Juniper Divination & Witchery

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The New Moon in Irish Folklore

In Irish folk practices the new moon (gealach úr in Irish) is seen as a time for jumpstarting growth, setting intentions, and ensuring your luck until the next new moon. What you do on the night of the new moon sets the tone for that lunar cycle.

Many of these customs are based off of what you are doing when you first see the new moon so I feel it’s important to note that the Irish counted the dark moon (when no moon is visible in the sky) as it’s own phase, and the new moon would have been when the moon first became visible again.

The sources for these practices are all from The School’s Collection and they come from all over Ireland. They were collected by school children in the 1930’s who were tasked with interviewing their parents, grandparents, and neighbors for what folklore they remembered from their childhoods.

Growth and good luck

It was considered unlucky

Other new moon folklore

If you turn your coat inside out when you see a new moon you will have a new coat before the next new moon. [source](

When you see the new moon for the 1st time you should bless yourself and turn some of your clothing inside out and you will get a present. [source](

If you make the sign of the cross when you see the new moon you will never have a toothache. [source](

There is also tons of weather divination done with the moon in Irish culture. The most common piece of lore about the new moon is that if the new moon appears on it’s back, it means bad weather, or sometimes it means a wet month. source 1, 2 [3](

Traditional prayer upon seeing the new moon

Almost all new moon prayers start with the following stanza

I see the moon
And the moon sees me
God bless the moon
And God bless me.

and it is sometimes extended with

Grace in the kitchen, Grace in the hall. May the grace of God, Be about us all.


There’s light in the cottage,
There’s light in the hall.
And the glory of God,
Is over us all.

sources 1, 2, 3, 4, [5](

In several sources it is stated that the prayer should be done on the knees, in others kneeling isn’t mentioned.

Learn more

This post just scratching the surface of some of the most popular new moon practices in Ireland. If you’re interested in learning more, I can’t recommend enough! The Irish Pagan School is also an amazing resource and has a course all about the moon in Irish traditions.