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Welcome to Wendy’s Magick Studies, a companion blog/podcast to Mystic Moon Café Radio. Once a week, probably late on Sundays, I will be presenting something magical, something mystical, and possibly movie and/or book reviews of Urban Fantasy, Magic, and so on.
Moon Magic – Folklore, History, Legend & Myth:
Since this is a companion article for Mystic Moon Café, I thought I would begin with a basic introduction to Moon Magic and the accompanying Lore. Please keep in mind that I am not a ‘practicing’ anything – except for snark-ologist – so this is pretty much academic, although I will try to include a few relevant spells and will attempt these spells myself whenever possible.
Transcript of tonight’s show:
Wendy Lady’s Magickal Studies – Episode 1
Welcome to Wendy Lady’s Magickal Studies, a companion blog/podcast to Mystic Moon Café Radio. Once a week, probably late on Sundays, I will be presenting something magical, something mystical, and possibly movie and/or book reviews of Urban Fantasy, Magic, and so on.
Now, I’m no expert in any of these things, but I know what I enjoy. Research and Learning are at the top of my list. I will be delving into one aspect of Magic, Witchcraft, Folklore, Myth and/or Legend in each article.
So, if you are so inclined, join me on this journey of discovery!
Shall we start with a bit of Friday the 13th lore and such since this coming Friday is both September 13th and there is also a Full Moon? Here’s everything to know about this year’s unique September full moon.
The moon is a wonder in all of its phases, but we seem to go a bit loony for her when she’s full. And this month, the full moon has a lot going on; enough to make all of us lunar fangirls and boys extra excitable. Consider the following:
1. It’s the harvest moon
The full moon closest in date to the autumnal equinox is awarded the title of harvest moon. Given the moon’s cycles, this means that harvest moons can happen as early as September 8 or as late as October 7. This year’s equinox falls on September 23, and thus the month’s full moon will wear the crown.
2. It will provide extra light
Because the harvest moon occurs when the orbit is more parallel to the horizon, its relationship to the eastern horizon stays close to the same for several days. This means that while usually the moon rises around 50 minutes later each night, the harvest moon rises just 25 to 30 minutes later across the northern U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe, according to NASA, which notes. While all full moons rise at sunset, the fact that the Harvest Moon has a shorter rising lag on successive days means that we get what appears to be a full moon rising near sunset for more days than usual; this gave farmers a “sunset extension” of sorts, which went to good use during the very busy time of harvest.
3. It’s full just for an instant
True of all full moons – although it may appear full for a few days, astronomically speaking, the moon is full at the moment that it’s exactly 180 degrees opposite the sun in ecliptic longitude. For this year’s harvest moon, that means it will be full for a fleeting moment at 4:33 Universal Time on September 14.
4. But for many the harvest moon coincides with Friday the 13th
For those of us in the Eastern time zone, the moon turns full at 12:33 a.m. on Saturday, September 14th – thereby depriving us of the spooky magic of such a mash-up. For the rest of the United States time zones, the moon becomes full officially before midnight on Friday the 13th.
(Bonus fact: Paraskevidekatriaphobia means a fear of Friday the 13th!)
5. A Friday the 13th full moon is relatively rare
We have not had a nationwide full moon on Friday the 13th since October 13th, 2000 – and won’t have another until August 13th, 2049.
6. It will also be a micromoon
Sure, supermoons get all the fanfare for their increased appearance in size … but let’s not ignore the adorable micro moon! This month’s full moon nearly coincides with apogee – the point in the moon’s orbit when it is farthest from Earth. The difference in moon-to-Earth distance between apogee and perigee is 30,000 miles. This difference in distance makes a supermoon look 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than a micromoon. We love underdogs, go little micromoon!
MOON: The Moon is Earth’s oldest temple, holding the potency of countless prayers since the dawn of Time…A bell whose ringing brings you into the field of the Mother, where body & soul can quietly drink.. Dana Gerhardt, Mooncircles
Moon Magic – Folklore, History, Legend & Myth:
Since this is a companion article for Mystic Moon Café, I thought I would begin with a basic introduction to Moon Magic and the accompanying History and Lore. Please keep in mind that I am not a ‘practicing’ anything – except for snark-ologist – so this is pretty much academic, although I will try to include a few relevant spells and will attempt these spells myself whenever possible.
So, here we go:
The Moon, in terms of distance, is the closest Heavenly body to Earth. It can be see it in the sky for three out of four weeks, and for thousands of years, people have used its light to guide them in the dark.
Since well before recorded history, the Moon has been the subject mystery and fascination, both worshipped and feared. Perhaps, because of the Moon’s waxing and waning, she has garnered more mystical folklore than even the steady Sun.
The Oldest Lunar Calendars and Earliest Constellations have been identified in cave art found in France and Germany. The astronomer-priests of these late Upper Paleolithic Cultures understood mathematical sets, and the interplay between the moon annual cycle, ecliptic, solstice and seasonal changes on earth.
First (Lunar) Calendar
The archaeological record’s earliest data that speaks to human awareness of the stars and ‘heavens’ dates to the Aurignacian Culture of Europe, c.32,000 B.C. Between 1964 and the early 1990s, Alexander Marshack published breakthrough research that documented the mathematical and astronomical knowledge in the Late Upper Paleolithic Cultures of Europe. Marshack deciphered sets of marks carved into animal bones, and occasionally on the walls of caves, as records of the lunar cycle. These marks are sets of crescents or lines. Artisans carefully controlled line thickness so that a correlation with lunar phases would be as easy as possible to perceive. Sets of marks were often laid out in a serpentine pattern that suggests a snake deity or streams and rivers.
Aurignacian Lunar Calendar / diagram, drawing after Marshack, A. 1970; Notation dans les Gravures du Paléolithique Supérieur, Bordeaux, Delmas / Don’s Maps
Many of these lunar calendars were made on small pieces of stone, bone or antler so that they could be easily carried. These small, portable, lightweight lunar calendars were easily carried on extended journeys such as long hunting trips and seasonal migrations.
Hunting the largest animals was arduous, and might require hunters to follow herds of horses, bison, mammoth or ibex for many weeks. (Other big animals such as the auroch, cave bear and cave lion were well known but rarely hunted for food because they had special status in the mythic realm. The Auroch is very important to the search for earliest constellations.) Info from: https://sservi.nasa.gov/articles/oldest-lunar-calendars/
THE MOON IN ANCIENT HISTORY https://www.moonlightsys.com/themoon/ancient2.html
(Ancient Astronomical Calendars)
|The Sun, Moon, planets, and stars have provided us a reference for measuring the passage of time throughout history. All cultures before recorded history charted the heavenly skies to make some sort of sense out of their environment.|
Astronomical calendars have been in existence for thousands of years. For our ancient ancestor’s time was measured by the number of Moons that had passed from a certain period, and by the shadows that the Sun and Moon cast.
There are “Man made” lunar calendars that some scientists place as old as 32,000 years. Some recent archeological findings are from the Ice Age where hunters carved notches and gouged holes into sticks, reindeer bones and the tusks of mammoths, depicting the days between each phase of the Moon. These artifacts are dated between 25,000 and 10,000 B.C. There are also surviving astronomical records inscribed on oracle bones dating back to the Shang dynasty of the fourteenth century B.C. that reveal a Chinese calendar, with intercalation of lunar months.
The Sun, Moon, planets, and stars have provided us a reference for measuring the passage of time throughout history. All cultures before recorded history charted the heavenly skies to make some sort of sense out of their environment.
In Egypt, the paths of the stars were recorded as early as 6,000 years before Christ. The wisest of the Egyptians were the Hermetic philosophers, who possessed a profound knowledge of the sky. They relied upon the predictable motion of these bodies through the sky to determine the seasons, months, and years. People began a preoccupation with measuring and recording the passage of time. There was a need for planning and for divination and prognostication; to maintain these cycles meant that records needed to be kept and observatories needed to be built to precisely measure these cycles.
They erected various calendars to provide a source of order and cultural identity and as a need to organize their time more efficiently. As far back as 5,000 to 6,000 years ago civilizations in the Middle East and North Africa also made primitive clocks in order to divide their time more precisely. Of primary importance to the Egyptians was the time when the Nile river began its annual flood tide. This was carefully noted so they knew when to plant and harvest.
All of their activities, whether for work, rest or play were in harmony with the flow of “Mother Nature,” the changing of seasons, the rising and setting of the Sun and Moon and the phases the Moon passed through in a month. There was a time for everything under the Heavens! The seasons, tides, eclipses, and phases of the Moon were known to be in direct correlation to the movement of the Sun, Moon, and Earth.
Clocks and Calendars traditionally held a sacred status among diversified cultures and provided the basis for maintaining the cycles of religious and civil events, as well as for agricultural and hunting purposes. These early calendars are based on the Moon’s cycles.
Ancient time keepers were usually Sages, Magi, or astrologer-priests who guarded the sacred records in their rock temples in India, on their ziggurats in Babylonia or their stone observatories and pyramids in Egypt. They calculated that a month was the period the Moon revolved around the Earth, and from this understanding various Lunar Calendars evolved. Until the time of Julius Caesar, the calendar was primarily lunar, with various schemes devised to keep step with the cycle of seasons. When measured in this fashion, lives ebbed and flowed in a 29.53059 day cycle.
Magic. The Occult, Astrology, Alchemy, Prophecy, Fortune Telling, Spells and Superstition
The Moon plays a large and complex part in magic and the occult. This is a comprehensive history of the moon’s importance in the worlds of astrology, alchemy, prophecy and superstition.
A Brief History of the Moon and Astrology
The Moon’s place in the astrological world starts in about 4000 BC with the Sumerians who worshipped the god of the Sun (Utu), Venus (Inanna) and the Moon (Nanna). Their rulers came from the priest who communicated with these gods. A special sort of priest emerged called Banu Priests who could read the signs of the sky. These priests were predicting natural phenomena, usually an eclipse of the moon.
The moon is an essential element in the most important text relating to alchemy. That text is known as the Emerald Tablet:
The Emerald Tablet drawn by Heinrich Khunrath, 1606
The Emerald Tablet has several other names: the Smaragdine Tablet, the Tabula Smaragdine and the Secret of Hermes. It is an ancient text said to have been produced by the Egyptian moon god Thoth, who is also referred to as Hermes Trismegistus. The short and highly cryptic piece of writing claims to describe the secrets of the primordial substance and how it can be harnessed. The tablet’s meaning is very obscure. It seems to state that all things come from some primal source of which the sun is the father and the moon is the mother:
‘Its father is the Sun, its mother the Moon, the wind carried it in its belly and its nurse is the earth.’
The Ancient Egyptians worshipped her as the Mother of the Universe, and in Central Asia, she is the Goddess’s mirror, reflecting everything in the World.
In the Basque language, “Moon” and “Deity” are the same word – Ilargi, Ile or Ilazki. In Basque mythology, she is the daughter of Mother Earth, to whom it returns daily..
Britain’s old name is ‘Albion’, meaning “the Milk-White Moon Goddess.”
To the Persians, the Moon was ‘Metra’ – “Mother, whose love penetrates everywhere.”
The Vedas, sacred texts for Hindus, say that the Moon is a receptacle of souls between incarnations.
The Catholic Church’s Mary is closely associated with the Moon. Early paintings depict her standing on a crescent Moon.
It is unlikely that any civilization, ancient and modern, has not been influenced in some way by the Moon’s magic.
Outside of religion and spiritual beliefs, a rich folklore about the Moon developed among common people in Europe. It was believed that:
- At the moment you see a new Moon, jingle coins in your pocket. This is a sure way to multiply your fortune as the Moon waxes.
- Never start a project during the waning Moon, it will not be successful.
- A woman who sleeps in the Moonlight increases her fertility.
- The New Moon is good luck but should never be looked at through glass or tree branches.
- After seeing the Moon for the first time in a new year, ask a question of the first person you see. If the answer is “yes,” you will marry your love.
- A pregnant woman should never face the Moon; her child will be born with mental problems. To stop this, she must turn in a counterclockwise circle three times and spit.
Seems a bit fantastical, but Folklore and Superstition are quite often that way.
The word lunatic comes from the Latin ‘Luna’, and it was believed that people were more likely to exhibit aberrant, crazy behavior during a full moon. Studies have been done which show that emergency room visits and accidents are increased during the full moon period, but there has yet to be conclusive evidence for the cause
Folk magic involving the Moon could fill pages and pages. How much of this is based on real magic and how much is mere superstition? Surprisingly, a lot of Moon lore and magic holds true power. One “superstition” about the Moon is that emotions become unstable during the full and new Moons. The Moon has been credited with lunacy for centuries. Paracelus, a 14th century alchemist and physician, claimed that insanity grew worse during the dark of the Moon. Before 1808, some mental hospitals routinely had patients beaten during certain lunar phases. This was to prevent outbursts of lunacy..
The moon seems to have an effect on animals as well as people. Dr. Frank Brown of Northwestern University, an expert on animal behavior, reports that hamsters spin in their wheels far more aggressively during the moon’s full phase. Deer and other herbivores in the wild tend to ovulate at the full moon, and in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the full moon is mating time for coral.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson, was inspired by the strange – and yet very true – case of Charles Hyde, a London man who committed a series of crimes at the time of the full moon.
A British legend says that if Christmas fell on the day of a dark Moon, the following year’s harvest would be a bountiful one. Some parts of the British Isles believed that a waxing moon on Christmas meant a good crop the next fall, but a waning moon indicated a bad one would come.
From a folklore standpoint, many traditions of weather magic indicate that a lunar halo means rain, snow, or other types of foul atmospheric conditions are on the way. Related to the lunar halo is the phenomenon called a moonbow. Interestingly, because of the way light refracts, a moonbow – which is just like a rainbow, but appearing at night – will only be seen in the part of the sky opposite of where the moon is visible.
Other Lunar Superstitions
• The first time you see a crescent moon for the month, take all your spare coins out of your pocket, and put them in the other pocket. This will ensure good luck for the next month.
• Some people believe that the fifth day after a full moon is the perfect time to try to conceive a child.
• Many cultures throughout history have honored lunar deities, including Artemis, Selene, and Thoth.
• In some Chinese religions, offerings are made to the ancestors on the night of a full moon.
• In some Native American legends, the moon is held captive by a hostile tribe. A pair of antelope hope to rescue the moon and take it the village of a good tribe, but Coyote, the trickster, interferes. The antelope chase Coyote, who tosses the moon into a river each night, just out of reach of the antelope.
• The night of the full moon is believed to be a good time for divination and scrying.
In addition, there has been a long-standing agricultural tradition regarding planting by the moon phases. Martha White over at The Old Farmer’s Almanac writes,
“The new and first-quarter phases, known as the light of the Moon, are considered good for planting above-ground crops, putting down sod, grafting trees, and transplanting. From full Moon through the last quarter, or the dark of the Moon, is the best time for killing weeds, thinning, pruning, mowing, cutting timber, and planting below-ground crops.”
Most every farmer knows that roots are supposed to grow best when planted during the dark of the Moon, and plants with edible parts above ground grow better when planted in the waxing Moon. A quick search in the internet will bring hundreds of sites on planting by the Moon. Many farmers—commercial and backyard —swear by the Moon method
Many pre-Christian lunar worship rites and rituals have carried over into modern times. These have long lost their original meanings but are nevertheless still practiced. The use of birthday candles and cakes is a good example. This tradition comes to us from the ancient Greeks. To honor the birthday of Artemis, goddess of the Moon, lunar-shaped cakes with candles were placed on her altar. Blowing out the candles and making a wish is a remnant of prayers offered to Artemis
Weather and the Moon
The Moon’s role in weather patterns has some interesting folk magic. When the crescent Moon lies on its back, with horns up, a drought is thought to be inevitable. When it is vertical, like the letter “C,” rain is on its way. A long drought is expected if the Moon hovers low on the southern horizon. A ring around the Moon is supposed to bring heavy rain or snow. Counting the number of stars in the ring tells how far away the storm is. No stars bring the storm within a day.
These indications may seem like superstition, but the Moon does affect weather. During its waxing phase, the Moon affects the earth’s magnetic field and may trigger thunderstorms. Reports from over 1500 weather stations during a 50 year period show heavy rainfall occurs more often in North America during the 2nd, and 4th quarters of the lunar cycle than during the other phases
At the site, History.com, there is a great article that looks at even more obscure and less mainstreem myths, including the ideas that aliens inhabit the moon, that the moon is actually a hollow spacecraft, or that there was a secret Nazi base there during World War II.
Fear of the Moon
People of ancient times often feared the moon. The Aleutians thought that if anyone offended the Moon, it would fling stones down at the offender and kill him. The Hakkas believed that, if on the 15th day of the 8th month, clouds covered the moon before midnight, oil and salt would soon be scarce. The Chaldeans, close observers of eclipses, believed that when the Moon was obscured, she had turned her back on earth. Many Native American’s believed that eclipses were caused by a serpent swallowing the Moon. Hindus explained an eclipse by describing a giant who grabbed the luminaries and tried to eat them. The Chinese had a similar belief, but a dragon instead of a giant grabbed the Moon for a tasty meal.
Some ancient peoples tried to help the Moon escape the monster’s clutches by shouting and making loud noises with musical instruments. This would supposedly frighten the beast away. And since the Moon always reappeared, they naturally believed their din had indeed frightened the monster and saved the Moon.
For many Pagans, the cycles of the moon are important to magical workings. It’s believed in some traditions that the waxing moon, the full moon, the waning moon and the new moon all have their own special magical properties, and so workings should be planned accordingly.
The full moon has long had an aura of mystery and magic about it. It is tied to the ebbs and flows of the tide, as well as the every-changing cycle of women’s bodies. The moon is connected to our wisdom and intuition, and many Pagans and Wiccans choose to celebrate the full moon with a monthly ritual.
If you’re starting your path to become a Witch, one key element that can determine your success when casting spells at home is your ability to keep track of the moon phases and work with them to improve your ritual Magic. The first thing is to be aware of what the Moon phase is today.
Today, September 8th, 2019, has a First Quarter Moon/Moon in Capricorn
Current Moon Phase
First Quarter Moon
Moon in Capricorn
For Moon Phases for each day: https://spells8.com/lessons/moon-phases-spells/
Courtesy of : https://spells8.com/spell-for-today/
Ritual for Tonight’s Magic
- Light some incense to help you set the mood. The best aromas for tonight are: Musk, Frankincense, Lemon, or Citrus.
- As the
Moon is passing through Capricorn, invite Her energies with this chant:
“Thank you, Dear Moon, for uniting me to the stability and practicality of the Goat.
Just like her, I am ambitious and determined to achieve my goals”.
- Take a piece of paper. Write in clear letters your deepest wish. Don’t overthink. Instead, just start writing. Visualize your idea of a perfect future and write it down in the present tense. The First Quarter Moon is a time of abundance and growth, so think BIG! Be clear and precise, whether it’s a love request, a money target, or just a dream to work towards.
- Light a white candle on your altar. Place it next to your petition and leave it there.
- Place on your altar any crystals that you would like to charge with the energies of tonight. Especially sensitive gemstones for a Sunday are: Amber, Carnelian, Diamond, Tiger’s Eye Quartz.
- Meditate for a while. Then take the paper and paste it in your diary, Book of Shadows, or hide it in a secret place.
More Spells for Tonight’s First Quarter Moon
Cast these spells during a First Quarter moon:
Info and spells above via: https://spells8.com/spell-for-today/
Drawing down the Moon
Drawing down the Moon (also known as drawing down the Goddess) is a central ritual in many contemporary Wiccan traditions. During the ritual, a coven’s High Priestess enters a trance and requests that the Goddess or Triple Goddess, symbolized by the Moon, enter her body and speak through her. The High Priestess may be aided by the High Priest, who invokes the spirit of the Goddess. During her trance, the Goddess speaks through the High Priestess.
The name most likely comes from a depiction of two women and the moon on an ancient Greek vase, believed to date from the second century BCE.
It could also come from line 145 of Claudian’s First Book Against Rufinus. Megaera, one of the Erinyes, in the guise of an old man, speaks to Rufinus:
Despise not an old man’s feeble limbs: I have the gift of magic and the fire of prophecy is within me. I have learned the incantations wherewith Thessalian witches pull down the bright moon, I know the meaning of the wise Egyptians’ runes, the art whereby the Chaldeans impose their will upon the subject gods, the various saps that flow within trees and the power of deadly herbs; all those that grow on Caucasus rich in poisonous plants, or, to man’s bane, clothe the crags of Scythia; herbs such as cruel Medea gathered and curious Circe.
In classical times, ancient Thessalian witches were believed to control the moon, according to the tract: “If I command the moon, it will come down; and if I wish to withhold the day, night will linger over my head; and again, if I wish to embark on the sea, I need no ship, and if I wish to fly through the air, I am free from my weight.”
The drawing down of the moon derives from the Vangelo. In this a poem defining the drawing down of the moon is written and this has been used as the basis for the drawing down of the moon by various Wiccan groups. The practice forms part of both Gardnerian and Cochranian rites. The practice is also reference in Reginald Scot’s “The Discoverie of Witchcraft”.
The modern form likely originated in Gardnerian Wicca, and is considered a central element of Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wiccan ceremonies. During the modern rite, the High Priestess may recite the Charge of the Goddess, a text based in a mixture of writings by Gerald Gardner and Aleister Crowley, though now often used in its recension by Doreen Valiente, High Priestess in the Gardnerian tradition.
Mel D. Faber explains the ritual in psychoanalytical terms of attempting to re-unite with the protective-mother archetype.
In modern traditions, some solitary Wiccans also perform the ritual, usually within a circle and performed under the light of a full Moon. The solitary will stand in the Goddess Pose (both arms held high, palms up, body and arms forming a ‘Y’) and recite a charge, or chant.
The ritual in print: “Drawing Down the Moon” is also the title of a book by National Public Radio reporter, Margot Adler— Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today—originally published in 1979. Adler writes:
…in this ritual, one of the most serious and beautiful in the modern Craft, the priest invokes into the priestess (or, depending on your point of view, she evokes from within herself) the Goddess or Triple Goddess, symbolized by the phases of the moon. She is known by a thousand names, and among them were those I had used as a child. In some Craft rituals the priestess goes into a trance and speaks; in other traditions the ritual is a more formal dramatic dialogue, often of intense beauty, in which, again, the priestess speaks, taking the role of the Goddess. In both instances, the priestess functions as the Goddess incarnate, within the circle.
A very good resource: https://www.moonology.com/
So, the more attuned one is with the Moon, the more easily Life and it’s surrounding circumstances can flow.
I’m going to stop here. What was supposed to be a short article has turned into a 4000+ word essay.
Upcoming Sabbat: Mabon
the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, the point after which the nights become longer than the days, as the North Pole tilts away from the sun. … In pagan mythology, the equinox is called Mabon, or Second Harvest. It is a time to give thanks for the summer and to pay tribute to the coming darkness.
I want to wish you Luck in your Magickal pursuits. I hope you found this interesting and helpful. I know I did.
Some sites I borrowed information from:
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