Heinz Wohner, LOOK-foto/ Getty Images
Alyssa Thorne
September 30, 2016 1:10 pm

We’ve been talking a lot about the Black Moon lately, but it’s for a very good reason — it’s happening tonight! While it’s not much to look at (and by not much, we mean there’s literally nothing to see, as new moons aren’t visible to the eye unless there’s an eclipse), there are a lot of superstitions/beliefs attached to new moons, such as the sort-of-statistically-legitimate idea of moon madness, as well as the Wicca belief that the Black Moon gives practitioners additional power, especially when it comes to banishing toxic things from your life.

Black Moons (and more broadly, new moons) have a long history of special meaning in many cultures and practices, and interestingly, it’s often connected to women!

Right off the bat, if you look at a list of lunar deities, you’ll notice that the vast majority of them are female, which is kind of cool and interesting, especially since the moon holds such power in many cultures. In fact, before adopting the modern solar calendar, a lunar calendar was used (and is still used in Islam). All this to say, the man on the moon tends to be a woman, and she has a lot of influence.

But where does the idea of the Black Moon come from?

The answer is pretty mundane: it’s just science, guys. Much like the blue moon, it’s just a colloquial name given to what is, in the grand scheme of things, a fairly mundane celestial event. That said, the idea that the new moon (which includes the Black Moon) is a harbinger of new beginnings comes from many cultures, going back to Ancient Greeks and ancient Pagan practices in Ireland, among many, many others.

In fact, this Black Moon pretty literally ushers in some new beginnings:

Or, y’know, the Black Moon could also prophesy the end of the world. So there’s that.

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