Hello moon children, and happy New and Dark Moons! We are at the end of a lunar cycle, coming out of a New Moon in Gemini. At the Gemini New Moon, we find double Gemini energy, as it comes together with the Gemini Sun. This is a time to explore the dualities in ourselves, and how these play out - including questions of how accurate or valid dualities are, and the reality of spectrums. Wren McMurdo has a great post on Gemini and the exploration of duality and the gender spectrum (and how wonderful is it that Pride month coincides with Gemini season?).
But back to the Dark and New Moons. I've been seeing a lot of discussion about these moon phases and their definitions. In truth, there is no absolute consensus. Rather than providing an astronomical or astrological interpretation, I am going to focus on the ritual significance and let you discern the timing that makes most sense for you.
So how do the energetic vibrations of these two moon phases differ? The New Moon is about beginnings, birthing new projects, starting new directions, and the overall initial creative spark. On the New Moon, we perform rituals of attraction and invocation. We plant the seed for new energies we want to attract to our lives, so they can grow and mature as the moon waxes.
Within tarot, I see the energies of both the High Priestess and the Empress as connected to the New Moon. When working with single card associations, I connect the High Priestess to the waxing moon (Maiden), the Empress to the Full Moon (Mother), and to the waning moon (Crone). But as always, there are many levels and layers of interpretation. The High Priestess is connected to the New Moon as the Maiden, and as the keeper of the portals to the Spirit realm. She asks us to step into something new. The Empress is usually considered the Mother of tarot, but I like to think of the Mother archetype in a more expansive way. Rather than Mother, I have come to embrace the Creatrix archetype.
The Creatrix archetype is an expansive view of the Mother archetype. The Mother archetype can feel a bit restrictive, as it tends to refer to genetic motherhood and giving birth. In present day society, many people choose not to have children. As such, many women are excluded from this archetype, and it doesn't address the various, multi-faceted ways that we can birth new things into the world: projects, ideas, manifestations of all sorts. A woman who does not bare children but spends her life manifesting creative project is still a Mother, just not in the traditional sense. Here we find the Creatrix.
The Dark Moon, on the other hand, is about shadow work. The Dark Moon vibrates along the same frequencies as the Crone archetype. She asks us to confront our shadow selves and the power of death. In mythology, the Dark Moon energy is seen in Goddesses such as Kali, the Morrigan, Baba Yaga, Lilith, and Hekate. In the Dark Moon, we see the Reaper Goddesses.
As the Full Moon is the plenitude, the Dark Moon is the void. To steal part of Nietsche's quote, "when you gave long into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you." This is the energy of the Dark Moon. By presenting us with the void, it reflects ourselves back to us. At Beltane, I briefly discussed the medicine of Death as ultimate transformation of self. There is medicine in every phase of the moon, but the Dark Moon is where we find the biggest opportunity for deep shifts.
At first it might seem that the energies of the New and Dark Moons are at odds with each other, but it's quite the contrary. There is no ultimate ending, as the end of every cycle leads to a new beginning. Conversely, every beginning leads to an end. Therefore, the end of the cycle holds within it the seed for the next beginning, and every beginning carries the seed of death.