December 2016’s New Moon in Capricorn occurs at 1:53 AM EST on Thursday the 29th, and you can do your New Moon ritual in Capricorn on either the night of the 28th or the 29th. However, if you want until the 30th the Moon will be void-of-course until 8:29 PM when it enters Aquarius.
What is New Moon Magick?
New Moons are used for setting intentions with a manifestation point at the next full moon (in about two weeks, January 12th for this New Moon) and, way more importantly, a second, larger manifestation at the full moon at the six month mark (for this new moon it will happen on July 9th 2017). I always feel that it’s a good idea to dream big on the New Moons, to set intentions and put into action things that really matter, and that I truly feel are beneficial to me as a person. It’s a private ritual, so it gets real, but that’s because I’m really willing to push myself to be better all the time (in a healthy, positive, loving way, of course). Also, because the guidance goes so far out, I believe it’s important to do a little divination as well. While some people are drawn to pendulums, scrying, or runes, I always go for tarot, but you can use any form of divination that you feel comfortable with.
The process of intention setting varies for everyone, so adjust what you find here to suit your needs and comfort zones. An important thing about magick is that you should only do what you feel comfortable doing. I start by figuring out, within the context of the current astrological sign, what it is that I really want to work on about myself, and what corresponding thing I’d like to let go of (or stop doing), so that’s step one.
This is the last New Moon of 2016, so it’s a great opportunity to write your New Year’s Resolution list. You can also wait until January’s New Moon (which is the Lunar New Year) or the “traditional” date of December 31st. If I’m planning on champagne and watching the ball drop, I’m not going to be fixated on goals, so I usually put them on separate dates. Since New Moon’s also have an aspect of “letting go” to them, this would also be a good time to list what you really want to leave in 2016. Looking back on my older Esbats from 2016 I must say, it’s taken time, but it has been working. I also have my 2016 goal list to review. That will be fun – and terrifying! – I have no idea what’s on it.
Capricorn is the tenth sign of the zodiac; a cardinal and Earth sign associated with winter. It’s the zodiac’s hard worker, ambitious and anxious for a project. They are goal-oriented to the point of stubbornness, and ruled by surly Saturn. Capricorns want to be at the top of the mountain, and this can make them domineering or egotistical (but they’d say that’s just the price you pay for being the best!). They can be both patient, level-headed, fair dealing, and full of common sense. Yet they can occasionally be unforgiving, and crave recognition for their work. This is a down-to-Earth sign that isn’t afraid of a little hard work
Because of these Capricorn traits, consider focusing your intentions on what goals you have for this six month lunar cycle, and discovering the practical steps toward achieving that goal. I’m very excited for this hard working energy, it feels like just the boost I need to overcome my (sweltering Florida) winter blues.
The Ritual Process
With the Capricorn New Moon in mind, the next step is to gather supplies, if you choose to use any (that’s why this was posted in advance). Even though the New Moon technically occurs at 1:53 AM EST on December 29th, I will be waiting until the evening to do my ritual. The supplies I use are: two candles (one black and one white) with holders, a lighter, essential oil (optional), a candle snuffer, my handheld magickal diary, a pen, my tarot deck, and my phone for looking up tarot card meanings (optional, a book would be better). If you are new to setting intentions or magick in general it’s good to have a little checklist handy. I sell candles in my shop specifically designed for Esbats if you’re looking for some (shameless plug alert!).
2. Set the Intentions
Once I’ve figured out what I want my intentions to be (and their exact phrasing), I say them out loud, starting with what I want to release. I use a dab of essential oil and anoint the black candle from top to bottom (representing diminishing power) and say what I would like to let go of or stop doing. I then light the candle and meditate on that intention for a moment. I repeat the process with the white candle, except that I say what I want my positive intention to be, then anoint the candle with oil from the bottom moving up. This works to “raise” the power for your positive intention. I got back and forth on anointing, sometimes it feels just a little too theatrical for me, so sometimes I just raise or diminish the power through visualization. After meditating on my positive intention I will record both in my little hand held diary, which I will later type into my computer in longer form. It’s important, for me, to not bring a laptop into the ceremony. I’d love to leave my phone out, but I use it for the next step, which is divination.
Divination, in my case, means tarot, though you may have to experiment to find out what resonates with you the best. I’d like to say that I’m a tarot whiz and don’t need the help, but that would be a flat out lie. While I am getting better and learning, I still need the resource of the Biddy Tarot to help me interpret my moon-ly tarot spread. The only modification I make to the Biddy Tarot advice is that I don’t usually do “reversed” readings unless it feels necessary. I just don’t believe in inviting in that negativity; like magick, divination is all about going with your gut and making your own path.
Suggested Tarot Spread: 2 cards
Card #1: What type of project should I explore in the immediate Moon cycle?
Card #2: What can do I to get the most out of the Moon’s Capricorn energy?
For card #1, Wands (Fire) are generally associated with action/spirit, Cups (Water) emotions and relationships, Swords (Air) your mental state, and Pentacles (Earth) the material world and finances.
Alternate New Year’s Tarot Spread: 3 Cards
Card #1: What lesson does 2017 have in store for me?
Card #2: What strengths will contribute to learning that lesson?
Card #3: What temptations will lure me away from learning that lesson?
Note that the second reading should be reviewed at the end of 2017.
When doing a tarot spread, I shuffle my cards, lay them face down, and then ask a specific question about my positive intention. You can use my suggested spread above, or come up with your own. Just remember to ask questions that allow for advice to be given; I always avoid yes/no questions as a general rule. If you’re just starting out with tarot I advise a single card spread.
Once you know what you’re asking, focus your energy, and then choose a card. Again, go with your gut. Some people do a shuffle and random pull, I spread out the cards and move my hand over them until I feel warmth or a “tingle” that makes me choose. I do feel that it’s best not to pull cards again and again if you don’t “like” the answer you’ve gotten; the universe (or what ever you like to say) seems to get a bit “testy” if you don’t accept it’s advice. Once you have your card(s), record them in your diary, and look up the meanings. That’s where the phone comes in for me, but you can also invest in a tarot book if you so choose. I take notes and jot down my thoughts on the cards before wrapping up.
4. Wrap Up
To finish the new moon ritual, use a candle snuffer to extinguish your new moon candles. Magickally speaking, you’re not “supposed” to blow out candles because it’s seen as the element of Air figuratively defeating the element of Fire. Since you just took time to anoint you candles, give them a proper send off. Some people let candles burn down completely, but never leave them unattended. I snuff them out and use them for several moon cycles.
With your intentions set and advice in mind, now you can go into the new moon cycle and put your intentions to work with actions! The Full Moon on January 24th 2017 is a good time to check in and review your notes, then in July 2017 we’ll meet again to see how we’ve done. It’s pretty much impossible to remember something like a six month old intention, our lives are just so busy, so remember to write it all down. I think you’ll find that checking in with yourself in six month is surprisingly rewarding.
I hope you all found this guide helpful, I’ll be back at the next new moon and we can go through the steps together again. Please feel to share any (positive/constructive) thoughts that you have in the comments. Have a beautiful lunar cycle my friends!
Image by Oriol Angrill Jordà