One of the first things I learned when I was starting out on this journey of Paganism and witchcraft is that magic works best when you work it in alignment with the phases of the moon. The waxing moon is for bringing things to you, the waning moon is for banishing, and the dark moon is for baneful magic. And the most powerful time of all is the full moon.
While there’s something to be said for working magic “whenever you have need of anything” I’ve found that when I wait till I have a serious need, I don’t work much magic. And so my skills get rusty, and then when an urgent need appears I can’t respond as well as I’d like. So a few years ago I began working magic at every full moon. Even if I don’t have a pressing need, there’s always something that can use a magical push from a set of sigils or a theurgic ritual or a good visualization.
The next full moon is this coming Wednesday, December 7, 2022 at 10:08 PM CST. I hold to the traditional idea of three nights of the full moon, meaning you can work “big magic” on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday nights (that lines up well this month in the Western Hemisphere – not so well when you go further east. Check the times where you are).
This is the last full moon of the year. When I was writing my newsletter last week (it’s free – if you don’t get it you can sign up here), I listed the date and time, and then I wrote “if you have any 2022 goals or projects that need an extra push to get them over the finish line, here’s your chance.”
I hadn’t started writing the next line before it hit me: I need to explore this in more depth.
Pagans are big on new beginnings
While a year is an astronomical phenomenon (one revolution of the earth around the sun), where an old year ends and a new year begins is complete arbitrary. Some celebrate the new year at Samhain, some at Winter Solstice, some at the secular New Year on January 1, and some at the Spring Equinox.
Every new moon is a new beginning. Every birthday and anniversary is a new beginning.
Every sunrise is a new beginning.
This is a good thing. Life has plenty of disappointments and failures. It’s a cliché but it’s true: what’s most important isn’t how many times you get knocked down, it’s how many times you get up again. Maybe you’ve been in a bad situation for months or even years, but at any time you can decide it’s time for a new beginning. The journey may be easy or it may be hard (it will probably be hard) but things will never get better until you begin the process of making them better.
New beginning are good and necessary. But they’re only, well, the beginning.
Beginning is only the first step on a long journey
Another cliché says “the first step is always the hardest.” This cliché is a lie, as anyone who’s ever tried to begin an exercise program knows first-hand.
On the first day, you’re excited and energized – and rested. You have a goal and you can see that goal – it’s going to be great.
On the second day, reality has set in. Yesterday was harder than you expected – things didn’t go so great. You’re sore from using muscles you haven’t used in a long time. You start to realize your plan underestimated the difficulty – or it was filled with wishful thinking. And now you have to get up and go do it all over again.
But either you take the next step on the journey, or you accept that things aren’t going to change.
Persistence is a virtue
A quote from someone I prefer not to credit says “half of life is just showing up.” I always add “and the other half is sticking with something long enough for it to pay off.”
One of the misconceptions the mainstream world has about magic is that it’s a quick fix. Hollywood magic may be a quick fix, but real magic requires knowledge, will, action, and time. Do the spell, then give it time to work. Do the spell, then act in accord. Review your results and make adjustments to your plan.
Anything worthwhile will take time. Stay with it.
Sometimes you have to walk away
There’s a huge difference between difficult situations that need perseverance and abusive situations that need escape.
If you’re in an abusive relationship, get out as soon as you safely can. If you’re in an abusive job, get out as soon as you practically can.
And if you’ve worked on something long enough to realize that this isn’t your calling, that it’s not what you really want to do and be, then the sooner you stop the sooner you can move on to something that’s a better match for you.
Persistence is a virtue – stubbornness is not. Neither is staying in a painful situation because it’s a familiar pain. If it’s time to get out, then get out.
But that’s not the point of this post.
Arbitrary deadlines can be useful – if they’re meaningful
I sometimes complain about arbitrary deadlines in my paying job – people who insist things be done in a time frame that is not only unrealistic but also unnecessary.
The same thing is true when I try to set deadlines in my personal life. If I’m writing a Samhain ritual, obviously it has to be done before Samhain. But if I’m setting a goal for a year, does it really matter if it’s done by December 31 or if it carries over into January or February?
Deadlines create a sense of urgency. A sense of urgency pushes us to get things finished sooner rather than later, which means they get finished.
I celebrate all the new beginnings I listed in the first section, but January 1 is the new year for me. That’s when I set goals for the coming year (and when I do divination for the coming year – I’ll be doing that again for 2023). And it’s when I do my review of the previous year.
I like looking back on a year, seeing successes, and feeling good about it. I try to avoid recency bias, but a strong close to the year can make me feel a lot better about the year as a whole.
Which brings me back to the point of this post.
This has been an odd year for me. It’s almost been three years. Not because of the perceived length (like 2020) but because it had a mediocre start, a really bad middle, and a pretty good end. I can’t ignore the bad parts, but if I can make the ending better, that makes the year as a whole better.
And of course, that means things will be better now. That’s always a good thing. And making things better now at the end of 2022 helps create a good start for 2023.
So there are some things I need to finish.
And those things can use an extra magical push.
And the last full moon of the year is this Wednesday night.
Time to crank up the magic.
Time to finish strong.