The dark moon is an often neglected (but OH SO important) phase of the lunar cycle. Sitting between the waning crescent Moon phase, and the 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 phase”, which is actually just another name for the waning crescent phase – so she’s not that either. Some people also call her the “black Moon” which, while being kind of inaccurate is not a bad name!
Are you beginning to see how the dark Moon defies easy categorisation?!
This is the first clue we have to her nature. Because at this very last phase, the dark Mistress of the Moon holds quality different from any other. One that’s unique, mysterious and exceptionally powerful…
What is the dark Moon phase?
As mentioned, you may have read that the dark moon is the same as the waning crescent Moon, or even the new 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, but has not yet become a new Moon. This way of thinking about it makes a lot of sense.
When does the dark Moon rise?
The dark Moon rises just minutes before the sunrise.
At the New Moon, the Moon rises with the Sun. She is present in the sky during the day, which is why you can’t see her.
Then, as the lunar cycle progresses, she rises about 30-40 minutes later each day, until at the full Moon phase, the Moon rises at sunset.
At the dark, or black Moon phase, the Moon is invisible, because of how bright the Sun shines in the daylight sky. And of course, during the night time period, she is below the horizon so you can’t see her.
How often does the Dark Moon rise?
The Moon takes 29.5 days to complete its orbit around Earth, and move through all her phases. Dark Moons happen once in a lunar month. So it’s not some rare occurrence. Just like any other lunar phase, the dark Moon rises roughly once in a single calendar month.
You can keep track with a lunar calendar, and I’d recommend this as because she is invisible to the naked eye, she’s easy to miss and therefore forget about.
What is Dark Moon vs New Moon energy?
It’s important to understand the difference between how dark Moons affect us, versus new Moons. It’s not hard to grasp –
The New Moon is the true start of the lunar cycle. It’s when the Moon is just becoming visible as a waxing crescent, and holds the energy of fresh starts and new beginnings.
But think for a moment about the nature of the entire cycle.
There is movement from this New Moon place of 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.
BUT 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 before birth. 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, inside that mysterious phase called the Dark Moon.
What’s the spiritual meaning of the dark Moon?
Spiritually the dark Moon represents the void and transformation. It’s the space between death and birth, but it’s neither. It’s the unknown and the unknowable.
The spiritual meaning of the dark Moon phase is closely related to the energy of the dark Feminine.
This raw feminine force lives inside the dark Moon phase, and the dark Moon phase lives in her. YET it’s something we can’t grasp. This phase, and the energy of the dark feminine are mysteries beyond mental understanding. And trying to figure this out isn’t the point.
Spiritually aligned to the mysterious and chaotic process of transformation, the Moon’s dark energy is the only part of the cycle of nature, 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. 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…
What are the effects of the dark Moon?
The dark Moon phase affects us on all levels. AND this powerful phase can affect us differently depending on the specific lunar cycle, zodiac sign, season of the year, your own blood cycle, and of course for a myriad more reasons. But you’ll tend to notice patterns.
We are mirrors for the Moon.
Think about it – the dark Moon is the last phase of the cycle, and the mysterious point of transition between waning and waxing. It’s also a phase whose medicine and wisdom has been largely suppressed (see below for more)
So when all of this energy moves through you (your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies) the effect of this dark lunar energy could mean –
- You feel tired, sleepy, have low energy, and feel extra- sensitive to the outside world.
- You find yourself doing a lot of internal processing, integration, and healing. (and this work can be going on in the unconscious and 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.
- Your shadows can rise from the unconscious, catalyzing self-reflection and deep introspection.
Why was Dark Moon wisdom suppressed?
Knowledge of the dark Moon phase and her mysteries have been suppressed.
Let’s not beat around the bush. 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 true divine feminine wisdom (not the “love and light” kind you normally see peddled around the internet) humanity’s “forgetfulness” around the Dark Moon didn’t happen by chance…
What’s the connection between 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 collective consciousness?
But this is exactly what has happened.
Knowledge of the mysteries and medicine contained within the dark Moon was suppressed because the Dark Moon is 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…
Want more on the dark feminine?
Read this post next: 20 Dark Feminine Traits and How to Awaken them in Your Life
Things to do at the dark Moon phase
During dark or black Moons, the most important thing is to tune in deeply to your own needs.
But bare in mind the potential for BIG spiritual and personal transformation that this Moon phase holds. That transformation is occurring on the internal planes – in your inner world – so be gentle and kind with yourself. Here are a few suggestions for what to do to participate with the dark Moon
- 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. So be in wonder and reverence of these.
- 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.
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…
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.
Curious to meet Hecate?
Read this post next: Who is Hecate, Queen of Witches?
Other Goddesses associated with the dark phase of the Moon are:
- Baba Yaga
- The Cailleach Béara
- The Mórrígan
Need the Dark Goddess in your life?
Read this post: Who is the Dark Goddess? (Plus 13 that you need to know about)
The dark or black Moon maybe one phase of the lunar cycle, but her energy lives within all of us.
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).