As She Wanes, So I May Lose…
Although it’s energy is still with us for the 24 hours before and after the Full Moon, the lunar cycle officially enters into it’s waning stage the day after the moon is 100% illuminated. During this waning phase, the moon sheds its illumination, taking approximately 7 days to reach the Last Quarter where the moon is at 50% illumination, and another 7 days until it displays it’s final sliver of light as a thin crescent in the morning sky. Like the Waxing Moon, the Waning Moon’s phases are named Waning Gibbous, Last Quarter or Waning Half Moon, and Waning Crescent.
The Waning Moon is a perfect bookend to the Waxing Moon, playing out it’s cycle in reverse, with shadow developing on the right hand side of the moon as the light recedes to the left, so that the final Waning Crescent of light that we see before the Dark Moon displays it’s curved edge towards the left. As the moon is coming back around to the start of it’s cycle where it is aligned with the sun as viewed from the earth, the Waning Moon rises later and later with each passing day, setting well after sunrise. The Waning Crescent is an excellent time to observe the surface of the moon, as the light will throw dark shadows from the craters and mountains making them easily discernable when using a pair of binoculars. This will require the commitment of rising early, as the best viewing of the Waning Crescent occurs an hour or two before sunrise.
As the Waning Moon is shedding it’s illumination, magick and ritual practiced during this phase is focused on the themes of release and clearance. “As she wanes, so I may lose” is an apt call towards aligning that which we would like to free ourselves from with the moon’s loss of illumination. We can harness this “loss” in a positive way by directing the energy towards breaking bad habits, unravelling negative patterns, reversing stress, banishing toxic energy, ridding ourselves of illness or addiction, and releasing ourselves from relationships that have run thier course. An easy way to remember these correspondences is to think of shedding anything that is unwanted in your life along with the moon as she sheds her light. As the Waning Moon deepens its shadows, we have the support necessary to find closure and release from those aspects, situations, habits, beliefs, and relationships which are no long serving our higher good.
Like the Wheel of the Year, the complete lunar cycle offers us the opportunity to reflect, build, harvest, and dismantle, all within a 30 day timeframe. The moon has always been our closest celestial companion, lighting our way in the dark of night, refreshing our ocean tides, giving us a calendar by which to understand the passing of time, and inspiring countless poets, artists, lovers and dreamers the world over since the beginning of time. Many of us live by the sun, and love by the moon… By understanding the lunar cycles and energies, we come to know our own mysteries – and if that isn’t magick in it’s purest form, then I can’t rightly say what is.
Other Waning Moon facts that come in handy when considering ritual, magickal workings, and meditations:
- The Waning Gibbous Moon phase begins the day after the Full Moon, when the moon is at a shade less than 100% illumination
- The Waning Moon phase lasts approximately 2 weeks total
- The Waning Moon moves towards alignment with the sun – it rises late in the evening, and sets well after sunrise
- Shadow is gained on the right side of the moon, with the illumination receding to the left
- Waning Gibbous Moon energy supports making amends, settling disputes, and correcting mistakes
- The Last Quarter is a one-day event in the lunar cycle, and occurs roughly 7 days after the Full Moon
- Illumination during the Last Quarter is at 50%, and is sometimes called a Half Moon
- The Last Quarter Moon rises at approximately midnight
- The Waning Crescent Moon phase begins the day after the Last Quarter and lasts approximately 7 days
- The Waning Crescent Moon is a time to observe the features of the moon’s surface
- Waning Moon magick is best suited to clearance, release, and banishment of that which no longer serves
- The waning phase from Waning Gibbous to dark is associated to the Crone form of the Triple Goddess in some traditions
- Waning Moon magick is practiced widdershins (counter-clockwise direction)