Friday, July 6, 2012

PBP: New moon, full moon and everything in between

I wish I could say that I have had a fascination with the moon since I was a little girl. Truth is, I have spent nearly all nights before I discovered Paganism and many a night afterwards being completely unaware which moon phase we were in. I have had periods in which I followed the phases of the moon religiously but, although I have seen some beautiful faces of the moon, it is too far away from me to include in my daily practice.

When I still practiced Neo-Wicca and Eclectic Religious Witchcraft, the only phase of the moon I felt any connection to was the new moon. The absence of the moon always struck me as far more magickal and miraculous than a moon that was full. I think the fact that I associated Hekate with the new moon even then, helped a lot. Selene, as the Hellenic personification of the moon, never spoke to me too much and it is She, along with Artemis, who get revered most at the full moon. 

Now I'm on my way with Hellenismos, I have taken a renewed interest in the moon and her phases, not so much as a Deity but as guideline for my calendar. For the ancient Hellens, the new month started with the first sighting of the new moon, with Hekate's Deipnon being celebrated the day after the moon was new, Noumenia being celebrated the day after the first sliver of the moon has been sighted and Agathós Daímōn celebrated the day after. The days after that were marked by the birthdays of the Olympic Gods who, indeed, had one every month.

The moon was a a major influence in the monthly schedule of the ancient Hellens and, because I am keeping an eye out for the new moon, I've also become more aware of the other phases of the moon. The following table, taken from Wikipedia, shows the influence of the moon on the (Attic) Hellenic calendar even clearer:

This whole thing is a bit of a mess but important to note is that the new moon drove the calendar, the full moon hardly measured into it (as it never received a special name and was found around the 14th or 15th middle) and the days of the month were largely identified by the waxing (rising) or waning of the moon.

So, the moon has yet again found its way into my practice, although it's a lot different from the esbats of Neo-Wicca. Do you recognize the moon in your practice? And if so, how?


Rose Oak said...

Hey sweetie :-)

For me the moon phases are very important. Not only because we have to do rituals as part of the Priestess of Avalon training, but also because of what she symbolises for me personally: the eb and flow life. The moon is like a reassuring grandmother to me who tells me that bad periods don't last: that the human body and emotions flow, like she moves the seas and oceans. Especially the woman body, and how our moon cycle connects to the different phases of the moon - I'm trying to tune in with that feeling and getting better at recognising my own feelings and energy levels.

I've also recently learned that the Dark Moon is also a separate moon phase (making it 4 instead of 3). Many see the Dark Moon only as the three days preceding New Moon. Actually, New Moon starts when you see the first bit of the sickle reappear in the skies, and Dark Moon is when there's no moon visible at all. I thought this was an interesting philosophy and it feels very true to me.
I'm curious what you think of this, and if it affects what moon phase you feel most drawn to? (because you spoke of 'no moon' as 'new moon'?)


Elani Temperance said...

Hey hun!

I've always seen new moon as a separate moon phase; first quarter, second quarter (new moon), third quarter and fourth quarter (full moon). I like the idea of a different phase for new moon and dark moon but wouldn't that make it five phases? Or, actually, shouldn't there then be eight (between each quarters)? Or even 16, as there are already the gibbous and crescent phases between the major four? I guess I equate dark moon with new moon.

Thank you for sharing your relationship with the moon :) I would have liked to have that kind of relationship with it but I never managed to. I think I always identified more with the journey the God makes; His death and re-birth through the seasons. I have always been more aware of the sun, the light. His influence is more direct, I guess, but I understand the beauty of the Moon in women's mysteries. I understand her message of hope, of light in darkness. I'm just more aware of needing that light when it's absent.


Bellatrix S said...

I distinguish between dark moon and new moon. Its vital that we know what phases we are using, and yes I too see the 16 phases as a better guideline. If I am going to do moon magik, I wanna know exactly what energies are accessible or influencing.
I like to use the Full Moon as a time to gather publicly. I am part of a local group that meets every Full Moon to camp on private land under the bright moon.
For me, the Dark Moon is my time to do my private magiks, which usually involve more inner work and things i'd prefer to do under cover of darkness or alone. for "L" on Pagan Blog Project I wrote some musings on Lune delle Streghe , in which I briefly discuss the moon's phases in current Pagan thealogy

Elani Temperance said...

I will find your blog post :)
The division between public at full moon and private at dark moon makes a lot of sense to me in a Neo-Wiccan or Eclectic setting. It might have been something I would have done.
Thank you for your words. It's really interesting to me to learn how everyone views the moon and its phases.

Penda said...

All of this is even more strange for me, as I am slowly coming to Hellenismos from Germanic Heathenry, which in that tradition sees the moon as masculine and the sun as feminine...

Being polytheists, If one wanted to give worship to both the Olympians and the Aesir, albeit in their OWN distinct and separate ways so as to maintain a cultural integrity, is that possible. IE, though I would worship ODIN, I would never worship ZEUS with ODIN in the same rite. VIce versa for Hellenismos. What do you think of that kind of thing?

Elani Temperance said...

@Penda: Ha! I can see how complicated this must be for you! As for your question, on principle, I am not against syncretic worship. If you can stick with it and do both practices and all Gods justice, go right ahead. I know, though, that I would never be able to do it. Getting into a religion requires the adoption of a specific mindset; you have to live your life a certain way, practice religion a certain way, become a specific kind of person based on the ethics held in high regard in that religion. A lot of times, these ethics overlap, but in general, there will always be contradictions, forcing you to choose. On top of that, I barely have time to keep up with one religious practice, let alone two. If you can, though, more power to you!