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Hey, where did the Moon go?

 Witches take heed! The Dark of the Harvest Moon is upon us. This next Sunday, October 18 is the New Moon and it will be the darkest time of the month of the dead. Do you mark the New Moon with any regular ritual? 

First of all, let’s clarify a few things. There has been a history of some animosity between astrologers and astronomers. So, in an effort to keep everyone on the same page, let me define what I mean when I say “Dark of the Moon” or “Dark Moon”    According to the US Naval Oceanography Portal’s article (link 1 below), the New Moon is that time when “The Moon's unilluminated side is facing the Earth. The Moon is not visible (except during a solar eclipse).”   So, when I say New Moon, I will also be referring to the term most pagans use for this time as the “Dark of the Moon.”

I am not referring to a Black Moon. A Black Moon is when a New Moon occurs twice in one month. It can also refer to a month that does not have a Full Moon due to a trick of time. For instance February has only 28 days and the full moon happens every 29 days. It is very rare and the next one is scheduled to occur in February 2018 (link 3 below).
Now, lets venture back into the mystical realms.   One point that pagans often consider is that the Full Moon is visible because it is lit by the Sun. So, in effect, the feminine Moon is visible by the grace of light gathered from the masculine Sun. Why do we celebrate the pinnacle of feminine power when it is most visible to us due to the strongest masculine force – The Sun? There may be many reasons. It may have more to do with that elusive search for true balance – or it may not. Each will have to consider this in their own circles.  There are literally 100s of discussions online about the importance or validity of moon rituals.  One that is more informative than tirade is Link 2 below and you will also see that she differs with me slightly on some issues. 
Most do agree that the New Moon is a time of stillness. It is a time more of listening instead of seeing. It is possible to have complete dark outside during this time and it might be the best possible time for mediumship, ancestor walking, or to celebrate your Ancestor Table or Dumb Supper. As it is a time of listening, I suggest complete silence and you might find that suggestion the most difficult part of your New Moon ritual. 
For instance, my coven is a very close group who love nothing better than to chat the night away on a thousand different subjects. I will be hosting our New Moon celebration this next week and I fully expect my request for silence to be the hardest part of the evening. However, I am not cruel and I will not expect this to be the rule for the entire evening. I am sure my coven would run screaming out the door – not from ghosts but from the dreaded silence! 
For more info:
  1. Phases of the Moon and Percent of the Moon Illuminated by the US Naval Oceanography Portal
  2. The Dark Moon By Molly Hall,'s astrology guide.
  3. Black Moon by Fraser Cain at Universe