The New or Dark Moon Ritual
"The dark moon is a time to reflect and delve into the dark of our unconscious and to observe ourselves with greater clarity. It is a time for preparation through reflection on our renewed beginning. For example, in Hindu culture the first day following a dark moon is the Amavasya, or the “Moon is Not Visible,” a day of immense power, when good and evil are pondered. It is a day of fasting and reflection.
The New Moon is a time to ruminate on our decisions and experiences over the past month, and to rejuvenate ourselves. We cleanse and remind ourselves of the possibilities tomorrow brings. We check in on the seeds we’ve planted in the past or the ones we set anew. It’s the perfect opportunity to meditate, and organize our intentions for the month to come.
We create or turn to our sacred space, and gather materials. Writing materials (utensil, surface), a bowl (ceramic, metal, or sealed), candles, bath salts, incense, smudging materials*, personal totems. For this ritual, we incorporate a place to write comfortably, with something to write with and on.
To avoid encroaching upon the moon, we will write by candlelight. We begin by cleansing our physical space through a smudging, or smoke cleanse, moving the smoke into corners, tracing doorways and windows and sills. We draw a warm salt bath to cleanse ourselves. As the heat of the water envelops you, note any lingering negativities within you. Imagine them extracted by the relaxing water, as one might draw poison from a wound. Take your time here; this is your process, your journey. When you feel finished, sit with the water as it drains. Remember, you’ve let it take a burden from you; here we watch it drain from our life.
Then, we come to the cleansed space to reflect and set our intentions in a positive way. clothed, robed, or nude, this is your space and your process. Light a flame. Take your seat.
Writing the New Moon Reflecting and Releasing: Reflect on the frustrations of the past month: notice the negative thoughts, feelings, and attitudes, the regrets and weights you may not have even realized were a burden to you until now. Write down the emotions you feel bubbling up, any angers or frustrations you’ve held in the past weeks. When you feel it is appropriate, set what you’ve written aflame and sit with it while it burns. Breathe. This is meant as a cathartic exercise; check in with your body, feel the weight removed. If done with others, these reflections can be read aloud.
Calling In and Intending: Next, write out your intentions for the coming month. Exclude negative verbs like can’t, won’t, or not. For instance, instead of saying, “I will not be late to any meetings or get-togethers,” write, “I am punctual, and arrive in a timely manner to my appointments.” Continue this process of affirmation and intention until you feel satisfied. Fold your writing and place it into an envelope to be held close for the remainder of the month. If done with others, these can be read aloud, also.
Raise the Energy: Holding your intentions in your heart, begin creating rhythms, feel your desire, the strength of your intentions, clarity of vision, increase the pace of your rhythm until it is strong and steady, add your voice and tone and make sound, and once you’ve brought the energy high, imagine your intentions being infused and fed by this energy. Then return to stillness. “It is done. The old month is done, the new seeds are planted. I am grateful for what I see, and for the chance to begin again.”
Integration: As you move into this new month, remember that the intentions you’ve set tonight are seeds, and you are their soil. These seeds need to be watered—and we water them with action. Nurture the energy you’ve invoked. Stay honest to your intentions. Open your envelope and look at what you wrote over your morning tea. Nourish your seeds with directed action so that they sprout."
The above is an excerpt from our book "Reverence: Rituals for Modern Life"