Do We Need the Moon?
Dear Witchful Thinking,
Very! I have never met a person who wasn’t attracted to the moon’s beauty and mystery at some point in their lives. There is something special about the moon that humans understand on a deep level. She is so accessible–visible almost every night in the sky. The moon is the light in the dark, which comforts us. In Wicca, we attune ourselves to the moon’s energies for many reasons:
- The sun’s energies are obvious, but the lunar energy is subtle. Wiccans and those who profess to worship nature should observe that energy.
- The moon energy is useful for magical purposes. In particular, she helps us set small goals, discover our needs, and redirect energy if necessary. Following the moon phases makes us more aware of ourselves and where we are in the cycle.
- For women, our biological clock ticks along with the moon. I definitely get a different period on a Full moon than a Dark moon.
- The Goddess shows her ever-changing nature within the moon. They say the moon has three cycles: Maiden, Mother and Crone, (waxing, full and waning). But she also has a fourth phase where her face is entirely hidden–the dark of the moon represents the time between death and rebirth.
- There is a particular rite called an Esbat in which the Priestess Draws Down the Moon and recites the Charge of the Goddess, the most common Wiccan liturgy. It unites us as a religion, because I’ve never met a true Wiccan group who did not perform this rite occasionally. In it, the Goddess instructs us to gather “once in the month, and better it be when the moon is full”
- Most Pagans have their first spiritual encounter with the moon, often by opening themselves up to the energy. I know I did.
- The energy of the moon inspires us to poetry and madness, magic, music, and dreams. We need that kind of energy in our lives because it makes us more human.
I suppose in a religion like ours, there is no requirement for much of anything, let alone following the lunar cycles. But I dare you to try it. Do a ritual every full moon and at each dark moon and see how your mundane and magical life changes. One year for a seminary class, I had to write a moon ritual for each phase in sign of the zodiac. The next year, I did, essentially, a goal a month by starting the goal during the dark moon, working at it until full moon, and then observing the benefits and results as the moon waned. I got a lot done that year. Try it for yourself!
Here is a song I love about the moon. It’s called “Moon Folly” by Anne Hill.
I will go up the mountain after the moon
She is caught in a dead fir tree
Like a great pale apple of silver and pearl
Like a great pale apple is she.
I will leap and will catch her with quick cold hands
Carry her home in my sack
I will sit her down safe on the oaken bench
That stands at the chimney back.
And then I will sit by the fire all night
Sit by the fire all day
I will gnaw at the moon to my heart’s delight
Till I’ve gnawed her slowly away.
And when i’ve gone mad with the moon’s cold taste
The world will beat at my door
Crying, “come back” and crying “make haste, my friend
And give us the moon once more.”
But I will not answer them ever at all,
I’ll laugh as I count and hide
The bold, black, beautiful seeds of the moon
In a flower pot deep and wide.
And then I will lie down and go fast asleep
Drunken with fame and aswoon,
But the seeds will sproud and the seeds will leap
The subtle, swift seeds of the moon.
And some day, all of the world that cries
And beats at my door shall see
A thousand moon flowers spring from my thatch,
On a wonderful, white moon tree.
Then each shall have moons to their hearts desire
Apples of silver and pearl
Apples of orange and copper fire
Setting their senses aswirl.
And then they shall thank me who mock me now,
“Wanting the moon is she!”
Oh, I’m off to the mountain after the moon
‘Ere she falls from the dead fir tree.