The new moon, fully inhabiting the shadow, offers a potent time for exploring gratitude for the rhythms of life.
The positive effects of gratitude include decreases in depression, anxiety, and burnout, as well as better sleep, more hope, and increased levels of optimism.
Inviting ritual into our lives gives us a way to access the sacredness that surrounds us. This gratitude ritual allows access to a larger perspective of rhythm and reverence, welcoming change as a way of life.
Gratitude Ritual for the New Moon
The moon offers a constant and accessible source of reference for change. Each passing night brings a shift that, when overlooked for a few days, seems significant. The full moon is all drama and awe-inspiring, blessing us with wonder. The new moon draws us into ourselves to examine the places we want to grow. In folk-lore, the new moon is the time to plant seeds and cut hair; a time when growth energy is at it's peak.
In this new moon gratitude ritual, let yourself be stripped bare. Let your defenses down and become your raw, primal self, ready to reawaken to the truth that lives inside of you.
- Water, in the form of a bath, a shower, or even the ocean.
- Salt. Himalayan or Epsom salt, or other salt-based body scrub.
- Essential oils mixed in a sesame or jojoba oil base. Choose scents that are uplifting, such as bergamont or yuzu.
- Journal and pen or pencil.
If you are able to go out into the night air and see the darkness of the new moon, notice how the stars shine. If you can't go outside, close your eyes and imagine a dark night sky, the moon dark and full of potential. Let yourself bask for a few moments in imagining the potentiality of the moon. Bask in the rhythm the moon reflects onto us as it moves through the night sky, and spins its way around the earth. Take a moment to feel grateful for the new-ness of this new moon.
Return to your water source. Blend the oils with the salts and use the mixture to massage your body, offering gratitude to each part of your body, for how it carries you through the day and allows you to move in different ways. Step into the bath, shower, or ocean, and feel the water wash you clean, dissolving the salt off your skin. Imagine complaints or feelings of discontent washing away as well.
Spend as much time as you want in the water: floating, sensing, and immersing yourself in the experience.
When you are ready, dry off and dress in something comfortable and cozy. Take your journal and pen or pencil and find a place where you can sit for a few moments without being disturbed. Spend some time writing down what you are grateful for in your life, right now, just as it is. Take your time and savor each item as you list it.
Next, take a few moments to write down the rhythms in your life you are grateful for. Think of the rhythms of your life that structure your day, your week, or your year. Once you have written the ones you are grateful for, take some time to write down new rhythms you want to invite into your life—ones that you will be grateful for in a month's time, or in a year.
Finally, write down the people in your life you are grateful for. Remember those from the past as well as those in your present. Remember your first meeting, or your first memory of them. Remember details or stories of your relationship that are held in your heart. Remember the funny times as well as those where you held on to each other through the storms of life. If they are still alive, consider writing them a note, or calling them to tell them how grateful you are to have them in your life.
This ritual is available for you each time the moon spins around the earth and lives fully in the shadow. The shadow side is ripe for exploration and we can find our way back to fullness with intention and gratitude.