The Dark of the Moon
The phases of the Moon have historically been linked with the various incarnations of the feminine Goddess, with the dark phase of the Moon usually seen as the Crone in most forms of the Pagan religion. The accepted role of the dark of the Moon has changed over time, but remains a period of introspection for the majority who follow Pagan rituals and understand the high esteem this form of the female Goddess should be held in.
In periods of prehistory the Moon was seen as the heavenly incarnation of the female Goddess, with the dark of the Moon often seen as representing Winter. During these periods of history, Winter was seen as the renewer of life and not a period to be feared, which led to the image of the Crone being associated with the dark of the Moon as the bringer of Winter and the renewal of life for the Spring growing season.
Over time the belief in Pagan religion was eroded and the accepted view of the dark phase of the Moon was altered to a more sinister outlook towards the divine feminine. Although, the dark phase of the Moon appears to have always been seen as the Crone, the addition of a fearful aspect of the image represented the fear of the human race towards the darkness of night and undergoing introspection.
Throughout the dark phase of the Moon period each month no rituals are generally performed, instead those who class themselves as members of the Wiccan culture undergo a period of reflection and soul searching. The period known as the dark of the Moon appears directly before the New Moon arrives and brings with it the hopes of a new season as the Goddess Diana takes her place over everything. Prior to the arrival of the Maiden, the Crone appears with the dark of the Moon and allows every person the chance to reflect on their life and determine their way forward with the arrival of the New Moon.
Because the New Moon and dark Moon are so closely linked together the rituals performed during these periods often use similar materials and words to represent the removal of the old with the dark of the Moon and the rebirth of the New Moon.