The Dark Moon vs the New Moon

Originally published on the blog of my brick & mortar shop page, The Kindred Cauldron, on March 2, 2022.

For the purpose of a magickal practice, the Dark Moon and New Moon, while similar and often considered one and the same, are different in key ways.

First, a primer for basic lunar work. Each Moon Phase spans roughly three days. There's the astronomical date of the moon phase, which can be found for your time zone and location in many online places. For the Witch, we tend to consider that the energy immediately leading up to that astronomical date, and the energy immediately following that date, approx. 24-hrs ISH on either side, to be valid and potent for spell work, ritual, and various other magickal attunements. This is not a hard and fast unit of measurement, and can be flexed up or down based on personal preference, scheduling convenience to how potent you feel the energy still is, or isn't.

Dark Moon

The Dark Moon is the roughly three days when there is no visible moon in the night sky. The New Moon, in slight contrast, is when that tiny sliver finally makes an appearance. When the moon is Dark it has just completed the waning phase and is preparing to wax again. That sliver of a crescent you see of the New Moon is evidence of the growing lunar energy and will journey back to Full again. From there it grows darker, smaller, less visible and wanes until the Dark Moon.

Some consider the Dark Moon a bad time to do workings, and avoid it at all costs. I disagree!! The Dark Moon is ideal for bindings, cleansings, banishings, curses, hexes, crosses, jinxes. Use this time to do workings that focus on Spirit work, on your inner world, such as Shadow Work, journaling and meditation, and on magick that seeks to restrict, repel, decrease, ward, or banish/get rid.  You can use the entire waning phase of the moon to do work that reduces, restricts, etc. and the Dark Moon can be considered one of the most potent times to finish those efforts, complete or close out working done during the waning phase, or to harness the full strength and energies of this final phase before it begins to expand, grow and attract in the waning phase.

Don't be fooled by juvenile divisions made amongst the misguided and willfully ignorant in the Spiritual community that equate Dark with bad/evil/danger and Light with Good/purity/worthiness. This binary of Good vs Evil, Dark vs Light ideology is frankly an outdated way of looking at magick in general, yet persists in young Witch and New Age groups.

Magick is not a choice between dark or light, it is always both Dark and Light. Pagans and Witches know the Dark Moon is nothing to fear or avoid. Any tradition that teaches you to fear the Dark Moon is likely part of Christian culture and has no place within non-Abrahamic Pagan and Witchcraft belief-systems. We need not attempt to make ourselves more palatable (aka less 'scary') to the masses who believe in religious freedoms only when it means their religion- so please don't kowtow to those idiots by watering down your beliefs or practices in order to encourage tolerance or acceptance. It's an illusion that results in giving up your Power and atrophies your authenticity. Light and Dark is a magnificent spectrum and as magickal practitioners we embrace and embody all of it, just as Nature does.

Other benefits of working under cover of the Dark Moon is anonymity, privacy, secrecy, and stealth. One reason the Dark moon is so well suited for this type of work is because there is less light during this time. Our Ancestors worked during the Full Moon at night to stay productive and get more done after the Sun went down. Being able to physically see everyone meant there was increased safety. The Dark moon is under the cover of night where you might want to be subtle, discreet, when you don’t want others to sense you or know about what you’re up to, and when you don’t want the working to lead back to you because the Dark shields and protects you.

While Spirit and Underworld work can be done anytime, the Dark Moon lends itself well to journeying to Lower World spaces, making offerings to any Dark Deities you work with, calling on lower-vibrational entities and elementals to aid in your work, Ancestor communication and Spirit summoning, releasing and cord-cutting ceremonies, and divination of any kind, especially scrying.

The Dark Moon also brings energies of rest and completion. Ritually this is a good benchmark for taking time to step back, go inward and pause. It's a time for reflecting on the work you've done and enjoying the satisfaction of completing a goal.

New Moon

As the Dark Moon comes to an end, the New Moon emerges. The energy of this sliver of light embodies new beginnings, rebirth and renewal. In the waning phase, the New Moon is excellent for magick that attracts, transformation, and transitions. This is also a good time to take a fresh look at any and all situations. Now is when new projects can take root, when planning and goal-setting are taken more seriously.

Keep in mind that not all crescent moons are the New Moon. The points of the crescent moon are known as the ‘Horns of Isis’. This is a reference to the moon horns the Goddess Isis wears. The crescent moon can be waning or waxing, and you can quickly see which phase the moon is in by looking at which direction the 'horns' or tips of the crescent moon point. If they are pointing to the left the moon is waxing. If they are pointed right, the moon is waning.

Only when they point left is the New Moon possible. When the moon is a crescent and barely visible but the horns point right, then the moon is about to move into the Dark Moon phase where it won't be visible. This matters because trying to do attraction magick while the moon is getting smaller and retreating can undermine your intentions and make your spell fall flat, just like trying to banish something while the moon is growing and ripe for new beginnings can have the same effect.

The New Moon is for starting over. You have a new opportunity, a second (or third or fourth) chance at something, a new perspective, and fresh start. You've completed the last phase and now is the time for clear focus and gaining clarity in next steps. Spells that seek to draw something to you or attract a goal are ideal for starting now, or at least for planning now. Use divination to help highlight the paths ahead and narrow down decisions. What do you want next in your life? Spells and magick done for growth and abundance, jobs & employment, and finances are suited for starting now. Plant seeds, figuratively or literally and work on personal growth. The New Moon is always a good time to conduct healing magick, and performing house blessings. If you are baby-inclined, fertility magick is aligned well to this moon phase.

If you want to begin a new phase of your magickal practice, learn a new skill, begin working with a new deity, Ancestor or Spirit, the New Moon can help you find your footing. I think this would be a great time to start a new altar, or change your existing altar for the season. It would also be a lovely time to mend friendships and relationships, or even to attract a new one to you. If you've never established an Ancestor practice and want to, or if you've been out of touch for a bit, the New Moon can be just the energy you need for connecting to deceased loved ones.

Low on energy, will, courage or strength? Get the ball rolling at the New Moon with a daily ritual or practice by using the waning energy of this moon phase to help you grow and amplify those areas you feel need a boost.

Moon Phases Are Optional

Remember, you can do absolutely anything you want at any time, regardless of the moon phase. If you have urgent magick that needs doing there's no need to wait for proper planetary alignments or just the right moon phase. Not all Witches use moon phases or astrology in their practice, and that's OK! These are always optional.

Divination, journaling, shadow work, Ancestor and Spirit work and other magicks can all be done anytime you need or want to. Never let an opportunity to do magick pass you by simply because you think you missed a magickal window.

With that said, aside from entertainment, I personally don't put much energy or belief into astrology in general as I don't feel other planets have any real dominion or measurable effect on my personal life. However, I do feel the Moon and Sun are the two exceptions, as they both significantly influence life on planet Earth in ways we can see, feel and measure, and for those reasons I believe they have power on this plane that is accessible for me to tap into energetically and Spiritually.


Does this topic interest you? Explore the Moon in more depth with my course, Moon Cycles. Available with unlimited access to all monthly subscribers.

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