New Moon Rituals

Do you ever feel as though you need to just let it all go and make a fresh start?

We find fresh starts in new school years, new relationships, new jobs, new diaries. We make resolutions at New Year and vow to stick to them… only to have forgotten about the gym or have blown all our money by January 6th. 

Everyone knows those annual, post-Christmas resolutions – get fit, find a new career, save money – are as disposable as the paper around the presents that were under the tree. 

What if you could make it count, though? What if you could set intentions that made a difference? Helped you to feel less stressed, more fulfilled, more productive… happier?

Enter New Moon rituals! The New Moon occurs once a month. At this time, the Moon appears dark because the side of the Moonlit up by the Sun can’t be seen from Earth. It’s thought to be an auspicious time for new beginnings, a time to start projects, make plans, even plant crops. 

When we put things into action at this time, the shifting energy of the Moon as she moves through her phases helps us to keep momentum as we move towards what we want.

So, you want to harness the power of the New Moon? It’s easy. Create your own, personal New Moon ritual that you can use to ground yourself in your intentions every month.

When do I do the new moon ritual?

When there’s a New Moon! Exactly what time is up to you. Some people like to mark the New Moon in the evening before the night the moon is new. Some people take time the morning after, or the evening of the next day. 

If you have no other commitments, you can even perform your ritual at the exact time noted in a moon schedule. (Note: this will probably be very late at night/early in the morning!)

What do I need to do?

You do not need to do anything. The most important thing is that the ritual is personal to you, that it has meaning and significance for you. 

New Moon energy is about peeling back the layers, getting right down to the core. Find out what you need, at this moment, and move forward from there.

This can feel uncomfortable, like fresh new skin healing after a wound. But that’s okay. That’s what this time of processing is for, for discarding the old, feeling our feelings and manifesting the new.

Getting started: what you’ll need to the new moon ritual

The absolute bare minimum you will need to perform a New Moon ritual is:

  • ten to twenty minutes by yourself
  • a space that’s comfortable/quiet where you can relax
  • paper/notebook and a pen
  • anything you need to put you in the right headspace (incense, certain music or even just comfy clothes)

As we’ll discuss, there are lots of things you can add to your ritual, but if you are really busy, juggling commitments (see: kids!) or have a temporary living situation, these are all you need to get started. It’s during the busiest times that we need self-care most. Make a note in your calendar. Treat it as a commitment to yourself.

Getting clean: wash away the past

Have a wash. No, really! Clean yourself, carefully and consciously. Be gentle but thorough. 

Massage the pads of your fingers into your scalp. Take a few extra moments to massage your muscles as you wash your skin. 

Do whichever bathroom rituals help you feel rejuvenated – exfoliation, face mask, trimming your toenails, whatever! Take time to wash your body with care and love. Be gentle with yourself. 

If you have access to one, a ritual bath is a great way to really relax while getting clean. Some things you can add to make your ritual cleanse feel special:

  • bath salts/bubble bath
  • flowers petals/fragrant herbs
  • candlelight
  • scented body wash, soap, incense or oil
  • body lotion

Use things with aromas you find relaxing and clarifying. I’d recommend things like mellow citrus scents, bergamot or geranium. Nothing too zingy (lemon or mint) or too relaxing (vanilla or lavender). You want to feel calm but reflective. 

If you don’t have the luxury of a bath, beautiful lighting and the right scents will do the trick. If things are tight and all you have is some soap and the stub of an old candle, it doesn’t really matter. This is all about your intentions. The optional extras can help you set the mood but don’t let a lack of high-end toiletries prevent you from creating and performing your New Moon ritual! If you’re really pressed for time, simply wash your hands and face mindfully.

Getting spiritual: assemble an altar

Find a flat surface. This could be a small table, a tray, the seat of a chair, the corner of your desk/table. Ideally, an elevated surface upon which you can set up and leave intact throughout the month. 

But, once again, don’t let lack of space or furniture stop you. If you have to set up a temporary altar on the floor and clear it away after every use, that’s fine. Try to find a special place to keep your altar items, however, so nothing is lost or damaged. 

So, what should you put on your altar? Anything that’s special to you! Here are some ideas:

  • your diary/journal, if you keep one
  • stones/crystals
  • tarot/oracle cards
  • a piece of jewellery you wear often
  • a talisman you carry with you
  • anything specific to what you are manifesting (for example, a key card or lanyard if you’re looking for a raise or promotion at work)
    natural/found objects that bring you joy 

Use the altar you’ve created as a place to meditate, to read your tarot cards for the coming month or simply to dwell upon what you want to work towards. 

During the New Moon we should leave behind that which does not serve us and move towards a future where we are more in harmony with the world and our own desires. Here are some things you can do at your altar to mark the New Moon.

Out with the old…

Small, personal acts become rituals when we instil meaning into our actions. If there is something that you need to let go – from the past month, year, or perhaps far longer – there are things you can do to support this emotional release. 

Write down what you wish to let go of on a small piece of paper. Then, do one of the following things:

Submerge the paper in water (extra satisfying if you’ve used ink that will run!).
Burn the paper. The safest way to do this is to hold the paper over the sink, away from your body. Light one end, drop it into the sink and watch it burn away. You can also do this outdoors.
Tear the paper into pieces and toss into your recycling bin (or compost bin if it’s biodegradable!).

Alternatively, you can use a whiteboard and erasable marker or a chalkboard and piece of chalk to write and erase that which you wish to let go of.

…and in with the new

Write down your intentions for the next month. This can be anything you wish. Here are some examples of  New Moon intentions:

  • I will try my best every day
  • I intend to take time for self-care
  • I will forgive myself
  • My talents will be recognised
  • I can take the next step

You may scatter these notes across your altar or place down a notebook with your words inside. Think carefully about what will serve you best over the next month. Write this one particular phrase on another small scrap of paper.

Put this piece of paper wherever you think it may benefit you most: beneath your pillow, in your purse, in your coat pocket, on your mirror. Hold it in your hand and repeat the sacred words in your mind whenever you need strength and grounding throughout the month.

Finding restoration: drink it in

Another option (which you can do as well as or instead of those above) is place a drink on your altar. This could be:

  • water
  • herbal tea
  • wine
  • hot chocolate/cacao
  • a herbal tincture

This is a great way to unwind at the end of a ritual. Light some candles and meditate upon what you need: strength, healing, energy, passion, understanding, love. Imagine energy from the New Moon streaming into your glass, giving you exactly what you need. Consume your drink as slowly and thoughtfully as possible.

Place the empty glass or cup on the altar overnight (or for as long as you can keep your altar assembled) and thank the glass, your altar and the New Moon for coming together for you in this way on this night.

By Rebecca Sweeney

Rebecca is a freelance writer living in Scotland. Amongst other things, she loves to write about books, films, tarot, the moon and anything spooky. Her creative work explores social class and mental health in a blend of contemporary realism and psychological horror. Her first and perhaps most ardent love, however, is for children's books.