Once upon a time, ritual was integrated into daily life. Women held ceremony around their moon cycles (menstruation), birth and death were held sacred and entire communities would gather to acknowledge and honor the new and full moon in their own unique ways.
In some parts of the world this still happens, but in North America we’re lucky if we slow down enough to even look at the moon, let alone have ceremony around it. Bringing ritual back feels important for a few reasons. Slowing down is a much needed shift into the feminine energy we can all benefit from. Also, ritual brings a deeper sense of meaning to our lives, offering an opportunity to slow down and sync in with the subtleties of our own hearts and minds. Ritual is a beautiful way to create emotional balance and strengthen our connection to spirit, however that looks.
We engage in rituals with the intention to examine our lives and emotional landscapes. Questions to ask: what’s working and what’s not? Am I repeating a pattern that is no longer healthy for me?
Simply pausing to ask these questions on a regular basis provide more clarity. After performing a few new and full moon ceremonies, you may find a deeper sense of trust develops between your head and your heart, allowing you to make healthier decisions in all aspects of your life.
How to Create a New Moon Ritual At Home
Each month a new moon occurs and offers us a chance to invite in new beginnings, set intentions and create space for growth in our lives. The new moon represents manifestation, cultivation, rest and preparation. In ancient cultures, the moon was a guiding influence for midwives, menstruating women, and time keepers. Waxing and wanting from full to new, the moon represents the continuous cycle of death, renewal and rebirth.
During the new moon, you can create an at home ritual for yourself that includes a ceremony with an altar displaying objects which are sacred or special to you. You may choose to perform this new ritual alone, or invite friends over to sit in a circle with you and share an evening of setting intentions, making declarations and infusing energy into your dreams for the future. I’m a solo creature and adore my time alone, and thus, I tend to lean more towards solo-ceremony or bathing rituals. However, when the new or full moon lands on a Monday when I run my women’s group, we invite all of the women to partake in a group ceremony that adds a sweetness to energy and creates a space for deep friendship and bonding to occur.
1. Beautify Your Space
Before performing your ritual or ceremony, take some time to clear your space. Now is a good time to purge anything you don’t want hanging around the house anymore, perhaps old clothing, decor items that don’t bring you joy anymore and can be re-homed, and even taking out the garbage! Clearing out your physical space in preparation to clear your inner space is also a ceremonial act – listen to music you love and enjoy the act of de-cluttering.
2. Setup your altar
Now it’s time to set up your altar. You can source objects around your home, from the land you live on, or at local shops. Feathers, crystals, a bowl of water, some sage or cedar, and a few other objects sacred or meaningful to you may be placed on the alar. For full instructions on how to build a sacred altar, click here. On the new moon, you may consider objects that represent rebirth or renewal. I have a beautiful fertility statue that was gifted to me after I attended my first birth as a doula, and I like to place it on my altar during the new moon to represent fertility and my work in the world with women.
3. Grounding Ritual
A grounding ritual can be integrated into every ceremony you do and you may even like to make it a daily practice. On a new or full moon, to perform a grounding ritual, it’s ideal for you to be outside near a body of water. Barefoot, make your way into water up to your knees (or go in all the way!) and allow the cool water and soft or rocky ground beneath your feet become an anchor for you to your body, and the material and spiritual realms. Breathe deeply, allowing your breath to energize your body and give you access to any messages that may need to come in. It could be something as clear as “you need to drink more water this month”, or “give yourself a bit more time to slow down and enjoy life”.
4. Writing Ritual
Writing rituals can be wonderful ways to do ceremony with a group. Make sure you have a pen and paper, and focus on writing down your intentions for the month. Affirmation statements are a beautiful way to invite new beginnings, such as “I am open to receiving support in these areas of my life right now” and “I am willing to put in the work to achieve the abundance I deserve”. When you have finished writing out your intentions for the month, you can fold up the piece of paper and place it in a bowl of water, light them on fire (safely of course!) or bury them in your garden. It’s important to remember that when we’re setting intentions, we also must let go of what we think “should” happen, and create space for what spirit has in store for us. This means while we’re also setting intentions, we’re letting go at the same time.
5. Igniting Your Intentions
Burning sage, cedar or palo santo can be offered in closing of your new moon ritual to clarify and cleanse the space in which you set intentions. Spirituality and Health wrote a piece on smudging and honoring the traditional Native American practice here, so give it a read if you’ve never smudged before and would like to learn more in depth.
6. Bathing Ritual
I love baths. To me, they’re such a feminine way to practice self-care and get into my body. Preparing a hot bath with salts, essential oils (be careful you don’t use essential oils that can burn your yoni) and fresh flowers or herbs can be a ritual all in itself. After you’ve performed a new moon ceremony, or if you’ve simply written down or meditated with your intentions, you can clarify these by immersing yourself in water and washing your hair. Symbolically, this act of cleansing and purifying your body is a statement that you’re beginning anew. I sometimes like to put fresh flower petals in the bath or dried herbs such as chamomile and ladies mantle.
Honoring the cycles of the moon goes hand in hand with being in flow with nature as a woman. Your menstrual cycle and hormonal cycle are intrinsically linked with the moon. To learn more about how your body is interconnected with the moon cycle and begin tracking your cycle, check out the Mystic Moon Calendar my co-facilitator Heather, created here.