If you're into astrology or astronomy, you might know that tonight's skies pack an energetic one-two punch: The new moon in Leo coincides with a partial solar eclipse, which& is the third and final eclipse of 2018. In horoscope speak, these are both fairly transformative events to begin with—new moons are a time for setting new intentions and engaging in new beginnings, while eclipses& are all about& embracing change. In tandem, the time couldn't be more right to reflect on the areas of your life that might need an overhaul.
And that's a sensibility we can get behind even if we aren't really into astrology, right?& I've become increasingly fascinated by moon cycles in recent years, as I think if nothing else, it's a fixed, natural guideline for self-reflection. A moon cycle is 28 days long—the exact same length as a menstrual cycle, for what it's worth—which provides a perfect timeline for setting new goals and seeing them through. That's a philosophy that goes well beyond the zodiac, by the way: Ancient modalities like Ayurveda have embraced lunar& energy& for centuries.
The point is that no matter your degree of skepticism, we can all& utilize this astrological event to look inward and engage in self-care.& Below is a three-step guide to making the most of the new moon.
Step One: Set the Scene.
Light& some incense and candles, put on your favorite record, wind down with a good book… whatever you need to put yourself in a reflective mood. Our immediate environment& directly& impacts our mental state, so if you're feeling overwhelmed or cluttered, now would be a great time to address that in whatever way you see fit. (And have fun with it—I personally take this as an opportunity to& pretend that I'm in& The Craft.)
Step Two: Reflect.
From an astrological POV, eclipses tend to shed light (so to speak) on the areas of our lives that need change. Get a notebook ready and start to consider where you're feeling stagnant, overwhelmed, or perhaps& simply& ready& to move on. Consider how you've already changed throughout this year. Where would you like to go next?
Sometimes it can be difficult to unearth these feelings without putting pen to paper first. I often need to journal for a bit or even look back on previous entries to see the throughline; our subconscious has a way of giving us clues in that way. Just remember that& when it comes to expressing your thoughts, there are no wrong answers—it only serves to enhance self-awareness. "It's like a psychic Polaroid snapshot of your mind in real time," says Heather Silvestri,& Ph.D., a New York City–based clinical psychologist.&
Step Three: Set New Intentions.
Now that you've taken the time to reflect on your mindset, you can go ahead and turn your attention toward related goals you'd like to accomplish in the coming weeks. "If you want to start something new in your life, be it new business ventures, relationships, or new personal projects, it's good practice to start them on Amavasya, or the 'no moon' day, and see them through Purnima, the full moon day," says Pratima Raichur, Ayurvedic guru and the founder of Pratima Skincare.
These don't need to be huge, sweeping goals—in fact, I find that naming smaller intentions (things like taking an hour every day to do something creative, getting my finances organized, or spending more time in my garden) are ultimately more satisfying and transformative simply because they're doable in the short term. If while reflecting, for example, you realized that& you're feeling drained at work, there's no need to write down "get a new job" as your intention—instead, maybe it's "take a walk during my lunch hour" or "focus on delegating." In the& coming weeks, you can see how those smaller goals are impacting your well-being and take it from there.
Write them down and contemplate& on how you plan on accomplishing them.& Generally, the idea is that you revisit these intentions at the full moon to see how they've manifested, but that's ultimately up to you. For now, even if it feels cheesy, just show yourself some gratitude for& taking the time& to address your mindset and goals.& In the end, there's nothing woo-woo about& investing in& your own happiness.&