In “Ask a Witch,” Gabriela Herstik answers your questions about channeling ancient wisdom in the modern age. From spellcraft to finding your path, explore what it means to be a millennial witch.
Question: What phase of the moon makes you feel the most energy?
Answer: Working and living by the cycles of the moon is one of the easiest and most potent ways to work with magick. As the moon's light waxes and wanes, so do we. We are intrinsically and intuitively connected to both her and her rays, and the moon's effect on our emotions and magick is intense. The moon rules over our emotional and subtle body; she rules over feminine mysteries and the deep, dark crevices of our souls. Ever felt like you were extra emo at the time of the full moon? That's not a coincidence. That's moon magick. Thankfully, this magick means that each month we have the opportunity to explore our spiritual cycles and dive into our shadows, just as the moon does.
Each moon phase correlates to a specific type of magick and intention, and each holds its own specific energy. Moon magick is based on what’s called sympathetic magick, which is the idea that we perform magick that imitates a desired outcome. In this case, as the moon’s light grows, we, too, focus on what we want to grow. As it shrinks, we focus on what we want to let go of. A good way to remember the moon phases: wax on, wane off.
Another important thing to keep in mind is what sign of the zodiac the moon is in. Each sign will affect you differently, and if the moon is in your sign, expect to be feeling her energy extra intensely. Here's a quick overview of all things lunar.
The New Moon
The moon’s cycle begins at the time of the dark moon, when you cannot visibly see the moon in the sky. Think of this as a fresh energetic slate, when we have the opportunity to recalibrate and release that which is no longer serving us. I have always been jealous of snakes for being able to shed their skin once they’ve outgrown it, but the New Moon offers us the same sort of “shedding” period, which we can utilize as we see fit. The New Moon is perfect for releasing and discarding, whether that’s toxic relationships or old habits. Taking time to go inward and visit your own darker side is encouraged, as is taking plenty of time for yourself.
New Moon Magick: Write a letter containing everything that’s hindering you from growing; this can be to an ex, a family member, or yourself. Get it all out. Say everything you need to say. Then burn it and release it as an offering to the universe.
The Waxing Moon
As the moon's light grows, we, too, enter a time of rebirth, one that allows us to think of our wants and needs. How can you allow yourself space to grow during this phase? In the two-week period between the New and Full Moon, you have a window of time to plant seeds and manifest! This is a time to cultivate communication, love, finances, healing, or health. Take some time to sit and feel where you are; if you can sit with your back against the trunk of a tree or with your feet on the earth, do that. Connect with the earth during this time for extra cosmic TLC.
Waxing Moon Magick: This is the perfect time for finance or money magick. You can perform a money spell or meditate on the idea of money, imagining money as an energetic being. Give it some love. Thank it. Start feeling more grateful for it and imagine it multiplying; then watch it happen.
The Full Moon
The most powerful moon of all, the Full Moon is a time of spiritual and psychic activity. It’s the best time for any kind of magick, whether that’s performing an abundance charm or binding a toxic relationship. It’s a time to gather your people and give yourself space to feel; dive deep and celebrate. You can perform abundance magick at this time, or focus on releasing, starting your spell on the Full Moon and leaking it into the days following when the moon is waning and you’re able to more fully release. The Full Moon is a perfect time to celebrate or renew commitments—think of it as the party moon! If you’re an empath or energetically sensitive, then you will probably feel the Full Moon energy the most.
Full Moon Magick: Any and all kinds of magick are appropriate during the Full Moon. You can make a honey jar for abundance, adding in honey, herbs, and other correspondences that work with what you’re manifesting. Or, if you want to recharge and honor yourself, you can also perform some self-love magick or take a ritual bath.
The Waning Moon
As the moon’s light shrinks, we focus on what we want to release. Have a bad habit, toxic relationship, or a few too many old clothes in your closet? Release that ish! Let go and complete what you can. Shed the baggage that no longer serves you, and, when the moon is new, seal your new intentions, whether that’s through magick or not. A good mantra for this time is: “If it doesn’t serve you, let it go.” Whether it’s a toxic relationship or negative thought pattern, you’re allowed to give yourself permission to release it. Letting go of that which is hurting you doesn’t make you weak. Think of this time as cosmic permission to get shit done. The moon is giving you total permission to put yourself first.
Waning Moon Magick: This is a good time to bind, release, and let go. Write a list of every limiting belief you have—like “I am too much, I’m not good enough, I say all the wrong things"—and then burn them one by one, or flush them down the toilet. Let it GO!
If you want to go even farther, you can keep track of what sign the moon is in, or you can keep a moon journal to track how you feel at each phase of the moon. My favorite apps for moon-related things are Time Passages, Moon, and Luna Solaria. And, as always, don’t forget to enjoy the process.