The accumulation and direction of the subtle forces of the moon, is one of the arts of Witchcraft. Moon magic is a personal art, even though there are basic guidelines. In ancient times, witches held the position of the Moon priestesses/priests. In coastal regions, and upon islands, witches were also Sea Priestesses/Priests. The use of water from the sea was an important aspect in Moon Magic (salt being a crystal form). The "charging" of water, and the release of the "charge" through evaporation, was an important aspect. So too was the soaking of woods and herbs in sea water, which were later dried, and burned as incenses and offerings.
The use of Portals to gain access to the Lunar Realms, and the building of magical images there, is a very important aspect of Moon Magic. The actual "essence" of the power used in Moon Magic, originates out among the stars. The Sun draws in the stellar influences and transmits them into our Solar System. The Planets within our System absorb this energy which then merges with their own vibrations or energies. The Planets, in turn, then emanate a composite energy within our Solar System. Each Planet's energy or vibratory pattern is unique, and influences other planetary bodies and forces, within each planet's sphere of influence. This is the basis of Astrology and Planetary correspondences in Magic (this is how and why it works). The Moon is the focal point of power upon the Earth. The Moon absorbs, condenses, and channels all of these forces, which are then carried to our Planet, upon the Lunar Light Spectrum.
Agrippa, a 15th Century magician, understood these principles when he wrote "...but the Moon, the nearest to the heavenly influences, by the swiftness of her course, is joined to the sun, and the other planets and stars, as a conception, bringing them forth to the inferior world, as being next to itself, for all the stars have influence on it, being the last receiver, which afterwards communicates the influence of all superiors to these inferiors, and pours them forth upon the Earth..."
Aradia, the Holy Strega, told her followers to seek the Moon above all others, for the purposes of Magic. In the closing prayer of the Full Moon Ritual, we find these words which Aradia's followers were later to have written:
" O' Goddess of the Moon...teach us your ancient mysteries... that the Holy Strega spoke of, for I believe the Strega's story, when she told us to entreat Thee, told us when we seek for Knowledge, to seek and find Thee above all others".
Agrippa understood this also, when he wrote, "Therefore. her (the moon) motion is to be observed before the others, as the parent of all conception......hence it is, that without the Moon intermediating, we cannot at any time attract the power of the superiors..." What Agrippa spoke of, is what witches have known for Ages: The Moon is the focal point of power upon the Earth. Without the Moon we cannot make use of the Universal Forces beyond her.
In Moon Magic, the ritual altar is the focal point for the Lunar forces which are drawn upon. Women are the vessels for Lunar Energy, receiving and directing the magical force. Men can also become lunar vessels, but women are much better suited (as their biology is more attuned to the Moon's Cycles, than are men's biology).
The Moon altar is placed facing the West Quarter. The altar itself should be round, but a square or a rectangle is OK. In the center of the altar, place a bowl of saltwater. A white sea shell is then set into the center of the bowl. As this is done, whisper the name of the Goddess who rules the current phase of the Moon, under which you are working. The new moon belongs to Diana (De-ah-nah), the Full Moon to Jana (Jah-nah) and the waning Moon to Umbrea.
Around the bottom of the bowl. set nine white shells, forming a crescent (horns upward, as in a smile). If the magic is for the gain of something, place the shells from right to left. If the magic is for the removal, or loss of something, then place the shells from left to right.
As each shell is placed, chant the name of the Goddess who presides over the goal of the magical influence you desire. Matters concerning "beginnings" are under Diana. Matters involving "forces", energies, or powers are under the influence of Jana. Matters of Death, decline, and stagnation are ruled by Umbrea.
Censers of Moon Incense are placed around the bowl, upon the altar, forming a triangle (so you have 3 incense containers forming a triangle, with the Moon Bowl in its center). A reversed triangle (V) is formed for manifestations desired upon the physical plane. Upright triangles (A) are formed for manifestation upon the astral plane.
During the magical work, the energy is focused into the altar bowl (or moon bowl, as it is often called). The solitary method is to "enchant" the water. Begin by passing your right hand, palm down, over the bowl in a clockwise manner. Perform nine passes, then do the same with your left hand. You will need to create a Chant which will serve to describe your intent. It can be a simple rhyme, or whatever you want. As you chant, blow gently upon the water slightly disturbing the surface. Formulate the incantation to be as descriptive as you can, about what you desire.
Once you have spoken the incantation into the bowl, it is time to release the "charge". One technique for this is to boil the water, and observe the steam as it evaporates. Boil it until all of the water is gone. As the steam rises up, repeat your incantation, and watch the steam as it moves upward. It is carrying off your magic, so that it may take effect. Think this as you watch it (thoughts ARE things).
Another very old method is to pour out the contents of the bowl into a stream, or river. As you do this, you recite a simple rhyme spell, such as :
" Water to water witch's spell.
I give this stream to speed it well"