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We know the Sun. We see it rise each morning, or trust that it is there behind clouds. The cycle of the year and our schedules are driven by the global adherence to the sun-guided Gregorian calendar. And while the Solstices may not be official holidays, they are followed by, and their energy experienced in, the holidays of Christmas and 4th of July or Canada Day for us here in North America. The sun’s daily trips and annual flow are easily followed.
To know the moon requires a different kind of attention. Because its 28 day cycle does not line up to months constructed for a solar year, the moon cycles wander the calendar, moving quickly from crescent to full and then disappearing. Is it gone or just hidden behind clouds? There is mystery to the movements of the moon in our solar world.
But to follow the moon brings shifting gifts. The Gaian Tarot’s Moon shows these gifts in the moon phase images behind the woman. Joanna Powell Colbert, the Gaian creatrix, writes of the wisdom of this card as “constant, faithful changes”and tells us how the moon “reminds us that one stage of life always succeeds another, and that times of darkness are always followed by renewal.”
The dark moon always opens up to the full. The full moon makes way for the dark.
Despite the extra work required to align with the moon’s energy, my past year of aligning the schedule of my Tarot work to the moon has been fruitful. My tarot tasks and writing have shifted from being a task or To Do to being a practice that connects me to my greater purpose. Perhaps there is an area of your purpose, your healing, or your calling that would benefit from moon guidance and energy.
The dark and full phases of the moon each have their own mini-cycles that provide a structure of support.
Dark Phase Work
The dark phase begins with the 3 or so days before the moon emerges into a new cycle. As the moon releases light and takes us into the dark, we also are invited to release that which we no longer need, that which we want healed, that which is unfinished. You might do this in meditation or through a ritual (simple or elaborate).
Once your release is made, you can travel with a light heart into the moments when the moon is made new. For that hour or even a whole day or night, you might like to do nothing but rest in the potential and possibility of renewal.
For the 3 or so days afterwards, the moon remains new and this is a good time to make wishes for what you would like during the moon’s cycle or even longer. Some people correspond the kind of wishes made to the astrological sign the moon enters when it is new.
Full Phase Work
The days leading up to the full moon are times of action. The energy is high so you can push for completion in some area of your life, perhaps around a short-term wish you made at the new moontide. If you stay up late to do this work, the moon will be traveling with you!
The full moon is a time for celebration and connection with others. Name your accomplishments large and small. Let yourself play or bask in beauty. Be exuberantly yourself.
As the full moon passes, we enter what is called the disseminating phase, and this is where you give everything away. All your work is shared. Your love is shared. Your fullness is shared and given to others.
The Power of Three
Each of these phases has a pattern of entry, encounter, and honoring. Effective practice requires some preparation that shows a commitment and openness to an encounter with the Great Than that might be named or experienced as the Divine, Nature, Justice or even your own full potential. A pause in the daily is required to make the encounter. At the end of the pause, you honor what has been received and the forces that have aided you in this work. From these encounters, you move back into your everyday life, but changed at least a little and seeing with new eyes.