The dark moon is an often neglected (but OH SO important) phase of the lunar cycle…
Sitting between the waning Moon phase, and New Moon, the Dark Moon phase isn’t quite either of these, despite often being bundled in together with them. Astrologers sometimes refer to the Dark Moon as the “Balsamic Moon” But in truth our dark lunar Mistress holds a different kind of quality, one that’s unique, mysterious and exceptionally powerful…
In this article…
What is the dark Moon?
Has dark Moon wisdom been suppressed?
The lunar phases
How often does the dark Moon rise?
What is dark Moon vs New Moon energy?
Dark Moon Goddesses
How does the dark Moon affect you?
What to do at the dark Moon phase
What IS the dark Moon?
You may read that the dark moon is the waning crescent moon. But this isn’t quite true. They are actually separate things…
The Ancient Greeks knew this, as did the Babylonians. They had a system of dividing the lunar cycle into not only 3, 4 or 8 phases like we do, but into 30 segments!
For these ancient cultures, the dark Moon phase was the very last segment, the last moment when the Moon was invisible – when she had moved beyond her waning crescent.
Even if the Moon didn’t rise during the day (making her delicate shape barely visible in the sunshine) you wouldn’t see her at night. There is nothing to see.
A Dark Moon warning:
Information about the dark Moon phase is rising again in pop culture. People are gathering up threads of knowledge.
… BUT this isn’t always accurate.
You may hear that this is a brooding time that’s all about shadow and pain. Movies mainstream media, and well-meaning teachers and writers talk of this being the time when blocked and stifled emotions emerge. When people get cranky, and even rage rises.
But this isn’t dark Moon energy.
Most of this is how modern people are responding to an ancient lunar energy that’s unfamiliar to them. It’s how they are unable to hold space for a face of the Feminine that tends to emerge at the Dark Moon phase…
Has Dark Moon wisdom been suppressed?
I’m not going to beat around the bush…
Knowledge of the dark Moon phase and her mysteries have been suppressed.
It’s been systematically stifled and silenced along with the wise women who held her secrets…
And just like the centuries-long spell of collective amnesia around Divine Feminine wisdom, humanity’s “forgetfulness” around the Dark Moon didn’t happen by chance…
The dark Moon and the Dark feminine
Maybe this sounds a little far-fetched? That information around a phase of the Moon could be removed from the collective consciousness?
But this is exactly what has happened! It happened because the Dark Moon is connected spiritually, symbolically, energetically and mythologically connected to the Dark Feminine. And the Dark Feminine is an aspect of the Divine Feminine (or Sacred Feminine), that contains her most transformational and fearsome potential…
But before we go there, let’s take a (quick) look at the rest of the lunar cycle…
The lunar phases (you probably already know about)
One lunar cycle takes 29.5 days to complete. (It only actually takes the Moon 27.3 days to orbit the Earth, but as we have moved along on our own orbit around the Sun, the Moon needs to travel for almost a couple more days to reach her relative New Moon position once again).
Each day, the Moon moves eastwards by about 12 degrees. This means she rises about 50 minutes later every day, staggering further and further behind the rising Sun. This gentle dance is what creates the changing play of visible light across her surface.
The “new” lunar phase comes when la Luna is just visible as the sliver of an emerging crescent Moon in the daytime sky.
This phase feels gentle, delicate and budding.
Waxing Crescent Moon
Rising with us during the daytime and setting in the evening, in this Moon phase she is a more obvious waxing crescent shape.
Here, her energy feels fresh, inspiring, and maiden-like.
READ: What is the Maiden Archetype?
Forming an astrological square with the Sun, this phase is revealed as a clear “half Moon” shape. Light will expand, overtaking the dark quarter.
This phase often feels tricky – there’s an obstacle to overcome.
Waxing gibbous Moon
Closer now to her Full phase, than new, the Moon appears in this waxing gibbous phase as a more bulbous, blossoming disc.
This phase feels pregnant with the potential of the Full Moon phase’s climax!
We all know this phase! Directly opposing her twin luminary, the Sun, she is fully illuminated. Rising when the Sun sets, setting when he rises.
This phase feels energizing and magnetic, bright and bold.
READ: 14 Ways to embody your Earth Mother Archetype
Waning gibbous Moon
Having tipped over the edge of the cycles’ climax, the Moon is almost a mirror image of her waxing gibbous phase – she is still a swollen round disc but ebbing from on edge.
Here in this phase, she turns our attention to closer friends, families, and the details of our lives.
Forming another astrological square with the Sun, this phase is also revealed as a clear “half Moon” shape. This time, though, dark will overtake light.
READ: How to let your Wild Woman Archetype run FREE!
Waning crescent Moon
Closer now to the next New Moon, than to this cycle’s full Moon phase, this is a more fragile, disappearing Moon that is again, a daytime companion.
She is older here, frail and withdrawn but no less powerful.
READ: 12 Ways to Meet your Wise Woman / Crone Archetype
If you want to learn more about the mysteries of the lunar cycle, you can get the ebook here 👇🏼
What we are here for…
Between one and three days (and nights) where the Moon is invisible. She is actually rising with the Sun. So she is there in the sky with us during the day, awake when we are… But bleached out by sunlight, not visible. And absent completely from the night sky.
How often does the Dark Moon rise?
As an intrinsic part of the lunar cycle, dark Moons happen once every 29.5 days… just like any other lunar phase.
Yet because she is invisible, she’s easy to miss and therefore forget about.
What is Dark Moon vs New Moon energy?
Think about the nature of a cycle.
There is movement from creation (or birth) to growth, to some kind of peak. Then dissemination and decay come next, leading to death (actual, metaphorical or ego death). Then the cycle begins again, as the ending time leads to re-birth, and the flow continues.
What happens in those moments between death and re-birth?
What is the mysterious process occurring there?
What IS that space?
That space is the Dark Moon phase.
It’s a place of mysterious, transformational, and regenerative energy. It’s beyond death… and beyond birth too. The dark Moon phase is liminal, other, unknown, and unknowable. But it’s there. We know it’s there, because the cycle continues….
Death leads to rebirth. And *something* makes that so.
That *something* is the dark Feminine. SHE lives in the dark Moon phase, and the dark Moon phase lives in her.
Yet this phase, and her energy are mysteries that are beyond mental understanding. Trying to figure this out isn’t the point. Instead, we can get to know how this energy feels and invite it into our lives, by submerging ourselves in it. Body, mind and spirit.
The mysteries of the dark Moon phase are an intrinsic part of ALL cycles of nature
And if you think about it… it’s the only part that man cannot control.
We can speed up growth cycles…
We can remove, compost and decay…
But we can’t harness the unknowable, transformational, regenerative power of that liminal phase of any cycle. The dark Moon phase remains wild, out of bounds and untamed.
Like the bleeding times of women, the dark Moon phase has been rejected because of it’s strange, still, chaotic and unfathomable nature…
Yet without it, life can’t exist.
Dark Moon Goddesses
Cultures all over the world and throughout history have their own Goddesses of the Dark Moon. These are usually deities of death, destruction, and chaos.
BUT they usually bring a hefty dose of tough love – there is kindness in their cruelty, as they are Goddesses of transformation. Often they’re also duel goddesses, also holding the creator/ mother impulse.
Sometimes they’re also part of a triptych of Goddess energy – forming the crone part of the Maiden – Mother – Crone triple Goddess form.
One of the more well-known of these ancient feminine deities is Kali Ma, possibly the most terrifying Goddess in the Hindu pantheon.
Kali is the destructive aspect of Parvati (the caring wife of Shiva), who (so the myths say) turned into her, in order to fight a demon that no other God could touch!
She has sharp teeth, a long red tongue that hangs out, and she became so drunk from drinking the blood of the demon that she’d slain, that she rampaged across the battlefield killing everything in sight! Her clothes are made from the limbs of her victims and she carries around their severed heads.
The ancient Greeks saw this same ruinous power embodied in Medea (wife to Jason), who after being spurned by her man, destroyed all that was once dear to her, including killing her children.
Hecate is also a Greek Goddess of the dark Moon, though her origins are probably older. Her myths and images portray her holding keys and torches, alongside a three-headed dog, or a snake. And she is said to guard crossroads, and places where three roads meet.
Hecate is the Goddess of magic, witchcraft and necromancy.
Other Goddesses associated with the dark phase of the Moon are:
- Baba Yaga
- The Cailleach Béara
- The Mórrígan
How does the dark Moon phase affect you?
We are mirrors for the Moon.
So you may imagine how it feels, when all of this energy moves through YOU (and your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies) at this dark lunar phase.
↠ You may feel tired, sleepy, have low energy, and feel extra- sensitive to the outside world.
↠ A lot of internal processing, integration, and healing are likely happening and this can be really taxing, without you necessarily knowing why.
↠ You may crave rest and need to sleep more, but end up tossing and turning a lot, and having strange dreams.
↠ Shadows can rise from the unconscious, catalyzing self-reflection and deep introspection.
What to do at the dark Moon phase
Tuning in to your own needs above all else is a good rule of thumb at the dark Moon phase. Also:
- Turn off the media – tune into your inner world
- Also, TRUST what the world beyond is showing you – in the liminal (which is what the dark Moon phase is) signs, symbols and synchronicities take on extra meaning
- Tap into your intuition for guidance
- Let emotions flow – if you’re angry, go there. Let yourself feel what’s real.
- Commune with trusted spirit guides
- Invite in the dark Goddess
- Do crafts or make art with repetitive actions – weaving, knitting, drumming. NOt to be “creative” but to lull yourself into liminal, trance states to receive insights.
You can read about my personal Dark Moon practices here.
But most of all the Dark Moon is about YOUR experience of this energy, and what it’s bringing to your life at this time.
We are all perpetually moving through personal cycles of ebb and flow, growth and decay. The Moon brings us her medicine, but it’s up to you to see how it moves through your own body of work (which is your life, your art, and your experience).
She is returning.
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