Historically, the moon has been a catalyst for prayer in many religions. Moon worship began in ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, Indian and Chinese cultures. Even today, various religious and spiritual groups pray to the moon or honor it during special occasions. However, direct moon prayers are often associated with witchcraft and Wicca, as opposed to Christians and other Western religions. Still, the moon is a widespread symbol in religion and ritualistic practices.
Witchcraft and the Full Moon
Witches believe the moon is the most heavenly body at their disposal on Earth, according to Moon Watch. They perceive the moon as a female, because like the moon's monthly phases, women have monthly menstruation phases. Thus, the moon also shares their life cycles as a young woman, a mother and an elderly woman. During a full moon, witches conduct specific prayer practices for protection, divination and prophecy. For serious medical conditions or employment opportunities, witches believe a full moon harvests most of its power.
Wiccan and the Full Moon
A Wiccan shares many similarities in ritualistic practices during a full moon with a witch. A Wiccan also believes the moon harvests different powers during its phases associated with goddesses Artemis (the new moon), Hera (the full moon) and Hecate (the waning moon). According to Full Moon Ritual, a full moon holds "Magickal" energy that strengthens spells cast during this phase with quicker results than during other moon phases. During basic full moon rituals, a Wiccan simply honors the moon, and then uses its powers to complete spells.
Judaism and the Full Moon
The Jewish calendar derives from the moon's phases, and Jews have celebrations for each moon phase. The full moon in Hebrew, "Keseh," refers to a time of abundance, and Jews believe a full moon is abundant in appearance. Many Jewish customs happen during a full moon, such as Sukkot, Purim and Passover. Sometime during the first two weeks of any given month, Jews pray to the moon in appreciation of the time cycles for which the moon is responsible.
Christianity and the Full Moon
In Christianity, the full moon is observed during Easter of each year, which marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Catholics and Protestants celebrate Easter on the first Sunday that follows the full moon after the spring equinox, according to Religion Facts. However, controversy surrounds the exact date to celebrate Easter because of complex calculations. So, Easter can occur anytime between March 22 and April 25. And although it was believed Christians celebrated Christ's resurrection every Sunday in early centuries, the decision to celebrate it once a year was deemed to occur on Easter Sunday.
Moon Phases and Religion
Many religions use the phases of the moon, not just full moons, as the basis for prayer and meditation. Hinduism and Buddhism are two notable religions that observe the moon during fasting and eating periods. Hindus celebrate the days of the week in accordance with celestial objects, and Mondays are dedicated to the moon. Fasting begins on a Monday for all Hindu spiritual practices, according to The Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. In Buddhism, fasting is also directly related to the full moon phases. Sometimes, Buddhists observe full moons as they pray for spiritual or material goals like gainful employment or good health.
- "A Book of Pagan Prayer"; Ceisiwr Serith; 2002
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