Dark Moon, New Moon. What’s the Difference?

Dark Moon, New Moon. What’s the Difference?

Is the dark moon the same thing as the new moon? Hey, dark moon, new moon. What’s the difference? Is there any? Let’s take a look.


The dark moon is also known as black moon lilith by astrologers. This is the period when there is no moon visible in the sky and the moon is directly between the sun and earth. So the moon wanes (gets smaller) and disappears. Then there is a period where nothing appears to be happening before you see a tiny sliver appear in the sky and the moon begins to grow again. This the dark moon. It lasts between 1.5 and 3.5 days.

The confusing part of dark and new moon comes from the fact that astronomers  disagree with astrologers and those who use moon phases for ritual purposes. Astronomers put the new moon at the halfway point of the dark moon. So the moon ends its waxing in the dark and begins its waning in the dark. Astronomers also use the terms “dark moon” and “new moon” interchangeably.

Astrologers and ritualists time the new moon from the moment that a tiny sliver is seen within the sky.

While the date of the full moon is rarely debated, the date of the new moon varies from calendar to calendar because of this discrepancy between astrologers and astronomers. Most calendars follow astronomers (ironically, even astrological calendars do this) and put the date of the dark moon as the new moon. Here is a good lunar calculator that shows the dark moon and the first sliver so that you can figure out which date you want for your purposes. You can also download this app which not only tells you what phase the moon is in, it can also help you track your menstrual cycle and help you learn to feel the flow of Nature within your body.

Energetic Differences

The energy of the lunar phases is markedly different. If you start to tune in, you will see that the old wives tales are true.

Dark Moon – Ooh, there are a lot of different schools of thought on this one that are heavily influence by culture and spirituality. Some say never do any rituals during this time. Some say that this is the time to connect with the dead or ancestors. Others say that it’s a good time for rest, recuperation, meditation, and introspection.  Follow your own inner guidance.

New Moon – the new moon is for beginnings. It’s the springtime of the cycle when shoots are coming up and need to be nurtured. This energy is also strong, but passive.

Full Moon- The stories about higher mental hospital and prison admissions are true. A study that looked at crime reports between 1978 and 1982 found a significant increase on full moon days! The full moon is very active, strong, amplifying energy. This is time for letting things go.


You might be amazed at the politics around this. Feminists and religious people can have strong opinions about the the these moon phases. I encourage you to consider the idea of balance. If we are honoring polarities, we’d observe the full moon where the moon is brightest, strongest, and most active, and the dark moon where there is no light at all, and all is at rest. We are all well acquainted with the active, go go go of modern life. We rarely take time to slip into the Void where the juice lives that you need to bring forth the creativity that fuels whatever you’re birthing. If you only observe the new and full moons, you miss a gem of an opportunity to create harmony.

However, if your tradition says something else, go with what you know and follow your wild heart.

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