“You can’t really criticize the moon,” one of my Wise Women yoga students observed on the heels of our yoga practice. It was the day before the new moon at its darkest stage, a time in the moon’s cycle connected with the idea of “new beginnings.”
In the days leading up to our class, the idea of “new beginnings” had taken roost in my mind as a dear and close family member struggled to find the best path for herself and her family. When I noticed the small darkened circle in the corner of June 4 on my calendar, I made the connection – new moon, new beginnings. I did a little research on the symbolism attached to the new moon only to find the idea of “new beginnings” coming up again and again.
The new moon is a time of both darkness and a sliver of light, which, like the gentle light of winter, supports a more internal focus, encouraging reflection. We can look at old goals, some of which may have been laid aside or forgotten as other aspects of our lives required more attention.
As I started reflecting on my old goals, I became aware of a new beginning I made in my practice of vedic chant. Although I had been studying and practicing chanting since 2003, my progress had been slow and disappointing. About a year ago, that changed when I decided to work via Skype every two or three weeks with a chant teacher. My chanting practice became more regular. I felt a renewed commitment to continue, and not only saw progress, but came to enjoy the work, as well. Sometimes the new beginning simply requires a new direction to move us closer to our objective.
As we reflect, we might decide to resurrect and recommit to some old goals. Some may have already been attained. With others we may find new directions reveal themselves. Some goals might have beginning after beginning in an ebb and flow, each one leading down a path we hadn’t expected when we first began. But not all old goals may seem as desirable as we had initially thought, and those we may decide to release. .
With the darkness and sliver of light of the new moon encouraging reflection, we each might ask ourselves what it is we might want to cultivate in our lives. Courage? Compassion? Joy? Patience? Balance? Or perhaps there is something more concrete we would like to attain. A daily yoga practice? Traveling? Playing the piano? Volunteering to read to children? Finding a different job?
We need only be open and patient to what may come up in our reflections, be not afraid to plot a path toward what we hope to cultivate, and move with patience and a willingness to continue to listen to ourselves and be open to modifying our direction.
The new moon days invite us to make new beginnings.
Below is a poem by a favorite poet of mine, inspired by the new moon.
How much it must bear on its back,
a great ball of blue shadow,
yet somehow it shines, keeps up
an appearance. For hours tonight,
I walked beneath it, learning.
I want to be better at carrying sorrow.
If my face is a mask, formed over
the shadows that fill me
may I smile on the world like the moon.
- Choosing Peace, 2016
- First Quarter Moon, Growth