10 Ways to Use Divination During the Dark Moon

As the moon wanes and the days begin to grow shorter, both the time of year and the lunar phase create ideal conditions for experimenting with the art of divination.

From traditional methods like the Tarot, to lesser known arts like smoke scrying, from techniques that make use of exotic ritual tools to the simple act of gazing into the clouds, I compiled a list of ways to pay closer attention to the messages of a deeper reality.

I tried to include divination systems that are readily available, as well as some more esoteric systems worth exploring.

Divination is an art form.  It takes patience, practice and concentration!  Just like anything else, the more you do it, the more you will be rewarded with new insights and clarity.

1.  Kaleidoscope scrying.  I love this idea!  Simply look into the kaleidoscope, rotate the dial, breath deeply and let yourself be mesmerized.

2. Cloud scrying.  I wrote extensively about cloud scrying here.   I love this method because with a very few exceptions (in certain climates, clouds are rare), cloud scrying is available to everyone.  Plus, laying on the lawn during a pleasant afternoon is just good for you!

3.  Smoke scrying.  Personally, I find this method extremely spiritual and healing.  Incense sticks are cheap and will do in a pinch, but there are lots of variations.  Smoke bombs in a cauldron have a theatrical quality and are great for group rituals.  For solitaries, burn herbs known for their tendency to heighten spiritual awareness, like belladonna and mugwort.

Photo: SunsparkPhotography.com

4.  Reading tea leaves.  The first records of tea leaf reading in Europe date back to the 17th century, right around the time that the Dutch merchants brought tea back from China.  Since that time, tea leaf reading evolved into a spiritual discipline practiced around the world.  Try it!

5.  Bone Casting.  Another form of fortune telling with ancient roots, references to bone casting appear in biblical scripture, Roman mythology and Chinese prophecy.  This system might be as simple as using a collection of chicken thigh bones.

6.  Ink water scrying.  This method works just like a scrying mirror, except with water and a dark ink.  You can even use the ink from a fountain pen or a ball point.  Dye the water dark enough that it almost looks black, dim the lights (candles are best) and allow your eyes to lose focus.  Wait.

7.  Tarot cards.  If you struggle to find anything in scrying techniques or systems the require too much visualization, the Tarot gives you more to grab onto mentally than many other systems.  However, learning the “traditional” meanings of each card requires a lot of dedicated memorization.  While the tarot relies on very subjective imagery and creative interpretation is usually encouraged, most readers know a basic, near-universal tarot “language.”

Photo: SunsparkPhotography.com

8. Runes make perfect additions to the crafty or artistic practitioner’s tool kit.  Easy and inexpensive to make, carve a set of runes into wood or paint them on tiny pebbles.  Much of Runic history is complex or lost, so many interpretations of the symbols of themselves exist.  Read about them, come up with your own interpretation and apply it consistently.

9.  Pyromancy.   If you’re a fire sign, working with fire as a “porthole” may really appeal to you.   Use a single candle flame or a full on bonfire.  Flash powder is especially fun for this.

10.  Palmistry.  While many systems tend to be introspective and involve very little interaction with others, palmistry is perhaps one of the most intimate, connective, sensual forms of divination.   



Wolf Moon Ritual

Several years ago, my dog started going bonkers.  Running around the house, making a noise that sounded like something in between outraged barking, mournful howling and a bizarre, guttural growl.

I’d heard of animals losing their marbles during the full moon, but I filed it away under “Old Wive’s Tales”—-a strange thing for a witch to do, considering how much stock we tend to put in old wive’s tales, and particularly when they feature the moon.

That night just happened to be the Wolf Moon, and while the rational parts of me still insist on the purely coincidental nature of my dog’s odd behavior, the less rational side of me believes she clearly responded to the energy of that moon.  Her moon.

I am able to say without a doubt, I never saw her act that way before, and I haven’t seen it since.

Either way, with the Wolf Moon approaching in just a couple of days, that incident inspired me to honor our canine friends and familiars with this simple moon ritual for protection.


You will need:

*hair of a dog (black is preferred, but any will do)
*a pinch of rosemary or other protective evergreen
*a piece of hematite
*a black drawstring pouch
*altar candle

On the night of the full moon, gather your ingredients and choose a place to cast your circle.  By the hearth fire is nice this time of year, or, if you’re feeling brave, bundle up and venture out!

Once your circle is cast in the usual way, light your altar candle and place the spell ingredients in the bag.

Take some time to focus on whatever fears you are confronting right now.

Alternatively, if you’d like to make your mojo bag a protection amulet for your dog, focus on dispelling negative energy away from him or her.

Imagine a protective energy surrounding you both, and concentrate that protective energy on your mojo bag.

Extinguish your candle, close the circle, and leave your mojo bag to charge in the light of the full moon.

Place the charm on your rear view mirror, over your dog’s sleeping area or carry it with you for peace and protection.

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Full Moon Scavenger Hunt Spell Box

I love spell boxes.  Whether yours look artistic, expressive and beautiful or more like a 3rd grader’s craft project, spell boxes are easy to personalize for your purpose.

This full moon, start a spell box, but don’t finish it until the next full moon.

full moon box spell

Start by picking a (realistic) goal.  Something you can reasonably accomplish in one moon cycle.   Modest weight loss, new job, starting a new hobby or deepening a skill you already have.    Whatever.

Get a box.  I’m a fan of the small wooden ones available at most craft stores for about $1.   Like this one.


But you don’t even need to go that far.  A shoe box will do.

Decorate the box.  Don’t be shy, now.  Really abuse it.  Carve symbols in it.  Scar it with a wood-burning tool.  Glitter, paint, stencils, super-glued seashells.  Pick stuff suited to your endgame.  Choose appropriate color(s) and symbols.

Bless that bad boy.  Nothing fancy.  A little sprinkling of spring water and some salt will do.

Spend the next month searching.  For herbs, stones, words, and symbols to add to your box.  You can either start with a list of things to look for or simply improvise.  You’ll be amazed when an idea strikes you.  Here’s a sample list for a success spell.

*dollar bill
*mint leaves
*blank check
*high john
*10 of Pentacles tarot card
*cinnamon stick

Remember it is a work in progress.  The joy is in the journey, and all that.  Take your time.  If not this moon cycle, than the next.  Make it part of your Esbats until you get what you want.

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How to Make Moon Water

It’s a (hopefully lazy) Saturday, and it’s a full moon!  A perfect time to make up a batch of moon water.

How to Make Moon Water

But first, what is moon water?

Moon water is a simple, all-purpose blessing water you can use in almost any ritual.  It’s extremely versatile.  You can use for:

*Cleansing ritual tools.
*Blessing spell components.
*Anointing yourself.
*In ritual baths for purification.
*In baby blessings.
*During Wiccaning ceremonies.
*During marital and handfasting rites.

Keep a bottle close!

Here’s what you’ll need:

*a full moon.
*piece of moonstone.  Clear quartz is an okay substitute.
*lavender flower.
*cinnamon stick.
*glass corked bottle.
*cast iron boiling pot or cauldron.
*a white floating candle

1.  On the night of the full moon, gather your ingredients.  If you want to be super witchy and mysterious, you can always build a bonfire and do up traditional with the pot on the flames.  Personally, I just use my stove.

2.  Bring the water to boil with the herbs.  If you want to spare yourself the trouble of straining them later, you can always just put them in a cheese cloth or tie them off in coffee filter.  Your call.

3.  Let the whole shebang simmer on low for about 20 minutes.  Or whatever.

4.  Allow the pot to cool and strain the herbs into the bowl.

5.  Around midnight, take it outside.  If possible, place it somewhere where the moonlight reflects in it.

6.  Place the moonstone in the center of the bowl.

7.  Light the floating candle and send it adrift in your water.  You can sit there for a few moments of contemplative reflection and extinguish it.  Or, if you feel it’s safe, you can allow it to burn itself out.  It is in water, after all.  But for goodness sake, use your own best judgement.  Either way, leave it out over night.

8.  In the morning, pluck out the cold wax from the candle.

9.  Funnel the water into the bottle and cork it up.  It’s ready for use.  Enjoy!

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Spring Moon Ritual

Spring is (finally!) upon us.  The danger of frost has passed for most of the US, and warmer temperatures are on the horizon.

It’s time to knock the dust of your outdoor altar, pack a basket and head into the night for what might be your first outdoor ritual of the season.

Spring Moon Ritual Pinterest

You will need:

*Flower petals.  Freshly picked are best, but store bought will do, or even some dried flowers from an old bouquet.

*Some natural altar decorations.  Take the time to gather some spring greens from the forest.  Moss or bright new leaves are nice.

*Dew gathered from the morning.  Gathering dew is a lovely precursor to a night moon ritual, but I realize this isn’t always convenient, so spring or blessed water is fine.

*Dried chamomile.  Or some other light floral.

*Cauldron or fire safe bowl.

*Charcoal disk.

*Lighter or matches.

*Altar candle.

Set up your altar.  Decorate it with your spring greens and place the altar candle in the middle.

Begin by marking your circle with the flower petals.  Walk in a clockwise fashion.

Light the altar candle.

If you have any flower petals left, ring the bottom of the candle with them.

Light your charcoal disk.  Blow on it to get a good burn.  You know the drill.

While it smolders, take your spring water or dew and anoint your Third Eye.  Close your eyes and feel the fresh purity of the water.  Imagine the newness of it radiating throughout your whole body, cleansing you of winter aches and old emotional wounds.

Place a pinch of chamomile on the charcoal dish, and picture the smoke carrying off winter, the past, and old pain.  Stay there as long as you like.  Don’t rush.

Extinguish everything, close the circle and welcome the fullest part of the spring season!

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Chang’e: Chinese Goddess of the Moon

Being the last full moon of the harvest season, I thought this would be a great time to talk about Chang’e, an important Chinese moon goddess.  Chang’e is the focus of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon festival, which just passed in late September.  Participating in the festival is fun alternative to a typical Sabbat celebration, but just learning about different moon goddesses from around the world can be a nice way to enrich your own practice.

The Legend of Chang’e

There are many versions of the following folktale.  Below is my retelling of the most common translation, but if you know another version, by all means, share it!

Long before the oldest memory of the oldest man on earth, ten suns burned in the sky.  But the light of heaven was too powerful for life on earth, causing the plants and people to whither and die.

A masterful archer named Hou Yi was sent down to save humanity.  He heroically shot down nine of the suns, leaving one to light the world and bring the heat of life.

In reward for his courageous deed, Jade the Emperor, ruler of the sky, bestowed upon the hero an elixir of everlasting immortality.  But the archer Hou Yi loved his beautiful wife, Chang’e, too deeply to bear eternity without her.

As Yi’s fame grew like the only remaining sun that shined down, he was sought as a teacher for his wisdom and skill.

Little did he suspect that one of his students, Fengmeng, concealed a cold jealously  in his heart for Yi.

One day, Yi left his wife, Chang’e, at home while he went hunting.

His treacherous and poisoned drove Fengmeng into a rage.  He stormed into the house of Yi and demanded that his wife give up the elixir.  But in her loyalty, she refused.  Knowing she could never overpower Fengmeng, who was of strong mind and body, she knew realized that drinking the precious potion herself was the only way not to relinquish it to her kind husband’s enemy.

Rising up, up, up into the eternal sky, she finally settled on the moon, where she still looks over the Earth.

In his devastated grief at the loss of his beloved wife, Yi spent his life honoring her altar with flowers and cake.

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Moon Magic

I love the beautiful world of Chinese pagan folklore, and I am especially fond of the legend of Chang’e, who holds a special place in my heart as a moon goddess.

Chang’e is said to bestow her worshipers with charm and beauty.

Since this is “her” time of year, I thought I’d share with you an adapted beauty spell that honors this goddess.

You will need:
*1 white candle
*small bundle of flowers (any will do)
*carving knife
*lighter or matches
*a bottle of perfume (something with floral or oriental overtones is especially nice)
*print out of the traditional Chinese symbol of Chang’e, the moon or beauty (see Google Translate)
*a small cupcake (or if you really want to go all out, make a traditional moon cake)
*a lantern or tea candles for light.

1.  On the night of the full moon, go outside in the fresh air.

2.  Carve the Chinese character of your choice into the candle.  Use a lantern for practical light if you need it.

3.  Place the candle on the altar (or rock, or tree stump, or whatever).

4.  Surround the candle with the flowers and light it.

5.  Place the bottle of perfume in front of the altar.

6.  Raise power any way you feel like it, but focus on the energy of feminine beauty descending from the moon and into your bottle of perfume.

7.  Extinguish the candles and leave the cake as an offering to Chang’e.

8.  Whenever you want to enhance your feminine allure, spritz yourself with the charged perfume.  If you feel it needs a boost, light the candle and place the perfume in front for a little while.

Encyclopedia Britanica
Travel China Guide
China Highlights
Shen Yun Performing Arts

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