Yesterday I posted an image of my celebration of the New Moon on social media with this text:
‘Whatever inspiration you hatch, make sure it’s the inverse of what is expected.’
This made a student in my course Cards and Magic class and Non-Reading mentor program ask: ‘What’s the deal with the New Moon and the setting of intention? I see a lot of dividing opinions on the internet about it.’
This question inspired me to make the following remark, as I also see a lot of confusion about this in the social media space, where opinions abound. I have no interest in correcting anyone’s ways, but I do want to make a call for common sense.
What we call the ‘setting of intention’ presupposes action and drive. The New Moon is NOT about that. You know why? Because of astronomy.
Given that the New Moon is dark, like, totally dark, what we’re dealing with is the notion of darkness mirroring the dark territory in your head.
The fact that this New Moon is in Leo ruled by the Sun means nothing in light of the fact that the moon, whenever new, is as dark as hell – according to people’s correlations across dualistic systems and differentiations between light and dark.
That the moon is as dark as hell is significant, hence the warning in most magical traditions to stay away from magical spells, and that includes the time of the new moon until the first crescent.
Unless you know exactly what you’re doing, I’m with the tradition here. Don’t DO magic when the moon is dark, and that includes expressing exuberantly your new plans. Allow for the dark territory in your head to teach you something about the value of darkness at large.
It’s a good idea to check a moon phase calendar on the internet to get the visuals in place.
When the New Moon is dark, it has no light, so it will help you little with the drive behind your intentions. Again, what you can do is contemplate on what you want, if you are not accustomed to the better practice of darkening the mind, à la turning it void, so that you’re completely ready to go with the first ray of moonlight, when the crack is open again.
Here’s my advice: Whatever magic you have just done for your intentions, rethink it. Do it again on the fifth of August, when the first crescent is on. That’s when your intentions will gain momentum, in the first light.
Let me go back to my cards.
I have an interesting set here that you can only see in a book published in 1974. La Tour de Feu is a defunct French literary magazine. But in 1953 the editors had a great idea. They decided to gather a bunch of poets to have a table ronde in Jarnac, the capital of cognac, and talk about what they called, ‘The Experience of the Tarot’s Arcana.’ They were all sworn to the idea that poetry itself is the tarot. As stated on the back cover: ‘La poèsie c’est-à-dire les arcanes.’
Contemplating the Tarot images that were created for the book some 20 years later, that also come with the most fascinating poetry and literary short essays about the tarot, I’m thinking precisely of the function of the dark moon to mirror the darkness in our heads, the kind of darkness that we want to experience on purpose and beyond plans, projects, and prosperity.
That’s the point of darkness: To teach you to shut up, and that includes your mind.
The Late Messiah, The Somnambule, The Inextricable, The Geanthrope
The card of the Moon in the Tarot de Jarnac is called The Somnambule. As I’m playing with a string, I see how the sleepwalker is pushing against the Hanged Man, here depicted as the Late Messiah, looking into a mirror.
The Sun, The Inextricable, is here conjunct a Moon going where it does not know where, as it’s devoid of her basic desires – that’s what the dark moon stands for, astronomically speaking, as she’s not chasing the sun anymore, she’s one with it, yet without knowing it.
On the other side of the inextricable, I find the man of earth, The Geanthrope, the hierophant, creating rituals on the new moon, perhaps without knowing.
When the moon is dark, it can teach you the secrets of the earth you tread on. But you must be free of intentions for that lesson.
Look for the crescent, if you want to get ahead with your plans, and let the dark moon be.
Cards: Tarot de Jarnac, printed on fine paper by myself, one afternoon when I decided to give the poets from Jarnac a new voice.
More of this?