Using the New Moon to Plant Seeds of Intention

A lot of fuss is made about the full moon. It’s the high point of the lunar cycle, the energetic zenith, the showpiece. And yet, when you’re working with the lunar cycle, it all starts a fortnight or so before, with the dark*/ new moon.

This new moon time is the equivalent to the seed being planted. Nothing can be seen, and yet, there is a lot going on beneath the surface. This is the time to focus on what it is we want to grow and blossom in our lives.

Here, I share an outline for a simple new moon intention setting ceremony (though it may not look particularly ceremonial – it depends on your personal taste) that you can adapt and make your own. I’m using a somewhat over-extended metaphor of planting a seed, because it makes me happy, and also because I hope it will resonate and create new thoughtful connections for you, if you haven’t thought about it in this way before.

person holding green cactus on pot

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The Digging

Often, it’s not immediately clear which intention you want to set. There might be nothing you can pinpoint that you need right now, you may feel awkward giving yourself and your desires this kind of luscious playtime, and/or, there may be so many things that need to change that you don’t know where to start.

If this is the case, you can find inspiration by digging deeper into your current pain points, hopes, and dreams (literally). This is the general digging stage. You may like to do this through:

*Journalling; either free-writing (see below) or using prompts, such as, which part of my life feels out of balance right now? How can I bring more joy into my life? What do I need to focus on this month? Where am I limited? What do I need? Ezzie Spencer also has a Dream Life Exercise in her book Lunar Abundance, which can be helpful for figuring out what to focus on. (If you’re interested in Lunar Abundance, I made a review over on my YouTube channel)
*Free-writing (a fancy way of saying, writing without consciously thinking about what you’re going to write, there’s a good definition here). It can be surprising the insights that bubble up to the surface when you allow yourself to write without any expectations. About 3 sides of A4 usually does the trick.
*Doodling; similar to free-writing but with doodles/ collage instead. Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, this is a great way to connect with your deep self.
*Divination; using your preferred method, cards/ runes/ bones. Ethony has an excellent library of free, moon specific, tarot spreads here.
*Pay attention to your dreams. Keep a notebook by your bed and jot down any motifs or characters that pop up in your dreams. You may spot a pattern, you may not, but keeping this kind of record is always valuable. If you’d like to make this practice more focused you can state, before you go to sleep, that you would like to dream about an intention that it would be helpful for you to work on – and then see what pops up.
*Meditation; guided journeys/ visualisations can be especially helpful.
*Contemplation; good old fashioned, getting still and quiet (or going for a walk/ doing the ironing – anything that gets you out of that left-brain thinking space) and creating space for some new thinking about your intention to come in.

Preparing the Soil

*Know when the moon is New. You can do this by checking any decent witchy planner, or use the online calculator here.
*Use this information to schedule your new moon intention setting ceremony (you don’t have to get up for it if it’s in the middle of the night, just choose the time that works for you that falls closest after the new moon).
*Prepare the space you will be using for your ceremony. Think about each of the senses when you do this, how can you make it feel nurturing for yourself and your intention seed? e.g. you may want to have some music playing, a blanket to cosy up in, a special scent in the diffuser etc.
*You may also want to prepare yourself in a similar fashion. Choose clothes that help you feel a certain way, use scent, have a bath (getting into your gardening clothes is the metaphor here, but you probably won’t want to wear wellies and your scruffs, but each to their own).

person holding a green plant

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Selecting the Seed

If you’ve already worked on preparing your soil, then it’s likely you already know which  seed (intention) to plant this moon cycle.
Now it’s time to really focus in on that intention seed. Some things to bear in mind as you do this:

*It is better to frame your intention in a positive way, rather than as something you want to get rid of e.g. “I want to lose 10lb and be healthy” is about what you want to lose – it would be better to state, “I am a healthy 145lb”.
*Frame your intention in the present tense, as if it is already true. (You’ll notice I did that with the example I gave in the last point). So, I am in a loving relationship, instead of, I want a loving relationship.
*You may want to play around with how you write/ state your intention. If you want to write it down (I find I have better results this way, than if I hold it only in my mind/ heart) you may want to do this using the circular, don’t-take-your-pen-off-the-paper method. Which is exactly as it sounds. You write your intention in a clockwise circle, joining each letter and word, until the last letter of the last word meets up with the first letter of the first. It sounds more complicated than it is 😀 just make sure you keep your pen on the paper and do not lift it up until all the letters are joined as one.
If you use sigils, you may want to use that method for writing/ sigilising your intention.

The Planting

At the allotted time, in your already prepared self and space, with your ready-to-be-planted seed, it’s time to start the planting/ ceremony itself:

*First, sprinkle in some bone meal and/ or fertiliser; you may want to light some candles, cast a circle (if you do that), call on your ancestors, spirits, or deities (if that feels right).
*Plant the seed; read/ state your intention out loud. You may want to do this a number of times, 3 works well I’ve found. If you’re using sigils then activate them now.
*Cover over the hole; you may want to burn your intention (if it’s on paper or a safely burnable item such as a leaf), meditate, chant, drum.
*Water the seed; in tarot and magic water is the emotions. To water your seed to focus on how your intention makes you FEEL. Remember, not how it WILL make you feel, but how you feel as it is real in the present moment. eg. visualise yourself in that loving relationship as if it is real right now (it is already real, just only on the astral plane at the moment – that’s the first step to making it real on the material plan). Don’t skip this step, the seed will wither and die if it’s not sufficiently watered in.

brown and green leafed plants

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Tending

A lot of the work is now done, but most seeds can use a little TLC while they get established. And what’s the point of planting if you don’t enjoy the flowers when they bloom (hopefully by the full moon, though some intentions are slower growers and take longer before they blossom) so:

*Throughout the waxing cycle you can tend your seed by watering, as in the planting section above, and making sure it gets lots of sun (happy, loving, and grateful, thoughts).
*At the first quarter moon, you may need to thin out the seedlings, if you planted more than one, or if you realise you placed them too close together.
*At the full moon appreciate the flowers, or if there are no flowers yet, check that you have been caring for the plant properly and that it has the environment it needs (it could be this isn’t the right seed for you right now, and/ or your current environment needs some changes made).
*Throughout the waning cycle you can make any changes that are needed. Weeding out anything that’s unhelpful for your seed e.g. releasing toxic friendships/ relationships, clearing out physical items, shadow work so that the sun can come through and warm your growing seed etc. You can also harvest the plant if the fruit/ intention is ready. Always with gratitude and appreciation.
*At the next dark moon your attention turns to the new seed to be planted (but keep an eye on the slow-growers that may still need your care), and so the cycle continues.

*I use the Dark Moon to refer to that period of time when the moon is invisible to the naked eye, as it is rising and setting in the same place and at the same time as the sun. The New Moon refers to the specific time and date of the new lunar cycle, which is given by astrologers. It refers to that point in time when the moon is most “dark”/ closest to the sun. For intention setting you want to be working with this NEW energy, so after this given timestamp. 

Are you in tune with the moon? Starting a Lunar Practice

I’ve been working with the waxing and waning lunar cycles for nearly 20 years now; starting out with following the moon phases, and then weaving in the astrological signs and houses. Over that time my practice has changed and evolved and I’m feeling ready to pass on what I know in the hope it will be helpful.

But it almost feels too huge. Where to start?
I’m going to attempt to cover everything you need to get started working with the lunar cycles in this post…
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Step 1
Observation
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Make a point of knowing which phase the moon is in as she waxes and wanes. You can record this in your magical journal/ book of shadows/ bullet journal – whatever you use.

You can use a special almanac or diary which shows the phases every day, to support you in this practice, but nothing beats actually getting outside, or by a window, and seeing the moon for yourself. Different phases are visible at different times. I’ll go into this more in another post perhaps.

Also note how you feel at different phases. Are you more outgoing at full moon? Do you dream more when the moon is in a certain phase (or sign, if you’re working with astrology already).

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Step 2
marking the major phases with ritual
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I do this on full and new/ dark moon, and usually also a little something on the quarter moons too. This can be as simple as a ritual bath with salt and candles every dark moon. Or as elaborate as a group meet up for drumming, chanting, trancework and partying on the full moon.

Add these to step 1. Note how your rituals feel. Perhaps try the same ritual on a different phase. How does that change things?

crescent moon

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Step 3
utilising the cycles in your workings
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If you’re already familiar with spell work then you can tweak things a little to sync your spells with the moon (and if you’re not casting yet, simple spells corresponding with the moon phases is a great place to start).

The general rule is, from new to full ie. the waxing (getting bigger) moon, you cast for things you want to grow bigger. For example, financial abundance, love, promotions at work etc.

Then from full to new ie. the waning (getting smaller) moon, you cast for things you want to get smaller/ go away. For example, illness, weight loss, bad habits, annoying people etc.

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Step 4
experiment and notice
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Try things. See how they feel. Try different things. Does divination work better for you at certain phases? Do you have more energy for spell work at certain phases?

If you have a bleeding cycle, how does your internal moon phase sync, or not, with the external moon phase?

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Step 5
research and review
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Read and learn more about working with the phases. You might like to add working with the astrological signs and houses into your practice. Perhaps a different aspect is calling to you. As with all parts of the craft, continue to learn and grow. How we relate to the moon can wax and wane as we get older too. Stay curious.

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I’ve uploaded a video about how to start working with the cycles over on my YouTube. So if you prefer your info in video form you can find that here. It also includes the resources I like to use and more info I couldn’t fit into this post.

 

ENDNOTE: I know this is a simplistic overview of a HUGE topic. I hope it makes sense and is helpful, but I’m conscious there is so much more to cover. If you have any questions please ask.

What would you like to know about working with the moon? How do you already tune into the moon in your practice?