Three faces of the moon…..
Traditionally, the moon has four phases: new, full, waning and dark. In ancient civilizations, the moon was considered to have three faces: the crescent, the full and the waning/dark. These three faces sere embodied in the maiden, mother and crone of the Triple Goddess. Ancient tribal ceremonies, although led by the chief, were always presided over by women who were considered the potentizers of the moon’s energy.
The New Moon
Associated with Artemis, the new moon heralds the beginning of a new cycle, and is the time in magic when new opportunities can be called for. On the magic circle, the new moon is placed in the east — the place of the moonrise and the place of a rising dawn. This slender beauty is seen as young and vulnerable, filled with the potential of a full moon yet to come, but as yet unrealized.
The new moon is the maiden, the innocent, the conception, and this is a good time to work on health and personal growth, and to put plans into action for the month ahead. The new moon time lasts for approximately three days of the first quarter.
The first quarter is a time of expansion, development and growth, and can still be used for the same purposes as the new moon, as long as you have completed your groundwork.
The Full Moon
The full moon is the moon at her fullest and ripest. Represented by Isis, Selene, and Diana, amongst others, she is the embodiment of fertility, abundance and illumination. She is the moon at her most powerfully feminine and so is the fruit-bearer the one who can encourage any seeds to grow.
The full moon can be called upon to give fertility in the fields as well as fertility of the body, and safe journeys across water. The most potent time for full moon magic occurs in the three days prior to a full moon and at the actual time of the full moon. This is called the second quarter.
In full moon ceremonies, the high priestess draws down the energies of a full moon into herself, embodying the great mystery of the feminine, by adopting the pentagram position within a sacred circle she has cast. Having drawn down the energies, she can be filled and refreshed, so that she can complete the next Cycle of events in her life and the life of her community.
The full moon is also well known as the time of moon madness, or “lunacy” (from lung, “the moon”). The powerful energy of a full moon can trigger such things as epilepsy, as well as increasing the potential for accidents. People vulnerable to the influence of the full moon will feel more emotionally or mentally shaky at this time. In the female reproductive cycle, the full moon is the time of ovulation.
The Waning/Dark Moon
The waning and dark moon is ruled by Hecate, Cybele and Ceridwen. The waning moon, the third quarter, is when things can be released and insights gained. This is the power time for healing. After this period, the moon enters the rising power time of the fourth quarter. This is a necessary part of the circle of Luna, when things can retreat into themselves and rest before the pull of the new moon draws everything out again.
The dark moon is the time of black magic, especially during the winter months, when the light is low. However, it is the most potent time for gaining understanding, and should ideally be spent in contemplation and meditation, seeking the spiritual guidance of Isis or of Sophia, holy lady of wisdom.
The dark moon is not the time for action unless it is of a banishing nature, and this is best done during the waning moon, the first to fourth day after the full moon, and not on the nights of true darkness, unless you know what you are doing.