Lunar Magick for Beginners: Moon Phases, Rituals, & More
The moon has captivated us since the dawn of time. It’s guided our way on the darkest of nights and governs the ocean’s tides. There are myths and stories about the moon from every ancient culture, and it’s still a central part of many religions and spiritual paths. Here we break down the basics of lunar magick into easy-to-digest chunks including the moon’s phases, magical properties, correspondences, and more.
Moon Phases: The Magical Basics
The moon seems to grow and then fade over the period of one lunar cycle (one month). This growing, reaching its full potential, and then diminishing is referred to as moon phases. Each moon phase has magical qualities that aid the individual in his or her magic and healing. Here are the basic moon phases and their lunar magick properties:
- New Moon: when the moon begins its next cycle; magic includes new beginnings, new opportunities, wiping the slate clean and starting over “anew”, new friendships, new love, etc. I also perform my cleansing rituals on the new moon.
- Waxing Moon: when the moon grows in size before reaching its fullest; magic involves “growing” things in your life including success, relationships, abundance, healing, love, beauty, money, etc.
- Full Moon: to some one of the most powerful moon phases; moon is full size; magic includes love, healing, protection, intuition, dreams, connecting with the gods & ancestors, reaching your “fullest” potential, water magick, and divination
- Waning Moon: when the moon seems to fade or grow smaller; this lunar magick includes getting rid of or diminishing things like bad habits, illness, addiction, toxic relationships, and also includes releasing, banishing, and cleansing rituals
- Dark Moon: The Dark Moon is the few days before a New Moon when the moon seems to be completely gone. I’ve found the dark moon is perfect for shadow work and to recall past lives.
Our Connection with the Moon
Why is the moon so important when it comes to magick and spirituality? The moon pulls at the ocean’s tides, and since we’re made up of at least 60% water, it has a profound effect on our lives too. Ever notice how certain people get a little loony on the Full Moon? How people tend to drive erratically and act even more so? The terms loony and lunatic stem from the word lunar which means moon. There’s a reason people act differently on the Full Moon, and when we tune into the moon’s phases, we start to notice just how much the moon effects us and our surroundings. Cops and nurses know how much the full moon can affect people. Just ask them. In fact, when I worked as a nurse I would often try to schedule my shifts around the moon phases….avoiding the Full Moon like the plague. The Full Moon also increases paranormal activity, which you can read about here.
The Female Body & The Moon
Just as the moon is reborn, grows, reaches its fullest potential, then wanes again, so do our bodies. For thousands of years, women have noticed their moon cycles (menstruation – the syllable men meaning moon/month) syncing up with the moon’s phases. This is lunar magick at its core. Just as the moon waxes and wanes, so too does the womb. This is why the moon is often associated with the Goddess in neopaganism and Wicca. That’s why we have ancient lunar goddesses like Selene, Artemis and Diana.
The Triple Goddess & Our Lives
Wiccans associate the Triple Goddess with the moon’s phases: the maiden (waxing moon), the mother (full moon), and the crone (waning moon). We all go through these phases in our lives (both men and women) corresponding to our physical bodies: youth, adult years, and our elder years. And corresponding with our spiritual bodies: when we begin our journey, the middle of our journey and the end. We are all attuned to the moon phases and lunar magick, it’s just that most people don’t realize it. And, just for the record, we are all connected to the moon…not just certain genders.
Witches are particularly drawn to the moon and lunar magick for a few reasons. I believe first it’s because witches in the past were forced to meet in secret, under cover of the night, in order to avoid being caught and jailed for practicing their craft. And also because the moon is inherently linked to emotion, intuition, and the water. All things that witches are also naturally drawn and linked to. Don’t worry, though. If you’re drawn to the sun, you can still be a witch.
Lunar Magick Correspondences
The moon corresponds to certain elements, plants, animals, tools, foods, stones and gods/goddesses. Feel free to adapt and change these to fit your lifestyle, preferences, and needs. Here are some magical correspondences for lunar magick:
Herbal/Plant Moon Correspondences: vervain, moonflower, jasmine, lemon balm, cabbage, camellia, camphor, chickweed, moonwort, gardenia, grape, lemon, passion flower, turnip, potato, pea, cucumber, pear, peach, willow, poppy, mountain ash, mango, wallflower, rowan, cactus
Animal Moon Correspondences: owls, rabbits, wolves, deer, cats, moths, bats, spiders, raccoons, opossum, cows, frogs, dogs, crabs, whippoorwill, panther
Deities Moon Correspondences: Selene, Sophia, Thoth, Artemis, Diana, Luna, Blodeuwedd, Man in the Moon, Rabbit in the Moon, Khonsu, Inanna, Hecate, Cerridwen, Coyolxauhqui, Sina, Gabriel, Mani, Morgan Le Fay, Cliodhna
Crystal/Stone Moon Correspondences: moonstone, selenite, obsidian, silver, mother-of-pearl, aquamarine, gold beryl, topaz, emerald, clear quartz, coral, pearls
Foods: cabbage, pumpkin, cucumber, coconut, pear, lemon, papaya, potato, turnip, lettuce and more. Plus any crescent shaped food like croissants, moon spell cookies, moon pies, and moon milk tea. Any tea made with herbs linked to the moon are also great to work into your lunar magick.
Where to Start with Lunar Magick
Many people don’t know where to start with lunar magick. My first suggestion is to go outside at night and identify the moon’s phase. Do this time and time again until you instinctively know what phase the moon is in. If you can’t see the moon or can’t get outside, you can also use a moon phase app on your phone (most are free to download). Or simply google it. Don’t forget that sometimes the most powerful moments are quiet and still…like gazing up at the moon on a clear night and allowing your energy to shift and align.
1. Simple Moon Rituals
Next, start with a simple moon ritual like a cleansing bath on the waning or new moon. Add a few herbs to the water that correspond to the moon (make sure they are safe topically before bathing in them) like jasmine and passion flower. On the Full Moon, perform a simple candle spell for protection or love, etc. The next time you want to cast a spell or perform a ritual, look up what moon phase is best and perform it then. Lunar magick isn’t complicated and doesn’t take long to learn. After a little while, you’ll notice your emotions and your life corresponds with the moon’s cycles. You’ll also notice your dreams may increase during certain phases.
2. Make Moon Water
Another great way to connect to the moon is by collecting moon water. This ritual is all the rage with witches and for good reason – it’s easy and allows an instant connection with the moon. What you’ll need is a bowl, jar, or pitcher with which to hold the water. And a clear Full Moon night. You can use any type of water you have including filtered or tap OR go the extra step and collect rain, creek, or ocean water for an amplified effect. In addition, you can add things like herbs, salts, and flowers to your moon water. Then set the water outside at night to absorb the moonlight. Remove it before the sun touches it in the early morning. Then use your moon water for multiple magical endeavors. Learn more about moon water here.
3. Your Birthday’s Moon Phase
Have you ever noticed you feel more energetic or happy on a certain moon phase? Have you ever looked up the moon phase on your birthday? I always noticed that I felt really good on a new moon and decided to look up what phase the moon was in on my birthday. What do you know, it was a New Moon. All you do is google your birthday and moon phase and you’ll get the results. Then consider working solely with that moon phase at first, just to see if your ritual and spell results are stronger than with other moon phases. Learn more about your birthday’s moon phase here.
Lunar Magick Grimoire: Keep Your Studies and Ideas Sacred
While you’re learning lunar magick, keep a couple pages in your grimoire or journal to record your thoughts and experiences. Some witches even choose to keep an entire grimoire dedicated just to their lunar magick. Write about how each moon phase makes you feel and how it affects the people around you. Record any moon rituals or spells you do and the outcomes. Also, take note of any unusual dreams during certain moon phases or if you notice any increased paranormal activity. Or if there’s more of a certain type of animal around on certain moon phases. Keeping a log of lunar magick increases your understanding and awareness of the moon’s sacred power over our lives.