Capricorn New Moon – Push

The first new moon of 2021 is in Capricorn (13th January, 5:00 GMT). I have been watching the shadow advancing over the moon’s surface this past week with a sense of … what? Relief maybe? Like the shadow is a blanket we can cover ourselves with, and rest a while, to be born anew a few days later.

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Saturn and Jupiter have left Capricorn, true Pluto is still close by, but even so the energy feels less complicated. Or more ordinarily complicated, if that’s a thing? The usual Capricorn new moon darkness and concern with what is going on within the earth (literally and metaphorically), the realm of Pluto. Inanna is with her sister Erishkigal. We know what happens now.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Divination/ Journalling Prompts

*What am I willing to do now?
*What am I clinging on to?
*How can I release that ready for necessary change?
*How can I be born anew?

Ritual/ Spellwork/ EveryDayMagic Suggestions

*A ritual bath to cleanse and release old patterns
*Asking for help
*It would be a good time for past life work and/ or ancestor connections

Cancer Full Moon – NEW COMFORTS

I am writing this at the beginning of the month (so before the huge happenings of the solstice and Grand Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn) and it feels like I’m only getting a glimpse of something very very far away. From this vantage point, the full moon in Cancer (December 30th, 3:28 GMT) looks like a strange and unfamiliar jewel.

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With Venus on the south node and and Jupiter and Saturn (in Aquarius) inching ever further away from Pluto, I’m going to stick my neck out and suggest this full moon is about time and pleasure. Patterns of behaviour around what brings comfort, delayed (or not) gratification, and which things in our lives we give value too, and the themes that I feel will be at the forefront now. And if we don’t like our current modes of comfort then we are able to make big or small changes now.

“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”

― Tony Robbins

Divination/ Journalling Prompts

*What comfort (or comforts, take more cards if you need them) have I outgrown?
*What is most important to me now?
*Where am I wasting time?
*How can I align my time-spending with my values

Ritual/ Spellwork/ EveryDayMagic Suggestions

*A ritual to cast off old pleasures and comforts.
*Some (not-so) mundane time management planning.
*A social media break, or break-up if you’re feeling bold.

New Moon Eclipse in Sagittarius – RESPOND

On the 14th of December (16:16 GMT) we have the Sagittarius New Moon and Total Solar Eclipse (16:13 GMT). The eclipse isn’t visible in the UK as the sun has already set (you can see where the eclipse is visible on this map), but the energy will still be felt. It is extra dark.

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The moon in front of the sun creates a portal, and an invitation; Do you want things to stay how they are right now? Or do you want to step into a different but unknown future? How will you respond? It is time to choose your next adventure, and to work out why – and who – you are called to adventure for.

“I should like to save the Shire, if I could – though there have been times when I thought the inhabitants too stupid and dull for words, and have felt that an earthquake or an invasion of dragons might be good for them. But I don’t feel like that now. I feel that as long as the Shire lies behind, safe and comfortable, I shall find wandering more bearable: I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Divination/ Journalling Prompts

Ritual/ Spellwork/ EveryDayMagic Suggestions

*Solar eclipses are not easy times to do magic, you really need to know what you’re doing and be sure that the eclipse energy is compatible with what you hope to achieve, for this reason its simpler to avoid spellwork at this time.
*That said, simple rituals to help with moving forward/ crossing the portal would be effective and especially if combined with a cleansing – a ritual bath would be good.
*Sagittarius is about truth and big adventure so journaling/ pulling cards/ vision boarding etc what you would like your new quest/ adventure to be would be good, just wait until the eclipse is passed before taking action.

Full Gemini Moon – REBEL

The last day of the month brings the Gemini Full Moon (November 30th, 09:30 GMT). It is also a penumbral eclipse (09:43 GMT) and a faint shadow will be seen on the moon before sunrise (in the UK, for other parts of the world check a local almanac). Gemini is a sign that enjoys light and fun, and with Mars direct in home sign Aries, it could be a tricky time for anyone wanting to place heavier restrictions on movement and get-togethers. The mood isn’t one for toeing the party line. 

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There is a tension now between lightness/joy/ play and restrictions/ rules/ responsibilities. Wherever you fall politically this moon will shine a light on some things which you’d rather not notice are there. But, like so many terrifying things, they can be less scary when we face them head on.

“Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.”

― Judy Blume, Tiger Eyes

Divination/ Journalling Prompts

*What am I most afraid of now?
*What do I need?
*What happens next?

Ritual/ Spellwork/ EveryDayMagic Suggestions

*With Mars direct in Aries and out of shadow it is a good time for fire magic. Candle spells to increase courage would be effective.
*Free-writing/ doodling. Don’t worry about what it looks like, let your unconscious/ spirit guide/ ancestors speak to you through the movement of pen on paper.
*Ritual to release fears.

Scorpio New Moon – INTEGRATE

Mercury and Mars are direct but still in their shadows (explanation here) as we reach the Scorpio new moon on November 15th (05:07 GMT). A lot of shit has gone down these past few weeks and you may be feeling scattered and unsure about how to pick up the pieces. I feel like this new moon offers the possibility of integrating those crappy and good things that have happened and start fitting things back together into some kind of (new) coherence.

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Finding creative ways to integrate new understandings, while allowing space to grieve for the old ways, is necessary now. Even if you don’t believe that linear time is true (and, on a grand scale, it probably isn’t), it is the way our human lives are experienced. And so, forward we go.

“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, or There and Back Again

Divination/ Journalling Prompts

*What have I learned about myself this year?
*What have I learned about the world this year? (you can add more similar and specific questions here too e.g. what have I learned about my relationship with … / my dreams etc.)
*What am I yet to learn? (sometimes the cards will be vague about this, but it’s worth a try)
*How can I integrate what I have learned?

Ritual/ Spellwork/ EveryDayMagic Suggestions

*A ritual to call back any lost parts of yourself could be intensely healing now.
*Water elemental work, like a cleansing bath, would be effective.
*And last but not least, that Scorpio cliche, but for good reason, some shadow work.

Full Taurus Blue Moon – All Shadows Eve

Samhain + Blue Moon = Strong Magic.
There is an awful lot of fire and Earth energy out there right now, and not all of it (probably not even half of it) is particularly well-directed or contained. Which is to say, on this Full Taurus Moon (October 31st, 14:44 GMT), take care. Do your halloween things, call up your ancestors and helpful spirits, but take more care than perhaps you would in a year that is not this year.

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Things on this beautiful planet are changing more quickly than they have done for a couple of thousand years. An epoch is coming to an end, another is struggling to be born. We are in the throes of labour. It feels like hard work. It is hard work. It is what we are here to do.

“Truth is the daughter of time, and I feel no shame in being her midwife.”

— JOHANNES KEPLER

Divination/ Journalling Prompts

Nos Galan Geaf/ Samhain is the end of the Celtic year, and the beginning of the next. It is a great time to consult your ancestors (not just human) for guidance. I don’t really use a spread as such for this, as its more like a conversation than a fixed reading, you can keep pulling cards and let things flow. But I’ve tried to pull things together into a starting point that might be helpful. Let me know how it goes if you use it.

Ritual/ Spellwork/ EveryDayMagic Suggestions

*This is the point in the year where I do my year ahead reading for the following 12-18 months. I have a blog post with a card layout and prompts, which you are welcome to use.
*With Mercury still retrograde take extra care with any wordy magic, like charms, right now. Personally, I favour spirit work over all other forms of magic at this time.
*Clean/ Refresh/ Start an ancestor altar. Everyone should have one (and I almost never say that about anything).

New Libra Moon – STIR THE POT

Whoo, we are still right in the thick of things aren’t we? The Mars retrograde continues and now Mercury has turned (not actually pedants, it just looks that way from Earth) too. All that backwards and forwards energy swirling around this New Moon in Libra (October 16th, 20:31 BST) and a time (Libra season) when we are usually talking about balance and setting goals and priorities for the next 6 months has become altogether more … unpredictable?

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So what do we do with those swirling, unpredictable, bubbling pots? I think that depends on what is brewing in each. I am going to take a few off the fire (or at least try) so that I can focus my love and efforts on those which matter most.

“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”

— THICH NHAT HANH

Divination/ Journalling Prompts

*What pots am I tending right now? (pull as many cards/journal as many responses as feels right)
*Which need to be stirred? (I’d be using a pendulum over the already pulled cards for this part)
*Which need to be taken off the boil?
*Which can be safely/ better moved to the backburner?

Ritual/ Spellwork/ EveryDayMagic Suggestions

*Clear out your worst drawer/ cupboard of hell, you know the one with the elastic bands and string, and the mixture of used and new batteries, tea lights, receipts for things you don’t own any more etc. There is energy available to tackle such grim jobs right now.
*Get your wards and protections in place
*Ditch any lingering commitments which no longer resonate (even/ especially those which are now only via zoom)

Full Aries Moon – CHARGE

Being frank, the astrology at this first full moon of October 2020 (1st, 22:05 BST) doesn’t look particularly auspicious (much like the entire year, sigh). The Moon joins retrograding Mars in fire sign Aries, squaring off against the heavyweights Pluto, Jupiter and Saturn in Capricorn. It’s all rather tense.

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If there’s an upside (and there nearly always is) it is that people are willing to engage now, in fact they’re chomping at the bit. So if you’d like to have something out with someone/ get something off your chest it will feel like a good time for that. Though, before you do, be warned it is unlikely to resolve peacefully. There is another option.

“To oppose something is to maintain it.”

— Ursula Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

Divination/ Journalling Prompts

*What am I pushing against at this full moon?
*What is pushing back on me?
*How can I disengage?

Ritual/ Spellwork/ EveryDayMagic Suggestions

*Personally I won’t be doing any magic on this full moon. It just doesn’t feel that auspicious to me. Instead a quiet ritual/ meditation/ prayer session would be a good way to diffuse and use the current energy more peacefully.
*Cleansing and protecting your space could be another sensible option.

New Moon in Virgo – RESET

Can you smell it? The slightest whiff of something new is in the air. In a year filled with restriction and stasis this tiny undercurrent thrills me.

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The New Moon in Virgo falls at exactly midday BST (GMT +1) on Thursday 17th September. In theory, with Mars retrograde, this shouldn’t be a time for movement, and yet I can taste the promise of change, of chance, of a fresh start. That Virgo New Moon energy is pushing through, offering a reset point. I’m going to take it. Will you?

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

― Albert Einstein (maybe, or quite possibly someone else, no one really knows)

Divination/ Journalling Prompts

*What opportunities are ahead of me now?
*What is restricting me?
*How can I best move forward?
*How can I honour what I leave behind?

Ritual/ Spellwork/ EveryDayMagic Suggestions

*Do/ try something completely new. Be bold. This year we have all been heavily restricted so let your rebel out (as far as you can without getting yourself into trouble).
*Divination, use the prompts above, or ask whatever is in your heart. But try and make it future focused rather than asking questions about the past. This is your reset button, use it wisely.

Full Moon Energy and Practices FAQ – Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Lunar Work

The moon was my portal into witchcraft. Back in the early 90s, when my body began to obviously wax and wane with the monthly cycles, I knew I was syncing with something much bigger than my individual human consciousness. I felt that New Agey sentiment – that I am (and we all are) made of the same stuff as the entire universe – we are stardust. And the moon with it’s seemingly changing faces and moods is our kin.

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We are related to everything in the universe, of course, but the moon is our closest companion and affects life on Earth more tangibly and immediately than the other planets and stars. This makes it (you can use she/he if you like, but it’s the 21st century so we know how problematic pronouns can be) a well-placed partner (not tool) to work with for manifesting the changes we want to see in our lives, and banishing the things we don’t want.

In this post I’m going to answer some of the most common questions I get asked about working with the full moon (and framing it as “working with” can itself be problematic, which I’ll get to) along with the reasoning behind my answers.

I’ve been in conscious relationship with the moon for almost 30 years at this point, so I am confident in the veracity of what I share here, but, as always, your personal relationship and experiences may be different, and that is fine. I will try and get around to addressing questions about the other phases in a separate post – if you have questions please leave them in the comments – but much of it can be extrapolated out from what I share here. It’s more about the way we approach our relationship with the moon than a list of dos and don’ts.

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Q. How long does a full moon last?

A. Technically the moon is full when it is directly opposite the sun. The exact opposition is timed to the second (and will vary depending on your location on Earth). Unless you’re a professional astronomer you’re unlikely to be able to work this out by yourself (there’s complicated math involved) so most people use a moon calendar/ almanac/ phone app to get the exact time.

Q. But why is the exact time important? And, a related query that I see cropping up on witchy facebook groups, the full moon was last night have I left it too late to charge my crystals/ make moon water/ do a ritual? etc.

The answer I often see given is that the full moon phase lasts over three days, so it’s still fine to do those things then. And it is fine. No one is going to die because you charged your crystals under a technically waning moon that still looks full to the naked eye. But the energy has a different quality, and so the charged crystals will have a different tuning/ resonance, than if you had charged them the night before when the moon was still waxing. Which brings us to the next, and most asked question.

Q. How do I work with the energy of the full moon?

A. And, oh my goddess, I could write a whole book in answer to this question (and I might one day). But I will try and keep this blogpost scale.

Setting aside the “work with” for now, what people usually mean when they ask this question is what should I do at the full moon? I get it, witching, especially if you’re solitary, has no definitive set of activities to do at certain times, which for the newcomer is disorientating and sometimes worrying. If you do join a coven this is mitigated somewhat through mentorship, but personally I think that the disorientation and lack of an established set of practices is the perfect (only?) starting point. It forces you to examine your worldview and preconceptions, you have to really dig deep into what you know are truths about the universe and your place in it, you have to decolonise your thinking, hell, you have to think for yourself, and trust yourself and the information you receive from non-mainstream acceptable sources, and you have to do it well because you know it has huge consequences for you and for everyone/thing you love. With power comes responsibility. This is why this path is not for everyone.

All that to say that there is no one answer to how do I work with the energy for the full moon because that depends on who you are and what you are hoping to do. But there are some guidelines (phew) which can help you as you’re figuring it out.

[inserting an apology here in case you came to this post looking for a definitive set of practices and are cross because that’s not what’s here. If it’s any consolation I do have something more akin to that here]

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If you’re witchy by nature then you’ll already be familiar with the moon phases having different energetics. The most commonly known phases are the full and new moon (personally I find the squares/ quarters under-loved, but hey). The new moon and full moon are opposites, the former dark with potential, the latter gloriously in your face. Obviously working with the natural energy of these phases makes more sense than working against it. But what does that mean?

At full moon the energy is hot and outward pushing. It helps to compare it with the same point in the solar cycle – the summer solstice. Everything is awake and pulsing with energy, flowers in full bloom, but not fruiting yet (generally, some fruit comes early like Lady Strawberry), the air is heavy with floral scent. This is why the general advice given for what to do at this time is not to start new things/ cycles (that’s new moon energy) but to give a burst of energy to those projects (fruit) already in motion (flowering). And that is good advice. But you can see how the exact timing of your working/ ritual/ crystal charging adds an important nuance.

If you choose the time leading up to the full moon you get more of that midsummer vibe, if you go afterwards then you’re heading into the waning autumn energy (and have less power to influence the fruit). You choose your timing according to what you want to achieve.

As well as the moon phases there is a system of lunar days, which is far less widely known. Basically, the moon rises and sets at a slightly different time each day throughout the lunar month (new moon to new moon), and each moon rise marks the start of a new lunar day. These lunar days have different energies and potentials, with some being good for some things and bad for others. If you’re into high levels of detail this system may appeal to you (hello Virgo). You can find out more about lunar days here.

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Adding another layer, if you’re into astrology you will be familiar with the zodiac signs. The sign that the full moon is in will (should?) also have a bearing on what you do at this time. The full moon always falls in the sign opposite the sign that the sun currently moves in, which I find charges up that axis across the zodiacal circle, so it adds an extra solar dimension to the energy too. The full moon does have the potential to allow switches to be flipped, directions to be changed, outcomes to be impacted in seemingly incredible ways. This potential is magnified when you can go with the flow of the astrological moment. This can be at a simple level of matching your magic to the “theme” of the zodiac sign e.g. Moon in Pisces, Sun in Virgo, could be a good time to work on fears around your health. If you’re more proficient in astrology you can bring your own birth chart into the picture and use the houses where the moon and sun fall, as well as the signs, to inform your plans. (If you’d like to be more proficient in astrology I have a YouTube series Astrology for Witches).

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Taking things even more niche, the moon also moves through its own circle of lunar mansions each lunation/ moonth/ month (if I’ve lost you, don’t worry – magic still works without impeccable timing – but if you’re still with me yay! this will supercharge your efforts). Similarly to the lunar days (though, sometimes confusingly in contradiction to them) each lunar mansion has its own recommended actions and taboos. For a more comprehensive explanation of this I like Ann Moura’s Mansions of the Moon, but this internet article is good for a shorter take.

Warning – this is a massive rabbit hole, not helped by the fact that there are different astrological systems with their own lunar mansions, which also sometimes correlate, but often don’t. Feel free to dive down there if you have the time and the inclination.

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Q. How do I work with the energy of the full moon?

Yeah, so I realised I’m still answering this question and I’ve already written a post so long not many will get to the end, and has perhaps raised more questions than its answered, so I’ll wrap up with a short consideration of “working with“. It’s a common phrase in the magical community and one that I’ve used a lot myself, but our words are important and their meaning(s) affect our thinking, being and doing.

When we are working with something what is our relationship to that thing? Does it depend on what that thing looks like? Does it depend on whether we see that thing as alive?

I sometimes hear/ read people talking about working with the moon as if it is a tool, something humans can manipulate to accomplish a desired task. This is pretty much the opposite of what is happening when we “work with” the moon (or any other planetary force).

Think of it instead as working with a colleague, a senior colleague, or a well-loved and wise elderly relative (which is the truth of it).

Be appropriately respectful.