How to Start a Moon Ritual (and Why It’s One of the Best Indulgences Out There)

Nitika Chopra

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Photo: Nitika Chopra

Welcome to Well+Good’s (Re)New Year—a five-week expert-led program that’s all about helping you have your best year yet. For Week Four, we’ve brought on Nitika Chopra‎talk show host, self-love guru, and beauty and lifestyle expert. Throughout the week, she’ll be sharing her tips for making self care a priority and giving your beauty routine the clean makeover it deserves.

Like anyone else, I love a spa day or mani trip. But when I feel like treating myself, I'd honestly rather be reading charts—as in, meeting with my astrologer, Jennifer Racioppi.

The way I see it, when it comes to showing myself a bit of self love, it's not always about what costs the most, but what will leave a lasting impression. (That nail polish always chips eventually.) In-depth cosmic consultations—especially when it includes moon cycle info—leave me feeling refreshed and exhilarated, ready to take on whatever the future has in store for me.

Learning to observe and integrate lunar astrology into my life is one of the best ways I indulge my emotional self, and I'm not kidding when I say it helps me achieve my goals.

Why are moon cycles so important? In astrology, the moon represents our emotional nature and subconscious needs. So as the moon cycles through each sign, the idea is that it highlights different aspects of our psychology and our moods. (For instance, a Capricorn moon could get you in crushing-it mode, but a Pisces moon is associated with stillness and spiritual practices.) I've found that if I understand the current lunar phase, I can anticipate its influence and go with the flow, astrologically speaking.

Another reason I cherish a data-heavy charting sesh: The moon changes astrological signs every two and a half days. And when I sit down with Racciopi, I can look at the signs the moon will be moving through day by day, as well as how it's uniquely placed on my own chart.

Learning to observe and integrate lunar astrology into my life is one of the best ways I indulge my emotional self, and I'm not kidding when I say it helps me achieve my goals. Needless to say, I want you to get a taste of it for yourself—no personal astrologer necessary.

Here's how to start your own new- and full-moon rituals. (And you'll be able to put your learnings to good use this Friday, when there's a new moon!)

Photo: Stocksy/Jovo Jovanovic

The new moon

The new moon happens when the sun and moon align at the same degree of the zodiac—and when the yang (masculine) energy of the sun merges with the yin (feminine) essence of the moon. When this happens energetically, it’s time to get still so you can focus on the (metaphorical) seeds you wish to plant and the new beginnings you want to anchor.

How to indulge in a new-moon ritual

1. Under the new moon, it’s a great time to get quiet, meditate, and tap into your intuition. Create a special ambiance for yourself by lighting incense, dimming the lights, and using some special candles.

2. Once you’ve reached a point of feeling centered, tune in and ask yourself for an intention to guide the next lunar cycle, which is approximately 29 days.

3. On a special piece of paper—like a cute journal or piece of stationery—write your intention out. Once it’s written, read it aloud three times (or until you feel yourself committed to bringing this intention to fruition).

4. Then, light a candle—preferably a new candle that you will exclusively use for this lunar cycle. Over the next two weeks while the moon waxes to full, relight the candle daily, each time rereading your new-moon intention.

Photo: Stocksy/Marija Savic

The full moon

Full moons, in their essence, are nourishing. Think about it: The moon, symbolic of the feminine, receives the light of the sun, shining it back to us with illumination. When the moon is full, its strong gravitational pull on the earth can make for a time of peak creative energy and powerful intuitive breakthroughs—it’s about embodiment of your dreams and wishes. The full moon accentuates everything that you’ve been working on during the waxing phase.

How to indulge in a full-moon ritual

1. Under a full moon, I highly suggest getting out of the house and spending time connecting with the light. If you can, try meditating outdoors under the full moon—although a cozy, serene spot indoors near a window will work too.

2. After meditating, prepare a warm candlelit bath, using all of your favorite essential oils and bath salts. (Epsom salts rejuvenate the energetic field of the body and leave you feeling incredibly recharged.) You may even want to add rose petals or flowers to the bath water to make it extra special.

3. Before stepping into your bath, reread the intention you set at the time of the new moon. As you bathe, imagine any blocks to your desired outcome physically moving out of your life—you've got the next two weeks to make it happen.

The (Re)New Year series is not a “New Year, New You” program. (We think you’re pretty great as is!) Instead, we tapped the biggest and best influencers across the wellness space to help kick off the New Year in the best possible way. Between heart-racing workouts, DIY beauty recipes, and killer confidence advice, get ready to have your happiest and healthiest year yet.

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