Dark Moon is a fascinating, powerful aspect of the moon’s cycle, when there is no light from the moon at all for a night or two. Dark Moon does not get a lot of attention, since we can’t see it! While Full Moon is the night with most light, Dark Moon is the night with no light. It is the end of the cycle, before the New Moon emerges into the night sky again.
While New Moon is the beginning of the new cycle, and a powerful time to make wishes for the coming month, Dark Moon is the completion of the previous cycle. It is a time of release, letting go, and going deep into the unseen, for a perspective and wisdom that is most accessible at this introspective time.
This time of “winding down” the cycle has always been intriguing to me. In our fast-paced culture we are driven to get on to the next thing, and always be accomplishing something. Dark Moon invites us to do the opposite – to sit still or move slowly, to look within, to engage with discomfort, to hold the space for questions without answers.
Possibly to even be untamed or unattractive!
Your calendar will probably have the dates and symbols for Full Moon and New Moon. Well, right up until the moment of New Moon, which is when the light begins to grow again: this is the time of Dark Moon. For a couple of days before New Moon, the light is waning, the energy is pulling inward to its greatest degree. You can use this time for release, for reviewing your month for the meaning of things, for embracing deep troubles or insights that usually cannot get your attention.
This is not easy work, of course. We would usually rather be doing almost anything else. But we need to grieve, we need to face our fears, we need to allow ourselves to let go. This is the time.
The beauty of cycles is that the New Moon will come, and we will be able to begin again. So, take this time of retreat, while it lasts. Use it. It is a window into deep parts of yourself.
Sometimes I notice that I am feeling sad or discouraged on the days of Dark Moon. I try to sit with those feelings, without needing to fix them, understand them, or feel better. I just “let myself be” for awhile, comforting myself, as if I am giving myself a hug or holding my own “inner child” in my lap.
That’s all you really need to do. To simply be able to sit with discomfort, or with questions that have no answers, is a heroic journey. To face the darkness and then emerge again. Change will come, once you have connected with the energy and allowed it to move.
( There are plenty of perfectly legitimate reasons for us to be depressed or discouraged. If you want to explore the roots of your feelings, this article may help: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/09/how-depression-serves-us/ )
A woman’s monthly cycle mirrors the phases of the moon, with expansive, radiant times, and then times for coming back to center, to check in and take care of herself. She can gain great insight and strength, not to mention better health, by observing the “inner times” of her own cycle, as well as the outer times.
For women who are no longer menstruating, observing the moon’s cycle can lend a comforting and meaningful rhythm to the month. Time for renewal is what keeps us from burnout! It also helps us to feel connected to ourselves and our deep Source within. It is truly a gift.
The article “Dark Moon Rituals” [can’t find this article on your old website?], on www.WomensWayMoonCycles.com, has ideas for how to process feelings or insights that come to the surface, either during Dark Moon or at the menstrual time of the month. These simple practices can help you know what to do, or give you a bit of framework and permission for doing nothing at all!
I wish you the very best as you deepen into the natural cycles both within and around you. They are a path to balance, a way of knowing yourself, and can bring the welcome relief of feeling connected to the things that matter most.