It is up to you which definition for "new moon" you wish to use -- the astronomical or the magical. Astronomically, the new moon refers to the time when zero percent of the moon's face is illuminated. It is the polar opposite of the full moon and occurs when the moon's illuminated surface is turned away from Earth. In magic, this time is actually commonly called the "dark moon." The magical new moon happens just after the dark moon when we can start to see a tiny sliver of moonlight. This marks the beginning of the moon's waxing phase. It is up to you which definition for "new moon" you wish to use -- the astronomical or the magical.
The Spiritual and Magical Meaning of the New Moon
The new moon is best for all things that are, well, new. It is an ideal time for spells and rituals to set intentions, mark new beginnings, and bring new things into our lives. This is also the time to begin anything that would benefit from the growing energy of the waxing moon, like love spells, money spells, and anything else that involves increasing something.
This is also a good time for cleansing since getting rid of old or negative energy makes room for your blessings and positivity to grow. If you have a long-running spell that you want to come to completion on the full moon, the new moon is the perfect phase in which to start it.
A Ritual to Honor the New Moon
The energy of the new moon is great for meditating on all of the things you want to bring into your life. Even if you are not sure, sitting down and calming your mind in a sacred space can help bring you some clarity and direction. Having a special New Moon candle to light and focus on can help with this.
Start with a black candle, to represent the dark beginning of the moon's cycle. Remove the candle from its holder, and carve it with images and symbols that represent the moon to you. You can use a circle, or even a thin waxing crescent like this: ☽.
Next, anoint the candle with a blend of oils symbolic of this moon phase. Sage can represent doors opening, fresh starts, new beginnings, and healing. Clove oil is helpful for love, prosperity, and protection. You can also work with lavender oil, which provides cleansing and peace, or sandalwood oil, which is great for meditation and spirituality. You can blend the oils in a carrier like jojoba or sunflower, and keep it as a special New Moon oil.
After anointing the candle, you may wish to roll it in dried herbs. Sandalwood powder, dried lavender buds, or crushed bay leaves are all good choices.
Next, place the candle back in the holder. When you are ready to perform a new moon meditation, light it, enjoy the fragrance, and meditate on all of the new directions you want to go in. Ask for guidance on how to proceed, and listen for your intuition, guardian angel, or spirit guide. Afterward, snuff the flame and keep the candle somewhere safe, until the next new moon.
A Spell for New Intentions
If you know exactly what energy you want to bring in during this moon cycle, write it down. Be as specific as you possibly can. To lend this intention more power, write on parchment using a special quill and dragon's blood ink. Take your time to devote as much energy to this as you can -- embellish it with symbols related to your desires, if you wish.
When the ink dries, fold the parchment. Place it under a quartz crystal, and set it in the faint light of the new moon. Hold your hands over the parchment and crystal, and say...
In the moon's new light,
I call this night,
My desires and needs,
Come hither to me.
Visualize silvery energy growing in a bubble around the parchment, expanding until it finally releases the power of your intentions. Keep the crystal and parchment in place until the full moon, then revisit your request and see how much progress you have made.
A New Moon Cleansing
The fresh energy of the new moon is also ideal for letting go of the energies that no longer help you. Clean your house, then mop it thoroughly with Spiritual Cleansing floor wash. Smoke cleanse your rooms with some lavender incense, or use a selenite wand to move any stuck or stagnant energy. (You can also pass a selenite wand over yourself to remove unwanted energy from your aura.)
Draw yourself a nice, warm bath. Make up an infusion of fresh sage in hot water, strain out the leaves, and pour the liquid into your bath. Add a handful of sea salt, then step in and let the herbs, salt, and water wash away all of your doubts, anxieties, and any negative energy. Let yourself relax, be cleansed, and renew yourself with the new moon.
The new moon is the time to start things. It corresponds to early spring, the time when we begin sowing seeds in hope of a bountiful harvest. Use this time to clear and freshen your energy, meditate on the things you want and need, and begin the process of drawing them into your life.