New Moon Vibes

Make the Most of the New Moon Vibes

Every month, the moon transits through its different phases. One of its most powerful phases is that of the New Moon. So what is a New Moon and what sort of things are recommended to do to really make the most of the energy around us.

What is a New Moon

Simply put, it’s when you look up into the clear night sky and there’s no moon visible. As the nights pass, more and more of the moon becomes visible as the moon begins to “grow” again, until it becomes a Full Moon after which it slowly cycles through to a New Moon again. And repeat.

Why Does it Matter to You?

For millennia the moon and its phases, as well as the sun and whatever it was up to, hugely impacted the lives of the folk on this planet, not only for religious and spiritual reasons but also because until the Romans adopted the solar based Gregorian calendar and spread it throughout their empire, the main calendar in use was in fact, lunar.

In modern times many don’t believe that the moon and her phases can affect life on Earth, and to each their own but, increasingly, more and more of us are starting to notice how the different phases of the moon do seem to have an impact on our own moods and behaviour at different times in her cycle.

By respecting and honouring the different energies during the different phases, some believe that their lives noticeably improve. So, what to expect and do with the New Moon energy?

How to Work with New Moon Energy

  1. Cleanse – whether its your crystals or divination tools like tarot cards or runes that you’ve used since the last cycle, now is the perfect time to cleanse. Many choose to burn sage but certain essential oils work well too. Other options are to use singing bowls or other sounds like chanting or singing. And don’t forget to cleanse yourself and your environment whilst you’re at it – sage and incense is great for this but also just getting out into nature or taking a bath with Epsom salts is fantastic to clear your auric field. Additionally, give the house a good once over, organising that cupboard or drawers you’ve been meaning to get round to for ages. You’ll know it’s worked when you feel lighter and brighter.
  2. Charge – your crystals that is by leaving them out overnight, or for a few hours at least, to soak up that New Moon energy.
  3. Intention Setting – if you don’t journal daily or weekly then try to make the effort to do it at least every New Moon. Brainstorm all your inspirations, ambitions and new ideas out on a piece of paper. This is a powerful method of setting new intentions for yourself and, without knowing it, you’ll be downloading and channelling ideas and divine insight from the Universe! A good alternative to this if writing’s not your thing is to make a vision board. It doesn’t have to be nothing fancy, just a blank card that you fill up with images, phrases and words that inspire you. Put it somewhere that you’ll see every day on waking and you might be surprised on where you find yourself by the next New Moon cycle!
  4. Create – new ways to get healthier by picking areas to work on that excite you. Often this can be a new exercise regime or hobby or find innovative ways to build on what you started in the last cycle.
  5. Rest and Recharge – yourself! A perfect way to do this is by meditating and reflecting on all that has happened since the last New Moon. If meditating is not for you then prayer is often a more familiar alternative. It’s a time to take the pace down a notch or two and make space for a new phase in your own life. It’s probably a good idea to do this before you start intention setting.

Obviously, you can do anything you like but these are just a few common ways that those who do like to work with the energies of the moon frequently choose to do so. As you progress and this becomes a natural monthly feature in your life you might even choose spellwork or invocations.

The idea is simply to pick a ritual that doesn’t feel forced. I know that when I first came across New Moon Rituals none of them really felt like me. And that’s because these are just ideas. You have to find little bits here and there and adapt until you find a ritual that feels right for you. For example, I like to do a tarot reading and write this down in my journal to review at the next New Moon to help me reflect on where I was and where I am now as well as where I’m headed. Lighting candles and burning sage and incense, whilst cleansing and clearing space, are all just ways to help get me in the right headspace.

And remember that the New Moon energies tend to be with us for a day or two before the actual New Moon and a day or two after. So currently the New Moon in Gemini for May 2020 was last night, 22 May – I’ll be doing my ritual work this evening. I’ll then look to do another ritual at the Full Moon in June, which is another very powerful moon phase in which to start enacting your own rituals, but in a different way. More on that another time!

For now, why not pick one or two of your favourites from the above ideas and give them a go on the next New Moon to start seeing how you can benefit from the energies all around us?

Idyllic Imbolc

The Wheel of the Year Continues to Turn…

January is often described as feeling like the longest month of the year. After the fun and frivolity of Christmas and New Year celebrations, the first few weeks of the year in comparison can seem bleak and boring, devoid of anything to look forward to.

But, slowly we begin to notice little signs that the harshness of Winter is beginning to fade: the sun rises a little earlier and sets a little later, greenery starts to sprout in the soil and in the trees. Mama Earth is beginning to awaken.

In the Celtic calendar, this time of year, around 1 February, was known as Imbolc, said to mean “in the belly”, or pregnant. It is as if the earth is pregnant, expectant and alive with the promise of the coming of the Spring once again. Just like an expectant mother feels the quickening of the child in the womb in the weeks before its birth, there are signs of life stirring starting to emerge.

Those who celebrate Imbolc take this time to honour the Irish Goddess Brigid, particularly known as a Goddess of fire, the sun and the hearth, of healing, poetry and smith-craft. She is the Goddess of fertile lands and people, with obvious links to midwifery and newborns. She is the maiden of the Triple Goddess.

Traditionally in the farming calendar, this time of year was also known as Oimelc – ewes’ milk – because it marks the start of the lambing season, whilst in the Christian calendar it is celebrated as Candlemas. The Goddess Brigid was so popular amongst the Celtic people that she was supposedly carried on within the Christian faith as St Bridget.

Our ancestors would have celebrated this time as one of their several fire festivals held throughout the year as well as a time of renewal, dedication and purification, with feasting and decorating of their homes, particularly their hearths, with a Brigid cross or doll.

Ways for you to mark the promise of Spring might be with the planting of a few seeds, a cleansing ritual bath with salts and incense for purification or going on a nature walk to see what signs of the coming Spring you can spy! It could be a simple meditation or prayer of thanks, a goal planning session, wish-making or offering of dedications. Alternatively, you might choose to decorate your home and/or fireplace with a few white and green candles, snowdrops, daffodils or crocuses.

Whilst Winter is not yet fully behind us, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and for me this is what Imbolc is really all about – hope that warmer, brighter days are coming soon after the cold, dark harshness of Winter. Indeed, as John Steinbeck famously said:

What good is the warmth of Summer, without the cold of Winter to give it sweetness”.

John Steinbeck

You may already have very own way of marking this “pre-Spring” occasion and if so I’d love to hear how in the comments below.

If you’d like to know more about traditional Celtic celebrations and how to get more in touch with nature and ways to celebrate it throughout the year, take a look at some of our other articles by clicking on the following links:

https://myholisticliving.co.uk/2019/09/21/merry-mabon/

https://myholisticliving.co.uk/2019/12/21/why-we-really-celebrate-christmas/

https://myholisticliving.co.uk/2019/11/02/happy-celtic-new-year/

Until the Wheel of the Year turns again…

Wheel_of_the_Year

Merry Mabon!

How Do You Celebrate the Autumn Equinox

This year, the Autumn Equinox (Spring Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere) begins today on Saturday 21 September and ends tomorrow Sunday 22 September. In Pagan and Wiccan traditions, this is known as “Mabon“.

What is Mabon?

Essentially, Mabon is a celebration of gratitude after the hardwork and toil of the last few months especially, for those following the agricultural calendar. In the Christian church, it is celebrated as the Harvest Festival whilst in the US, although held later in the year, it is akin to Thanksgiving. Throughout history and across religions and cultures, there have been similar celebrations where the central theme is one of thanks, regardless of different beliefs and when the particular celebration falls.

Also, much like the Spring Equinox, the Autumn Equinox is a time of balance as the days and nights now are equally long. It is a time to recognise that the warmth of Summer is behind us and the long, cold nights of Winter lie ahead. A time then to look back and reflect on the spoils of the Summer but to plan and prepare for the Winter.

The Wheel of the Year

“The Wheel of the Year” is effectively a calendar used by Wiccans and Pagans alike, amongst others, with 8 annual celebrations/festivals called Sabbats. Four of these relate to the Sun’s position (the solstices/equinoxes) with the remaining festivals and ceremonies relating to farming/the seasons.

Mabon itself is a relatively new name for the celebration, first surfacing, it is believed, as recently as the 1970s. So who or what was Mabon? Mabon is said to be a Welsh God about whom not that much appears to be known. Often referred to as the “Great Son” of the Earth Mother, there’s an interesting and knowledgeable article on who Mabon was said to be here: https://heartofthewitchspath.wordpress.com/2016/08/11/abcs-of-celtic-mythology-mabon-and-modron/

In Greek mythology, this time of the year was linked to the tales of Demeter, Goddess of the Grain and Harvest, and her beautiful daughter, Persephone whom Hades, God of the Underworld, took a serious liking to and abducted. As the tale goes, Persephone would spend half the year in the Underworld with Hades (Autumn and Winter) and the rest of the year with her mother, Demeter (Spring, Summer).

These are just two of the numerous myths and legends out there used all over the world to explain the key themes of this time of the year, of harvest and gratitude, a time of balancing both the light and the dark. I find it fascinating to see how similar yet different these stories all are.

Traditional Importance of Mabon

In today’s western world, it can be difficult to imagine just what an important time of year this would have been to our ancestors. We live in a world where every conceivable convenience is at hand just by the touch of a button. Not so for our ancestors of course, when one’s very survival through the cold Winter months depended on the harvest of the previous Summer. If it had been a bountiful harvest then all was as well as could be. Had the crops been damaged or failed to grow as anticipated then this would mean a long and difficult time ahead until the following Spring. Not to put to fine a point on it, the toil and hard work of the Summer, as well as the weather and elements, could be the very difference between life and death of a family over the following six months.

Whether Mabon was celebrated by our ancestors is unclear – I guess it depended on how well the harvest did! It would also no doubt depend on how ready they were for the coming Winter. If they were still out in the fields collecting what they could, whilst they would most likely have observed it as being the Autumn Equinox, whether they would have always had time to celebrate the time of year formally doesn’t seem to be well evidenced. More likely it seems they waited for the Sabbat of Samhain, or, as we tend to know it nowadays, Halloween at the end of the harvesting season.

Current Importance of Mabon

My introduction to celebrating this time of year was at primary school when, every year, a Harvest Festival celebration was held in the hall for students, teachers, parents and the residents of a local nursing home. Whilst I never attended a church school, we did celebrate it as a Christian celebration, all pupils sat cross-legged on the hall floor, belting out “We plough the fields and scatter the good seed of the land…” at the top of our lungs, awaiting our turn to go the front and put down our harvest gift, a tin of rice pudding maybe or a tin of beans. The harvest gifts would then be distributed amongst our visitors from the local nursing home before they returned home.

Looking back, I have really fond memories of these times. I doubt I appreciated the real purpose of the event at the time but this definitely felt a genuine time of giving to others who might find Winter more difficult than me and of being grateful, much more so than Christmas even, with no expectation of receiving anything in return.

Ways to Celebrate

Schools don’t really seem to make much of the Harvest Festival or similar celebrations these days, which seems a real shame as these nature-based celebrations help to keep us aligned and tuned into the natural world all around us.

So, if you’re interested in moving in harmony through the Wheel of the Year, whether you wish to label yourself as Pagan, Wiccan or indeed anything else, here’s a couple of ideas as to how you can celebrate the Autumn Equinox this weekend:

  • Create a Mabon Altar: take an autumnal walk or have a forage in the back garden for leaves, twigs, berries, using colours and symbols of the autumnal season. You can then add these to any existing altar or display you have in your home as a way of honouring the season.
  • Do an Autumn Clear Out: Like a Spring Clean only six months later! Go through wardrobes and cupboards and take what you don’t want or need to your local charity shop/church/food bank. You may wish to burn incense or try a ritual smudging.
  • Chakra Balancing Meditation: As the duration of the days and the nights are equally long this weekend, this is a perfect time to try a chakra balancing meditation (tons of these on YouTube) to adjust your energetic body to better work with the changing seasonal energies.
  • Have a Wine Tasting Evening: Grab a few friends, a few new bottles of wine and spend the evening enjoying each other’s company and exploring new flavours. Make a theme of it, researching the particular beverage you choose to bring to the gathering to share with your friends.
  • Make a Scarecrow: We visited a local farm a few years ago and had a go at making our own scarecrow, dressing it in one of the old Halloween costumes before bringing it home and popping in our own garden – great fun for all ages as well as a wonderful way to reconnect with the land.
  • Hold a Ritual Ceremony: This could be as simple as lighting two candles, one short and white, one longer and black both lit at the same time and allowed to burn out to honour the light of Summer now giving way to the darkness of Winter. Equally it could include autumnal offerings and/or offerings, prayers or meditations to the Dark Mother/the Crone, the shadow side of the Goddess.
  • Have a Special Dinner: How better to celebrate the time of year than with a home-made meal, celebrated with family, made with all the seasonal foods?
  • Write a Gratitude Journal: I’d recommend doing this frequently throughout the year but if you’re new to the idea, this would be a great time to start your own gratitude journal.

I’d be really interested to hear how you celebrate the changing of the seasons at this time of year – Merry Mabon!

Sun in wooded glade

Summer Solstice Sunset 2019

A Lovely End to the Solstice

It’s 10:25 PM here in Manchester and the sun is just dipping below the Pennines.

Photo doesn’t do it justice; literally took my breath away as I entered my bedroom.

Litha/Summer Solstice Chan
A sacred time for many

Happy Summer Solstice – it’s been a beautiful day and evening x

🌞☀️🌞