Rituals are a way to mark turning points in your life. They can be used to symbolically welcome changes in your life. They can be simple rituals or elaborate ones. The most important thing is your full presence in the moment.
The new Moon is a magical time of beginnings, when you can recharge goals, or set new ones.
Rituals bring meaning to our lives by "charging" an intention with power. We're always setting intentions, and this is a way to do it in a more conscious way. There is power in coming up with visions for your life, and keeping them in your sights as they come into being. But even as you fully commit to those visions, stay flexible, since new doors may open that you didn't expect. At the new Moon, goals and wishes take root, as you reach out for spiritual wisdom, draw on unseen allies and open the door to magical change. You might get what you ask for, or something even better that you can't imagine yet.
It's important to come up with a ritual that has meaning for you, instead of trying to follow any set guidelines (unless you're part of an established ritual group). You're the one that knows your personal story best, and what to lift out of that narrative, what will infuse your ritual with power. Here are some general guidelines to shape your rituals using the unique symbols and totems from your life.
Gathering your Sacred Supplies Your altar is where you collect your sacred objects -- pictures, found objects and the like. Using herbs with healing or symbolic properties adds to your ritual. Stones and crystals are another powerful ally. Candles are magical, and in its form contains all four of the elements. A small journal on hand allows you to keep a record of your intentions.
Preparing for the Ritual This is the most important part of ritual, since your commitment is the key. Take a ritual bath with sea salt to clear your field of any negative energies. Sage is an herb used by the Native Americans to clear a space, and make it sacred for ritual. It's available in most health food stores these days, and easiest to use in its wand form. Light the end and blow on it until there is a smoldering glow. Use it around your own body, and in the space of your ritual. Clear your mind with meditation, using music or just quieting down in your cleared, sacred area.
Grounding This is something that's important anytime, for staying connected to earth energy. Signs that you're not grounded are mania, nervousness, racing thoughts and the like. Too often we forget to feel the earth under our feet. I've mentioned Starhawk a few times on the site, and her tree grounding excercise is one of my own daily rituals. In a nutshell, it's visualizing the roots going down into the Earth, through the layers, into the core, and then drawing that energy back up through your feet again. It moves through each chakra, coming out the top and down around you. Try this or another variation of grounding before you set new Moon intentions.
Your New Moon Wishes After you've cleared a sacred space and settled your energy, you're ready to set your intentions. Make a list of what you'd like to draw into your life, and Dream Big! The new Moon is a moment to conjure what seems out of reach, and creating the vision is the first step to making it a reality. But these are not just words on paper. As you write them down as intentions, you are committing to doing your part to make them real. Some call it co-creating, since you're opening to universal energies to set dreams in motion.
Dreams of the Soul Your intentions come from the longings that keep coming up. In the days leading up to the new Moon, give some thought to those longings, and see what images, dreams and streams of thought come up. Use symbolic associations to go along with your intentions. Weave in the element for the new Moon, and think about the houses and planets that are affected by it. For an earth new Moon, for example, you might plant seeds that represent your intention. Rituals are a way to work with universal energies, and draw attention to the particular life lessons, or arena (house, planet, etc) that it illuminates for you.
Symbolic Acts Here's where you get to be creative. If your intentions are to write a book, or broadcast your ideas out to the world, tie them to a helium balloon and send them off. Write them on a stick and offer it to the fire. To open to love, put lavender and a rose quartz in a small pouch, along with the qualities you're seeking. If you're inspired, add a symbolic act to your intention-setting ritual.
Keep them Alive A big part of success with new Moon intentions is what comes after. Find ways to keep them in the front of your awareness. Put them in a visible spot, or keep them in your wallet. Make notes in your journal about your progress. At the full Moon , find ways to take action on those intentions, and celebrate any signs of change.