Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side
which he never shows to anybody
~Mark Twain~

Moon Passage

Once long ago, humans depended upon the Moon for reckoning time, planting crops and harvesting the sea. It’s phases and it’s path through the sky were matters of concern and interest to all. Today very few people indeed are even aware, beyond a casual glance, of the Moon’s presence. In a sense the lovely silver sphere which sometimes lights our darkness is more mysterious now despite the exploration of its surface. The Moon’s curious forces continue to exert their influence over us and our planet. We and the oceans of Earth still unceasingly respond to the Moon’s magnetic appeal. As a symbol of Mystic significance, appreciated by so many ancient religious expressions, the Moon remains as potent as ever, at least to the poet, the artist and the witch.

Due to the nature of its orbit, the back of the Moon is unseen by viewers on Earth. This lends one more element of mystery to our single satellite. The Moon like the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Unlike the sun, its size and shape continually change. Four cycles of approximately seven days each total a lunar month, which forms the basis for our present calendar system. The ancients held that the day began at nightfall, and the custom of celebrating holidays on their eve echoes the old tradition.

The slender crescent appearing soon after dark-of-the-Moon is called, obviously enough, the new Moon. It waxes, grows larger, to the first quarter visible in the sky as a half-Moon. The quarter in this instance refers to the sequence of the four phases. As the Moon waxes, its horns point to the east until it reaches full circle. The waning Moon diminishes in size, horns pointing west, until we see no Moon at all.

The times of rising and setting relate to the phases according to a definite pattern, as recorded in this old country rhyme:

A new Moon rises with the sun,
Its waxing half at midday shows.
The full Moon climbs at sunset hour,
And waning half the midnight knows.

The Witches’ Almanac, Ltd