In early societies, the reappearance of the moon was often a cause for celebration – after all, it meant that the dark had passed, and the full moon was on its way back. The Carmina Gadelica offers some beautiful prayers for the night of the New Moon. They’re Christian in the original context, but can be adapted nicely for a Pagan ceremony.
The following rite is one which welcomes the moon back at the beginning of her cycle. If you’re raising children in a Pagan or Wiccan tradition, this can be a lot of fun. It’s also a simple ritual that can be performed by a solitary practitioner. Or a full coven, and depending your coven your high priestess would lead the casting while channeling every ones power.
First, if your tradition requires you to cast a circle, do so at this time. If you don’t normally cast a circle, take the time to ritually purify the area by smudging or asperging. This will establish the space as sacred.
Perform this ceremony outside if at all possible — it’s the best way to get a good look at the sliver of new moon. You’ll need a Moon Candle, wrapped in a black cloth, to place on your altar. This is traditionally a white unscented pillar-style candle. You’ll also need a hand-held mirror. Tie some silver and white ribbons on it if you wish. Finally, have a small bowl of blessing oil handy.
Hold this ceremony at sunset if you can. Turn to the west, and watch as the sun goes down (without looking directly at it). Once the sun has dropped below the horizon, you’ll be able to see where the new moon is rising. If the sun sets before you began, you’ll need to look a bit higher in the sky, but you should still be able to find it as long as the night is a clear one.
If you’re doing this rite with children, have them each try to be the first one to spot the new moon.
Once you see the moon in the sky, unwrap the candle. Hold it up high and say:
Welcome back, Moon!
We’re glad to see you again.
Another cycle has passed
another month gone by
and our lives have moved forward.
Place the candle on the altar and light it, still facing the moon. Say:
Today is a new day,
and a new month begins.
As the tides flow, and the moon rises above,
we are thankful that She has returned.
She watches over us, ever constant,
yet always changing,
and we are thankful for her light.
If you have children present, have them wave to the moon and thank her for returning — you’d be amazed how silly and fun this simple task can become!
Next, turn to face east, where the sun will rise in the morning. Pick up the mirror and hold it so you can see the new moon behind you. Say:
Bring us your wisdom, your guidance,
your protection, in the coming month.
You are behind me at every step,
watching and guiding me,
and I am thankful.
Place the mirror back on the altar, beside the moon candle. Take a moment to reflect on your goals. After all, this is a time of new beginnings, and a good time for new commitments and vows.
Warm the Blessing Oil over the candle for just a moment, and then anoint each others’ foreheads. As you do so, say:
May the blessings of the moon be with you.
If you are working alone, anoint your own forehead, and grant yourself the blessings of the moon.
When you are ready, close the circle and end the ritual. If you choose, you can move into healing rites or magical workings, or a cakes and ale ceremony.