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Every month, the Universe gives us a little present—one so small it may be easily missed. (Some may even go as far as to call this gift “hidden,” as it’s mostly invisible from the Earth for a few hours.) This lovely present is, of course, the new moon, and it happens every 28-30 days.
In astrological terms, the new moon is one of the moon’s many phases—specifically, the one where the moon and sun align. The sun shines behind the moon, blocking us from its view. The new moon marks the beginning of a new lunar cycle and often brings with it an array of new beginnings. This leaves new moons feeling like a particularly ideal time for self-reflection, course correction and goal-setting.
Interestingly enough, most people are unconsciously aligned with this energy, tending to create new habits, start new projects and initiate life changes around the same time as the new moon. That’s cool. What’s even cooler is that consciously embracing the new moon’s fresh energy can allow you to propel those transitions even further.
Ahead, seven things to try (and four things to not try) during the new moon. Consider this a field guide to new moons in all their energetic glory—a resource you can revisit every 28-30 days from here on out.
7 things to try this new moon:
1. Set a worthwhile intention
Every month, the moon delivers us an extra boost of intention-setting energy. Why not hone it by focusing on one or two intentions you’re particularly passionate about?
Take some time to craft intentions that are clear, concise and as specific as you can make them. Think: “Obtain a new job that brings me fulfillment, with a higher salary than I currently have.” Or: “Pass the bar exam on my next try.” These intentions are clear and specific. Not only will they inform the universe of your aspirations, but they’ll also keep you focused on what it is you’re really after.
2. Light a candle
Or bring some light into your life in some other way. Lighting a candle on the darkest night of the month signifies our desire to bring just a little more light into our lives. Ask the universe to shine light on you during this new moon and all the ones that follow it.
You can also take this ritual a step further by charging your candle with an intention you wish to manifest during this moon cycle. Simply hold the candle, summon feelings of gratitude and love, and ask the universe for what it is you want. Light the candle, and allow it to burn out on its own.
3. Begin something new
The new moon is the most fertile day of the lunar cycle each month. If there was a perfect time for initiating anything new, it would certainly be the new moon! Start a new class. Apply for that job. Ask that person on a date. Start anything and everything you feel passionate about. Now is the perfect moment to begin anew.
4. Go on a first date
Speaking of starting something new—a first date is a wonderful activity for a new moon. The universe is brimming with energy and possibility—the perfect time to plant the seeds for a new relationship.
5. Make a list
Remember those intentions we talked about earlier? Well, if you want to super-magnify them, make a whole list of all the details you’d like the universe to consider when bringing you your heart’s desire.
Say your intention was to find a new job. Where will your office be? What will your hours be like? What will your boss be like? What kinds of projects will you work on? The same goes for love. What type of relationship do you want? What do you do with your partner for fun?
Make it as detailed as you can. The idea is to create an image in your mind of what this new situation will look like when you get there, so you can stay focused on what’s truly meaningful to you.
6. Create a sacred space
The new moon is the optimal time for setting a sacred space in your home to make your own magic. Cleanse the energy of the place where you’ll be meditation, manifesting and self-reflecting. Get the junk of the world out—and keep it out.
In time, when you enter that space, your body and mind will know it’s time to make magic. Make sure after you’ve set it up, you keep it clean and tidy to avoid bad vibes.
7. Make your own ritual
If you’re thinking of salt circles and witches over a cauldron, just remember that although these rituals certainly exist, that’s not necessarily what we’re talking about here. Making your own ritual is simply a matter of creating a set of practices you commit to doing during every new moon. It could be as simple as meditating, taking a yoga class, or writing a list. Or, it can be as elaborate as creating a space, making a crystal grid, taking a cleanse bath or smudging your entire apartment.
Whatever it is, make sure it incorporates taking a moment to reflect and plant a few seeds of intention. Taking periodic pauses can help you avoid venturing too far down a path that’s not aligned with your heart. Use the new moon as a reminder to stop, access and maneuver to your dreams.
4 things to avoid during a new moon:
1. Don’t quit something you care about
A new moon is about creation. Of course, sometimes you have to let go of habits, people and situations that no longer suit you. However, deciding to give up on anything you truly care about on a new moon may prove to be a waste of energy. Funnel your energy into starting, not stopping (save the full moon for that).
2. Don’t avoid new people
New moons are notorious for bringing people into our lives. Often these newcomers bring us lessons our souls crave. Don’t miss out on these. When you encounter someone different or outside your usual type during a new moon, be open and curious. Try to learn about them. You never know what joys or ideas they may bring.
3. Don’t decline unexpected invites
Speaking of meeting new folks, a new moon is a great time to get out of the house. Since a new moon is great for meeting new people, consider saying yes to any (and all!) random invites that come your way.
4. Don’t spend time with energy suckers
This is a no-no in general, but it can’t always be avoided. But. Since new moon energy is so incredibly special, shun any energy-drainers and do so unabashedly. You want to harness all the positive and creative energy flowing around you; none of it should be sacrificed. Simply said, don’t let others kill your vibe.
A version of this story was originally published June 2019. Updated July 2019.