Self-Generated New Moon Ritual
Updated November 2017
*Note: As many of you know, many of the incentives of my Patreon Campaign revolve around New and Full Moon stuff. I send out monthly New Moon ritual guidance to all Patrons who have pledged at $5 and above, and then all Patrons get access to live Full Moon meditations ($10+ folks get the recording) as well. I’m working on a series of articles that explain easy ritual, altar building and so forth in order to facilitate each of you being able to participate in the radness of cosmic mystery as its facilitated by astrology. This article is the first in that series. You can support my work and receive help working with your own chart by becoming a Patron*
So! One of my favorite practices – and one of the areas I believe astrology is most useful – is tracking the cycles of life through the movements of the planets. Every single one of the planets has cycles that can be tracked individually or in relationship to other planets. Yes, it’s true, all planets are in relationship to all other planets.
The easiest way to start tune into planetary cycles (learning a ton about yourself and astrology at the same time!) is through paying attention to lunar cycles. This is why the bulk of the incentives on this site are built around new and full moon guidance. Accessible. Practical. Fun. All good things.
I figured it’s time to write a little guide for how to create your own new moon rituals. This will help you make the most of your monthly new moon-ing. This guide is by no means complete, and will be a living document that will change over time. It’s meant to guide you to the heart of the matter: once you can give yourself permission to do ritual however you want to do it, to play around with it and see what works, you’ll open a whole world of wonder and magic that you can bring into your waking life in practical and concrete ways.
And playing around is in fact one of the key ingredients of ritual — ritual loves drama and play, as that’s what amps the energy. So have fun with it! And sometimes, yes, ritual involves grief, anger and deeper feelings. But for now, try not to take yourself super seriously.
One of the reasons I love astrology is because it provides a map for understanding the soul’s journey. It provides a doorway for conscious and active participation in life and its mysteries. That said, possible intepretations of the archetypes are infinite, and so it’s necessary for you to begin to understand what the archetypes mean to you. Forget salvation based religions, folks. Astrology at its best requires you to hone your intuition and find truth within yourself rather than looking without. Let’s celebrate that fact!
I don’t really consider astrology to be a religion, but understanding how it can inform spirituality is worthwhile. I use the term ‘spirituality’ and instantly cringe because it’s become so loaded. But I use it loosely as a way to reference the ways we accept that life has meaning.
In order for a spiritual system to serve as a container for transformation, it has to remain relevant at the level of the heart. Astrology is particularly rad in this sense because it provides a framework for a kind of global mythology. It uses universal archetypes within which individuals are their own center of truth. Astrology invites us to take somewhat obscure concepts and make them relevant according to our own experience — to internalize universal ‘truths’ and make them our own — or throw them out.
And then maybe go back and reclaim them again at some point when they line up with our experience. Truth is fluid and relative. That transiting Saturn is currently in a trine aspect with Uranus is “true” for everyone, but how it ripples through my experience will be different from yours. I might experience it as a revolutionary force that allows me to take practical steps towards complete life change. For you it might pass virtually unnoticed.
Because astrology allows us to dance with the archetypes, when we use it we start to see that the ways the archetypes play out are infinite. New Moons give us an opportunity to learn about an archetype’s presence in our own lives, plant some seed or set some intention, and then follow the changing course of our lives throughout the course of the following month.
One of the main functions of ritual is to help reconcile opposites, creating a dialogue or exchange with the “other” that engages transformation at the cognitive, emotional and physical levels. In fact the root of the word ritual comes from an Indo-European word meaning to fit together. Yes, it’s true, ritual effects physiological change as well as emotional.
Astrological ritual is one of the tools we can use to help mediate and understand the emotions and energies at play in our lives. It helps us to embrace the idea that we are participants in co-creating our realities, but there is also something mysterious about our existence.
So! Here are somevery basic keys to creating a New Moon ritual.
First, we recognize that rituals have a beginning, a middle and an end. In short, the beginning can be when we set the stage by doing something like:
- Setting an altar up with objects that represent the energies we’re working with (a Cancer New Moon altar might have some moonstone, jasmine essential oil or incense, a candle and something that represents what we’ll be focusing on for the month; tarot cards and crystals are also easy go-tos — they provide images and energies to work with, and they’re pretty!)
- Sitting in front of the altar and lighting the incense, and visualizing a golden circle of protection around us, and then doing some breathing or a grounding and centering practice
- Calling in helping allies or guides
The middle of the ritual can be something like:
- Praying; talking to your guides/ancestors/gods/goddesses/self about what it is you’re wanting to let go of and what seed or intention you’re wanting to plant
- Doing a tarot reading for yourself
- Burning a written statement of what you’re releasing and then writing down the intention to be left on your altar so you can view it every day for the month ahead
- Doing a guided visualization, journeying or other forms of imaginal work
- Dedicating a new piece of jewelry, object, piece of art that represents your intention
The end of the ritual should be where you
- Express gratitude (to any guides you’ve worked with, to yourself, to the Moon, the energies at play, or anything you’re grateful for)
- “Release” whatever helpers you’ve called in
- Breathe and reflect
- Blow out the candles/put out the incense
- Clap, stomp,rub your hands together and place them on the ground, or anything else to break up the energy and symbolize re-entering ‘normal’ time and space
In the days leading up to a New Moon, I’m typically bouncing around ideas for what intention I’d like to set based on what’s going on in my life and what I know about the sign of the New Moon. Amplification can be helpful here – google searches that give me more information or reading about the archetype. Amplification helps to narrow in on the themes for the New Moon at the personal and collective levels by increasing our understanding of the archetypes at play.
Sometimes I’ll create a collage for the event while listening to a podcast or music. This process allows me to be in the flow while noticing what thoughts come up in conjunction with a given theme. This activity also provides me with something to put on my altar for the month, alongside relevant tarot cards or crystals. It’s a process that builds upon itself.
In terms of using your chart to help make your intention more specific and work with the energies more effectively you can:
- Find out what degree of the New Moon and then locate that sign and degree in your chart — this will lead you to the house where the New Moon falls, and as houses represent areas of life (such as home, relationships, career, etc.) that can help to focus it
- See if the New Moon is in aspect to any planets or angles in your chart and bring in those archetypal energies as well
- Work with key words. For example: If the New Moon is in Cancer (emotional self-reliance, home, family, identity) in my third house (communications, language, thoughts) I might string together keywords until something clicks (“My thoughts support emotional self-reliance” or “I communicate in ways that reflect my true identity” or “I use language that helps my interactions with my family”)
If you aren’t quite at a level where you can figure these things out for yourself and we’ve had a reading together, please feel free to reach out to me with questions and I’ll happy to look up where the lunation falls in your chart and whether it has any major aspects.
Remember: New Moons happen every month, which means you don’t have to get too carried away with making sure your ritual is some huge thing that is perfect and that covers every single thing you want to work on. You can keep it simple.
New Moon rituals are best done right around the time of the actual New Moon. You can find this information online or in an astrological ephemeris. I also post the times in the guidance I send out. Ideally, the ritual takes place at the moment of or just after the new moon (say within 12 or so hours). Don’t be too hard on yourself if it needs to be done just before, but as the energy of the moon is still waning (fading) then, it’s better to wait til just after, when it’s building again.
Setting up an altar in your home where you can do your rituals is an incredibly important practice. More on altar-building in a future article. But again, you can keep it simple — set a candle, an incense burner and some statue or image that is meaningful to you in a spot that’s set aside from the hustle and bustle.
One of the most helpful things you can do in the 24 hours or so before a New Moon is clean your living space. The days just before the New Moon are a time of letting go and releasing. I recommend cleaning up as much as you can, sweeping, vacuuming, and then grounding and centering and lighting some sage. Waft the sage smoke over yourself first, and then begin to walk counterclockwise around the inside perimeter of your home, intending and stating out loud that all negative and stagnant energy leave the space now. It can be helpful to have windows and doors open as you do this. Once you’ve completed that round, walk around the same perimeter in a clockwise fashion, planting the seeds you want in your home. Generally speaking that can be “love and light.” But you can also get specific with the space — healthy rest and sound sleep in the bedroom, nourishing meals in the kitchen, etc. Then fill the space in with something that smells good — incense, essential oils, baking cookies, food, whatever makes sense to you.
If you wanna take it a step further, it can be helpful to take a bath with 2 cups of sea salt and 1 cup of baking powder to clear your energy. Those measurements are approximate. And I wouldn’t stay in longer than 20 minutes or so (that can leave you feeling kinda drained).
Remember! Ritual and magic are not processes that make things go POOF! They require your participation. So after you do a ritual and plant a seed, you need to take concrete steps to follow through. The magic created will support you and send you opportunities, but you need to participate and see it through. You can do this by spending time every day in silent meditation at your altar, perhaps staring at your collage or a tarot card. You can make a to-do list. The possibilities are infinite. Just make a commitment and be an active participant rather than passively sitting by waiting for something to happen.
Questions? Comments? Tips or tricks you find particularly effective that you’d like to share? Feel free to comment or email me.