In astronomy the new moon is considered the first phase of four in the moon’s 28-day cycle. Think of it as a type of cosmic refresh—a time that many believe offers a powerful opportunity to set intentions, plant seeds (metaphorically, of course), and connect with yourself and your purpose. As the moon grows, so will your manifestations made under it—or at least, that’s the thought behind new moon rituals. Even if you don’t completely buy into it, the upcoming new moon is a perfect excuse to set goals, plan your next big idea, start a fresh project, let go of things that are no longer supporting your dreams, and also check in with ourselves to engage in a little self-love.
There are groups all over the world that hold “new moon ceremonies”—a super-positive meetup that could include meditation, journaling, and intention-setting in a group environment. Paula Merritt Mallis is a doula and facilitator of women’s circles–including new moon rituals—and told us that this is the time to “align ourselves with new beginnings.” In ancient times, she explained, women would gather with the moon phases to engage in rituals and ceremonies to nurture, inspire, reflect, and heal, and in 2017 these ceremonies are experiencing something of a comeback among the East and West Coast crystal-touting wellness set.
A public forum isn’t everyone’s preference, but you don’t need to join a group ceremony to reap the benefits of a new moon. Paula suggests penciling in your own solo ritual 24 hours post new moon because “aligning with the energy of the new moon and its potency helps support setting and manifestations.”
Jennifer Racioppi, astrologer and spiritual coach, says that this coming new moon offers a particularly strong opportunity to reset and refocus: “While new moons happen on a monthly basis, and each one signifies an opportunity to make changes, honor your truth on the deepest level and initiate new beginnings, some new moons feel more supportive than others.”
To help you get start on your moon ceremony, we’re detailing five rituals you can do at home for this month’s fast-approaching new moon.
Cleanse and smudge.
Before you can set clear intentions and truly reconnect with yourself, you need to release and clear any built-up negativity. The new moon is considered a particularly powerful time to do this—and even if you don’t really buy into the power of a clearing blessing or burning sage, the simple act of smudging forces you to actively bring awareness to things you want to release from your life. And hey, it sure can’t hurt to try. For the uninitiated, burning safe is simple: Light the end of the safe wand and blow on it until there are lightly smoldering embers. Slowly and intentionally wave the smoke around your body and the space of your ritual. Voila, you’re smudging.
Ramp up your new moon meditation with a 20-minute session. If you already meditate, stick with your regular practice, whether it’s mantra or mindfulness, but if you haven’t had much experience in the past it might be worth trying a meditation app or focusing on your breath. The focus here should be on grounding and centering yourself.
Set your intentions.
Light a few candles, grab a notebook and pen, and start jotting down all of your dreams and goals—from the long-term and lofty to the short-term. In the days leading up to your new moon ritual dedicate a bit of time to thinking about what’s truly important to you to help with this stage. Try and be specific here about exactly what it is you would like to manifest, and then read your list out loud. “Pausing and taking time for devotion to writing and setting intentions I s a way to honor our own wishes and desires for what we are wanting to manifest in our lives,” Paula told Sporteluxe, adding: “This is an opportunity to honor our own self worth which is an act of self-love.”
During some new moon ceremonies, this goal list is burned along with some other symbolic items that represent the intention to release the energy to the universe.
Run a sacred bath.
Think salts, essential oils, herbs, and flower petals, and run yourself a hot bath. While the water is running create a space near the bath to act as your “altar.” Here you put candles, crystals, stones, herbs, and any other items with symbolic properties that could add to your ritual. Then slip in, relax, and use visualization techniques to picture manifesting your new intentions and renewing your energy. Open yourself up to possibility, prosperity, and abundance. Relax, but try not to fall asleep, OK?
Paula suggests taking things a step further to really ramp up the self-love during your ceremony: “[Draw] a warm Epson salt bath, [add] your favorite essential oils, have a cup of tea, or apply your favorite face masks,” she said. “[All] are self-love acts that support nourishment.”
Now if the time to offer thanks to the universe for all the great stuff you experienced in the last moon cycle. Even if January was a tough one for you, find something to be thankful for—even if it’s small. Say it out loud, and then spend a few minutes allowing yourself to feel totally grateful. Now you should feel recharged and ready to tackle all of your new intentions.