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The Moon and the Sun

Sunset at Woolbury Ring
Stormy sky at Woolbury Ring
The Moon and the Sun played extremely important roles in the lives of the ancient people. They were the calendar and clock marking hours, months and seasons. The Sun gave the all-important warmth and light, the life-force for the crops. The Moon pulled the tides, and the people of Old England believed it also affected the growth and energies of plants.

An Anglo-Saxon manuscript called the Lacnunga describes the ancient art of magickal healing, combining spells with herbal medicine. It gives detailed instructions about the effect of the Moon and Sun on medicinal and magickal herbs when they are gathered. For example, it states that a wizard collecting Periwinkle must pluck it "when the moon is nine nights old, and eleven nights, and thirteen nights, and thirty nights, and when it is one night old." The Mulberry plant should be picked "when to all men the moon is seventeen nights old, after the setting of the sun, ere the rising of the moon".

The people of Old England had strong beliefs in magick. They regarded any dividing lines between the contrasting periods of time, e.g.. night and day, halves of the year, first and second halves of months, etc. to be charged with special power. Even the setting of the Sun and the rising of the Moon created a charged atmosphere. Herbal mixtures could be enhanced by adding fresh dew from the early morning and the powers of magick were also at their height at dusk, as the Sun was setting.

Moon phases

There are twenty-eight days per Moon cycle and thirteen Moon cycles per year. Each cycle is further divided into quarters lasting roughly one week each. The different phases of the Moon have different energies and can affect many things. The tides of the sea are higher or lower depending on the Moon phase and time of year, a woman's menstrual cycle roughly follows the Moon's pattern and people have long believed that the energy of different Moon phases can strongly affect the growth pattern of plants.

Magick has long been considered to be greatly affected by the Moon's phases and the power of the Moon is often used within spells to enhance them. The varying energies of the Moon's phases are as follows:
 

New Moon The first tiny crescent is visible New beginnings, new ventures, new life, new opportunities, innocence, childhood - spells concerning pregnancy or children could be effectively cast at this time
Waxing Moon The Moon is growing larger each night All spells of increase or gain should be worked under this phase. Magick which works to bring something into your life
Full Moon The Moon is at its largest  This is the most powerful phase of the Moon and is good for all types of magick and particularly protection
Waning Moon The Moon is growing smaller each night This is the phase to remove things from your life - clearing out, letting go
Dark Moon No part of the Moon is visible at all This phase is the time to cast banishing spells to drive something from you. It is also a powerful time for divination and scrying

Moon names

The Moon names in the table below are widely-used, although I can't be certain of how historically accurate they are.
Traditional names Tree calendar names
Oak Moon
Wolf Moon
Storm Moon
Chaste Moon
Seed Moon
Hare Moon
Dyad Moon
Mead Moon
Wort Moon
Barley Moon
Wine Moon
Blood Moon
Snow Moon
Birch Moon
Rowan Moon
Ash Moon
Alder Moon
Willow Moon
Hawthorn Moon
Oak Moon
Holly Moon
Hazel Moon
Vine Moon
Ivy Moon
Reed Moon
Elder Moon
 

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Page last updated: 23 March, 2012

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