A lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth and Moon are in syzygy or perfect (or near perfect) alignment. A lunar eclipse can only take place during the period of the full moon.

Types of Lunar Eclipses

A penumbral lunar eclipse takes place when the moon passes through the Earth's penumbra, its outer shadow. This causes a darkening of the appearance of a portion of the moon, but not its disappearance.
A total penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the moon is completely immersed in the Earth's penumbra, but does not touch its umbra.
A partial lunar eclipse takes place when a portion of the moon enters the Earth's umbra causing dramatic darkening of a portion of the moon.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes completely into the Earth's shadow (umbra) and is thus should be completely darkened, but due to the way the light from the sun reacts to the Earth's atmosphere before reflecting from the Earth to the moon, it actually turns bright red. It is the reflection of a millions sunrises.

A selenelion, selenehelion or horizontal eclipse occurs when both the sun and the moon are visible during and eclipse. This can only happen near sunrise or sunset.

Magick and the Lunar Eclipse

Many magic-users consider the lunar energy during the time of a lunar eclipse to be particularly potent. There are a few different ways of considering this energy.

It can be said that the moon during an eclipse embodies the energy of every phase of the moon. You begin with a full moon and the Earth's shadow begins to cover it and it wanes before your eyes until it goes dark (or rather red) and then the new moon's sliver appears and the moon wanes to full again. Thus, you have all of the energy of every moon phase all at once, or in the amount of time it takes for the eclipse to complete. This makes the period of a total eclipse an excellent time for a multi-part spell that will utilize the energy of both the waxing and the waning moon.

Another way of looking at the energy of the eclipse is to consider the energies of the Earth, Moon and Sun in alignment. The moon is reflecting the energy of both the sun and the Earth back to you as it approaches totality.

When working with the energy of the lunar eclipse, it is important to consider the timing. The start and end date for an eclipse will differ based on your location and an eclipse can last a few hours so a quick internet search for your local start and end times is in order when you are planning a ritual.

Upcoming Lunar Eclipse Dates

February 11, 2017, 12:45am GMT (Penumbral)
August 7, 2017, 6:21pm GMT (Partial)
January 31, 2018, 1:31pm GMT (Total)
July 27, 2018, 8:22pm GMT (Total)

Readers are encouraged to share their lunar eclipse rituals, spells and observances in the comments section below.

Resources Online

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