Many an occult practitioner believes that the phases of the moon have some bearing upon the performance of ritual magick. This idea did not become relevant in my particular practice until just in the last few years, though. I’m still working out to what extent the symbolism and energies I’ve experienced should be considered “part of” Tenebrous Satanism. Nonetheless, here are a few thoughts I’d had thus far…
How I came to start paying attention to moon phases
As per other entries, I had long not been one for fixating on astrological events when performing ritual magick. In my past experience, only two things “actually” matter as far as ritual timing goes. One, magick works better at night, via less distraction from other peoples’ energy, and it being symbolically-evocative of Darkness. Two, one must “strike while the iron is hot.” Meaning, if you crossed paths today with whoever the working is to be directed at, do the working tonight. Such promptness is the best way of taking advantage of the ephemeral you-plus-them nexion formed via random contact.
What then changed is that in August of 2019, I performed a self-initiation. It entailed going out at night alone during First Quarter, Full, Last Quarter and New moons, closely observing my experiences. This might seem “like nothing” to many, but I had to contend fiercely with my upbringing to do it. This is because said upbringing held, “a female randomly out at night, who gets raped, can only blame herself.” The experience thus took on a transgressive & dangerous aspect that it would not have had to a “normal” (male?) individual. And I processed it very much through the O9A spirit of “go do dangerous things and overcome your fears.” I know this “worked,” moreover, because it was shortly after that I started getting contact from the Nekalah.
Amongst the broad variety of things that this initiation taught me something about were my impressions of the lunar cycle. Subsequent reflection and further experience has refined these impressions further. I am still undecided re: how much of this is “personal” vs. how much might be considered “Tenebrous gnosis.” Whatever does get into Nine Keys of Abyssal Darkness re: the moon, however, is sure to be influenced by it.
My impressions of the moon phases
My way of thinking of the lunar cycle is less about discrete stages than about momentum of energy. Thus, when I talk about “First Quarter” etc., I don’t just mean “when the moon is in that exact phase.” Rather, I mean “the feeling in the air a few days before, during, and after that phase.”
Ritual-magick-wise, it’s still my conviction that “strike while the iron is hot” is the most important principle. Often, the acausal has ways of signaling the right causal time for a working that are both specific and blunt. And said ways tend to have more to do with coincidences in human affairs than with anything in “the heavens.”
What follows is therefore most worth considering in connection with self-oriented workings, undriven by compelling external imperatives. Vs. wherever such an imperative is present – i.e. a coincidence that screams to be taken advantage of – I personally say forget the moon, and exploit the advantage instead. Still, in the absence of such, the following should perhaps be taken into account…
I have experienced the energy of this part of the lunar cycle as spontaneous, hopeful and enterprising. With it comes a sense of possibility that is largely optimistic: opportunities make themselves known; challenges, if they arise, are manageable and invigorating. The time seems ripe for beginning new things, or for attracting prospects that will enhance that which is already underway.
The kind of working that I see as best to undertake at this time is analogous to planting a seed. A change in fortune that would require altering multiple factors to bring about, for instance. Or, the initiation of a new endeavor which will subsequently require causal as well as acausal striving to accomplish.
All-in-all, anything positive that will need time to bear fruit is well-begun at this time.
This part of the lunar cycle, in my experience, brings forth strong energies that evoke insight, wonder and abundant plenitude. For those struggling against that which feels unbearable, it is an excellent time to ask for acausal relief. In the absence of such adversity, though, it is a time both for gratitude, and for seeking deeper wisdom.
A few kinds of workings that I would tend to especially favor doing at this time include:
- The “charging” of magickal tools of any kind, but especially tools of divination
- Manifestation that demands rapid results, in contrast to the more long-term unfolding connected with First Quarter above
- Asking spirits for guidance regarding matters already underway
- Giving thanks to spirits for their cooperation in previous workings – e.g. repayment for boons insufficiently compensated in the past
For me, this part of the lunar cycle is strongly associated with experiences of challenge and even terror. One gains insight into one’s own strength and resiliency thereby. No doubt, a certain negative experience I had during my initiation shapes my impressions here. Even separate from that experience, though, the impression has prevailed amid subsequent experimentation. There is something about the moon’s late rising, combined with its waning light, that I experience as strikingly sinister.
I find this to be a good time for “negative” works of various kinds. With many a curse, I do think it’s usually far better to exploit any immediate opportunity than to wait for the “right” moon phase. However, if there’s no “I saw them today, so I should cast tonight” angle on the curse, and it’s more “I was meaning to get around to it at some point,” that’s where there might be something to be said for waiting for this moon phase.
What I would even more strongly recommend for this phase, however, are workings that involve self-inflicted ordeals. Certain Nekalah strongly embrace the prospect of accelerating a magician’s self-evolution via putting them through difficult and terrifying experiences. Last Quarter is, in my experience, a great time for such endeavors.
I find this part of the lunar cycle to be evocative of release, purification and restful renewal. Contra its association with “black magick” by some, I actually find this phase feels more solemn than sinister. If someone suffers from issues of egoism and attachment, the acceptance-of-loss angle could feel threatening, I imagine. For me, though, this is a time that is both deeply refreshing and creatively fruitful.
A few kinds of workings that I can see this time being especially good for include:
- Self-purification, especially if it involves disengagement from an energy-nexion of some kind
- Conclusion and dispersion of energies of ongoing workings that one no longer wishes to continue
- Asking for inspiration, especially if one is “stuck” and needs change, but doesn’t know exactly what to ask for
- Rites of death-and-rebirth, e.g. elevating the significance of a significant change in one’s life (e.g. achieving a milestone) to the acausal level
Additional observations about moon phases
Two other things I’ll share a few remarks about here are: i) moon phases vs. ritual significance of directions in Tenebrous Satanism; ii) association of the Nekalah with certain moon phases, i.e. is this maybe a better time than others to attempt contact?
Moon phases vs. directional symbolism
Tenebrous ritual magick uses the following directional symbolism:
- South: fire; pursuit and attainment of earthly desire; zeal
- East: air; communion with others and receipt of knowledge; honor
- North: earth; strife and the role it plays in fostering resilience; empathy
- West: water; renewal and pursuit of self-evolution; perseverance
Now, it so happens that my 2019 initiation took place in August. Moon positioning at that time yielded an association of south with First Quarter, east with Full, north with Last Quarter, and west with New. Of course, I learned subsequently, from reading more about how the moon’s position varies over time, that this directional association was merely coincidental to the initiation itself. But this initial association likely does impact my perception of moon phase symbolism to some extent.
This, then, leads into complications with…
Moon phases vs. the Nekalah
As I edit Nine Keys of Abyssal Darkness, there are a few small details I go back and forth about. One is to what extent it is worthwhile to associate entities with directions and/or moon phases. Is there something innate to the entity that makes said association make sense? Or do said associations have more to do with my specific relationship with them? Or, might they only reflect what I sought on a single occasion involving the entity, and nothing more? I need to investigate these questions further in coming months.
All that said though, my feelings at the current time are:
- Direction is static: the entities do consistently “appear” from a specific direction, and this does reflect something of their nature. Thus, no matter what you are asking them for/about, you can expect them to appear from the same direction.
- Moon phase feels dynamic, but I’m not sure what it tracks with. Might be “some moon phases are better for certain workings, and some entities are similarly better for those same workings.” But it could also be “just depends on your personal relationship with the entity.”
- If it depends on the magician’s perception of the entity, my feeling is that the more you perceive the entity as benevolent, the better contact will be during the waxing phase (from New to Full); conversely, the more you perceive it as threatening and dangerous even toward its allies, the better contact will be during the waning phase (from Full to New).
- A corollary of the preceding point is that novices may achieve Nekalah contact more easily during waning phases generally. I say this because many of these entities come with a significant “fear aura.” And until one acclimatizes to that, they will likely all seem malevolent!
Concluding thoughts re: moon phases and Tenebrous Satanism
There are a couple Nekalah who I strongly associate with the same moon phases in contact after contact, no matter how much other factors of the situation may vary. These specific associations may therefore indicate something intrinsic to these specific entities, even if things are more variable for the rest. One is Noctulius, who I strongly associate with the Full moon. The other is Mactoron, who I strongly associate with the New moon.
Additionally, O9A’s tradition reveals:
- References to the moon in Caelethi’s account of Noctulius and of Shugara – a good sign for Noctulius-related moon gnosis, I’m thinking
- Baphomet’s O9A sigil incorporates two moons, and non-O9A depictions of the entity entail one being dark, the other light
These are things I still need to investigate more, alongside many others.
I do think some of what I’ve said re: moon impact on ritual is likely to become “official” Tenebrous tradition. It is mostly the impact – or lack thereof – on communion with the Nekalah specifically, however, about which I remain uncertain.
Any thoughts re: significance of moon phases in your own experience, or in other occult contexts? Let me know in the comments.
This post received minor edits to tags and related details on Aug 22/23.