The Second New Moon Of The Month
The Moon has long been a significant object in Earth’s orbit to many cultures around the world. Approximately every three years there are two full Moons in one calendar month. These Blue Moons are often reported in the news and highlighted in a years calendar as being something special.
But with every full moon, there’s also a New Moon which can also occur twice in a single month and is also a rare event. But she doesn’t seem to receive the same spectacular acknowledgement as her bigger sister the Blue Moon.
On January 30th, 2014 we’ll see the second occurrence of the New Moon in a single month. And like the second full moon, the second New Moon also has a special name. It’s called a Black Moon.
What’s unusual about this occurrence of 2014, is that not only do we have a Black Moon in January. We’ll also have a Black Moon in March on the 31st. And that, astronomers say is highly unusual to have two Black Moons so close together in a single year.
What’s A New Moon?
No one puts this in plain speak better than EarthSky.org.
Once each month, the moon comes all the way around in its orbit so that it is more or less between us and the sun. If the moon always passed directly between the sun and Earth at new moon, a solar eclipse would take place every month. But that doesn’t happen every month. Instead, in most months, the moon passes above or below the sun as seen from our earthly vantage point.
On the day of new moon, the moon rises when the sun rises. It sets when the sun sets. It crosses the sky with the sun during the day. That’s why we can’t see the new moon in the sky. It is too close to the sun’s glare to be visible. Plus its lighted hemisphere is facing away from us.
Then a day or two later, the moon reappears, in the west after sunset. Then it’s a slim waxing crescent visible only briefly after sunset – what some call a young moon. Each new lunar cycle is measured beginning at each new moon. Astronomers call one lunar cycle a lunation. ~ EarthSky.org.
History Of The Black Moon
Like many things dealing with the moon, its name comes from both astrological and pagan origins dating back to pre-historic times. Which came first is a question that will always hold debate. Many believe it’s rooted in pagan observances of the Grand Mother Moon. Some say it’s Celtic, but we know the Celts were highly influenced by the Norse, so some attribute the name to Germanic cultures, but research doesn’t play out for either of these. Others say it came by way of Rome and Greece, which may seem more likely. Others say it’s none of these at all and first acquired its name in the Middle East where lunar calendars are still revered today in Muslim observances and the practice of Astrology in ancient Egypt.
The Astrological Interpretation of the Black Moon, The Lilith Moon
“During my years of astrological practice, I have come to use the Dark Moon in all my chart analyses, as a complement to interpretating the Moon. It would never occur to me to neglect this influence. The Dark Moon describes our relationship to the absolute, to sacrifice as such, and shows how we let go. In transit, the Dark Moon indicates some form of castration or frustration, frequently in the areas of desire, a powerlessness of the psyche, or a general inhibition. On the other hand, it shows where we question ourselves, our lives, our jobs, and our beliefs. I feel this is important, since it gives us the opportunity to “let go” of something. The Dark Moon shows where we can let the Whole flow into our selves, without putting an “I” in the way, without putting up a wall in the form of ego. At the same time, it doesn’t indicate passivity – on the contrary – it symbolizes the firm will to be open and trusting, to let the Greater World flow through one, relying entirely on the great laws of the universe, on that which we name God. To prepare us for this opening, the Dark Moon creates a necessary void.” ~ From: Joëlle de Gravelaine in “Lilith und das Loslassen”, Astrologie Heute Nr. 23
Many astrological views of the heavens began in pagan cultures, such as early Egypt and Greece and thus the Black Moon becomes associated with Pagan origins. Today much has been written on the view of Astrology by Christian scholars who still viewed this study of the stars as a science. Consequently the Moon can be seen as a favorable aspect when it’s full and out of favor when she’s dark, hidden and presumably evil. Some Astrologists associate this dark aspect of the moon with the earliest known Goddess of Phrygian: Matar Kubileya who is later adapted by the Greeks as Cybele? And who some say are the initial origins of the concept of Lilith from Abrahamic cultures.
To understand this, let’s go far back in time to the pre-historic era, when Mother Earth was the Great Goddess. When most cultures were based in a Matriarchal society. Women were the embodiment of the Goddess here on Earth because of their ability to create life. And like Mother Earth who brings forth Life, women were placed on a pedestal and honored for their fertility as Maiden and Mother, then for her wisdom as the wise old Crone.
Early Occultists like Aleister Crowley, Charles Leland and Gerald Gardner, all hold high praise for the “First Mother”. Charles Leland associated Aradia with Lilith: Aradia, says Leland, is Herodias, who was regarded in stregheria folklore as being associated with Diana as chief of the witches. Leland further notes that Herodias is a name that comes from West Asia, where it denoted an early form of Lilith. ~ Wikipedia
As time progressed so did the position of a woman, no one disputes this actually. Many scholars explain that as the understanding of how reproduction actually worked, the creation attributed to women loses it’s magik and the contribution of men becomes elevated, to the extreme unfortunately. When this occurred, women lost all power in the community and the shift of governance moved from Matriarch to Patriarch societies.
Lilith is a Hebrew name for a figure in Jewish mythology, developed in the early Babylonian Talmud, who is generally thought to be derived from a class of female demons. The Pagan version of this story suggests Lilith was said to be the first woman of Earth. In ancient Babylon, she was worshiped as Lilitu, Ischtar or Lamaschtu.
Her story presumably began long before it was foretold in the cultures of the Middle East. But it is during the transition of power to Patriarchal societies that her importance and character took on darker associations. She is described in some texts as having a human torso, but a snake’s tale for her lower body. Some Pagans suggest this is proof she was the first female of Earth, while others associate that description with the wise Snake in the Garden of Eden who doesn’t tempt Eve to bite the apple from the Tree of Knowledge, but rather explains to Eve she will gain wisdom and understanding about the truth of the Garden. And indeed that’s exactly what happens to Eve. So whose to say the Snake was evil? Those that wanted to live in ignorance? Or those who wanted to understand the truth?
Jewish mythology however puts Lilith into the darker realms of evil and magik. She is seen as an evil Demon of the night. As Christianity takes hold, she becomes a fitting mate for Satan, lying in wait for men and killing children.
Even in the Dead Sea Scrolls she is mentioned as a demon who falls “upon men without warning to lead them astray from a spirit of understanding”. In Greco-Roman mythology she is associated with the Greek Lamia, who governed a class of child stealing lamia-demons.
It’s probably from these dark versions of Lilith that she became associated with the darkness of the New Moon and how “Lilith” becomes associated with that dark phase in Astrology. But because she is the second Goddess (second to the Goddess Earth or the second Divine Mother Mary perhaps), she becomes associated with the second new moon of a month.
Much of this is speculative however, because we know that many ancient cultures utilized a Lunar Calendar system. In that system, a New Moon wouldn’t occur out of sequence as we think of it today in a Solar Calendar system. Because of this, credence to the second New Moon of a single month falls more in line with coming from Christianized Astrological origins, than Pagan Origins.
Today most Pagan cultures still honor the phases of the moon and its shift in energy through each of those phases. It’s important to remember that today’s Pagan perspectives are not those of our ancient ancestors. And that’s actually a good thing. Today’s neo-Paganism has accepted the discovery of science and our progression of understanding and evolved our beliefs over time. While basic principles still hold to many of those old perspectives, we’re not naive or ignorant in our view of how the Universe works. We evolve our understand as new information and discoveries become available. And in fact, some would say many of the new scientific discoveries of today are actually proving through science some of the things we Pagans have known to be real or true for eons. But that’s a totally different topic. Let’s get back to the Black Moon.
Those that observe the energy of the Moon find as much significance in the Black Moon as the Blue Moon. The Black Moon is considered to be highly special and is often observed as a time of great blessing. The New Moon phase is best used for personal growth, healing and blessing of new projects or ventures. It’s also a good time to cleanse and consecrate new tools and objects you wish to use during rituals, ceremonies or an up coming festival.
During a Black Moon phase, these rituals take on greater significance for these new beginnings. Rituals are conducted to bless new things that have occurred within 2 days of the Black Moon. Such as babies born just before the Black Moon occurs.
New ventures that are blessed and begin on a Black Moon are said to have special energy to succeed. And new relationships should utilize the energy of the Black Moon to plan their future. Especially if the new relationship is an engagement or wedding. Some people even go as far as waiting until a Black Moon to pop the question, or hold their wedding ceremony on the day of the Black Moon to maximize the energy of this time period and insure the greatest success for the union.
Some pagan cultures (such as Celtic and Native American Shamanism) see the Black Moon as a time for serious introspection. It is reserved for spiritual work and taking a look at your inner self. Bring the hidden self out into the coming light to be healed, change the things you don’t like or that don’t serve your path forward and bring out the hidden aspects of the self to be enlightened and shared. For instance, it’s seen as a good day to come out of the broom closet, or whatever your closet might be.
Celebrating The Black Moon
Typically Moon phase celebrations begin 3 days before the astronomical observance and 3 days after. But the Black Moon is different and celebrations begin only 1 day before peak of this phase, to 1 day after. In some circles, that observance is set to 2days before and after. But in nearly all practices that I’ve come across, the time frame for a Black Moon observance is shortened.
This is primarily to focus the time on the Goddess aspect of the Divine spirit. The day before the peak is honored for the young Maiden, the peak is observed for the Mother who brings new things to life. And the final day after the peak is given to the wise Old Crown and the wisdom of the Divine spirit is honored.
As with any observance, you can make a ritual as simple or as elaborate as you desire. Sit down and meditate or create a whole process of activities, it’s entirely up to you. If you’d like an example, I’ve posted a Ritual Ceremony Outline that you can follow or use as a starting point or inspiration for your own design.
Make sure you take time after every ritual to record your experiences. Write down the items you used, the process you went through, what you felt and how you connected to the tools and the people/person/animals around you during the ritual.
Keep a record of what you liked and what you’d like to change next time. Then remember that you recorded it and come back next time before you conduct a similar ritual to remind yourself of what you’d like to plan for the next ritual.
What ever you decide to do on the next Blue Moon ritual, make it something special and personal for you! You’re worth it and they don’t happen very often.
Many Blessings and Have Fun!
~ Springwolf 🐾
© 2014 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.