Explore Dark Moon Energy Through Ritual
Mysterious but not frightening, the Dark Moon (the night before the New Moon) is less familiar yet equally as powerful as the Full Moon. There are no secrets on the Dark Moon Path, but there is hidden wisdom.
Sisters of the Dark Moon presents the thirteen Dark Moons of the year by the zodiac sign in which they fall, along with rituals designed to help you experience and learn from their energies. You'll explore the Dark Moon lessons of:
· The Unseen in Aquarius · Risk in Leo
· Time in Pisces · Silence in Virgo
· Identity in Aries · Descent in Libra
· The Body in Taurus · Intuition in Scorpio
· Knowledge in Gemini · Creativity in Sagittarius
· Emotion in Cancer · Power in Capricorn
· The Dark in Arachne (a spirit sign)
Deepen your understanding of the Moon as the Goddess as you experience the intuitive and deep healing powers of the dark.
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Gail Wood has been a Witch and Wiccan priestess for more than twenty years, practicing a shamanic path celebrating the Dark Moon. She is clergy, teacher, ritual leader, tarot reader and Reiki Master. She teaches workshops and classes on alternative spiritualities, Wicca, tarot, ritual, shamanic journeywork, and Reiki. She is the author of Rituals of the Dark Moon: 13 Lunar Rites for a Magical Path (Llewellyn, 2001); The Wild God: Meditations and Rituals on the Sacred Masculine (Spilled Candy, 2006); and articles in a variety of pagan publications. She is eagerly anticipating the publication of The Ecstatic Witch on shamanic Wicca from Weiser. She is High Priestess of the Coven of the Heron of the RavenMyst Circle.
Sisters of the Dark Moon evolved from fifteen years of personal solitary practice of the religion of Wicca, the native European earth religion which includes healing, study, magic, craft, and transformation in its practices. Today a great deal of information is published about Wicca and its beliefs and practices; when I began there was very little. Even to this day, there is very little published about the Dark Moon and her energies. Sisters of the Dark Moon looks at the moon throughout the lunar year―thirteen moons, thirteen dark moons in which to examine the Dark Moon energy through the seasons and in each sign of the Zodiac.
Wiccans believe in the energy of the moon as she courses through the sky on her visible personal journey. She cycles from fertile and light to complete and utter darkness. We feel the tides ebb and flow even in our bodies, which are nearly all water. We feel her pull us and push us. The energy of the moon becomes our personal journey as well. So, what does it mean when we read so little about the Dark Moon? Many writers make no distinction between the New Moon and the Dark Moon, but I believe there is a great deal of difference in the energy between New Moon and Dark Moon energies. This book is an exploration of that difference and what it means to us throughout the year and through the years of our lives. This exploration will take place in ritual. Ritual is a sacred activity that connects each one of us to the Divine, to both the immanent and external Sacred.
When I began my journey into Wicca, it was like walking into a new land without a map and without direction. I began by noting the cycles of the moon and how I felt about them. The first full year, I celebrated the sun holidays and each Full Moon. I found out that the Universe is not only a safe place, but also a loving place. That was my initiation into Wicca. My celebrations were simple, unlike the rituals you will find in this book. It took me a long time to understand the nature of ritual and to have the confidence to write and do my own. I did not realize that rituals could be as simple or as elaborate as you choose. It is your own mindfulness and intent that makes a ritual sacred, not the "smells and bells" of an elaborate ritual, though those can be very effective.
It slowly became apparent to me that while I celebrated the cycles of the moon, it was the Dark Moon that had the most meaning and that embraced me unlike all the other cycles. It was then that I realized that I was on a Dark Moon Path. I then began to explore what that meant. What you will read is what the Dark Moon and the Dark Moon Path means to me. There are no secrets on the Dark Moon Path, but there are mysteries. We will explore the mystery of the Dark Moon as we learn to feel her Dark Energy and not fear the Dark.
I have always been drawn to the Dark. It is not that I am particularly gloomy in my outlook on life and it is not that I am fixated on the macabre, though I do enjoy scary movies and books. It is just that the Dark holds mystery out to me. The Dark embraces me and heals me. The sunlit spiral dances deosilin celebration of the sun, while the inward spiral of the Dark curls widdershins to explore the unknown part of what is. It is the unraveling of self and the rediscovery of self. It is dismemberment and re-memberment.
Akin to the shamanic journey to the underworld, the journey of the Dark Moon strips us of our adornments and gives us back our own self as a brilliant jewel. The journey of the Dark Moon explores the unknown part of us so that we can weave and balance the sunlit and moonlit part of ourselves. It is important to understand that we are not trying to eradicate the Dark, but to be comfortable with it and to embrace it. Dark gives definition to the light. In the Dark, we dream. It is unknown and that is what is frightening about the Dark. The Dark contains parts of us that we have not yet accepted. Properly understood, the Dark is not dangerous and we are safe in the Dark.
I can say this with confidence because I have been in the Dark. I am a forty-plus white woman who, along with my good friend Webweaver, emerged from a fundamental Christian experience that wounded us deeply. I refer to that time as being in a black hole of anger and despair. Webweaver calls it being divorced from God. The black hole statement was truer than I knew. We were in the Dark. And we healed in the Dark. I also know that Wicca and other pagan paths are not all "tra-la-la, we all love the Goddess," but a deep path that includes joy, sorrow, happiness, and travail.
The Dark Moon Path is a path with heart. It is a path for your soul, your heart, your intellect, and your body. We will sing, meditate, dance into the Dark. There we will find not only healing but joy and love. When we find things that terrify us, we will learn to understand them. Then the Dark becomes not evil, but part of our psychic gifts and ourselves.
I see the interplay of dark and light with my dogs. Bob is a golden retriever mix, a happy-go-lucky creature with a personal philosophy that I call "joie de Bobby," a play on the French expression for joy of life, joie de vivre. From his actions I know that Bob believes that every being is a new friend, every vehicle is a new ride, and everything else is food. Congo is a black Lab mix; she is a loving, happy dog, but she believes it is better to bark and take two hops backward until she is sure that whatever it is will not hurt her. Their reactions to Pearl, my cat, reflect this difference. Bob joyfully bounds toward Pearl, wagging his tail. I hope he has decided she is a friend and not food. Congo is much more cautious. She will spend time just sitting, waiting for Pearl to come out of her cubbyholes. Congo has not decided whether Pearl is friend or foe, and so for now Pearl is a puzzle for Congo to figure out, which she will do patiently and quietly.
Because I live on a triangle of land bordered on one side by a busy two-lane highway and because my land is unfenced, I walk the dogs on leashes. I also live far enough out in the country so that there is no ambient light from nearby towns or cities. This has given me an interesting perspective on light and dark and on the cycles of the moon. Walking two strong, active dogs on leashes through bushes and thickets has given me a different perspective from looking out of the window and saying, "Hello, moon."
When the moon is full, it illuminates the landscape so that no other light is necessary. I can seewith my eyes. The Full Moon casts shadows that are, atfirst, startling or scary, but after I see what they are I can easily see my way through the dark. On a clear night, the moon catches and holds my eye and my attention. I have to consciously move my attention to the rest of the sky and see the stars and planets. Often, even when the night is overcast, the moon shines through. She has great power, the lady of the Full Moon, which is why she is celebrated. She is glorious.
As the moon wanes and then waxes, the light becomes dimmer. On the darkest nights, there is very little to see but the dark. The unilluminated landscape becomes so dark that I cannot see with my eyes. Cautiously I extend my other senses. My feet become my guides. I listen more carefully to hear the cracking of branches and sometimes the hooting of an owl. Often what I hear is traffic. Sometimes, the lights from a car or truck will hit my eyes just right and the light from that vehicle will fill my vision so that I cannot see at all. I cannot seem to turn away so that I am in the dark and can see. I know how a deer might feel. It is that way with the porch light too. It will catch my eye and fill my vision with light so that I cannot see. A flashlight does not help either, since my attention becomes focused on the narrow beam of light and I miss the tree branches that reach out to thwack me at face level. In the dark, it seems, it is best to go forward in the dark.
The sky on a Dark Moon night is fabulous. It is filled with stars and constellations that seem to go on forever. There is a sense that I can see all of infinity and that I am in the middle of it. In the dark, on the ground, I have to feel my way with my other senses. Once I get the sense of the dark, I can walk confidently along, seeing the outline of the dogs, hearing their activities. If a light catches my eye, I cannot see at all. During the holiday season, my neighbors put electric candles in their many windows, which looks elegant and welcoming. The light caught my eye one day as the dogs tangled themselves and their leashes around me. I whined to myself that it was too dark, and so I could not see to untangle us all from this mess. The truth was that there was too much light. Another time, Congo tangled her long leash in a thicket of small trees and branches. Since her leash was an expensive, retractable one, I didn't want to leave it out in the elements. So I had to use my fingers as eyes to untangle the mess. Once I got over the fact that I could not see because it was too dark, I really could see in the dark. I worked with the energy of the Dark and could see.
The Moon on the Dark Moon Path:
Nine Phases of the Goddess
The Dark Moon Path begins by looking at the moon in her monthly cycles. Sisters of the Dark Moon looks at the thirteen moons of the lunar year and examines the Dark Moon aspect of each sign of the Zodiac. The moon also changes throughout the month as she cycles through the phases of full to dark, to full again. To begin to understand the moon as a magical part of our lives, we need to look at her in each of her aspects.
There are several ways to look at the moon during the month. Many authors and practitioners of earth-based religions look at the moon as the triple aspect of the Goddess. The Crescent Moon is the Maiden, the Full Moon is the Mother, and the New or Dark Moon is the Crone. Others, including scientists and other nature observers, view themoon cycles as eight cycles, four waxing or growing phases, and four waning or declining phases. In this view, the New and Dark Moon is thought of as interchangeable.
Pagan writers and writers on astrology have taken the phases of the moon and created aspects of the moon's cycles as aspects of the Goddess. Demetra George, in Mysteries of the Dark Moon (HarperSan Francisco, 1992), defines the eight cycles of the moon from light to deepest dark. The We'moon Calendar series defines the eight cycles of the moon as going from seed to compost. In envisioning the cycles of the moon in this way, we can see the progress and change in the life of the Goddess, and by extension we can see progress and change in our lives. The moon can be a powerful guide to understanding our lives and the changes that come.
To make a distinction between the New Moon and the Dark Moon, and building on the work of others, I look at the moon in nine phases, from new to dark. In each phase, I have seen an aspect of the Goddess as cycles through the month and through her life.
The New Moon is a waxing phase, that phase of the moon where the tiniest sliver of light shines through. It is the beginning of life and the beginning of the journey. She is the Maiden, eagerly setting forth in her journey. She is full of the vitality and confidence of youth.
The Crescent Moon is a waxing phase that has more light, but not quite half of the moon's light is appearing. She is the Amazon, a little more seasoned by experience and confident that the world can be changed if she fights for it. She knows that she is strong and she believes that she is invincible.
The First Quarter Moon is a waxing phase that is half in light and half in darkness. She is the Lover, fully sexual and loving without the burdens of worry or responsibility. She is in tune with others as well as herself, and she is full of love.
The Gibbous Moon is a waxing phase that is three-quarters light and a little dark. She is the Priestess, journeying into the spiritual. She acknowledges that there are many things hidden and sacred. She is an initiate into the mysteries of the moon and of mystical womanhood.
The Full Moon is all light. She is the Mother, fertile and nurturing. The full light shines an optimism and vision of hope throughout the world. She is full of the happiness of a beautiful and productive life.
The Disseminating Moon is a waning phase that is one-fourth dark and now the dark is overtaking the light. She is the Teacher. She knows that there are lessons to be learned from lives well lived. She knows that joy is often overshadowed by grief and she knows that the bitter and the sweet go together in a combination that spices life.
The Last Quarter Moon is a waning phase that is one-half dark and where the dark is inexorably traveling into the light and into life. She is the Elder or Grandmother. She knows about death, disappointment, and lies, but she also knows about hope, birth, and truth.
The Balsamic Moon is a waning phase that is three-quarters dark. She is the Crone. She knows about hard truths, responsibility, and action. She knows about power and how to use it badly and how to use it well. Her choices define her, sadden her, and uplift her.
The Dark Moon is all dark and is the deepest dark. She is the Weaver. She knows all that the Maiden, Amazon, Lover, and Priestess know. She has experienced what the Mother, Teacher, and Elder has lived. She has taken the power of the Crone and transformed it into a magical philosophy of life that encompasses all that is in all its complexity and contradiction.
Using the moon as an analogy or model for our lives and then viewing her as a living Goddess is not a silly or weird thing to do. Neither is taking that living Goddess and making her a part of our own lives. These steps transform our lives into a magical connection between ourselves, the natural world, and the Goddess. The Goddess is inside of us as well as outside of us, but we forget that we ourselves are divine. Thinking about that connection, feeling that connection, helps us experience that connection. We then become transformed. This is not religion. This is magic.
The Lunar Year
The moon cycles from full to dark to full again every month, and the moon also progresses through a year of cycles. There are thirteen moons in our calendar, which is a solar calendar. Years such as 1999 and 2000 are based on the progress of the sun around the Earth. Within that we can celebrate the progress of the moon as she moves throughout the Zodiac.
The Zodiac that is used in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries is a solar one based on twelve signs, but other civilizations have used other ways of tracking the stars and the seasons. Some Zodiacs have been based on the moon and have contained thirteen months. Using that as a base, I have added a thirteenth sign, Arachne, to our twelve-sign Zodiac. Each month on the Dark Moon Path celebrates an aspect of the Goddess as she takes on the personality of the particular sign of the Zodiac. Through writings and ritual, we will explore how the Goddess manifests herself in that particular Dark Moon. Ritual then brings that manifestation into our own lives.
The Dark Moon in Aquarius explores the Unseen. It is the initiation, the beginning and the entering of the Dark. It is an introduction to the spirits and the Elementals. The spirit world benefits from a relationship with us, but those benefits may not be readily apparent. Aquarius is an air sign with the Maiden aspect. Air is a breath in Aquarius.
The Dark Moon in Pisces explores Time. Time is a human invention to organize the human world. Freeing ourselves of this constrictive linear view will help us explore dimensional shifts and the sensation of bein...
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Book Description Llewellyn Publications, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0738700959
Book Description Llewellyn Publications, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0738700959
Book Description Llewellyn Publications, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110738700959
Book Description Llewellyn Publications. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0738700959 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0291211