New Moons 101: An Intro To Their Energy & How To Make It Work For You
Moon-curious? Here's everything you need to know about new moons and how to harness their powerful energy from down here on solid ground.
What's a new moon?
A new moon happens once a month when the moon and the sun conjoin in the sky, setting off a new cycle of light. When the moon is new, it's invisible to us on Earth, then it slowly appears as a very thin crescent of light. While the energy of a new moon lasts for about three days before and after the lunation, the moon is technically only new for a moment—when the sun and the moon are directly aligned in the sky (and on the zodiac wheel!).
What's the spiritual meaning and significance of the new moon?
Since new moons happen once a month and signify the beginning of a cycle, you can think of them as a cosmic reset. The new moon is an ideal time to set intentions and goals that you'll develop as the moon waxes toward fullness. Connecting to these lunar energies can provide grounding and a sense of direction.
After the new moon, the light starts to build, as the moon gradually becomes more visible to us on earth. This phase between the new and full moon is called the waxing moon. Our mission during this time is to collect energy and information as everything becomes illuminated. We can use the waxing moon momentum for building, working toward a goal, or bringing the first phases of a project to fruition.
Then comes the full moon, a time for culmination and harvest. This is the peak moment that we've been working toward, when our new moon intentions reach their apex. Should we stay or should we go? Do we reap the rewards of our work or change course? As the moon becomes completely visible to us on earth, we can see everything clearly.
Next, the waning moon phase begins. As the moon recedes and the light starts to dwindle, we can begin to release what's no longer working for us. Reflect on what you've built during the waxing phase and shed what doesn't feel right. As the moon disappears from view, we can tie up any loose ends and say goodbye to what's not serving our highest purpose.
Astrologically speaking, new moons occur when the sun and the moon are at the exact same degree in the same zodiac sign. Full moons happen when they are in opposite zodiac signs but at the same degree. Every new moon will culminate in a corresponding full moon six months later. For example, a Pisces new moon will fall during Pisces season in February or March, then the Pisces full moon will arise during Virgo season in August or September.
You can set short-term goals between new and full moons every two weeks. Then, use lunar astrology for a longer game, creating intentions at a new moon that you'll develop over a six-month window.
What to do during the new moon
Write down your intentions
When we write things down, we are more likely to remember and act on them. At a page-turning new moon, write down whatever you're looking to manifest during this two-week cycle of light. Spend time with what you wrote and read it aloud. Keep your list of intentions with you as the moon waxes, and revisit it and revise it as needed. Stay in tune with the moon as it builds, and manifest your desires.
Choose an affirmation
What kind of energy do you want to bring with you into this new cycle? Affirmations are a great way to get clear on what you want. Make a list of affirmations, read them aloud, and revisit them as the moon's light builds. Whereas intentions set the tone for what you want to do, affirmations are all about what you want to be and embody. Examples of affirmations for the new moon include: "I am confident"; "I bring peace and love into this new cycle of light"; "I share my light."
Take a new moon refresher bath
Water-based rituals are always a great way to work with lunar energy, as the moon is so closely linked with the water element. Relax and reset in the tub with your favorite music playing. Light candles, fill your diffuser with essential oils, and set a healing ambience for your bath. Submerge and set the space for a new beginning as you cleanse, release, and refresh your mind, body, and spirit.
Create sacred space
Creating sacred, intentional space is an excellent way to invite new moon energy into your life. Oftentimes, when we create a physical environment, the energy we want more readily pours into our lives. Clear off a surface (dresser, table, etc.) and set any objects, intentions, lists, or images that remind you of what you're calling in with the new moon. Revisit this sacred space as the moon waxes. You can use it as a meditation station and light candles, use aromatherapy and oils, add crystals, and ground into the energy around the space every morning. New moons can also be a time to share sacred space with others through a new moon circle ceremony.
What not to do during the new moon
Spend time with naysayers
Use the new moon to energetically set the tone for the coming weeks. It's a time to refresh, reset, and look to the future. If there are any relationships or friendships in your life that consistently bring you down or drain your energy, you'll want to avoid spending time with these people at the new moon. Surround yourself with people who help you feel energized and alive!
Get stuck in the past
The new moon is just that: new! Stay present, look ahead to the future with optimism, and try not to get bogged down with worries about the past. Let it go, and let it flow.
Say no to new opportunities, people, or experiences
Pay special attention to any new people, experiences, or opportunities that the universe puts in your path during the new moon. While the full moon is a time to release anything that's not serving us, the new moon is a time to build, create, and spark new projects.
How to shake up your new moon ritual throughout the year
A new moon always falls in one specific astrological sign. Every sign carries different energies and themes, and we can use this information to connect us with the cosmos. Here are some keywords associated with each sign to help you get started on your lunar journeying.
- Aries: Identity, self, individuality, fire, beginnings.
- Taurus: Mother Earth, art, nature, body positivity, grounding.
- Gemini: Conversation, air, information, knowledge, social.
- Cancer: Water, womb, Mother, moon, comfort.
- Leo: Fire, creativity, fame, Sun, sovereignty.
- Virgo: Earth, goddess, harvest, sorting out what's necessary from what's not.
- Scorpio: Deep waters, underworld, shadow, the past.
- Sagittarius: Adventure, fire, the unknown, wildness.
- Capricorn: Earth, structure, integrity, hard work, Saturn.
- Aquarius: Air, new ideas, revolution, future-oriented, outsiders.
- Libra: Balance, justice, beauty, harmony, air, ideas.
- Pisces: The ocean, collective consciousness, mystical, dreams.
More advanced astrology fans can refer to their own natal chart to see where the next new moon will fall for them. For example, if the next new moon in Aries falls in your 10th house, it will be all about setting intentions in your career and public life, which are 10th-house topics. You can use this cosmic info to help guide your intention setting and areas of focus for the next few weeks.
The new moon is like a cosmic reset and a monthly gift from the universe. Use this energy for beginnings and to set the tone for the next cycle in your life. Avoid unnecessary stress and decide what energy you want to call in. Let the new moon empower you!
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Ophira and Tali Edut, known as the AstroTwins, are professional astrologers based out of New York and Seattle. Their work has been featured in The New York Times, Elle, Vogue, and Good Morning America. They have been dubbed “astrologers to the stars” after reading for notable celebrities, including Beyoncé, Emma Roberts and Stevie Wonder. The AstroTwins have collaborated with Nordstrom, Kate Spade and Urban Outfitters, among other major brands. They have authored four print books: AstroStyle, Love Zodiac, Shoestrology, and Momstrology, and have a growing collection of ebooks, including their popular annual horoscope guides.