New Moon Practices That Turn The Ordinary Into Ritual

As I’ve become older, my connection to my spiritual practices has deepened by becoming quieter. As I continue to connect with my ancestral line, this too has reminded me that magic exists in the everyday. Ritual means no small thing and yet it can be made up of the simplest practices. What elevates the experience is the presence of intention.

The new moon can be seen as the starting point of the lunar cycle. It’s the planting of the seed while the full moon is the flower in bloom. Over the course of approximately 28 days, the moon journeys toward a state of fullness (waxing) and then descends back toward its fertile, dark moon phase (waning). Momentum grows during the waxing phase and any intentions or “seeds planted” on the new moon may be gaining traction supported by our commitments and actions. By full moon, we may see our intentions and actions have reached fruition, or even more likely, it may take several more cycles before we see our seeds bloom.

Preparing the soil

The new moon is the dark, fertile soil that feeds the seeds of our intentions. As any gardener or farmer knows, the soil must be prepped before new seeds are planted and often this includes clearing the bed of weeds or temporary cover crop. In other words, the new moon offers a clean slate, a fresh start, an opportunity for new beginning. This is a prime time for taking inventory and letting go. It’s an invitation to release that which weighs heavy on your heart. Or, going back to the garden analogy, it’s the time to pull the unwanted weeds growing in your heart and mind and compost them to the fertile soil of the new moon. I like the compost analogy because instead of imagining our burdens being cut off and released into the invisible ether, it suggests that instead they are laid to rest where they will be transformed into something that feeds our future desires and dreams.

Planting the seeds

With the purpose of clearing away and clearing out to make way for the new, the following are some practices that are seemingly ordinary but, with the presence of intention, can serve as potent new moon rituals. These are examples of what I mean when I say my magic has become quieter yet no less potent. 

Journaling

I often send out reflection questions in my Full Moon Missive newsletters that can be used as prompts to journal to or to pull some cards to. If you’re not the journaling or oracle card type, asking yourself some check-in questions and spending some time reflecting on honest answers can be a very effective way for gaining clarity. Below are some new moon related questions that you can reflect on however you choose, but may I recommend the good old fashioned pairing of a pen to paper. The slower pace of this practice helps to pace out rambling thoughts and walk through, step by step, some big things you may be processing.

✷ How do I feel in my body right now?

✷ How am I tending to myself these days?

✷ What am I ready to call into my life?

✷ Planting a seed —  an intention, a collective prayer, or a personal goal I’m setting:

✷ Three action items I can do to set my intentions into motion during the waxing moon phases:

Lighting a candle

Fire is a catalyst, an activator, a stimulator. It provides us light, it offers warmth. A follow-up practice to the reflection questions above might be to hold your new moon intention close while you light a candle. You can imagine that you’re igniting your intention, committing to your desire, sending your prayer out into the world to be fueled by the fertile new moon, growing through the waxing phases and blooming into fruition with the full moon.

This doesn’t require a performance and the only tools needed are a candle and something to light it with. The elaborateness of the act can be as grand as you wish to make it and it can all take place quietly inside yourself if you so desire.

Cutting hair

Hair is a very personal thing. Some cultures abstain from cutting hair to preserve energetic life force which is a powerful practice of its own. I, on the other hand, hear the scissors calling at pivotal points in my life and feel no other option than to trim away. Like around the time of my thirtieth birthday as I was embarking on a new personal decade, I stepped out of the shower, waist-long hair freshly combed and (very trustingly) handed my partner the scissors and asked him to cut to below my shoulders. Luckily with some direction, he did well! A couple months into the global pandemic, I cut more.

Cutting hair can be symbolic of releasing part of the past. For example, my thirtieth birthday haircut was a letting go of some big parts of what was a significantly transformative time in my life; a cutting away of the things I no longer wished to carry with me into the next decade.

The new moon offers us this opportunity to release the weight. It certainly doesn’t have to be a drastic home-done gesture like my birthday cut, but perhaps the next time you’re scheduling an appointment for a trim or doing it yourself, consider timing it with a new moon.

Cleaning your home

Sweeping floors, washing dishes, changing bedsheets, clearing out the closets, opening windows — sounds like a list of chores but there is some really effective underlying magic here. Through Hina Luna, I explore the connections between the concepts of body, altar and home. For me, these words are interchangeable, arranged in a circle in my mind’s eye, one flowing into the next. By quite literally cleaning and clearing space in our home, we can hold the same intention for our body, heart and mind.

Taking inventory and letting go of some tangible, personal items that no longer serve a purpose in our lives can also lighten our energetic load. This practice is pushing the reset button on our home space and the new moon is a welcomed time to do so.

Following nature’s lead

The new moon is a monthly opportunity to start anew. You can always decide when to mark a new beginning for yourself, there needn’t be a reason to wait for a different calendar year or birthday or moon phase. However if you’re needing support in finding your rhythm and implementing a practice into your life that is consistent, then perhaps look no further than the moon.

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