Every 29.5 days, when the moon becomes invisible in the night sky, is a new moon—a symbolic time of new beginnings. “A New Luna is an amazing time to let go,” says shamanic healer Julie Evonne Washington. “On the day of a New Luna, you should wipe the slate clean and plant new seeds to grow. It is believed that as the moon grows, that intentions or goals will, too, usually by the time the moon completes its cycle and returns full circle to new again.” What an ideal time to start a new project or discipline.

On Sunday, July 23, 2017, the new moon occurs in Leo, which, according to Washington, “ … packs some serious firepower that’s about to amplify everything in your life—the good, the bad and the ugly.” Here’s what that might mean for you, and how to perform a new moon ritual to help make your dreams come true.

New Moon in Leo

“The New Luna in Leo has a volatile energy,” says Washington. “You’re going to be asked to lighten up, relax, relate and release into the flow of your life a little more, but you’re also going to be asked to take complete ownership and responsibility for how you’re choosing to live, how you’re showing up and what you’re choosing to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to. [These seem like] mixed signals, but if you know what is true and right in your heart, if you know what you really desire and what you don’t, then the energy of this New Luna will feel easy and light.

“If you lack clarity, feel out of sync with the Universe or are experiencing negative thoughts, habits or emotions, you may feel even more frustrated, angry or confused come Sunday. Now is the time to release anything that may be holding you back so you can sail on smoothly through this Leo season and truly enjoy abundance, joy and love.”

The new moon isn’t the only thing moving into fiery Leo—the sun will as well. “This double cosmic source energy creates a particularly potent opportunity to invoke the Law of Attraction, manifest your wildest dreams and fulfill your life purpose,” says Washington. “Tune out the monkey chatter in your mind and clear out the negative patterns keeping you stuck.”

New Moon Ritual

Okay, so how do you even do all this intention-setting and letting go and living your best life? Start after the exact time of the new moon (for this upcoming new moon in Leo, that’s 2:46 a.m. Pacific time on July 23) and not a minute earlier. Washington says for the full 48 hours after that, it’s time to harness the energy of the new moon to give your goals and dreams extra magic and staying power. (This ritual works for any new moon in the future, too.)

Preparation is the most important part, because it symbolizes commitment to your intentions.

Gather sacred supplies at an altar:

  • Pictures and found objects that relate to your wishes

  • Herbs with healing or symbolic properties

  • Crystals

  • Candles

  • Journal

Washington suggests taking a ritual bath with sea salt to clear negative energies. Then, smudge your body and space with sage or palo santo—light the bundle or stick and let the flame go out, then move the smoke around your body and all corners of the room.

Follow that up with a grounding meditation. Put your bare feet in the soil, or visualize your feet on the ground. Imagine roots going from your feet down into the earth, through the earth’s layers and into the core. Absorb that energy from the earth’s core back through your feet and through each chakra.

Then, the ritual begins. At your altar, write your wishes. “Dream big!” says Washington. “The New Luna is a moment to conjure what seems out of reach, and creating the vision is the first step to making it a reality. But these are not just words on paper. As you write them down as intentions, you are committing to doing your part to make them real. Some call it co-creating, since you're opening to universal energies to set dreams in motion.”

The guidelines:

  • Make a maximum of 10 wishes; any more would disperse the energy and diminish the power of each wish.

  • Focus on making wishes related to one or two areas in life where you want to see major shifts.

  • Wishes must be handwritten on plain white paper, brown paper or parchment paper—not typed on a computer.

  • Clearly state the wishes so that the feeling behind them comes through the words, from the heart. Use your intuition. A wish should evoke feelings of harmony, truth and happiness. If it doesn’t feel right, change the wording or wait for a different time to write that wish.

“Angels hover closer to Earth during the New Luna,” says Washington, “and if you listen to your intuitive feelings with an open and innocent mind, on this day, ideas about what will truly make you happy will come to you.”

Creating a vision board after the new moon is another way to put your intentions out there and keep them visible so that they stay in your awareness, says Washington. Grab some old magazines and books, and make a collage of words and images that represent what you want to feel and manifest in your life. Journal about your progress, and by the time the full moon comes around, reflect on how you can continue to take actions. And definitely celebrate the changes!

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