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Tarot 101: Your First Tarot Deck

I grew up with the Tarot, reading an old Aquarian deck that had been in my family for a decade or two, starting at the age of 7.

This was a beautiful deck but in no way was it “mine.” I sometimes stole it away for weeks or months at a time, letting it live in my room and among my toys, but it was a shared deck – treated with a certain level of spiritual reverence, but passed around generously all the same.

I had access to this deck throughout my childhood and adolescence, to the extent that I didn’t feel the need to hunt down my own Tarot deck, even when divination became a daily and essential part of my life.

I moved out of my Mom’s house at 15 to live with my Dad, and ended up trading my daily Tarot practice for Runes. When I flew the nest, I realized that I’d been missing out on Tarot for far too long.

This led me to buying my “first Tarot deck” when I moved out West at 17.

I went into my then-local spiritual shop, Radiance in Olympia, WA. In their book section I found The Cosmic Tribe Tarot which called to me. At the time I was attracted to its psychedelic and tribal aspects, features that reminded me of my elder siblings and everything they had taught me that had expanded my mind in the last several years.

Where to Find Your Tarot Deck

The best place to shop for a Tarot deck, in my opinion, is a brick-and-mortar magick shop, if you can. Support small business and connect with your local magical community – it’s a win-win. If you’re anything like me, just entering a metaphysical shop will bring all sorts of warm and fuzzy feelings.

If your access to such shops is limited, you can try a larger bookstore or shop online. Online you have the option of buying from a publisher, an independent deck creator, one of many brilliant online magick shops, or an online retailer like Amazon.

Like my example above, you should listen to your heart when shopping for a Tarot deck. What is calling to you at this moment in your life?

Myths and Superstitions About Your First Tarot Deck

Naturally, with the amount of mystique surrounding the topics of Tarot and divination, there are a lot of legends and superstitions around buying and caring for a Tarot deck.

Probably the most prominent one, in my mind, is the belief that you have to be gifted your Tarot deck. In other words, it’s a no-no to purchase Tarot for yourself.

As most Tarot professionals I know collect dozens if not hundreds of decks, I don’t see this as being a particularly helpful superstition. I wish we lived in a world where people gifted each other Tarot decks all the time!

If I listened to this advice, I would have had to wait an additional 6 years before I could read Tarot after moving out on my own. Someone did eventually give me their old deck in exchange for a new one that I purchased for them. But I’m glad that I didn’t wait around for that to happen.

Another common thing I hear is that you should sleep with your Tarot deck under your pillow. Personally I haven’t done this. I get the sentiment – the connection with dream consciousness, etc. Though I would think that it would damage my cards.

Some people will tell you not to let anyone touch your cards, or they’ll get their negative energies all over it. Others will scold you for doing a reading without the questioner ever handling your deck, because their superstition is that a person must get their energy on the cards if you’re going to accurately read for them.

The number one thing to keep in mind when you’re buying or getting started with your first Tarot deck? Every reader is different and there are many styles of Tarot reading out there. Ultimately you have to do what feels right to you and carve out your own path.

Ways to Connect with Your First Tarot Deck

Once you have a deck in your hands, whether you were generously gifted one or you purchased one at your local metaphysical shop or online, the first thing to do is simply sift through it and get acquainted.

You will soon learn that there are ways of dividing a Tarot deck into sections – the Major Arcana (numbered 0-21), the Minor Arcana (numbered Ace-10 of 4 elemental Suits), and the 16 Court cards.

One way of getting acquainted with a new deck is to spend some time laying out the cards in their natural order, shuffling and reorganizing a number of times to get familiar with the cards and the images. Lay them out in piles based on suit and Arcana type. You will get faster at instantly recognizing the suits and cards.

Spend time holding and shuffling your deck. Familiarize yourself more with the images and the feel of the cards rather than jumping straight to the little white book or other guidebook that came with your cards.

The literature, keywords, and given meanings are important of course, but other people’s definitions will only get you so far. You’ll want to also approach your cards with an intuitive understanding. Try reading it without the book, even if your knowledge is limited.

For example, pull a card. What do you see? What does that image or symbol remind you of? How does it make you feel? If there is a figure in the card, what can you tell about its posture or facial expression or quality of its gaze?

Keep it close at hand. One common way of connecting with your deck is to pull a card every day. You might take some notes on what you think it means in the morning, followed by some reflection after your day is through.

Building a Relationship to your Cards

Beyond your initial introduction period with your cards, you may be ready to work with them more seriously.

One way to start doing this is to write down a thorough description of the imagery in each card, writing about what you see in your own words. Do this for each and every card! This can take a while, but it’s about establishing a practice or working with the imagery of the Tarot. It will enhance your readings.

Keeping a Tarot journal is a common and essential practice for the serious student or aspiring professional. You can keep a record of readings that you do and write down your interpretations, as well as continue to keep notes on your personal observations of the cards and their meanings.

It’s important to begin developing your own keywords that correlate to the known meanings of the cards but are not taken directly from a book (although there’s no harm in starting with somebody else’s keywords).

Treat it with care.

Some say to wrap your deck in silk and keep it in a box – the key message here is to treat your new deck with respect and care. The specifics of what this looks like can differ from person to person.

There are many cloth Tarot bags available on the market, or you may keep yours in an old cigar box wrapped in a special cloth. I have done both but, as a professional, I have dozens of decks scattered around my house and I keep them out of the box and uncovered unless I’m traveling with them. I do, however, usually place a crystal or gemstone on top of my decks.

Think of it as a friend, ask the deck questions about itself and your ways of using it, and build a relationship with it. One of the easiest ways to connect with your deck is to do a deck interview. This type of Tarot reading poses questions to your deck such as:

  • How should I approach you?
  • What do you have to teach me?
  • How should I care for my cards?
  • What are the core challenges I face in learning Tarot?
  • What are my strengths as a Tarot reader?

Habits, Rituals, and Cleansing

Most Tarot readers have a method of “cleansing” their cards. This is about clearing the energy that attaches itself and flows through your deck. Cleansing will allow for greater clarity and prevent mixed messages and the like from getting in the way of your readings.

For some this may be as simple as shuffling intentionally, which itself serves as a reset. Others take a more elaborate and ritualistic approach – smudging the deck with sacred herbs, setting it out in moon or sun light, or clearing and charging the deck with crystals and meditation.

Other ways of clearing a deck is by always shuffling in a certain way, sometimes handling the cards with a particular hand, or by cutting the deck. Cutting the deck means placing it in multiple piles and then putting it back together in a different order. Some people always will cut the deck the same way and even with the same hand (usually the left).

What you do before a reading will depend on you and your own style and methodology. This can take some time to come into, so be patient and have fun with the process. Experiment with different ideas. Don’t be afraid to do things the opposite of what you hear is the right way. Try something you’ve never heard of anyone doing before. Spoiler alert: there is no “right way.”

Some Rituals that I Practice

Honoring the elements is one thing that I always do while reading Tarot. The elements are built into the Tarot and my spiritual practice. Using the elements is a simple way of creating a proper setting and environment for a successful and meaningful Tarot reading.

I have a chalice filled with water, hydrosols (water-based plant extracts), and/or seashells to represent Water and the suit of Cups; a lit candle to represent Fire and the suit of Wands; stones, salt, or actual pentacles for Earth and the suit of Pentacles; and incense or feathers for Air and the suit of Swords.

Additionally, I often place them relative to each other in the direction ruled by each of the elements. I put Earth in the North, Water in the West, Air in the East, and Fire in the South.

Some people say an invocation before reading the cards. You may want to develop one, depending on your preference. I sometimes do this aloud and sometimes in my head. Other times I simply steady my mind with a good shuffle and begin.

For cleansing, I keep crystals on and near my decks. I also periodically smudge my decks with sacred herbs. Some examples are bundles of sage, juniper, rosemary, red cedar, sweet grass, or mugwort. I also use sticks of palo santo.

Different Styles of Tarot Deck

The simplest type of Tarot deck to start with is the Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) Tarot. Also its so-called clones: decks that follow the same general deck structure. Look for a deck with relatable imagery on the Minor Arcana. It’s easier for a beginner to start to interpret a man holding a globe and looking out into the distance than it is to interpret two crossed, glowing wands, for instance.

Golden Dawn style decks like Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot tend to be more esoteric. This can be a little harder to penetrate for a beginner. These esoteric complexities also exist in the RWS system, but are obscured behind visual images that are easier to read intuitively.

Marseille style decks with nonillustrated pips may also be more difficult for beginners.

Branching Out and Collecting

Once you’re familiar with your Tarot deck, you might want to start branching out and expand your collection. Especially if it’s become a regular part of your life.

Have fun with this! It’d be hard not to.

What’s Your Tarot Story?

Have you bought your first tarot deck already? If so, what was it? Do you still only have the one, or have you started a collection?

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Astrology of January 2021: Shifting Gears

Astrology of January 2021

Astrology of January 2021

The Astrology of January 2021 sees us shifting gears as Mars joins a stationing Uranus in Taurus on the Last Quarter Moon. The Sun & Mercury follow Jupiter & Saturn into the outer limits of Aquarius, squaring off with Mars/Uranus. Mercury stations Retrograde at the end of the month, beginning this year’s new cycle of Mercury Retrogrades in Air signs. Venus meanwhile keeps us tethered to both established and revised traditions in earthy Capricorn where she conjoins Pluto and we have our first New Moon of the year on the 14th. The most significant aspects of the month are Jupiter square Uranus and Neptune squaring the Lunar Nodes.

Mars enters Taurus (January 6 – March 3)

The warrior Mars enters Taurus on January 6, at 2:27pm PT. Mars has been in his home sign of Aries since June 27, 2020. His extra-long stay here was due to the Retrograde from September 9 to November 13, 2020, which explored the range of 15° 14′ to 28° 08′ of Aries.

This was the first Mars Retrograde in Aries since 1988. The total shadow period lasted from July 25, 2020 through January 2nd, 2021. Mars clearing his shadow and changing signs just after the New Year offers some fresh energy in play that can help to keep us on our toes.

While Mars is in Taurus, movement can be of a slower and more deliberate pace. Motivation comes easier from pleasure-seeking and a drive for material satisfaction than from the pure willpower of Aries. Mars in Taurus is steadfast and determined; he can lock in on his target and pursue it tenaciously.

Now that Mars has completed his Retrograde cycle, he can speed along through the signs all year. He’ll be in Taurus from January 6 through March 3.

Major aspects of Mars this month:

Mercury square (1/8)

Venus trine (1/9)

Saturn square (1/13)

Uranus conjunction (1/20)

Jupiter square (1/22)

Last Quarter Moon in Libra 16° (January 6)

The same day that Mars changes signs (January 6), we have our Last Quarter Moon in Libra at 16°. So although we’ve started a New Year, we still have some wrapping up of loose ends to do. Mars in Taurus encourages a slow and steady approach, counseling patience and putting in the work.

Mercury enters Aquarius (January 8 – March 15)

Mercury will be in Aquarius from January 8 to March 15. This year, he’ll begin a cycle of Retrogrades in Air signs. In this instance, Mercury stations Retrograde at the end of the month in Aquarius. The Retrograde explores the territory between 11° 01′ and 26° 29′, from January 30 to February 20. The total shadow period lasts from January 14 through March 12.

Mercury in Aquarius is cerebral, imaginative, and scientific. Experimentation and intellectual creativity is favored during this time. The transit can also aid group endeavors and encourage communication around social or community issues.

Mercury stations Retrograde (January 30 – February 20)

Mercury Retrograde offers a period of review and opportunity to look at things from a different perspective. You can use this time to generate ideas and revise your thinking on important issues. Planets & angles in fixed signs (Aquarius, Taurus, Leo & Scorpio) are activated, especially within the degree range of the retrograde (11-26°).

Major aspects of Mercury this Month:

Neptune sextile (1/1)

Pluto conjunction (1/4)

Mars square (1/8)

Saturn conjunction (1/9)

Jupiter conjunction (1/11)

Uranus Retrograde square (1/13)

North Node trine (1/20)

Venus enters Capricorn (January 8 – February 1)

Venus enters Capricorn on the same day that Mercury enters Aquarius. She’ll be in Capricorn from January 8 until February 1.

Venus in Capricorn reminds us to align our values with our actions and the way that we live our lives. This is especially true with Venus ruling Mars during this time. Carry forward what you’ve taken from Saturn’s time in Capricorn. It’s time to really put those regimens and routines into regular practice. While Saturn has moved on, that doesn’t mean that the work is over.

Major Aspects of Venus this month:

Mars trine (1/9)

Uranus Retrograde trine (1/13)

Neptune sextile (1/23)

Pluto conjunction (1/28)

New Moon in Capricorn 23° (January 12)

The first New Moon of the year occurs in Capricorn, in the presence of Venus & Pluto.

Saturn oversees our preparations for the new cycle. The New Moon is conjunct Pluto, agent of dramatic change and total renovation. As we set our intentions for moving forward, we’re called to reimagine the basic structures that support us.

Uranus stations Direct (January 14)

Just after the New Moon, Uranus stations Direct on January 14, completing a Retrograde that began on August 15. As Mars conjoins Uranus and the pair come into conflict with Saturn, Jupiter & Mercury, Uranus stationing Direct serves as an additional activation of this aspect. A stationing planet is at a standstill, emphasizing the stubborn quality of the fixed signs Taurus & Aquarius. It represents a turning point in the planetary cycle where energy can start to move forward again.

Major Aspects of Uranus this Month:

Mercury square (1/12)

Venus trine (1/13)

Jupiter square (1/17)

Mars conjunction (1/20)

Sun square (1/26)

The Sun enters Aquarius (January 19)

Aquarius season starts on the 19th this year. Happy birthday, Aquarians!

Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury & the Sun will all be travelling through Aquarius, each taking their turn to square Mars & Uranus who are together in Taurus. The Star & the Hierophant may need a moment to battle it out; what will win favor, the dream of an unimagined future or the established rules? Mars and Uranus aren’t known for their obedience. However, Taurus the Hierophant always knows “the right way” to do things.

The most significant aspect of the month is Jupiter square Uranus, which perfects on January 17. For instance, the last square between these planets was in August 2013 & February and April of 2014. The next occurrence will be in 2027.

First Quarter Moon in Taurus 1° (January 20)

The Astrology of January 2021 sets the ground for a new plot to unfold. Excitement is in the air as the potential for something better entices us to dream and hope. It’s time to set to work on our personal projects for the new year and remember the hard lessons of Capricorn that we will carry forward as we rebuild.

Energy builds toward the First Quarter Moon in Taurus on January 20th. Mars and Uranus play into our daily affairs and efforts to build something.

The area of our lives ruled by Taurus in the birth chart will show a longer storyline being played out with Uranus in Taurus. This is a storyline that will be activated by Mars, Uranus, and the First Quarter Moon.

Astrology of January 2021: Transits List

(All times are in Pacific Time)

Week 1: January 1 – 3

1/1, Day of Venus: Mercury in Capricorn sextile Neptune in Pisces (3:18am) — Moon in Leo sextile the North Node in Gemini (11pm)

1/2, Day of Saturn: Moon in Leo trine Venus in Sagittarius (3:24am) – Moon trine Mars in Aries (2pm) – Moon > Virgo (5:13pm)

1/3, Day of the Sun: Moon in Virgo trine Uranus R (5:12am) – Moon trine Sun in Capricorn (5:44pm)

Week 2: January 4 – 10

1/4, Day of the Moon: Moon in Virgo opposite Neptune (1:50am) – Moon square the Nodes (3:50am) – Moon trine Mercury in Capricorn (11:11am) – Moon trine Pluto in Capricorn (11:52am) – Moon square Venus in Sagittarius (1:34pm) – Mercury conjunct Pluto (4:58pm) – Moon > Libra (9:42pm)

1/5, Day of Mars: Moon in Libra trine Saturn (1:22am) & Jupiter (4:17am) in Aquarius

1/6, Day of Mercury: Last Quarter Moon in Libra (1:37am) – Moon trine North Node in Gemini (7:22am) – Mars enters Taurus (2:27pm) – Moon square Pluto (3:23pm) & Mercury (9:21pm) in Capricorn – Moon sextile Venus in Sagittarius (9:55pm)

1/7, Day of Jupiter: Moon > Scorpio (12:53am) – Moon opposite Mars (1:14am) – Moon square Saturn (5:54am) & Jupiter (8:11am) – Moon opposite Uranus R (12:16pm) 

1/8, Day of Venus: Mercury enters Aquarius (4am) – Venus enters Capricorn (7:41am) – Moon in Scorpio sextile Sun in Capricorn (8:11am) – Moon trine Neptune (8:14am) – Sun sextile Neptune (8:53am) – Moon sextile Pluto (5:59pm) – Mercury square Mars (6:44pm) 

1/9, Day of Saturn: Moon > Sagittarius (3:15am) – Moon sextile Mercury (6:15am) & Saturn in Aquarius (7:38am) – Venus in Sagittarius trine Mars in Aries (7:53am) – Moon sextile Jupiter (11:18am) – Mercury conjunct Saturn (7:17pm)

1/10, Day of the Sun: Moon in Sagittarius square Neptune (10:29am) – Moon opposite North Node (12:15pm)

Week 3: January 11 – 17

1/11, Day of the Moon: Moon > Capricorn (5:30am) – Moon trine Mars in Taurus (9:16am) – Mercury conjunct Jupiter (9:19am) – Moon conjunct Venus (12:14pm) – Moon trine Uranus R (4:51pm) 

1/12, Day of Mars: Mercury in Aquarius square Uranus R in Taurus (7am) – Moon in Capricorn sextile Neptune (1:17pm) – New Moon in Capricorn (9pm) – Moon conjunct Pluto (11:22pm)

1/13, Day of Mercury: Mars in Taurus square Saturn in Aquarius (3:02am) – Moon enters Aquarius (8:44am) – Moon conjunct Saturn (2:11pm) – Moon square Mars in Taurus (2:30pm) – Venus in Capricorn trine Uranus R (4:22pm) – Moon conjunct Jupiter (6:55pm) – Moon square Uranus R (8:29pm) 

1/14, Day of Jupiter: Uranus stations Direct (12:36am) – Moon conjunct Mercury in Aquarius (1:28am) – Sun conjunct Pluto (6:19am) – Moon trine North Node in Gemini (7:10am)

1/15, Day of Venus: Moon > Pisces (2:17am) – Moon sextile Mars in Taurus (10:29pm)

1/16, Day of Saturn: Moon in Pisces sextile Uranus (2:43am) – Moon sextile Venus in Capricorn (9:02am) 

1/17, Day of the Sun: Moon in Pisces conjunct Neptune (1:35am) – Moon square North Node (2:20am) – Moon sextile Pluto (12:55pm) – Jupiter in Aquarius square Uranus in Taurus (2:49pm) – Moon sextile the Sun (7:44pm) – Moon > Aries (11:07pm) 

Week 4: January 18 – 24

1/18, Day of the Moon: Moon in Aries sextile Saturn in Aquarius (6:20am) – Moon sextile Jupiter (12:45pm) 

1/19, Day of Mars: Moon in Aries square Venus in Capricorn (1:43am) – Moon sextile Mercury in Aquarius (9:53am) – Sun enters Aquarius (12:40pm) – Moon sextile North Node (12:56pm) 

1/20, Day of Mercury: Moon in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn (12:29am) – Moon > Taurus (10:56am) – Mars conjunct Uranus in Taurus (12:38pm) – Mercury in Aquarius trine the North Node (12:38pm) – First Quarter Moon in Taurus (1:02pm) – Moon square Saturn in Aquarius (7pm) 

1/21, Day of Jupiter: Moon conjunct Uranus (12:37am) & Mars (1:08am) in Taurus – Moon square Jupiter in Aquarius (2:15am) – Moon trine Venus in Capricorn (9:28pm)

1/22, Day of Venus: Moon in Taurus sextile Neptune (1:27am) – Moon square Mercury in Aquarius (5:59am) – Moon trine Pluto (1:28pm) – Moon > Gemini (11:43pm) – Mars in Taurus square Jupiter in Aquarius (11:49pm)

1/23, Day of Saturn: Moon in Gemini trine the Sun in Aquarius (7:27am) – Moon trine Saturn (8:19am) – Venus in Capricorn sextile Neptune (11:49am) – Moon trine Jupiter (4:04pm) – Sun conjunct Saturn in Aquarius (7:01pm) 

1/24, Day of the Sun: Moon in Gemini square Neptune (1:36pm) – Moon conjunct North Node (1:47pm) – Moon trine Mercury in Aquarius (11:17pm)

Week 5: January 25 – 31

1/25, Day of the Moon: Moon > Cancer (10:52am) – Moon sextile Uranus (11:49pm) 

1/26, Day of Mars: Sun in Aquarius square Uranus in Taurus (4:48am) – Moon in Cancer sextile Mars in Taurus (5:17am) – Neptune square the Nodes (6:12am) – Moon trine Neptune (10:58pm)

1/27, Day of Mercury: Moon in Cancer opposite Venus in Capricorn (7:37am) – Moon opposite Pluto (9:55am) – Moon > Leo (6:54pm) 

1/28, Day of Jupiter: Moon in Leo opposite Saturn in Aquarius (3:41am) – Moon square Uranus (7:11am) – Venus conjunct Pluto in Capricorn (8:18am) – Full Moon in Leo (11:16am) – Moon opposite Jupiter in Aquarius (11:39am) – Moon square Mars in Taurus (2:32pm) – Sun conjunct Jupiter in Aquarius (5:40pm) 

1/29, Day of Venus: Moon in Leo sextile North Node in Gemini (4:27am) – Moon opposite Mercury in Aquarius (5:53pm) 

1/30, Day of Saturn: Moon > Virgo (12:03am) – Mercury stations Retrograde in Aquarius (7:52am) – Moon trine Uranus (11:52am) & Mars (8:57pm) in Taurus

1/31, Day of The Sun: Moon in Virgo square the Nodes (7:47am) – Moon opposite Neptune (9:09am) – Moon trine Pluto in Capricorn (7:17pm)

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First Quarter Moon Magick: A Natural Checking-In Point

First Quarter Moon

The First Quarter Moon is the first primary Moon Phase that follows the New Moon. It represents a turning point in the monthly cycle. This stage is followed by a gradual crescendo to the maximum strength Full Moon in all its glory.

The First Quarter Moon: A Checking In Point

Arriving about a week from the New or Dark Moon, the First Quarter Moon provides data to sort through, often in the form of obstacles. You may find yourself at a landmark moment. The sharp edge of this lunar phase can be dramatic or subtle, depending on what you’re dealing with personally during a given cycle.

Increased Understanding

The turning point of the First Quarter Moon is part of an immediate, monthly agenda and experience. The Moon is closest to us, physically and psychically, and is associated with our ever-fluctuating emotional life. The Moon rules our feelings, habits, unconscious responses, and moods.

The direction you’re heading in is becoming more or less evident. At this salient point, your navigation and understanding of the road ahead is not fully formed but is starting to become more clear. There may be an “aha” moment or newfound grasp on your current situation.

If you’re still feeling in the dark, it would be prudent to spend some time reflecting on the past week. Pay attention to what activities you’ve been engaged in, as well as (and especially) to how you’ve been feeling. Writing in a journal regularly can help you keep track.

It can be helpful to look at specific events that are occurring at this time that are symbolic of the entire cycle that you’re in. Reflecting on this point can give you more insight on what happened on the New Moon, as well as what to expect more development around in the next week or two.

Development in the Form of Crisis

One common keyword for the First Quarter Moon is crisis. An emotional crisis can be kicked off by a minor or a major event, or series of compounding events.

There is no use in comparing crises to measure which one is better or which one is worse. To the person experiencing a crisis, despite the origin story, a crisis is a crisis. In other words, it is a subjective experience, and very lunar in nature.

Moving through a crisis, one can reclaim their personal power through the knowledge that they gain in the encounter. Validating and normalizing common emotional reactions — in short, increasing awareness — has a profound effect on a person’s ability to heal and be resilient in the face of adversity.

Decision Making and Increased Awareness

The First Quarter Moon can present an emotional crisis; sometimes this crisis comes in the form of an important decision that must be made. The gift of the crisis is the knowledge that you attain, even though in the moment it may be a big feeling of “I really don’t know!”

As you move through challenges and stepping stones, you gain more and more information about your current trajectory. This can help you make informed decisions and plan.

Tap into your feeling nature and gut instinct to help you make these decisions. Trust your intuitive awareness of the path you’re walking.

The First Quarter Moon in Tarot: The Empress

The Empress best expresses the energy of the First Quarter Moon because she brings development and fruition to our plans. Representing the planet Venus, she is an archetypal mother associated with fertility, creativity, and growth.

How to Work with the First Quarter Moon

This is a great opportunity to check in with your progress on goals. How are you doing with time management and balancing different aspects of your life? Is there anything that you’ve been neglecting?

Take notice now and chart a course toward the Full Moon.

First Quarter Moon Activities

  • Journaling: Compare what came up for you on the New Moon with what has developed in the past week. How is where you are now symbolic of where you started?
  • Review goals and adjust expectations
  • Clean house or office to maximize efficiency going forward
  • Look to the signs of the New and First Quarter Moon for hints of what needs attention now or what’s going on internally
  • Take a time-out and recharge before going full-steam ahead
  • Plan for what you want to bring into fruition at the Full Moon
  • Recognize accomplishments and rites of passage
  • Perform divinations to gather information
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New Moon Magick: How to Work with the Energy of the New Moon

New Moon

New Moon: From Darkness to First Light

The New Moon is the first of eight lunar phases.  Approximately once a month, when the Sun and Moon are aligned, the Moon is devoid of light. This phase is also known as the Dark Moon.

In the past, the term New Moon referred to when there is a first sliver of light to be seen. The term Dark Moon was used for when the Moon is completely devoid of light and in alignment with the Sun.

During this time we are “in the dark.”

What the New Moon Signifies

During this time, we have an opportunity to come back to center within ourselves. Release, reset, and prepare for what is to come. It can also be helpful to review the past Moon cycle, taking time for quiet reflection.

If our lives are a play, this moon phase signals the moment before the beginning of a new Act. Before the curtain is drawn up, we’re in a state of rest, anticipation, and unknowing.

Another way of thinking about it is a new chapter in a riveting book. Before we start reading, we don’t know exactly what to expect. We may garner some clues from the chapter title (what sign the moon is in, say), and we know what came before it and some of the continuing threads to expect development around. In this new chapter, though, there can be new characters introduced and the plot will thicken in ways that we probably aren’t aware of yet.

The Seed of the Beginning

It’s a time of beginnings, although it’s more the seed of the beginning, rather than the best time to initiate something. Generally, we may want to wait until the Moon starts to gain light to start important new projects. The Dark Moon is a time of rest and stillness. That said, we set our intentions and prepare to take action in the coming days.

The Sun’s illumination as it reflects on our Moon signifies increasing knowingness. You don’t want to be in the dark when you’re starting something important.

The dark phase is a time of going inward and preparing for a new start. We get this opportunity every month. When you think about everything we pour into a New Year, all the hope and optimism for positive change, this New Moon idea starts to look a bit promising, doesn’t it?

Not every one is positive. Not every month of our life is, either. Though we do have a chance to gather our inner resources during this time. We can pause and reflect on where we’ve been and where we want to go next. It’s a time to cut ties with the things that no longer serve us, and to make decisions about how we want to handle our affairs in the future.

A Time of Rest, Stillness, & Inner Seeking

The High Priestess represents the energy of the Moon in the Tarot, and she most resonates with the energy of the Dark Moon. She is unseen. Light we see emanating from the Moon, after all, is only ever a reflection of the Sun. During this time, the Moon is mainly invisible, due to its proximity to the Sun and its disappearance at night.

The High Priestess is the keeper of secrets, silent wisdom and unspoken intuitions. Her reservation is one of a meditative, introspective mind. She seeks her answers within, rather than turning to the outside world.

Like the Priestess, on the New Moon we can go within for answers and rest in relative silence and stillness. Restoring our energy, we can set our intention for what’s to come. We may even be able to get a glimpse of these hidden forces through scrying and divination at this time – gazing into the void for answers.

How to Work with the New Moon

As this is a great time to let go, shed old skins, and embrace the new, one of the best ways of coming into this phase is with a mindset of review and release. It’s surprisingly easy to get caught up in our daily lives and forget how wildly things are changing all the time.

With this in mind, it can be helpful to look back, in anticipation of moving forward.

Questions to Ask

  • What have I been feeling and thinking about in the past month?
  • What lines have I been repeating to myself?
  • What new developments have come about recently?
  • What is ending at this time in my life?
  • What do I need to let go of?
  • What am I looking forward to in the next few months?
  • What changes can I implement now?

Reflecting on the Signs of the Moon

One important way of working with this phase is to consider what Zodiac sign the Moon is in. You can consider this for each of the main phases during the entire Lunar Cycle. Check what signs the New, Full, and First and Last Quarter Moons are in. Consider the mood states that these signs engender and how that can influence various developments in your life.

The sign of the New Moon usually relates to the seasons, as it joins the Sun once a month in the sign associated with that time of the year. For example, our New Moon in July this year is in Cancer, just as our loving Cancer-born buddies are celebrating their Solar Returns (birthdays) in July.

As we celebrate the wheel of the year, so the Sun flavors each new cycle of the Moon.

Factor in Other Astrological Events

Some New Moons are Solar Eclipses, which makes them particularly powerful in terms of their longer-term effects. We can also glean information about the overall Lunar Cycle from the other planets and their position at the New Moon.

Planetary aspects, or the relationships formed between planets as they move through the Zodiac, can give us a better sense of what’s unfolding. Watch for planetary ingresses (when a planet changes signs) and retrograde cycles as well.

New Moon Rituals

Do you need to release, banish, or set your intention for starting something fresh? Symbolic rituals performed on or near the New Moon can assist you in these efforts. Rituals can be as simple or complex as you wish to make them.

  • Honor the Moon by dedicating space on an altar
  • Have a Tarot Reading
  • Journal about where you’ve been and where you’re going
  • Make a resolution
  • Create art or music as a way of tapping into the psychic Dark Moon vibes
  • Write a letter and burn or bury it to release past burdens
  • Take a purifying ritual bath
  • Journey with the High Priestess card in meditation or integrate her energy into your day

Personal Rituals and Habits

Everyone must find the tools and rituals that work best for them when it comes to practicing magick. You will naturally develop your own habits and rituals around the New Moon when you integrate lunar considerations into your lifestyle.