What's the Difference?
From a magickal perspective, the Dark Moon is the roughly three days in which the moon is not visible to us. The New Moon is when we see the first sliver of the waxing moon, also called the ‘Horns of Isis’ in reference to the moon horns the Goddess Isis wears. The ‘horns' (or tips) of the crescent always point to the left when the moon is waxing and to the right when it’s waning.
The Dark Moon has an energy of rest and completion, while the New Moon's energy is that of new beginnings and renewal. Despite these differences between these two phases, I’ve noticed a trend among New Age, spiritual, moon-worshiping groups and communities of using the term "New Moon" when in fact "Dark Moon" would be more appropriate. In fact, it’s become downright challenging to find a meme, spell, recipe, or article that refers to the Dark Moon rather than the New Moon.
Why Is This Happening?
One reason is that this is how it's taught in schools. More and more, we are seeing schools teach "new" instead of "dark." Some schools teach New Moon instead of Dark Moon, while others teach Old, New, and Young Moon. When I went to school, I was taught that they are interchangeable. Perhaps this is true for astronomy. However, in magickal practice, the different phases of the moon have different energies that allow us to tailor our magick more fully.
One reason I believe this is occurring within magickal communities and faiths is to appeal to the masses. Wicca, witchcraft, and paganism are among the fastest-growing religions in the US right now. As each year passes, this seems to result in more and more commercialization of our faiths. Making our practices seem less scary to the uninitiated is becoming more commonplace. I think changing "Dark" to "New" is a part of this.
Lastly, many in the love-and-light type of spiritual practices simply prefer light over dark. "New" sounds more welcoming than "Dark" does to some. This is similar to many years ago when a prominent calendar popular with Wiccans, witches, and pagans changed its Harvest symbol from a sickle to a basket full of fruit—much less threatening and “dark.”
Witches and pagans, however, revere both the light and the dark equally. Shadow, darkness, and the void are all beautiful and fertile places of power. For the witch and/or pagan darkness is not something we hide from, avoid, or fear—it is but another face of the Great Goddess. With Her, we face our own dark places and shadow selves and we heal and embrace these parts of ourselves, recognizing them as all part of the beauty of humanness and Divinity. In this way, we embrace the wholeness of ourselves and of Life.
What Do You Think?
Dark Moon Correspondences
|Type of Tool||Examples of Correspondences|
Dark Moon Goddesses
Hekate, Kali, Pele, Sekhmet, Hel, Nyx, The Morrigan
Dark Moon Crystals and Stones
Black tourmaline, black onyx, black obsidian, hematite, smoky quartz
Dark Moon Herbs
Rosemary, rue, wormwood, black pepper, damiana
21 - The World and 10s
Dark Moon Characteristics
- Inward Reflection
- Inner sight
- Crone energy
Dark Moon Workings and Practices
- Releasing spells and rituals
- Cleanings, purification, & detoxification
- Banishing spells and rituals
- Spell for protection of self, loved ones, pets, home, car, etc.
- Soul searching
- Divination & Scrying
- Shadow work
- Dark workings
- Blood magick
- Dark Goddess rituals
- Make dark moon water for use in banishing and protection spells
New Moon Correspondences
|Type of Tool||Examples of Correspondences|
New Moon Goddesses
Diana, Artemis, Crescent crowned Goddess, Luna, Selene
New Moon Crystals
Aventurine, fluorite, kyanite, red tiger's eye, peach moonstone
New Moon Herbs
Pine, lavender, clary sage, eyebright, baby's breath
0 - The Fool and Aces
New Moon Characteristics
- New beginnings
- Fresh starts
- Clear focus
- Maiden energy
New Moon Workings and Practices
- Plant seeds magickally and/or physically
- Set new goals
- Personal improvement practices
- Start new manifestations for the waxing lunar cycle.
- Spells for new work or employment
- Spells for a new home
- New house blessing
- Spells for a new relationship
- Healing work
- Baby blessings
- Begin fertility magick and let it build up to the full moon
- Crescent Moon Goddess rituals
- Make new moon water for use in new beginnings and new manifestation spells
Deepen Your Connection to the Moon
Each phase of the moon has its own energy and magick. Regardless of what you choose to call them, connecting and becoming familiar with these subtle energy differences will only enhance your magickal practice. I hope this inspires you to develop a deeper connection to the moon and Her phases.
References and Resources
Moon Magick: Myth & Magick, Crafts & Recipes, Rituals & Spells by D.J. Conway
Cunningham's Encyclopedia of crystal, gem & metal magic by Scott Cunningham
Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham
Mysteries of the Dark Moon: The Healing Power of the Dark Goddess by Demetra George
Lady of the Night: A Handbook of Moon Magick & Rituals by Edain McCoy
Everyday Moon Magic: Spells & Rituals for Abundant Living by Dorothy Morrison
Moontoadie on September 25, 2019:
I've always used 'New Moon' for the period when the moon is dark and unseen. In addition to that, usually about 3 1/2 days before and to the exact New Moon is a Balsamic Moon - which some also call the dark moon in my experience. This is based on astrology/astronomy. I don't know where you learned the new moon is when the moon emerges from its dark orb and is visible again, but it is interesting to ponder, and does make sense when one is practising based on physically seeing the moon without having science based knowledge about the phases.
Jennifer Jorgenson (author) on July 28, 2019:
I'm delighted it was helpful. You're most welcome!
Noel Penaflor from California on July 27, 2019:
Thank you. This helps a lot.