new moon + self inquiry
Whether you believe the Universe speaks to you through tools like tarot (I do!) or you simply use these universal themes as prompts for self-inquiry, doing a tarot spread can be an illuminating practice. It asks us to pause, take a moment for ritual, and go within.
Every new moon I do a tarot spread, the new moon being a time of turning inward, of quiet introspection, of setting intention. I like these spreads by Stephanie at Bowerbird because they weave in astrological energy and I use The Wild Unknown deck. For deeper explanations of the cards, I often turn to Carrie Mallon.
On the next new moon, I review the previous spread and reflect on how it all manifested. That’s where the real magic happens for me. Rarely does it play out how I think it will. So for the most part, I’ve stopped trying to predict it. I pull my cards and record them, but honestly I don’t put much thought into them then and rarely think of them throughout the month. When I revisit them on the next new moon, lo and behold, the wisdom and revelation that’s there very nearly blows my damn mind.
Here’s what I learned from the new moon in Aries, reflected on during the new moon in Taurus.
1. YOU, DURING THIS PHASE.
Two of wands.
Determination. Direction. Become aware of your thought patterns, especially toward yourself. How well do you treat yourself?
So much of my self worth is bound up in productivity. My output is my worth. Getting shit done. Moving forward. Demanding discipline of myself so I can earn my rest. Breaking free of discipline, routine, structure, embracing fluidity and intuition, a more feminine approach. And yet, the old productivity tapes still play in the back of my mind.
2. HARNESS YOUR INNER FIRE.
Three of cups.
Friendship. Joy. Bounty. A rare connection. Creating memories.
I knew exactly what this one meant the moment I pulled it. I know who those three cups are. Tears. Because I know how lucky I am. These are women who love me as I am, while also pushing me to evolve. These are my wise council.
3. SERVICE TO OTHERS.
Nine of swords.
Dark visions. Anguish. The deepest shadows of the self.
I admit this one perplexed me a bit. I haven’t been feeling that dark. A lot of people have. And I’ve wanted to meet them there. And yet, I’m just not there. And feigning seemed futile and disingenuous. So I went on and let my light shine. But tried not to be annoying about it.
And then. The teacher appeared. And really laid the smack down.
She said “judgement is self abandonment”. As someone with several pairs of well-worn judgy pants, I had to take note. And when I looked at what was really riling me up and had been for awhile - the arrogant, know it all mansplainers of the world - it finally clicked into place. It wasn’t that I was seeing in them the same thing I refused to see in myself. It was that they were using their voices, where I refused to use mine.
I sat in meetings, in Facebook groups, in classes listening to people, usually men, confidently spout off ideas that were either factually wrong, emotionally controlling, or unexamined regurgitations of something else someone else once said. I sat there knowing I had a better idea, a more helpful idea, a more compassionate idea. And said nothing. I kept it to myself, silently fuming, and quietly left. Instead of challenging, instead of offering my gift, I left. I took my ball and went home.
I saw an energy worker not too long ago. I told her I thought it was my throat chakra that was blocked. I told her I have trouble speaking up, allowing myself to be heard.
She did her magic woowoo thing. And when she was done, she looked at me and said, it’s not your throat. Your throat is fine. It’s somewhere around your solar plexus. Between your solar plexus and your heart.
I knew she was right. It is. It’s right between my identity and my belonging. It’s not that I couldn’t use my throat, it’s that I wouldn’t. Because my identity is in that tribe. Because, even though they piss me off sometimes, I still want to belong. I still want the love of that community.
So that’s my shadow. That’s what I’m working on. Speaking up. Even when I’m afraid of being cast out.
4. WHERE YOU FEEL BLOCKED.
Son of cups.
Artistic. Introspective. Visual artist. A tendency to look within. Mystique. Secrecy.
With art, it’s humbling to be a beginner again in a new medium. I’d somehow forgotten about the trial and error, ugly phase. It’s happening. It’s uncomfortable. I don’t know whether to share the uggos or only share the beauty. Or if I’m even a good judge of which is which.
5. A WAY TO MOVE THROUGH THE FOG.
Creation. Nature. Mother. Gentle and compassionate.
When I first drew this card, I thought it meant I needed to go out in nature. I intended to. I didn’t. But I think now it’s been asking me to connect with my own inner rhythms. Again and again, offering me opportunity to let go of rigorous schedule, of structure, old ideas, old metrics of measuring worth. Offering me opportunity to tune in to what I want, what I feel like, honoring intuition. Letting go of should. Leaning into mystery.
So that's the practice. That's how I do it at least. Sometimes I light a candle and burn sage and make it more of a sacred ritual. Sometimes it's just me in my jammies with a cup of coffee. I feel like there's no right or wrong way to do these things. What matters is the showing up. I do what feels good for me. And that's part of the practice too, noticing what works for you, what doesn't, and freedom to shift and evolve as needed.