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What is Lunar Eclipse & Different Types Explained

Updated on:


Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)


Reviewed by: Tina Caro

A lunar eclipse occurs when the SunEarth, 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 million 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 eclipse’s energy is to consider the energies of the Earth, Moon and Sun in alignment.

The moon reflects the energy of both the sun and the Earth back to you as it approaches totality. It should be noted that the Sun and the moon are in opposite zodiac signs during this time.

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.

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About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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