Most of us are familiar with the various names for the Full Moon, but when I went looking for the names of the New Moon, I was a little surprised to find that there weren’t any. It seems odd that such a notable recurring event wouldn’t also have names to mark the passage of time, especially pre-calendar. I’ve talked before about non-traditional elemental associations and since this is one that I am making up, I thought I’d share my thought/creative process. For each month, I looked up several things, ranging from the history/origin of the month’s name and the deity(ies) they were associated with, as well as properties and other associations that go along with them. I also considered my own personal feelings and insights. Since this is a slice of my personal practice, how I interpret the months and times of year as the cycle turns plays a role in how I chose their names.
Because it’s the first of the year, let’s start with January. Even though, for many Pagans (myself included), January isn’t the beginning of the magickal year, it’s still ‘a’ beginning. I orient myself in the years’ planning starting in January, so for me, it is a beginning. Because I typically print of create my Moon Calendar by calendar year, and because my almanac runs from January through December, this is a logical starting point to me.
The Latin word for January is ianua, or door, since January is the door to the year. January’s deity is the Roman Goddess Juno. There’s some contention with that; apparently Janus was the original deity associated thought to be associated with January as He is the God of Beginnings and Transitions, but more recent research suggests it was, in fact, Juno. Because I am a woman, happily married and mother, the association with Juno speaks to me more. She is generally thought to be linked with protection of the state and of women, love, youth, fertility and vital force, marriage, and other complex roles. In particular, Juno’s name is associated with the Latin words iuvare, “to aid, benefit”, and iuvenescendo, “rejuvenate”, which could potentially connect her to the renewal of the new and waxing moon, which suggests that she may have been revered as a moon goddess. I like that idea. The word for January, or door, fits because in a way, Juno – and thus, January – can be seen as the guardian of the new year. She holds the doors to the year ahead, and as a gatekeeper, creates the way for the new path. For me, January is a time of beginnings – it’s when I reset my calendar, I’ve filed away things from the previous calendar year and get ready for the new year ahead. It’s a time of starting fresh, of making plans and setting goals and intentions – it’s sloughing off the previous year and starting anew. Because of those ideas and concepts, I’ve decided to call January’s New Moon the Renewal Moon.
Because of the potential length of this post, I am breaking it up into several parts. I will come back and edit the list below with the links to the other posts as I make them. For now, subscribe and you’ll get future posts in your inbox!
- January – Renewal Moon
- February –
- March –
- April –
- May –
- June –
- July –
- August –
- September –
- October –
- November –
- December –
- Black Moon (2nd New Moon in a month, also called the Secret Moon or the Finding Moon)
Do you have names for the New Moons? I’d love to read about it!
This week’s Pagan Blog Prompt is ‘Another Mercury Retrograde’. The questions for this week’s prompt are:
Do you pay attention to these Retrogrades?
If so, do you prepare for them?
Does knowing that it is happening make it easier to deal with the challenges that appear?
If you didn’t know it was happening, would it still affect your life?
Any thoughts on this current Retrograde?
First of all, what does ‘Mercury in Retrograde’ even mean, and why and how should it affect us?
‘Retrograde’ comes from the Latin retrogradus, which means ‘backward step’. It relates, in this instance, to the apparent backward path across the sky. I say apparent, because we know that the planet does not actually reverse its orbit; it merely apprears to for a time. This is because the earth and the planets all move at different speeds around the Sun. All of the planets are in retrograde at some point or another; the planets that are farther away from the Sun go retrograde more often than those closer to the Sun.
Mercury, in particular, is said to have adverse affects on us because it is Mercury that rules thinking, conceptualizations, communication, and technology. During a retrograde period, things seem to be in a state of constant flux; what seems solid and real one day may be dissatisfying the next. Influences may come up that cause us to doubt ourselves, creating a situation where we may feel ‘wishy-washy’ or start thinking that a change in course would be wise. There may be breakdowns in communication or relationships, arguing is more apt to occur. The trouble with these doubts is that they are temporary at best, a caution at worst. We can generally think of this period as a time to gather information, but before moving forward with any changes, wait until Mercury goes direct again.
For me, personally, I haven’t paid all that much attention to retrogrades in the past. I should; I have always had an interest in and assigned a certain level of validity to the planetary aspects of one’s birth and relationships (particularly those of myself, husband and children), but for magic and general ‘happenings’ I haven’t paid much attention. I don’t know why, other than it seemed like more effort than I had to put into it at the time, but over the last couple of years as my practice has gotten more sincere and become more and more a daily part of my life, I am working to learn more about extended correspondences and how the alignment and actions of the planets affect things. I’ve been toying with the idea of looking up past retrogrades and seeing what correlations I can make with events in my life.
I definitely think that ‘forewarned is forearmed’; I don’t see how it could possibly hurt to prepare for and avoid certain things during a retrograde period. I have a tendency to take things personally that I probably shouldn’t; I can see this knowledge being of benefit to me and allowing me to brush things off a little easier.
Not knowing doesn’t mean that you’re not affected. It just means that you don’t know why things are so screwed up, or how to fix them. That said, millions of people walk around during a retrograde not knowing about it and being seemingly unaffected by it. So I really couldn’t say if I am or would be affected if I didn’t know. In any case, knowing about it certainly provides a convenient scapegoat!
I found this to be an extremely interesting and insightful paragraph:
With the March/April Mercury Retrograde, the major issues of spiritual essence, intuition, belief and purpose provides the focus for the revisions. We are on the threshold of major change and transition regarding our direction, beliefs and purpose. The road that we have been on for five years, since 2008 now requires that we make choices and decisions. The climb to the summit had ended but now we must choose the directions we need to go, to pursue the spiritual journey, purpose and pathway for 2012. This Mercury retrograde is setting the stage for the shift out of the incredible clilmb and movement since 2008. All of the challenges, difficulties and accomplishements can now become part of our shift into a new world. 2012 is a universal FIVE year (in numerology terms) which represents CHANGE, BREAKTHROUGH AND FREEDOM. You will need to be ready to break free from the past and move into new directions, shifting your goals, location and purpose. This Mercury retrograde also connects with the winds of change as Uranus connects with Mercury three times during the March/April timeframe. We are setting a new pace for the changes of 2012. http://www.alphalifetrends.com/mercuryretrograde.html
It will be interesting to see what the next few weeks hold as Mercury goes direct again.
If you’re keeping track of this year’s Mercury Retrogrades, I found a helpful calendar at http://www.caretakingthesoul.com/astrology/mercury-retrograde
Mercury will go retrograde three times in 2012.
March 12, 2012 Mercury turns retrograde at 6° Aries
April 4, 2012 Mercury turns direct at 22° Pisces
July 15, 2012 Mercury turns retrograde at 12° Leo
August 8, 2012 Mercury turns direct at 1° Leo
November 5, 2012 Mercury turns retrograde at 4° Sagittarius
November 26, 2012 Mercury turns direct at 18° Scorpio
To read more about Mercury Retrogrades and how other Pagans think of them and deal with them, be sure to check out Pagan Blog Prompts for the linkup.