The Difference Between a Dark Moon & New Moon

September 30, 2019 4:31 am Published by

There are two different schools of thought when it comes to differentiating between a new moon and dark moon. Spoiler alert, there’s not a right or wrong answer. The difference of opinion is between astronomers and Pagans. I’m going to share both schools of thought with you so you can decide what works better for you.

Here’s the short answer to this query. A new moon can be a dark moon, a dark moon can be a new moon, a waxing crescent can be a new moon, but a waxing crescent can’t be a dark moon. Make sense? I know, not really. Allow me to explain!


Cards featured from The Ritual Deck. 

The Astronomer’s New Moon

First, let’s take a look at the astronomer’s viewpoint. For astronomers, the new moon happens when the moon is in between, or in conjunction, with the Earth and Sun. When the moon is in between the Earth and the Sun, it appears entirely dark for us.

I know what you’re probably thinking, sounds like a dark moon, right? No. For astronomers, this point of the moon cycle is considered the new moon because it marks the beginning of a new moon cycle. Most astronomers do not use the term “dark moon,” there’s only the new moon. This is why most moon phase calendars don’t recognize a dark moon phase.

The Pagan’s New Moon

For many Pagans, practicing witches, and moon followers, the dark moon happens when the moon is dark and in conjunction with the Earth and the Sun (the astronomer’s new moon). The new moon follows after the dark moon phase when the moon begins to show the tiniest illumination of its waxing or growth phase.


Cards featured from The Ritual Deck. 

The Importance of The Dark Moon

For Pagan’s and the like, the dark moon phase marks an important phase in the cycle of the moon. The dark moon phase represents a time of rest, integration, and observance. If you’re using the moon for spellwork and manifesting it only makes sense that you would work in a night or two of reflection, especially before the busy energy of the new moon.

The cosmic glow of the Carina Nebula as seen in a stunning 3D reconstruction in Hidden Universe, released in IMAX® theatres and giant-screen cinemas around the globe and produced by the Australian production company December Media in association with Film Victoria, Swinburne University of Technology, MacGillivray Freeman Films and ESO. The Carina Nebula contains two of the most massive and luminous stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. The original image was taken by ESO's Very Large Telescope.

Astronomers and Pagans obviously use the moon cycles for entirely different purposes, so it’s not surprising that they recognize the phases a little differently. As I said, there’s not a wrong answer here, simply different opinions for different purposes.

Your manifesting won’t be thrown askew if you skip the dark moon phase, but the dark moon will offer you a sweet moment of rest.

Learn more about all of the moon phases in The Goddess Discovery Books and The Ritual Deck!


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About Cassie

Cassie Uhl is the founder and owner of Zenned Out, a jewelry company that handcrafts jewelry with meaning and provides a community that inspires a mindful and spiritual lifestyle. Cassie grew up with a open minded, astrology obsessed grandmother and a father that would take her and her sister star gazing in the wee hours of the night. These experiences shaped Cassie and Zenned Out into what they are today by bringing spirituality and astrology into the forefront. Cassie hopes to give spiritual souls a place to feel at home on the Zenned Out blog and offers handcrafted jewelry with meaningful symbols, powerful gemstones, and mindful quotes to enable people to wear jewelry that aligns with their souls purpose.

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