MoonThe most potent New Moon of the year is coming up on Wednesday at 5:29am (Pacific Time). Don’t miss this opportunity to set your intentions! If you’re really feeling the Aries impatience, and want to skip the nitty-gritty of what’s happening astrologically, just go to the bottom of the page for a simple New Moon intention-setting ritual.

Why is this particular New Moon so powerful? The New Moon in Aries is the first New Moon of the astrological new year, which started with Spring Equinox on March 20 (when the Sun entered Aries). Aries the Ram is the sign of action, risk-taking, leadership, independence, creativity, vitality, passion and courage, and at the New Moon we can really harness this energy and start manifesting our new year intentions.

Until the Aries New Moon, we were still completing the Pisces lunar cycle. The goal of that cycle (March 15 to April 14) was to let go of, heal, and dissolve whatever was getting in the way of our ability to bring in the new. Now it’s time to start moving forward.

Actually, the ideal time for taking action isn’t right ON the New Moon, but a few days afterward. The New Moon is a magical, deeply reflective, inward-turning time — the night is pitch black, the energy is low, and we can connect deeply with our psyches and with the invisible realm of Spirit, dreams and imagination. Once that sweet little sliver of a crescent appears in the night sky — a few days after the New Moon — the energy starts building and it’s time to go for it.

But Wait… The Mercury Retrograde Slow-down

MercuryIn contrast to — and likely to interfere with — the Aries go-go-go energy, Mercury will turn Retrograde on the 17th, until May 11. Although it gets a bad rap, Mercury Retrograde does not herald disaster, and it serves a purpose — to slow us down and give us the opportunity to reconsider and rework our ideas and plans. People and projects from the past tend to resurface, and there may be a need to re-do or complete something to enable you to better move forward (all “re-” words apply during Mercury Retro).

Don’t let Mercury Retro get you down. If your plans are taking longer than you would like to come together, if you need to make unexpected changes, if you need to take care of something from the past, go with it. Trust that whatever is happening is exactly what’s needed to support you in moving forward with renewed power and inspiration once Mercury is moving forward again.

Use these next three weeks to be sure you’re really going after what you want. Are the roadblocks signaling you to change course, or just testing your patience because the timing isn’t right? Your intuition is more powerful than your logical mind during Mercury Retro, so rather than trying to make sense out of it all, feel into the questions.

And in the meantime…

Set Your Intentions

The optimal time to set your intentions is the exact moment of the New Moon, or soon after. In this case, ideally between 5:29am and 12:23pm (PDT) on Wednesday. If you can’t do it then, wait until after 3:55pm (the Moon will be void-of-course from 12:23-3:55, and you won’t be able to think as clearly).

A simple New Moon ritual:

You’ll need: a candle (red would be a good choice for the Aries New Moon), paper and pen.

Light your candle and spend a few minutes (or however long you want/need) just sitting, breathing, feeling into your heart, getting grounded and centered.

When your mind feels clear and peaceful, pick up your pen and paper and write down your intentions — what do you want to create? Astrologer Jan Spiller, author of New Moon Astrology, recommends writing down no more than 10 New Moon wishes.

Over the years, I’ve experimented with different ways of writing my wishes. Usually I’ll start with something like, “Dear New Moon, If it is in my highest good, and the highest good for all life everywhere, please grant me the following wishes:”

Sometimes I write my wishes in the form of “I wish…” or “I want to create…” and other times I write present-tense statements, as if I’ve already created it: “My writing flows through me effortlessly, joyfully and in service to the Light,” or “I am so prosperous that I make all decisions based solely on desire.”

You could think specifically about Aries-related intentions — creativity, support for taking a risk, increasing vitality and health, athletic goals, leadership. If you have a copy of your birth chart and some astro-technical know-how, you can see which house of your chart the New Moon is happening in and get more insight into your personal new beginnings (find 24 degrees Aries in your chart).

Once you’ve written your intentions, read them outloud slowly, feeling in your body what it would be like for each one to come true. You might want to try Barbara Hand Clow’s technique for bringing intentions into reality (as summarized in her Spring Equinox report):

With your wish in mind, do three visualizations of scenes that portray this creation actually happening in your life. Never include people who might make this possible for you because that is influencing others, or conjuring…. As you visualize each scene, see each image in front of your third eye. Once it is clearly visible in your third eye, transfer this picture to the back of your skull right above the top of your spine (medulla oblongata), and see your medulla as a television screen and transfer the image onto it. See it as clearly as possible, make it crackle, and then go right to work on the next scene. Once you’ve visualized all three scenes, say, “So be it!”

Once you’ve sat with and energized your intentions, you can fold up the piece of paper and either stash it some place special (I have a box on my altar), or leave it out, perhaps on your altar.

When I leave it out, I’m more likely to revisit the intentions a few times during the lunar cycle, which can be helpful in reminding me of what I want and keeping me on path. But it can also be nice to stash them away, let go, and trust that they’re already coming into being. I’ve had the experience of completely forgetting what I wrote, and then revisiting my intentions at the end of the lunar cycle and seeing that my wishes had come true!

Of course, there are many ways to set your intentions — the above is just a suggestion. Do whatever feels right for YOU (Aries is the sign of independence, after all), the important thing is to just do it!