Every moon cycle there is a lot of talk about the New Moon. Do a quick google search & you’ll find so many articles about the upcoming New Moon (for example): what it means, what energy it brings, what astrological sign it’s in, how it relates to your life, etc., etc.
Less talked about is the Dark Moon. And is it just the same thing, anyway?
(Scroll down for journal Qs & soul work for the Dark Moon.)
Some people will tell you, yes.
Modern-day astronomers denote the New Moon as the day the moon is at zero illumination. They mark this as the exact point when a new moon cycle begins, ie. the New Moon. Modern calendar makers have followed suit & what is marked on most calendars as the New Moon is actually the time when the moon is at 0% illumination.
However when the moon is at 0% illumination this is, technically, the Dark Moon. The New Moon begins when the moon shows the very first, tiniest sliver of illumination.
So while modern astronomers tend to use these terms interchangeably, they are actually 2 different parts of the moon cycle. And as such, they have slightly different energies & are supporting us in slightly different kinds of introspection & growth.
I will talk more about the New Moon later this week, but want to first talk to you about the Dark Moon, as this powerful phase comes first.
Many calendars will tell you the New Moon is coming up this Sunday, July 23rd. Technically, however, it is the Dark Moon that falls on July 23rd, as this is the night that the moon is at 0% illumination. The New Moon then falls on Monday, July 24th; this is the night the moon begins to be illuminated again.
The Dark Moon is a very important part of the moon cycle. A part that is often forgotten.
The Dark Moon is the end of the previous moon cycle. It is the moment in time where we are absorbing everything that we learned & gained in the previous moon cycle.
If you practice yoga, you’ll be familiar with the final pose of every yoga class–savasana. Most yoga teachers will tell you this is actually the most important pose of every yoga class. Savasana, also known as corpse pose, is when you lay still on your back for several minutes. It is in this pose where your body absorbs the practice you just engaged in. This is when your exercise & your practice settles into your body & your spirit. Without this pose, you’re not able to absorb the full power of your yoga practice.
Similarly, the Dark Moon is the savasana of the moon cycle.
The Dark Moon is the pause where we assimilate everything we just experienced in the closing moon cycle. It is where the real growth occurs. This is where the wisdom of the ending cycle settles into our Souls & our spirits. Without taking this moment of pause, we are missing this important integration of all our work & all our growth from the previous moon cycle.
It’s not surprising to me that in modern society we’ve lost the tradition of observing the Dark Moon. In so many facets of life we’ve dismissed this vital moment of pause. We rarely stop & rest when we complete one thing before moving on to the next. We’re such a forward-looking culture; we’re constantly looking at what’s next, what’s the next thing on my To Do list, what’s happening next. Rarely do we give ourselves these crucial moments of pause & reflection before diving in to the next thing coming.
But in losing these pauses, we’re also losing this vital time where we absorb & assimilate lessons learned & wisdom gained from our experiences. We’re missing this crucial component of our personal growth.
So I want to encourage you to spend some time this weekend, observing the Dark Moon.
This Sunday night, July 23, is when the moon is at 0% illumination. I’ve included some journal prompts & questions for self-reflection below.
It is a very beautiful & powerful practice to begin answering these questions with every Dark Moon. (As well as the questions I will be posting later this week for the New Moon.) When you engage in this journaling practice monthly, you begin to see more clearly the path you’re walking in life. You can see what the focus is for you each month, the lessons you’re learning, and wisdom gained with each moon cycle. It begins to create this beautiful road map of where you’re going, where you’ve been, what your strengths are, your challenges & how you can best utilize the energy of the moon to maximize your personal growth & spiritual evolution.
Journal Qs & Soul Work for the Dark Moon
1. What memories did you make in this closing moon cycle
2. What challenges did you face in this moon cycle? How can you grow from them?
3. What lessons did you learn? What wisdom are you taking forward into the next moon cycle?
4. The upcoming moon cycle will carry us into eclipse season. Eclipses are connected; they are like bookends for different facets of your life. If you keep a journal, look back at what was happening in your life in January & February (the last lunar eclipse). Try & recall what you were working on, thinking about, dealing with, etc. (Don’t be surprised if these come up again this month. There will be new information to be gained.)
5. This moon cycle we will be working on incorporating rest into our lives. Use this dark moon as a time to rest. How can you incorporate more rest into your life?
6. The dark moon is also time of looking into your shadows. Where have you been spreading yourself too thin? Where are you saying “yes” when you should be saying “no”?
Discover how the seasonal energies affect you spiritually & emotionally. Harness the power of the sacred seasonal days (the Solstices, Equinoxes & cross-quarter days) & be your strongest, most powerful self at each point throughout the year.