In classical times the night of the beginning and end of the month belonged to Hermes. Since they used the lunar calendar this night was the night when the Moon was not visible in the sky. Travelers so unlucky to be traveling without the Moon at night would stop by the square based pillars that were set up along the road as mile makers. These pillars would also have a head carved at the top and a phallus protruding from the middle. Sometimes this head was of a Satyr, but most often is was of Hermes and so such a pillar was called a herm. (cf Kyriny)

The Traveler would stop in the dead of night and place an offering at the base of the herm. It might be a libation, a bit of the traveler’s road food, maybe just some money. The traveler might pray for a boon, success in business or just to get home safely. Another traveler might come along later needing food or funds and discover the offering and thank Hermes for the gift. In this peculiar way the Greeks had created road-side assistance.

The Dark of the Moon was not sacred to Hermes alone. While hermæ were set up as milestones or as threshold or boundary markers, at the places where three roads come together a pillar with a triangular base would be erected and called a Heketeron (sp). This marker was sacred to Hekate, Queen of the Witches and of all night going spirits.

The traveler would make similar offerings to Hekate of libations, road food or money and pray for relief from the night-fears. Dogs howling in the night would mark her passing and it was for her passing that the travelers mostly prayed.

Hermes and Hekate were known as lovers. . .(find this and cite)

This fortuitous confluence gave rise to a Dark Moon ritual that will strengthen your connection to Hermes, and to Hekate. It is quite simple and so its power comes from the strength of your sincerity and devotion.

After setting space by taking refuge, casting circle, or some such, invoke the Deity. It doesn’t matter which you do first, though it changes the mood slightly. Light candles or lamps to them. Do this by saying (roughly) “I light this candle to you, Oh Hermes. (etc.)”. Similarly, offer incense. Do this at an altar decorated to the best of your ability. An image of Hermes or Hekate is very helpful. A simple upright stone in a bed of sand or salt forming a small herm is especially attractive to the God. (Something similar for Hekate.)

Address the Deity, requesting their presence. Proceed to praise. You might use the adorations linked here below such as the Orphic Hymn to Hermes and the Hekate poem. Memorization is helpful but handouts for those unfamiliar give everyone a chance to join in group praise. This delights the Deities.

Dark Moon Prayers

Once you have a sense of their presence pour a libation to the Deity into a cup placed on the altar. Next place food offerings on a plate on the altar. This is a time to ask for boons or for protection. Give each person present the opportunity to add their offerings to the plate and to make their prayers. Once everyone is done take up the cup and with thanksgiving and words such as, “To You, with You, for You, and as You, we drink!”, drink and pass the cup, giving everyone the opportunity for a toast to the Deity. When all have received the cup, replace it on the altar and refill it with such words as, “May Thy cup be ever full!” Repeat this all for the other Deity.

When the offerings have been made, it is time for the Dark Moon report. Take a deck of Tarot cards, shuffle and cut them, passing them about those assembled to do the same. Next, take the cards and spread them out in a circle in midst of the group. Everyone can pick about three cards, some may do more or less, but not too many should be taken. Cards can also be drawn for the group as a whole, a particular question or for an absent person. The libation cups can be put into the center of the circle along with any leftover offerings for sharing. One at a time each person’s cards are looked at and if the person wants, the group can help interpret the reading. You may wish to record the readings, over time interesting patterns may emerge. The exact order of the rite may have to be adjusted if the group is large enough.

Once everyone has had their reading, the cups are replaced on the altar and refilled, and the cards are put away. Any closing words necessary are said to the Deities, then They are thanked and devoked and their candles extinguished.

Once the circle is closed and the Merit distributed, the offerings are placed outside for the local spirits, ideally with the “Om Bumi Patti Loca Palla” mantram. This is not a prassad offering in which the worshipers partake of the food after it is offered.