Tag Archive: dark moon


Full Beaver Moon – November

Journeying to the Goddess

Concerning the November’s full Moon, the Farmer’s Almanac tells us that this was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs.  Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter. It is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon.

This Moon “is also known as Snow Moon, Dark Moon, and Wolf Moon. The Earth lies sleeping beneath a blanket of snow, gathering strength for new life in spring. This is the time for healing and communication. The zodiac association is Scorpio.” [1]

NOVERMBER: Snow Moon (November) Also known as: Dark Moon, Fog Moon, Beaver Moon, Mourning Moon, Blotmonath (Sacrifice Month), Herbistmanoth (Harvest Month), Mad Moon, Moon of Storms, Moon When Deer Shed Antlers
Nature Spirits:subterranean faeries
Herbs: grains of paradise, verbena, betony…

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Granted, we’ve moved out of the Dark Moon phase this month, but this was too beautiful not to share. Beautiful!

Invokation To The Crone At Samhain

No; not in the least as I found out last night…She doesn’t sugar-coat anything and is brutally honest, but I’ll get to that.  So, were to begin?  Well, I guess let’s start out with yesterday, shall we?  All day I had been feeling very much out of sorts – irritable, agitated, scatterbrained and anxious.  This actually really surprised me because I’d been rolling along all happy and feeling full of inspiration, riding the out the Imbolc high.  Yesterday started out weird, very much feeling Odin’s persistent tap on the shoulder just to let me know that he’s still here (yes, thanks for reminding me – as if I didn’t know that!)  Anywho, Odin seems to be making more and more frequent appearances as of late; showing up in a lot of books, articles and blogs I read, meeting people who have a strong connection with him and reading and listening to their experiences – some of which totally freaked me out, which probably led to a lot of my discontent yesterday.  I’m not going to lie – it scares me.  How the hell could I have attracted the attention of such a deity??  For some of you who know me personally, you know that I tend to be more on the Dianic side.  I’ve never felt a connection with any god…until Odin starting making an appearance here and there when I was living in Alaska several years ago.  I’m quite aware of the berserker and warrior side of him, but to be honest, I don’t know or see that side of him.  Coming across this from Wyrd Dottir kind of set my mind (and soul) at ease – THANK YOU!  To me, he appears very sagely – almost Gandalf-ish, very much “Odin, the Wanderer“.  He’s so wise; yet he’s curious, still thirsting for knowledge.  He craves wisdom, knowledge and inspires and drives me to seek out and do the same, soaking it up like a sponge and leaving me wanting more.  I feel like he’s hanging over my shoulder, even now as I write this to see what’s going on – to see what I’m doing or reading, seeing what wisdom and knowledge might lie there.  So, now what?  As much as I’ve been trying to ignore him hoping that he’ll leave me along and go away, he’s still there…Yet, a part of me instinctively knows, knows what?  Knows that he’s not going away and that I may need him as much as he needs me.

Big-Sunspot-Unleashes-Intense-Solar-Flare-At-Earth

So, working on this internal struggle during a solar eruption that happened yesterday – and a pretty intense one at that.  A little FYI about solar flares – according to Astrologyinaction.com, “In addition to affecting Earth, solar flares affect each of us both physiologically and astrologically. The Sun is the giver of all life. Astrologically, the Sun is our primary influence, determining our character, our behavior and our purpose. When the Sun experiences high solar flare activity, it’s normal for us to feel physiological disruptions or just simply feel off kilter. In fact, when either of our luminaries experience celestial events, we are affected in a rather personal way.”  Also, visit Carliniinstitute.com and read “The Effects of Recent Solar Flares“.  During such events, Heather Carlini advises to “be sure to drink extra water when we are having solar flares. The reason is that it takes extra water from the brain to process these energies. I also suggest vitamin B complex and a product from the health food store called Curamin as this helps. Omega 3 is also needed at this time. Cut back on caffeine as it revves up the nervous system even more during high solar activity. Also for upset stomach, tap on the cheekbones on both sides of the face just under the eyes as this helps release energy blockages in the stomach.”  Well now, I guess this explains a lot…

Moving onto last night’s ritual.  I set up my altar downstairs after making sure the kids were asleep so I’d have no interruptions.  Well, I guess I should’ve made sure the husband was asleep as well…ugh, a whole other topic that I don’t need to get into here.  My ritual wasn’t dedicated to any Dark Mother or Crone in particular.  I lit my black candle and charcoal that didn’t seem to want to light or stay lit, burned sage and lavender to purify and consecrate the space (which apparently was the main cause of discontent with my husband), and followed a real loose ADF COoR inspired ritual.  I had my iPhone ready with what seemed like an appropriate guided meditation/self-hypnosis to the Underworld setup ready to go, pen, paper, runes and Wisdom of the Hidden Realms Oracle Cards (just because I wasn’t sure what method of divination I wanted to use and wanted to make sure I had some options depending on what felt right at the moment).  I made offerings of Dragon’s Blood resin and whiskey to the Dark Mother and decided to grab my bag of runes to take an omen – to see if my offerings had been accepted and that it was OK to proceed to Her.  This was the first time using runes as I’ve always been intimated for some reason by them.  I’d been reading about them for awhile now and felt confident enough to say “what the heck, let’s try it tonight.”  I’m actually pretty glad I did because they were easier for me to use and interpret than what I had previously thought.  Well, let’s just say that my first rune I picked wasn’t all that great – Tiwaz inverted.  This seemed to sum it pretty well (as well as here and here).  It was actually pretty disheartening, but deep down, I knew to be true.  I then drew another after asking my new main question, “How do I change this?”  I picked Sowilo – a very good rune that gave me hope and encouragement.  Then as I was putting them back, Isa dropped out followed by Dagaz.  My interpretation – Yes, I’ve got some shit to work out that has been holding me back, keeping my energy drained and not fulfilling my potential.  I do need to prove myself and can’t expect things to be handed to me.  However, Sowilo offers hope – it’s the sun, fire – perhaps a guide of sorts that will light my way and melt the stagnant and depression that Isa signifies.  However, Isa isn’t all that bad either, because sometimes you do need to rest, take a step back and be cautious before trekking forward.  Dagaz is my goal – learning balance, receiving enlightenment from Odin and learning to balance and appreciate the Male and Female aspects of the Divine.  I’ve also been reading Northern Mysteries and Magick by Freya Aswenn and Taking Up the Runes by Diana Paxson that seem to be very helpful in understanding and connecting their message together.  Needless to say, I pretty much ended the ritual there.

So now what?  It’s been an interesting time – with the sparks and lightning flashes at Imbolc, the New Moon in Aquarius, this recent solar flare and Mercury in “the Shadow” getting ready to go retrograde…Oy vey!  Well, for me, it maybe a time to heed Isa, it’s time to open up, sit back and think – it’s time to realize my goals.  It’s time to organize and plan.  It’s time to think about what is really important and what will aid me in achieving my goals.  It’s time to plant those seeds and really nurture them.  It’s a time to learn balance – to balance Isa with Sowlio’s warm nurturing sun energy to achieve Dagaz…all while keeping in mind however Mercury is getting ready to go retrograde here on February 23 (Mercury entered “the Shadow” on February 8.  According to Sue on Magnoliaswest.com pertaining to Mercury entering “the Shadow”: “This window is when you may become aware of what you will be dealing with in the coming retrograde cycle. Events and situations that arise for you during this time will continue to unfold during the retrograde itself.”)  So get ready my friends!

Dark Moon, New Moon…or Liminal Moon?

“New Moon Goddess” by Montserrat

“New Moon Goddess” by Montserrat

In light of (or lack there of) the New Moon upon us within the next few days, I though I’d touch on a topic that has always confused and frustrated me a bit, and maybe some of you too:  Is there a difference between the “New Moon” and the “Dark Moon”?  Now, I’ve heard the two names used interchangeably as if they were one in the same; then I’ve heard and read that they are indeed different.  From my understanding, and what seems to be common knowledge among Pagans, Wiccans, Witches and those who follow the lunar cycle, the Waning Moon gives way to the Dark Moon or New Moon that brings with it the closing or end of a cycle and new beginnings.  It is a time of releasing and banishing negativity.  It is a time of purification, cleansing and a time of rest.  It is a time of introspection, meditation and seeking knowledge and wisdom.  It is a time of death and rebirth.  This Moon can be intimidating for some or even thought of as dangerous by those who do not understand the power and potential that this phase of the Moon has to offer.

How now, my ever critical and nitpicking Virgo mind wonders, can one Moon symbolize both an end and a beginning?  Death and rebirth?  Rest and rejuvenation?  Doesn’t one have to come before the other?  But then, which comes first?  Mustn’t you be born in order to die?  Mustn’t you die in order to be reborn?  Round and round we go…Therefore, I can understand how with death and rebirth being so intricately entwined and connected, this phase of the Moon could perhaps be treated or looked upon as a type of threshold or a liminal phase of the Moon – the “in-between” Moon of transition, waiting, and not knowing.  In saying that, it is easy to see why there is so much confusion over this Moon, discomfort or even fear of working with and under this phase of the Moon; for it is Dark (and full of terrors…LoL!  Sorry, had to throw that in there – yes, I am a hopeless Game of Thrones addict).

If we look at and consider this Moon in a sense as the liminal phase, it’s easy to see why it could be unpleasant or scary for some.  It is a time of transition and change; phasing out of the “Old Moon” and in order to usher in the “New Moon”.  It requires us to leave our comfort zone and head into the unknown.  As mentioned earlier, it is a time of introspection and seeking the wisdom of the Dark Mother or the Crone.  In making the journey and coming into contact with Her, Her demands, tasks and challenges may truly challenge preconceived notions, assumptions and narrowed perspectives; to reject all that we thought we “knew” in order to discover the new truths and the knowledge and wisdom that She has to offer…that takes trust, and that my friends can be pretty damn scary, for how can we trust what we don’t see?  How can we trust when we have no idea how long we’ll be in the dark?

It can be a time to come face to face with issues that maybe hurting us or holding us back.  This can be tricky, unpleasant and downright devastating and horrifying at times; for it requires us, if one is brave enough, to cross the threshold into the Dark Mother’s dark, deep and vast abyss of the unknown.  Some call it the Underworld, some call it the subconscious, and it is there we learn the lessons that need to be learned.

“Ereshkigal” by ~Fenrizulf

“Ereshkigal” by ~Fenrizulf

Like Inanna, we must shed and set aside all barriers and come face to face with Ereshkigal, or our Shadow-selves – that side of us which we would prefer not to look at, deal with or choose to repress because it maybe too hurtful or frightening to face.  It is here that we find and face the root cause of our habits, patterns and destructive behaviors and it is here that we must experience death; the death of those old habits and destructive behaviors no matter how painful it may be in order to rise above and be re-born.  If we don’t face that death, then we get caught in a never-ending pattern or cycle and are doomed to descend again and again to face Ereshkigal (or whatever Underworld deity that your personal practice or pantheon includes) until there is a death.

(NOTE: For those of you interested in Jungian psychology and Shadow work, I HIGHLY suggest reading Descent to the Goddess by Sylvia Brinton Perera.  I also HIGHLY suggest visiting Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom and reading Dr. Jean Raffa’s “A Study In Shadows: Four Principles“;  “Three Steps to Discovering Your Shadow“; “Creative Interactions With the Shadow” and “The Light Shadow” – absolutely enlightening and fascinating and very appropriate I think for successful journeys during this phase of the Moon.)

 

Moving onto spellwork…Is there a difference between the “New Moon” and the “Dark Moon”?  Some will say yes, some will say no. First, I’d like to look at the astronomical definitions.  “Astronomically, [the Dark Moon] refers to the period when the Moon is not visible in the sky. This lasts between 1-3 days, depending upon your location. This is the period between the end of the Waning Moon up to and including the very start of the Waxing Moon, when the Moon is again illuminated by the Sun. Astrologically and magickally, this refers to the period when the Moon is not illuminated in any way, it is the period between the end of the Waning Moon and the start of the Waxing Moon.

Astronomically, [the New Moon] refers to the Midpoint of the Dark Moon, the time of which the Moon is exactly between phases, i.e. Waxing and Waning, as such, all times given for the New Moon on calendars, and even on the NASA website, are the Midpoint, the peak of, the Dark Moon. Astrologically and magickally, this refers to the very beginning of the Waxing Moon, when the Moon is again illuminated by the Sun; that very first Crescent of Moon in the Sky” (Lady Althaea).

Photo by Wade B. Clark Jr

Photo by Wade B. Clark Jr

To me, they are very different with their own distinctive qualities to aid spellworking and their own place in the cycle.  The Dark Moon is the closing of the cycle; the end of the “Old Moon” dead and gone.  It is a time for purification, a time for banishing, meditation, and rest.  The New Moon is the beginning of a new cycle; the rebirth of the “New Moon” referred to as Diana’s Bow (three days after the Dark Moon, when the moon is just a crescent in the sky).  It is a time of rebirth, rejuvenation, and the start of new projects.

In conclusion however, the differences in terminology, beliefs and practices boils down one’s own magical tradition and what feels right to them.

 

 

Sources:

Lady Althaea. Ladyalthaea.com, “Dark Moon vs New Moon – What’s the Difference“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Cauldronliving.com, “Dark Moon vs. New Moon“.

Everythingunderthemoon.net, “Moon Phases and Spellwork“.

Hall, Molly. Astrology.about.com, “New Moon Magic“.

Hall, Molly. Astrology.about.com, “When is the Dark Moon?

 

Full Beaver Moon – November

Concerning the November’s full Moon, the Farmer’s Almanac tells us that this was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs.  Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter. It is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon.

This Moon “is also known as Snow Moon, Dark Moon, and Wolf Moon. The Earth lies sleeping beneath a blanket of snow, gathering strength for new life in spring. This is the time for healing and communication. The zodiac association is Scorpio.” [1]

“Moon Wolf” by ~skeelar

NOVERMBER: Snow Moon (November) Also known as: Dark Moon, Fog Moon, Beaver Moon, Mourning Moon, Blotmonath (Sacrifice Month), Herbistmanoth (Harvest Month), Mad Moon, Moon of Storms, Moon When Deer Shed Antlers
Nature Spirits: subterranean faeries
Herbs: grains of paradise, verbena, betony, borage, cinquefoil, blessed thistle
Colors: gray, sea-green
Flowers: blooming cacti, chrysanthemum
Scents: cedar, cherry blossoms, hyacinth, narcissus, peppermint, lemon
Stones: topaz, hyacinth, lapis lazuli
Trees: alder, cypress
Animals: unicorn, scorpion, crocodile, jackal
Birds: owl, goose, sparrow
Deities: Kali, Black Isis, Nicnevin, Hecate, Bast, Osiris, Sarasvati, Lakshmi, Skadi, Mawu
Power Flow: take root, prepare. Transformation. Strengthen communication with the god or goddess who seems closest to you.  [2]

 

 

 

 

Sources:

The Celtic Lady. The Olde Way, “Individual Moons Explained“.

Farmers’ Almanac, “Full Moon Names and Their Meanings“.

Willow Grove, “The Witch’s Esbats“.

 

Suggested Links:

The Fine-Arts and Bluesband & Poetry Press, “The Names of the Moons“.

Kent, April Elliott. Mooncirlces.com, “Gemini Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse: A Gift for Fiction“.

McDowell, Robert. Mooncircles.com, “November: The Beaver Full Moon“.

National Geographic, “Full Moons: What’s In A Name?

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, “Full Beaver Moon” .

What-Your-Sign.com, “Symbolic Native American Full Moon Names“.

 

 

* Check out Mooncircles.com every month, or better yet, subscribe to their monthly newsletter to get the scoop on each month’s Full and New Moons, find out more about Moon Astrology  and read blogs.  They even have a different 3-Minute Moon Ritual for each Full Moon! 

Goddess Nicneven

“The Faery Godmother” by Brian Froud

“Nicneven’s themes are protection, ghosts, divination, peace and winter. Her symbols are pumpkins, gourds and traditional Halloween fare. In Scotland, Nicneven is the crone Goddess of Samhain, which is the predecessor of modern Halloween festivals. Nicneven governs the realms of magic and witchcraft and also represents the imminent onset of winter.

In magic and Celtic traditions, this is the new year – a time when the veil between worlds grow thin and spirits can communicate with the living.  Follow the usual customs of carving a pumpkin or turnip for protection and to illuminate the way to family spirits to join you in today’s celebrations.

In Druidical tradition, Samhain was a time to rectify any matters causing dissent. Nicneven provides the magical glue for this purpose. Take a white piece of paper on which you’ve written the reason for anger in a relationship, then burn it in any hallowed fire source (the pumpkin candle, or ritual fires). As you do, ask Nicneven to empower the spell and destroy the negativity completely.

To inspire Nicneven’s wisdom or magical aptitude within, enjoy traditional Halloween fare – apple pie, for example, brings sagacity. Sparkling apple cider tickles magical energy. And root crops provide solid foundations and protection while magical creatures are afoot!

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Queen of the Bad Fairies” by Brian Froud

Nicneven or Nicnevin or Nicnevan (whose name is from a Scottish Gaelic surname, Neachneohain meaning ‘daughter(s) of the divine’ and/or daughter(s) of Scathach‘ NicNaoimhein meaning ‘daughter of the little saint’) is a Queen of the Fairies in Scottish folklore. The use of the name for this meaning was first found in Montgomerie’s Flyting (c.1585) and was seemingly taken from a woman in Scotland condemned to death for witchcraft before being burnt at the stake as a witch. In the Borders the name for this archetype was Gyre-Carling whose name had variants such as Gyre-Carlin, Gy-Carling, Gay-Carlin amongst others. Gyre is possibly a cognate of the Norse word geri and thus having the meaning of ‘greedy’ or it may be from the Norse gýgr meaning ‘ogress’; carling or carline is a Scots and Northern English word meaning ‘old woman’ which is from, or related to, the Norse word kerling (of the same meaning).

She was sometimes thought of as the mother witch, Hecate, or Habundia figure of Scottish fairy mythology.  This guise is frankly diabolical.  Sir Walter Scott calls Her:

a gigantic and malignant female, the Hecate of this mythology, who rode on the storm and marshalled the rambling host of wanderers under Her grim banner. This hag (in all respects the reverse of the Mab or Titania of the Celtic creed) was called Nicneven in that later system which blended the faith of the Celts and of the Goths on this subject. The great Scottish poet Dunbar has made a spirited description of this Hecate riding at the head of witches and good neighbours (fairies, namely), sorceresses and elves, indifferently, upon the ghostly eve of All-Hallow Mass. In Italy we hear of the hags arraying themselves under the orders of Diana (in Her triple character of Hecate, doubtless) and Herodias, who were the joint leaders of their choir, But we return to the more simple fairy belief, as entertained by the Celts before they were conquered by the Saxons.

Alexander Montgomerie, in his Flyting, described Her as:

Nicnevin with Her nymphes, in number anew
With charms from Caitness and Chanrie of Ross
Whose cunning consists in casting a clew.

“The Wild Hunt: Åsgårdsreien” by Peter Nicolai Arbo

Even so, the elder Nicnevin or Gyre-Carling retained the habit of night riding with an ‘elrich‘ entourage mounted on unlikely and supernatural steeds. Another, satirical popular depiction made Her leave Scotland after a love-quarrel with Her neighbour, to become wife of ‘Mahomyte‘ and queen of the ‘Jowis‘. She was an enemy of Christian people, and ‘levit vpoun Christiane menis flesche’; still, Her absence caused dogs to stop barking and hens to stop laying. But in Fife, the Gyre-Carling was associated with spinning and knitting, like Habetrot; here it was believed to be unlucky to leave a piece of knitting unfinished at the New Year, lest the Gyre-Carling should steal it.” [1]

“Nicnevin” by Xavier Collette

For a fantastic and in-depth piece written on this Goddess, I highly recommend reading “Nicnevin” by Sarah Lawless over at Witchofforestgrove.com.  In her piece, she explains “Nicnevin is the Queen of Elphame, the queen of the fairies, spirits, and strange creatures, queen of the Unseelie Court of Alba.  She reigns with a male consort at Her side, but his name is never given, it is my guess he changes with Her moods.  She is the Gyre Carline and appears sometimes in the Scottish tales as Habetrot, a crone-like spirit known for Her magical powers of spinning, weaving and clothmaking. It is said She wears a long grey mantle and carries a white wand and can appear as an old crone or a beautiful young woman. White geese are sacred to Her and their cackling may herald Her arrival. In this we see She is linked with the Germanic Goddess HoldaHel, queen of the Underworld, the leader of the Wild Hunt in Norse legend.”

In the Encyclopedia of Spirits by Judika Illes, she writes: “Nicnevin, Scottish witch Goddess, can transform water into rocks and sea into dry land.  Her name is derived from Gaelic Nic an Neamhain, ‘Daughter of Frenzy.’ Nicnevin flies through the night.  Although usually invisible, Her presence is announced by the cacophony of geese.  The Romans identified Her with Diana.

Following Scotland’s official conversion to Christianity and brutal witch trials, Nicnevin, a former Goddess, was reclassified as both a Fairy and a demon. (Scotland suffered particularly virulent witch hunts, second in scope only to the German lands in terms of prosecutions and executions.)  She is considered Queen of the Fairies of Fife, Scotland and is among the spirits associated with the Wild Hunt.

Sea hag from the hit TV show “Charmed”

Manifestation: Nicnevin manifests as a beautiful woman and a dried out old hag.  She wears a long gray mantle.

Attribute: Magic wand

Element: Water

Birds: Geese

Day: Samhain (Halloween) is Nicnevin’s sacred night when She grants wishes and answers petitions.  She is traditionally honored with celebratory feasts and toasting.  On Samhain, Nicnevin makes Herself visible as She flies through the air accompanied by a retinue of witches and honking geese.  Rituals are also held in Nicnevin’s honor on November 1″ (p. 760).

 

 

 

Sources:

Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits, “Nicnevin: The Bone Mother“.

Lawless, Sarah. Witchofforestgrove.com, “NICNEVIN“.

Wikipedia, “Nicnevin“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Ancientsites.com, “The Celtic Huntress“.

Andarta, Boudicca. Paganpages.org, “Let’s Spell it Out“.

Dalyell, John Graham. The Darker Superstitions of Scotland.

Dashu, Max. Suppressedhistories.net, “The Tregenda of the Old Goddess, Witches, and Spirits“.

Electricscotland.com, “The Goddess in the Landscape“.

Goddess-guide.com, “Crone Goddess“.

Illes, Judika. Weiser Field Guide to Witches, The: From Hexes to Hermione Granger, From Salem to the Land of Oz, “Nicnevin“.

Rankine, David R. Sacredfires.co.uk, “Hekate Wears Tartan“.

Wikipedia, “Queen of Elphame“.

Wikipedia, “Wild Hunt“.

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