar cycle you would do your intention setting.
THE SECOND QUARTER
Then the second quarter would be the next week when there is the first quarter moon or the waxing half moon is another name for it. In that week you would take action and you'd push past any obstacles that are coming up. Take action toward the intention that you set at the new moon and push past anything that is standing in your way.
THE THIRD QUARTER
Then the first week of the waning half, or the third week of the entire cycle, is the third quarter. This week contains the Full Moon. This is when you celebrate and harvest the blessings to store up for later.
THE FOURTH QUARTER
Finally, the fourth quarter is the fourth week and the waning half moon occurs in that week. Here you can do fourth quarter activities, such as releasing and banishing those obstacles that you pushed past so that they don't come up for you again in a future cycle.
Now, the lunar cycle lasts 29.5 days, but four weeks is 28 days, so there is this lag time, which we call the dark days or the Dark Moon. This is a rest period where you can reflect on what you learned during that cycle and you can make plans for what you're going to do in the next lunar cycle.
It's not perfect. Sometimes the new moon and the first quarter moon occur in the same week to kind of have to pay attention to when these things happen and adjust and be flexible but for the most part you'll see that this is a pattern that for in the course of four weeks one of these major transition phases occurs.
I think if you're just getting started with working with lunar energy the most important things to pay attention to is when the new moon is and when the full moon is because these are transition points between growth and decline or attraction and banishment.
Start by paying attention to when those events happen that will be really helpful as you're getting acquainted with lunar energy.