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.