Moon rituals have been a work in progress for me. Now that I’ve committed to doing them regularly, it seemed helpful for me to write about where to begin – for my own benefit and for the benefit of someone trying them for the first time.
During one of my sessions with Stephanie Gailing, probably sometime in late 2017, we discussed the idea of me creating rituals around the Moon. Having been born under a Full Moon when it is was in the Moon’s ruling sign of Cancer, it’s easy to understand how or why I’ve always felt a strong attachment to that gorgeous orb.
I asked her, quite plainly, “so, how do I do it? Where do I start?” Her answer was the opposite of what I’d been hoping for. She supported through several ideas about honouring the lunar phase and she listed off a plethora of options for actions or things that I could consider including. In short, she gave me nothing concrete to work with.
My Sun Sign is Capricorn so I am nothing if I’m not pragmatic. I was looking for something that said, “Step one: Do this. Step two: Do that.” And so on. In my heart, I’d known what kind of answer was coming and though I could laugh about it – then and now – inside I still felt like I’d never get it.
It’s been over a year since then and I’ve been hit and miss about practicing my rituals. I’m more attentive to Full Moons so I certainly drawn to those ritual more frequently and steadily, but I’ve included a few New Moon rituals in there, too. And even though I haven’t been consistent, I am much better and much more confident.
If I had to give someone advice about how to get started, here are the two things I would stress.
- Let whatever is sacred to your heart lead the way
- You can’t do it wrong/there is no right way
One of my biggest hurdles was that second one. I didn’t know how to do it right and so what was the point? I didn’t share my actions as freely because I was afraid my mistakes would be pointed out by someone with more experience, more in the know. As I’ve learned to let go of good/bad, night/day, right/wrong, it’s become easier. Here’s the thing: YOU CAN’T BE GOOD OR BAD AT YOUR PRACTICE. It’s yours. You own it. Fuck anybody who tells you there’s anything wrong with it. (Which has never actually happened to me, but I sure have invested a LOT of time worrying about it!)
Here’s what I’ve learned and what I’ve started to incorporate into my rituals.
- Do some reading ahead of time. In which sign will the Moon be? What are the most common nuances of the Moon in that sign? Are there other planetary influences at play? It’s even more helpful to know your Moon information – where it was when you were born, which sign, which house in your chart, which degree.
- Find a quiet place. If you have an altar, you can use that. I often time my ritual around Kevin’s schedule and do it when he isn’t here. As such, I’ve done it in all areas. The only common denominator is that I prefer to be seated on the floor.
- Candles. Lighting a candle can be a good way to mark the beginning and end of any ritual.
- Incense or herbs for smudging. I almost always use Palo Santo (clearing, cleansing) or Sweetgrass (kindness and honesty; also part of Kevin’s cultural heritage.) After lighting my candle(s) I’ll smudge myself and the area (which often leads to smudging the entire house.) The Ritual Store has gorgeous smudging sticks for sale or you can make your own.
- Pieces of nature, heirlooms and other things of beauty. I’m only partly joking when I simplify and tell people that I just gather a bunch of beautiful things and lay them out in front of me. I like to include jewelry with stones that belongs to my grandmothers. If I have flowers, I’ll include those. Stones, pines cones, seashells are all things I’ve included.
- Crystals. I’ll usually pick one or two based only on what appeals to me in the moment. I use their symbology to acquire them, but not when I’m conducting my rituals. Some people recommend specific crystals for specific lunations and
- Meditation. If I’m feeling in need of guidance, I’ll sometimes opt for a guided meditation. Most of the time, I like to meditate on the lunation itself and the intentions I am setting (New) or the attachments I am letting go (Full) themselves.
- Tarot and/or oracle cards. A New or Full Moon is a good time to consult the cards for guidance. I always use cards, usually tarot, and usually in a spread I’ve found online. (Like I did yesterday.) I do this later in the ritual, after I feel like I’ve firmly established my ritual intentions.
- Journaling. This is a common recommendation, but I’m not always consistent with it. I always keep a journal with me and I use it to record my intentions, but I don’t always expand on them. I always save this for last because I often want to reflect the cards.
- Prayer. I usually say a little one at the end to provide closure. I feel like it’s kind of one big prayer to begin with so this just adds a bookend. Sometimes I blow out my candle and sometimes I leave it burning.
These are the basics that I use for my Moon rituals and I add and subtract things based on New/Full, the signs, my state of mind, etc. Maybe I’ll share some specifics related to how the New/Full rituals differ later in the year.
The length of time a ritual lasts varies greatly. Sometimes it’s a ten minute exercise while other times, it lasts an hour or more. I find myself feeling quite contemplative after I’m done so I try to keep my schedule clear for an hour or two afterwards. If I don’t, people and noises can feel invasive and it’s hard for me to adjust.
I have a couple more random notes I want to add because they’re pretty big parts of my Moon celebration.
- I love water (again, Cancer Moon) so I always like to get in some water to celebrate a lunation. More often than not. My only or most convenient option is a bath and I spruce it up with a cup of tea, candles, flower petals, salts, aromatherapy and some meaningful reading. I usually spend a looooong time in there, too.
- There isn’t a strict timeline for when you execute your ritual. Sure, each lunation happens at an exact minute, but the influence can be felt both before and after. If you miss it, just find a time later or if you know in advance, set aside some time earlier. Your ritual does not have to happen at a specific time.
Today’s New Moon in Capricorn takes place at 5:28pm PST. The Capricorn influence suggests that we focus on self-mastery, organizing ourselves and restructuring our thoughts.
I think Megan Skinner said it best when she said:
Stephanie Gailing also had some beautiful and expansive thoughts that can be found here.
For the record, if anywhere in the post, it says libation, it’s meant to say lunation. This phone is on the fence about whether it believes it’s a word and keeps autocorrecting at random.