Esbats

The esbats (dark and full moons) are particularly powerful times for magic, because they signify a change in the flow of the moon's energies.  Many people follow the three day cycle, which consists of the day before-, the day of-, and the day after-, both the full and dark moons.  Each of these days hold special significance, as the energy ebbs and flows through the elliptic.

 

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Moon's Void of Course

The Moon orbits the Earth in 29 days, 12 hours, 43 minutes and 11.5 seconds.  As it is moving, it appears (from our geocentric view) to travel through the 12 zodiacal signs of the elliptic.  It spends about 2 ½ days in each sign.  As it travels, it also forms different angles with the planets in the solar system (called aspects).

 

The Moon is “Void of Course” (VOC) during the time between making the last major planetary aspect in one sign and her entry into the next sign.  The VOC period can last anywhere from a few seconds to several days, but the usual is a few hours.

 

During the void, the moon is “resting” and not considered to be influenced by any sign.  What does that mean to you?  Nothing, really.  It’s just something that you should be aware of, in case you want to avail yourself of the current lunar energy.

Planetary Hours

If you really want to add some extra power to your spell, you can utilize the system of planetary hours.  This idea is based on the Chaldean system of planet rulership.   Each day and each hour of the day are ruled by one of the 7 known planets of the time:  Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, and Moon.   By calculating the planetary hours of a given day, you can perform your spell or plan a particular activity using the extra energy of the ruling planet.

 

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Retrograde Motion

So what is all the buzz about planets in retrograde, and why should you care? A planet is described as "retrograde" when it appears to be moving backwards. Of course the planet doesn’t actually change its course, but from an earth-centric view, a planet appears to reverse its direction as Earth passes it in our rotation around the sun.

 

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Quarters and Cross Quarters

The Celtic year is divided between quarters and cross quarters. I love this article by Archaeoastronomy.com, because it explains the science first, and then discusses the cultural significance.

 

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