What magick when? Timing of magick and ritual is a very personal thing, but there are traditional correspondences that will help you understand the energy of each phase of the moon.
When you wish to work full moon magick, it is generally accepted that it is proper to do so anywhere from three days before the actual full moon to three days after the actual full moon. This is a total of seven days that ‘Full Moon energy” is present.
Because the energy of the moon is considered to be “full” during these seven days, it makes coven meetings easier to plan, relieving the pressure of coordinating the schedules of several people.
The full moon is the traditional time for Esbat celebrations for many Witches and other Pagans. The full moon illuminates the night for a wonderful ambiance during rituals, and it lends its energy to magick and celebrations. The moon reflects the light of the sun, balancing polarities and showing a magickal presence.
When you wish to work magick under the new moon or ‘the dark of the moon’, the procedure is similar. Three days before to three days after the new moon are considered acceptable new moon working times. Again, this is a seven day period.
Some Witches and other magickal practitioners view the new moon phase as a time to plant the seeds of new ideas, or to start new projects that will then grow as the moon waxes. Others see it as a continuation and enhancement of the waning moon energy and perform works of lessening, repelling and banishing.
Moon phases for energy and Lunar Phases
It is interesting to note that a few traditions also perform Esbat rituals for the new moon, and these are often held in the daytime. When the moon is new, it is overhead during the daytime. Note in the image to your right (you can click on it to enlarge) that 1 represents the new moon. At this time the sun is illuminating the earth during the day and we see (or rather normally don’t see) the shadow side of the moon.
It is also important to mention that a few magickal traditions refer only to the three days prior to the new moon as the ‘dark of the moon’ and generally do not perform magic at this time. It is regarded in these trads as a resting time, and the time of Hecate’s rule.*
The waning moon is the time when the moon is changing from full back to new. Energy and magickal workings of decrease are done now, such as ridding a person of disease. When you wish to work magick under the waning moon, you can start as early as the day after the actual full moon, but it is usually more effective to begin the fourth day after the actual full moon. This provides another seven day window in which to do your workings.
The waxing moon refers to the time when the moon is changing from new, or black, back to full. Works of increase and drawing are done now, such as gaining physical energy of health for a person. When you wish to work magick under the waxing moon, you can begin as early as the day after the actual new moon, but it is more effective to begin the 4th day after the actual new moon.