About Our New Moon Actions
In many time-honored cultures, the New Moon symbolizes potential and embodies a portal for a new vision. The moon’s 28-day cycle from New Moon to Full Moon mirrors the powerful feminine energy, epitomizing the process of creation to manifestation. Working in consort with these cycles is a powerful way to realize our dreams. From this space, on a monthly basis, Pachamama Alliance offers practices and actions to realign with our values for a thriving, just, and sustainable world for all.
The Power of the New Moon
The moon, as we view it from Earth, goes through regular cycles lasting about 29.5 days each. The cycle begins with New Moon, when the moon and sun are aligned in space and we cannot see the moon at all. From there, the moon waxes (increases) from a thin crescent to a half moon, and then into a full moon on the 14th-15th day. This waxing phase is symbolically a time of growth and expansion. “As above, so below,” says the quote by Hermes, and while the moon is progressively brightening in the night sky, we feel a natural inclination to take action, increase our activity level, and move toward our goals.
The 14 to 15 day period from full moon back to New Moon is symbolically a time of waning (decreasing). The intense activity of the waxing moon is replaced by feelings that we want to rest, take a break, and reflect on how things are going. On the final day of the cycle, the moon goes dark again, and we prepare to begin a new time of growth.
Like many forces of nature, the moon dances in a beautiful rhythm as it expands, contracts, and circles back to the beginning to start anew. The seasons, the tides, our lives from birth to death to rebirth—all are cycles that surround and envelop us in all that we do.
Examples of Indigenous & Ancient New Moon Ceremonies
- Many indigenous and ancient peoples saw time as circular rather than linear. This is a natural conclusion considering the circular forms taken by many aspects of nature. As such, people established rituals and ceremonies to align with the cosmic entities such as the sun and moon, to bring order to their lives and to designate times for celebrations or other milestones. From ancient eras, the New Moon has been almost universally accepted as a symbol of new beginnings, and many important rituals and ceremonies occurred at New Moon.
- The Cherokee peoples of North America, for example, celebrated the Great New Moon Ceremony during the first New Moon of autumn (in October in the Northern Hemisphere). This was believed to commemorate the time when the world was created. Each family brought produce from their gardens and the whole community gave thanks to the Creator for the blessings of food in that year’s harvest. The Cherokee also celebrated the first New Moon of spring (in March in the Northern Hemisphere), when the new green grass began to grow. This was an initiation of the planting season and a time to relight the sacred fire, symbolizing new beginnings.
- Hindu traditions around the New Moon include a day of fasting to slow down the metabolism and restore the balance of the body. The Hindu calendar follows the lunar month, with the New Moon situated as the first day of each month. The new moon day is considered auspicious and optimistic, giving hope of a new dawn.
- The Jewish calendar is also based upon each month beginning on the New Moon day. The moon going dark is a symbol of human mortality, and when the moon reappears, it brings the potential for rebirth and renewal. In ancient times, Rosh Chodesh was the name of the New Moon festival, in which priests offered sacrifices, and bonfires were lit on the mountains to announce the moon’s return. In Jewish mystical tradition, this is a time to celebrate the reappearance of the divine Feminine presence, as the moon is closely linked to feminine powers and wisdom. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish festival of new year and the rebirth of the world, falls on the New Moon.
- Celtic and other nature-based traditions place great importance on the New Moon as a time to create spells, start new ventures, or do magic related to wish fulfillment. Within these traditions, the New Moon is second only to the full moon in its ability to lend power to earthly intentions. When there are two New Moons in a month, the second one is called Black Moon and signifies an especially potent time for magic. Celtic beliefs reflect the moon as feminine and ever-changing. The time of the waxing moon, the two weeks immediately following the New Moon, is said to be best for spells to bring things to you, or increase things in your life.
How to Create Your Own New Moon Ceremony
You can connect with the New Moon and its potent opening of new possibilities by exploring ceremonies that help you to focus on this special point in the moon’s cycle.
Your intentions are very important during the three to four days surrounding the New Moon. Those things that are most present in your mind during this time, will become the realities that are most likely to manifest in the future.
Ceremony, or action focused toward what we want to see in our life and the world, helps to solidify and ground our intentions. When we plan a vision board, set out candles, light a bonfire, or participate in a drumming circle, we bring awareness to our choices for the future.
Ceremony also allows us to connect to greater powers. Seek out the forces that resonate most strongly with you, whether this might be Mother Earth, nature, God or Goddess, angels, spirit guides, or other beings.
Below you will find a list of practices that you could try for the October 12, 2015 New Moon. Choose one or two to bring the power of the New Moon into your own life.
- Create an empowering vision book or vision board to represent your image of the future. Because our minds respond strongly to visual stimulation, vision boards are very effective for strengthening the vibrational energy within us that helps us to bring new things into our lives. You can find images and words that represent what you want to attract into your life. Look for them in magazines, old calendars, postcards, photographs, or print out images from the internet. Have fun and allow yourself to become inspired by your vision of the future. Arrange them on a posterboard or large piece of paper and glue them on. You can hang your vision board on your wall, over your desk, or anywhere that it will be readily visible to you every day.
- Light candles in a darkened room to create sacred space. You can also burn sage or incense to purify the room. Gaze at the lit candle and allow your mind to go blank for a time as you center yourself. Then you can speak your intentions for the month ahead, silently or aloud.
- Create a bonfire or small outdoor fire (in a safe place, with water nearby to put out the fire if needed). Bring your intentions on small slips of paper for burning. Place each one into the fire separately, focusing on your goals and the special reasons why you chose each intention. As they rise into the sky as smoke, your intentions are carried upward into the heavens, increasing their power to manifest in your life.
- Create a small alter in your home or yard. Choose items and images to place on your alter that are meaningful to you and that honor the higher powers that guide you in your life. You can sit or stand before your alter each day during the three to four days of New Moon, reflecting on your intentions and hopes for the future, and asking the deities to guide you toward your goals. If you create a new alter for this New Moon, you can keep it in your home going forward to invite peace, love, and serenity into your life.
- Go to a special place in nature, such as a waterfall, the base of a tree, sitting upon a large boulder, or anywhere that feels special to you. Close your eyes and feel Mother Earth’s healing energies wash over you. Imagine the heartbeat of the Earth deep within the ground beneath you. Center and ground yourself, and review your intentions for the month ahead.
- Plan a New Moon gathering with friends or family. Sit together on the evening of the New Moon, outside if possible. Take turns speaking aloud what you each want for your future. You can write your intentions on paper if desired, or simply speak them. Each person can also have private intentions that they compose silently. Share food together, enjoy each other's company, and look forward with optimism to your future.
Most importantly, do what speaks to you and resonates in your heart as having deep meaning for your life and your future.
A Time of Transformation and Healing
During the New Moon, when the night sky is dark, the old is passing away and the new has not yet arisen into being. This primal darkness is a space filled with immense power and potential, even though we cannot yet see anything. Creation always begins out of darkness, out of nothingness. We need to have faith in the birth of newness, in order to connect with the powers at the darkest time of the New Moon.
Consider traveling on a journey deep into the heart of the Amazon rainforest to meet the Achuar, a people who believe that our dreams, which arise at the darkest time of night, can bring about a new reality for all of humanity and for the Earth. Here is a quote from Laura Weaver, who went on a Pachamama Journey in 2014:
“The Achuar are a dream culture—a people who listen to their dreams for guidance and direction. Every morning, they wake between 3- 4am, to sit in the dark together and listen to what the dreaming world has to say about this “waking” one. This is also the time when they pass on stories and teachings and work out any conflicts they might have with each other. There is profound wisdom to this way. As we share in this practice with the community, I can feel the way my own heart and mind function differently here in the dark. Here, I am slower, softer, with fewer edges of resistance~the left brain not yet turned on to the tasks for the day, the “ego” less defensive and armored. From this place, an entirely other way of speaking and understanding is possible. As we share in this ceremony, we see that our dreams weave a multi-layered web of image, story, meaning, guidance. Common and complementary threads appear—not obvious, not direct or linear—but more like strands on the warp and weave of a loom. And as we complete our circle of sharing each morning, it seems that collectively we have dreamed a whole cloth.”
Pachamama Journeys are purposeful, transformative travel immersions that go well beyond traditional eco-tourism or adventure travel. Thoughtfully designed and informed by 20 years of experience, each Pachamama Journey is an extraordinary opportunity to step away from the familiar and immerse yourself in an expansive new way of seeing the world.
Featured image: The Crescent Moon and Earthshine