When you look up at the sky at night, the moon may look different than previous nights before. These changes in the moon’s appearances are known as the different phases of the moon. One significant phase of the moon is the “new moon”, and there are rituals, such as candle rituals, that are performed when it is sighted in the night sky. However, it is imperative to understand the significance of the “new moon” phase and of candle rituals that commemorate the “new moon” phase.
What exactly is the “new moon”?
In a lunar calendar, each lunar month contains 29 days, and in those 29 days, the moon transitions through eight different phases, from the new moon and first quarter to the full moon and third quarter and back to the new moon. These phases are an inspiration for a variety of rituals performed for various purposes.
Sometimes also called the “dark moon”, the “new moon” is one such phase of the moon that has rituals dedicated to it. This moon phase’s appearance isn't entirely visible at night. In fact, it is occasionally only referred to as the “new moon” when you can see a very thin sliver of the moon, rather than nothing at all. During this specific phase, rituals are performed with the motive of setting and proclaiming your resolutions for the new month.
Now that you are aware about the “new moon” and the purpose behind rituals performed during this moon phase, it is time to explore the world of candle rituals to perform during the “new moon”!
Note: You need to prep your space before performing any sort of candle ritual. This means you have to prepare a clean and separate space to conduct your candle rituals. You could even install some sort of alter in that space to store your candles and any other sacred items for your rituals.
Now, let us light the flame.
A Basic Guide to Conducting Candle Rituals
Essentially, in a candle ritual you are lighting a candle while stating your wishes, and maybe also meditating on it until you can clearly see your intention coming true in your mind. If you are conducting a candle ritual specifically for the “new moon”, it is best to use a black candle. On that candle, you can carve symbols or phrases that state your desires on the candle, and then light it.
In addition, it is also crucial to know exactly why you are conducting a ritual like this. Rituals such as candle rituals can help you practice thinking positively and approach and express your goals to yourself. In addition, there are several studies conducted by psychologists that have uncovered that rituals have a replenishing impact on people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Now it is time to delve into the actual logistics of performing a candle ritual for the new moon.
There are no defined rules that are needed to be followed in order to carry out any candle ritual, but there are a few suggestions that have been compiled over time, but in the end, the rituals are for you, so it is ultimately up to you how you want the ritual to proceed. This way, the ritual becomes more personal and intimate for you, and you do not feel like you are just going through the motions.
Candle(s), preferably black-colored, the amount of candles can be whatever you feel is necessary
A match or lighter to light the candle(s)
A fire-safe area or container to light the candle(s) (like a fireplace, an empty planter, a fire pit, an empty sink, a metal or ceramic bowl, etc.)
Small pieces of paper (small, pocket-sized notebooks work great for this, but if you do not have access to these notebooks, then tear multiple sheets of paper into 4 pieces; the paper can be of any type, like construction paper, printer paper, etc.)
A writing utensil (pencil, pen, etc.)
Sprigs of sage or palo santo (can be optional, especially since palo santo is becoming scarce)
Soft background music (can be optional)
Steps to follow (but can be modified to your preference):
Cleansing of the physical space and your mind and soul
Find an isolated space where you can be sure that you will be alone and undisturbed, and where you can easily see the “new moon”, and safely light the small pieces of paper on fire. Make sure that you conduct the entirety of the candle ritual facing the “new moon”.
Sit either in a comfortable chair or down on the floor. Make sure that you have some space in front of you to burn certain things, like a space in front of you on the floor, or an empty table.
Light and burn sage or palo santo plants in order to release the aroma around the place (this is an optional step).
Light the candle(s) and place them in front of you, either on the floor or on the table.
Inhale deeply and slowly, while keeping your eyes open, and focus on the flame of the candle; allow the flame’s light to fill the space and fill your soul.
Then, as you slowly exhale, close your eyes and envision bright white light enveloping you and protecting you.
Finally, open your eyes and invite your spirit guides, guardian angels, the universe and/or a higher power to be with you throughout the ceremony audibly (this is an optional step).
Setting your intention
Close your eyes and take a few deep grounding breaths until your heartbeat seems steady and not rapidly beating.
Continue to slowly inhale and exhale, and take some time to focus your thoughts on the reason that you have arranged this ceremony: what specifically are you calling in, sending out or releasing on the occasion of the “new moon”?
When you are ready, take a few more deep grounding breaths and open your eyes.
The actual candle ceremony
On each piece of small paper, write down one thing you are calling in, sending out or releasing into the universe until you have written down all of the things you wish to send into the universe. Some examples of this can include:
If you are calling out and asking the universe for a new job, write down specific things that you’re looking for in a job on the paper.
If you are expressing gratitude, write down the certain specific things you’re grateful for on the paper.
If you are releasing your self-judgement, write down certain specific habits you’re letting go of.
When you are done writing, read out loud what you wrote on each piece of paper and state it as your intention. Then burn each piece of paper using the flame from the candle, or from the instrument that you have used to light the candle, like the lighter or matches. Let the ashes slowly float down to the floor or onto the table. Using the above examples, you could say something while burning a piece of paper, like:
“I’m envisioning a new job that allows me to grow my marketing skills, gives me the flexibility to travel at least four or five times a year, and pays me a base salary of at least $50,000 with great benefits like healthcare.”
“I’m so grateful for my friends who helped me move into my new apartment. With their help, I was able to move everything on Friday which gave me all of Saturday and Sunday to unpack and get settled before going back to work on Monday.”
“I’m letting go of my negative self put-downs, my need to compare myself to others and all of my worry about what others think of me. These things are not serving me or my higher self and I release them from every inch of my body, mind, heart and soul."
Repeat steps 3.1 and 3.2 until you have burned all of your pieces of paper.
The closing of the ceremony
Take a few deep cleansing breaths and dedicate some time to reflect on how you feel after conducting the candle ritual.
Thank yourself for taking time away from your material world to be a part of this “new moon” candle ritual.
Thank your guides, angels, the universe and/or a higher power for being with you (this is an optional step).
Blow out the candle(s) to bring the candle ritual to an end.
After a ritual such as a candle ritual, and especially a ritual for a certain moon phase like the “new moon”, journaling is a superb way to contemplate on your experience. You could even use this experience to help you create a vision board.
A candle ritual in honor of the “new moon” phase that indicates a new month could just be the occasion that gives you the impetus for you to materialize all of your innermost dreams and desires!
Alisha Chunara is a creative writer from Allen, TX who is currently pursuing a major in Visual and Performing Arts (concentration: film) and a minor in creative writing at the University of Texas at Dallas.