When is the Dark Moon?:
Also known as the "dead" Moon, this is the time when there is no solar reflection, leaving the lunar face in darkness. The dark lasts about three days before the new crescent appears.
Is this the same as the New Moon?:
For many, the new Moon begins at the moment of the Sun-Moon conjunction, but for others it remains the dark Moon until that crescent is in view. As the Moon wanes toward those final days of darkness, there's often a turn inward. In those contemplative moments, the inner reality is presented through dreams and waking visions. It's fertile ground for the new Moon intentions to be conjured.
How does the Dark Moon differ from the New Moon?:
The dark of the Moon is the most powerful time psychically. It seems to lure us toward the deepest self, the longings of the soul, and restful listening is a great way to receive these messages. It's been compared to the dormant seed under the winter snow, or the cocoon holding the butterfly. You might feel tired, or crave quiet solitude. It's important to make space for the unfolding of the spirit at this time. Like death itself, it's preparation for the new beginning that begins with the crescent.
The Dark Moon and Women's Cycles:
You've probably heard about the "menstruation hut" of matriarchal and so-called primitve cultures. The dark of the Moon was one of those times when women gathered together to draw wisdom from the powerful psychic energy afoot. Often there was a merging of women's cycles -- as there is now when women live in close quarters -- and this created an amped up collective power. In the hut, women could share visions, divine messages and open to higher wisdom.
The Dark Moon and grief:
Whenever we experience a deep loss, we are changed profoundly, which is a kind of death. This is considered a dark Moon phase, and lasts as long as it takes to fully integrate the experience. Sometimes others are made uneasy by our personal confusion, melancholy, soul angst, etc, and try to prevent us from fully dwelling in the dark. But taking a cue from nature, we can see that everything dies for a time, before coming alive again in a new form. Just like that, there are times when we die to our old self and are reborn to a new life.
The Dark Moon and the Seasons:
During the Winter Solstice, when the days are short (in the Northern Hemisphere), it's an inward time with a cozy intimate feeling. It's always a surprise to see the green things come to life again after being stripped to such a bare state. The growth at this time is underground, hidden, but powerful because it's often the base, the roots.
The Dark Moon and Growing Older, Dying:
In our own lives, there's a dark Moon phase toward the end as we prepare to enter the mystery of death. Often there is a convergence of memories, making time seem to run together. So many traditions believe the spirit carries on, but to where? This is the great unknown, and a dark Moon period that is taken on faith, with the hope of new life to come. The dark Moon is associated with the underworld, a seperate plane where the dead and almost born are together.
Are we living in a Dark Moon phase?:
In her book, Mysteries of the Dark Moon, Demetra George presented this concept. We live on a dying planet in the sense that her form is changing, from the rainforest floor to the air encircling her. Part of the dark Moon is a break-down of old systems, and letting go, and there's some review going on of how we've been living, what we believe, our relationship with the natural world. The new seeds are being planted, but there's still a lot of uncertainty and fear -- darkness. Seeing this time as a dark Moon period can put it in a broader perspective, with hope for a new beginning.
The Power of the Dark:
The dark Moon is private, intimate, richly renewing and full of depth. The waning Moon is a time of letting go, and as you're stripped of what you've known, there's a moment of standing naked, not knowing who you are. This might be what dying is like, an awesome mystery that makes us feel fully awake at that final moment. What comes next, we wonder?
I've found the dark Moon to be the most powerful time for organically unfolding soul-searching. The inner Self starts to grow in power, and make its presence known. Ideally, you can listen, integrate, and set intentions that will bring you into harmony with yourself during the waxing Moon.
Stillness is the key word for the dark Moon. Restful, rich solitude gives you the chance to hear that inner voice. With the lunar face hidden, the intuitive-psychic self takes over. Make space for a clearing of the mind and spirit, so that you can be ready to recieve.
There's a historic pattern of fearing the dark, and denying death. But it's a fact of nature, and if embraced, can be met as the winding down before the next new beginning. The Moon is associated with women, and many Goddesses like Hecate, Kali, Lilith, represent her dark aspect. The dark Moon reminds us of nature's cycles of death and rebirth. The grave and the womb become the same place, a transition when you're held in the mystery beyond physical existence.
Each dark Moon is a chance to be renewed, to experience unknowing, and to gain timeless wisdom. The dark Moon opens a door to the past, and it reaches back far into the collective memory. Make it a sacred time for yourself each month, a time to connect to the great mystery of life.
Source: This is original writing, the foundation of which came from the works of Vicki Noble, Demetra George, Judy Grahn, Starhawk and Elinor Gadon, to name a few.