The energies of the Moon have always held some sort of magick to us all. Whether it is the craziness of a Full Moon or the darkness of a New, it is hard to say that the phases of the moon do not affect us but how can we put that energy to use? Read on... for some clarity and useful tidbits.
Waxing or Waning
If I am being honest, I had trouble with waxing and waning moon cycles as a beginner witch. I over thought it until it was confusing. Let's try to simplify.
Waxing: the moon at any time after the new moon and before the full moon, so called because its illuminated area is increasing. This is when the moon is working to become full. (shrinking to growing)
Waning: the moon when it is in the phase in which its visible surface area is getting smaller. This is any time following the full moon, up unto it becomes fully dark. (growing to shrinking)
Once you know these two terms inside and out, it becomes quite easy to figure out what spells, magick and/or intentions to do during such phases. For instance, if you want something to "grow," do your workings during the Waxing stage. If you want something to "go," do the work during a waning phase.
Here are some examples of spell work for each of the phases.
Bringing in something
Spells that attract
Dark Moon versus New Moon
This seems to be another area of confusion. Many witches refer to the New Moon as the Dark Moon but there is a difference here. Scientifically, the Dark Moon is considered the time when there is no light from the moon seen with the visible eye. As you can imagine, this period can technically last anywhere from one and half to three and half days. The New Moon would follow immediately right after. The period is so short, and the energy so close that I have often seen these terms lumped together.
Getting in tuned with the Moon
The easiest ways to get in touch with moon energy (and the magick) is first to start observing it. Go outside. Look up into the dark sky. Look for the moon and sit for a moment and just be. Do this often and you will start to feel the energy more and more.
Moon water is often thought of linked to Full Moons but you can collect it at any time or phase. The reason you may want to collect it during a different phase is to bring forth the energy. For instance, if you collect water on a Full Moon, it could be used for adding extra to your spells and intentions for growth or bringing something in. On the reverse, collecting water on a dark moon could be saved to add some impact to releasing spells or even curses.
Making Moon Water is quite easy. Fill a vessel (glass mason jars work wonderfully) with water (distilled is better) and sit it outside under the moon's light. Typically you would leave the jar out once it became dark and collect it before the sun's rays peak the sky.
Store in a cool, dark area. You can add some benzoin, myrrh or frankincense to the water to help and preserve it. Otherwise, make sure you always check before using and do not keep longer than the thirty days (Water will spoil due to bacteria).
You can use moon water to charge or cleanse your tools including crystals. With crystals, make sure they can handle water. Some such as Selenite cannot without harming them. For those crystals, you may leave out under the moon's light (on a full moon) in the same manner as leaving out water. Make sure to collect before the sun's light and they should be good.
Full Moon Names
Each Full Moon has it's own name. To add some confusion to this, there can be multiple names for each. These names depend on your location and the tribes or ancestry that once dominated there. Usually, they were based off of what was happening with the time and season of the year. An example of this is the January Full Moon. It is commonly called the Wolf Moon but you can also find reference to other names such as the Cold Moon, Old Moon and Snow Moon just to list a few. I typically go by the Farmer's Alamac unless I am trying to tie one into Fairy Tale Magick. Depending on your tradition, you may wish to adjust the names to find the one that resonates with you.
Moon after Yule
Corn Planting Moon