A lunar month lasts on average 29.53 days, measured from New Moon to New Moon. This figure may change slightly through the year as the moon moves faster at some times than at others, and so some lunar months will last 29 days, and some will last 30. The changing of the phases of the moon is caused by its position in the sky relative to the sun. A New Moon is seen when the moon and sun appear in line when viewed from the Earth – a Full Moon occurs when they are on opposite sides of the Earth. This also accounts for the fact that a New Moon is not seen as often as a full moon; a New Moon rises at sunrise and sets at sunset, whereas a Full Moon rises at sunset and sets at sunrise.
Days: 1 -> 3.5
Rises: Sunrise. Sets: Sunset.
Degrees Ahead of Sun: 0 -> 45
The New Moon, when visible, appears as a thin crescent in the sky on the right* hand side of the moon. The term ‘New Moon’ can apply to a moon which is not visible at all, although this is also called a ‘Dark Moon’ (see below). This is a time for rest and planning, and for new beginnings. You can work magic for growth and healing, as well as using this time for cleansing and consecrating your tools or other posessions. This is a time associated with the crone, and dark Goddesses, such as Hekate or Kali.
Days: 3.5 -> 7
Rises: Mid-morning. Sets: Evening.
Degrees Ahead of Sun: 45 -> 90
The waxing crescent appears as a crescent illuminated on the right* hand side of the moon. This phase still represents growth, as well as change and regeneration. During this time you can work magic for renewal, strength and the gathering of resources and information. While the moon is waxing you should concentrate on magic which focusses on growth and the ‘bringing in’ of new ideas and things – as the moon grows, so too will your goal. The three phases of the waxing moon are associated with the Maiden, and with introspection and sprituality.
Days: 7 -> 10.5
Rises: Noon. Sets: Midnight.
Degrees Ahead of Sun: 90 -> 135
The first quarter is when the right* half of the moon is illuminated. This is a time of motivation, attraction and balance. This is a good time for working magic as a couple, or continuing with drawing and growth magic. This is a good time to make decisions as well, as the balance of the moon will help balance your decision. This is also a time to honour the Warrior Maiden as Artemis, Diana, Athena or another form.
Days: 10.5 -> 14
Rises: Afternoon. Sets: Before sunrise.
Degrees Ahead of Sun: 135 -> 180
The waxing gibbous moon appears as an almost-full moon, with a crescent on the left* hand side still unlit. This phase represents continued growth, as well as preparation for the approaching Full Moon. During the waxing gibbous phase you can focus on building energy, and patience waiting for the Full Moon.
Days: 14 -> 17.5
Rises: Sunset. Sets: Sunrise.
Degrees Ahead of Sun: 180 -> 225
The Full Moon is when the whole face of the moon is illuminated, and is a time of power, strength and love. Any magic worked during the Full Moon will have an extra boost of energy. The Full Moon is associated with the Mother, and is a very emotional and creative time. This is a good time for magic of any kind, particularly divination, protection, passion and strength. This is also the time when Wiccans traditionally come together and conduct a ritual to celebrate the Esbat.
Days: 17.5 -> 21
Rises: Evening. Sets: Mid-morning.
Degrees Ahead of Sun: 225 -> 270
The waning gibbous moon appears as an almost-full moon, with a crescent on the right* hand side still unlit. The three phases of the waning moon are associated with the Crone, and are generally times for banishing or repelling magic. The waning moon is also associated with more mudane, practical matters. During this phase you can concentrate on beginning to remove negative influences from your life.
Days: 21 -> 24.5
Rises: Midnight. Sets: Noon.
Degrees Ahead of Sun: 270 -> 315
The last quarter of the moon appears as the left* hand side being illuminated, and the right half in darkness. During this phase you can continue with any works begun last phase, as well as focussing on removing obstructions or things you no longer need.
Days: 24.5 -> 28
Rises: Before sunrise. Sets: Evening.
Degrees Ahead of Sun: 315 -> 360
The waning crescent appears as a crescent illuminated on the left* hand side of the moon. During the waning crescent you can continue to focus on banishing negative elements, as well as slowly winding down in preparation for the New Moon.
Rises: Before sunrise. Sets: Sunset.
Degrees Ahead of Sun: 360
The Dark Moon is when none of the moon is visible in the sky. This time is associated with the Crone and with dark Goddesses, and its power can be said to be at its lowest ebb (as it is in darkness) or at its peak (as all of the light is ‘draw inside’ the moon). It is sometimes recommended not to work magic during this time as the moon is seen as unpredictable. If you do work magic, you can focus on banishing and divination. This is a time to rest, and concentrate on introspection and planning for the coming New Moon.
Additional Thoughts on Moon Magic
The ideas for magical workings for each phase of the moon are not hard and fast rules; they are a guide to the most effective forms of magic to work in each phase. When working magic you can tailor it to the moon phase by considering the properties of the phase. For example, if you wish to work magic to get rid of a bad habit while the moon is waxing, instead of focussing on the dwindling and disappearence of the bad habit, focus on the creation and growth of better habits. If you want someone to get well while the moon is waning, instead of working for health, work to banish ill-health.
Void of Course
The moon is ‘void of course’ for the period of time between the end of the last major aspect with a planet in its current sign and its entering a new sign. In English, this means that as the moon moves through the sky it is seen to be in a astrological sign – Aries, Taurus etc. ‘Aspect’ refers to a precise angle between the moon and another planet. Therefore the moon is void of course when it can satisfy no more of these angles while still in the current astrological sign. The moon being void of course will occur every two and a half days – the average time it takes the moon to pass through a sign – and can last anywhere from a few seconds to the full two and a half days, although several hours is usual.
While the moon is void of course you should seek to avoid magical workings, although this is not always practical. A more interesting view is that if you want something to happen, avoid working for it during the moon void of course, however if you want something not to happen, then the moon void of course is a good time for it.
As the moon is said to rule over emotions, you may experience a feeling of disconnectedness during the moon void of course, and this feeling of being uneasy or unsettled is a good reason to avoid magical working, as you should aim to feel balanced and grounded while conducting magic.
Sidhe Moon / Fairy Moon / Black Moon
These are all terms for the second new moon in a month.
This is the second full moon in a month.
An eclipse happens because the sun and moon come into alignment with the earth, so that the moon blocks our view of the sun. From a magical perpective this can be considered a powerful time to work magic as the sun and moon are in union, and their energies are combined.
* This is if you are in the northern hemisphere; if you are in the southern hemisphere it will appear on the opposite side.