Cycles of the Moon
Esbats are celebrated on the thirteen full and new moons of the year. Covens traditionally choose these nights to meet and honor the goddess. Esbats are deeply personal experiences, and many choose to work alone on these occasions. Full moons and new moons are highly magical nights and are generally the best times for spellwork.
During a full moon esbat, it is common to call only the goddess to honor her power. The full moon is the most magical night of the year, and all workings are appropriate, including healing, attraction, and divination. Love spells are especially powerful when performed on the full moon. Banishing spells can be cast on the day after the full moon to allow for the energy to drain away until the dark moon.
Lunar eclipses occur at full moon, and are excellent times for releasing or banishing magic. There are usually two total eclipses in a year, but they are not all visible in every locale.
The power lasts from the day before the moon reaches fullness to the day after, for a total of three days. To determine the date of the full moon, consult an astrological calendar. The period between the full moon and the new moon is best for releasing negativity, healing that involves the removal of pain or injury, and banishing unwanted people and emotions.
The new moon is the second most powerful day of the month. Like the full moon, its energy lasts a full three days and is preceded by the dark moon. Almost any type of spell is appropriate for the new moon. Some people like to cast spells on the new moon so the energy released is fueled by the waxing moon, which is a time of increasing lunar power. The time between the new moon and the full moon is best for attraction, growth, prosperity, and love. It is also good for healings that involve drawing in positive energy or the creation of something new.
Draw Down the Moon
Esbats are the traditional time to Draw Down the Moon. Drawing Down the Moon is the practice of entering a trance and pulling the energy of the moon into the body. By doing this, the practitioner unites herself with the power of the moon and the goddess. Goddesses associated with the moon include Selene, Hecate, and Diana.
According to Hindu beliefs, the body has seven main energy centers known as chakras. They are located at the base of the spine, the sex organs, the solar plexus, the heart, the throat, the middle of the forehead (which is called the third eye), and the crown of the head. They are often pictured as lotus flowers or spinning disks in the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
To Draw Down the Moon, the practitioner first opens her chakras and stands in the Goddess position (legs spread, arms held up and outward). She raises her arms over her head and points her wand or athame (ritual knife) at the moon and pulls the power down into her. As the practitioner feels it come down into her, she lowers the wand until the point is directed toward her heart. When the energy fades, she lowers her arms to her sides. The practitioner may now go deeper into meditation to learn the message that awaits her. To ground the energy at the end of the ritual, she places her hands on the ground and sends it into the earth.
Each lunar cycle has twenty-eight days, which means there are roughly thirteen moons in a year. Because the position and phase of the moon is sometimes easier to determine than the position of the sun during the course of a year, many early societies had lunar calendars. Each lunar month had a name, and several of those names have survived to this day.
The full moon that falls closest to the fall equinox is known as the Harvest Moon. The second full moon in a month is the blue moon and has no other name unless it's the Harvest Moon.
What is a blue moon?
Due to an error in the March 1946 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine, a blue moon is currently defined as the second full moon in any month. Prior to then it was the third full moon in any season with four. It is not known whether a blue moon has more magical significance than a regular full moon.
The Wiccan sabbats are usually days of merriment for Wiccans, a time of gathering for worship, feasting, and togetherness. Because they occur roughly every six and a half weeks, Wiccans have plenty of opportunities to celebrate. But these celebrations are not the only rituals performed by Wiccans. Wiccans lead lives filled with magic, and a set of tools has been developed to assist in creating this magic.