Dark Moon Release: Returning to Ishtar as our Guide


For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Sanctuary

We have been in a long lunar flow with The Chariot, going back to the new moon on the Summer Solstice, June 21st. Now we are in the second dark moon phase guided by Ishtar, The Dark Goddess Tarot’s Chariot. . Before the August 18th new moon arrives at 10:41pm ET, we’ll have a chance to call upon her dark power to help us be transformed. 

In the Dark Goddess Tarot The Chariot is Ishtar, the Babylonian Goddess of Love and War. As you may remember, Ellen Lorenzi-Prince, creator of the Dark Goddess Tarot, tells us that she is worshiped as both a female and male deity. Ellen’s description of Ishtar’s power concludes with:

Ishtar is hugely popular among [the] people, prayed to for almost anything they could desire or require. [Ishtar] induces ecstasy in her devotees. [Ishtar] inspires prophecy. [Ishtar] grants access to deep wisdom, wild pleasure, sacred order, good fortune, and release from suffering. … [Ishtar] is invoked by all for courage in the face of adversity, for protection from dangers large and small, and for guidance, progress, and victory. 

We certainly live in times of adversity. On the full moon, we ventured to see our times as apocalyptic. Now under the dark moon, we can not see in the same way so must engage our senses differently. The dark may draw us inward. We may go so deeply inward that we begin to touch what is Greater Than ourselves. Having taken this journey inward that connects us beyond ourselves, we can ask for the help that can contribute to healing the Whole. 

In the days and  hours leading up to the new moon’s arrival overnight August 18th to the 19th (exact on the 18th at 10:41pm ET) is a potent time for engaging in reflection and ritual for release and healing. 


Think back on the moonth by looking over your calendar,  journal, or even photos taken to jog your memory about the past two moon circles / past 56ish days. Then journal or draw from one to three cards in response to questions like these: 

  • What/who did you love well this moonth? Who/what loved you well this moonth? Where did you fall short in your love for others and/or yourself? 
  • What did you “make war” on this moonth? How did your “war making” protect yourself or others?  How did you “make war” on yourself (i.e. attacking or diminishing yourself)? 

Sort the ideas that emerge into those to celebrate and those to release. 

Offer gratitude for those ideas and actions of yours to celebrate. You might include the image of the eight-pointed star in how you offer your gratitude by: drawing it over a written list, creating one by overlaying 2 squares and writing your list on to it, or doing a meditation and imagining it glowing above you as recite your list of ideas and actions to celebrate. 

Dark Moon Release Ritual

Use any of all of these ideas to create a ritual that works for you. 

You may want to bring a special/beautiful bowl or cup filled with some clear water into the ritual. 

Create sacred space by lighting a candle, imagining that you are ringed with a circle of protection, and/or your usual actions.

You can invite Ishtar and/or the face of Greater Than that you have been serving this moonth to be with you and aid you in this dark moon release. Spend as much time as you need connecting with Them.

Then use your imaginal mind to sense above you Ishtar’s eight-pointed star. Become aware of streams of energy flowing down from each point to you and over you. You can imagine the star light infusing the water in your bowl. Take some time to bask in the star light on this dark night. You may want to make a petition from your heart for protection from Ishtar for you, those in your life, our country, and/or even all beings over the planet. 

Now bring to mind the first of your releases. You might associate it with a certain color. Imagine it falling into the bowl. Watch with your imaginal eyes as it dissolves in the star-infused water until the color is totally dissipated and only clear water remains. 

Do this with each of your releases

When you are done with your releasing, open your eyes and gaze into the clear water in the bowl. Let yourself sense and feel gratitude for the transformation made possible by the water. You may want to drink some of the water.

Tune into your body, feeling it lighter and energized. Re-center yourself by connecting with earth below you and the sky above you. Feel their energy mix in your heart. Be open to a blessing coming to you from Ishtar and/or your face of the Greater Than. 

Especially if you have been working with Ishtar over both these lunations, be sure to spend some time offering Them gratitude for their support

When the new moon arrives, you may want to make wishes for what your renewed energy can create in the next lunation. Be sure to write them down to revisit at the end of the moonth. 

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