I am no expert on celestial bodies—my own body is often enough of a mystery for me. However, I do have a powerful relationship with the Moon. She’s luminous, magical, and her cycles affect my body and being. While a Blue Moon is the occurrence of two Full Moons in the same calendar month, why had I never heard of a Black Moon, what is it, and what does it mean?
The lunar calendar makes sense to me. I feel it in my body. When the Moon is full I almost always miss sleep, even in a dark room. It's like the Wolf in me wakes up, hearing La Luna’s call, “Go outside, woman. Howl…”
I also feel the cycles of the Sun. As nights get longer and days shorter, my inner Bear is called back to the cave, to sleep, dream, and quietly feed what will soon be born. Even the seasonal calendars, with the changes in smells and temperatures, those too make sense to me.
But the twelve-month calendar year has always felt like an imposition, a false construct with no relationship in the body. The weeks don't line up with the Moon and create scheduling hell for us outliers who want to make plans following body cycles, cycles of women, cycles of fertility, cycles of the Moon.
Sometimes the two calendar systems line up, and those who might not usually follow the Moon look to the Sky. A Black Moon is one of those sometimes, and I learned today it is: When two New Moons fall within one calendar month, the second New Moon is called a Black Moon. And we have one tonight.
The date of tonight’s New Moon is February 1 (at least in my time zone). However, as the it occurs just past midnight, it is new on the night of January 31st, hence a Black Moon.
Traditionally, New Moons are a time of beginning, from planting seeds to setting new intentions. Our first New Moon of the year occurred on January 2nd, which was not only the first New Moon of the 2022, but also of the solar year, as it was the first New Moon following the Solstice.
Many people set New Year’s resolutions; and most people don't keep them. (I found three sources citing that of the folks who set New Year’s resolutions, 64% abandon them within a month, 80% by February, and 91% overall.)
With two New Moons in the first month of the year, we might say that we all get a second chance. Now, all of this may seem silly, an artificial support structure, but I really like the idea of two New Moons in January. And magical things happened today: a logo design landed in my lap during my morning meditation, and the “Joywolf” license plates landed in my mailbox—I’d been waiting six months! When I opened my iPad to show a friend my new logo, it read 11:11, a number which has repeatedly popped up during auspicious times. I’m thinking something’s up, and that it’s a wonderful something, so let’s run with it.
If you'd like to join me in celebrating the Black Moon, below are a few simple ceremony ideas. I will likely do all of them; feel free to try one or all:
1st: Unplug. This is your time. Texts, emails, etc. will still be there tomorrow.
Then, try one or all of the following:
A) Go outside and look at the night sky. Enjoy the darkness, the absence of reflected Sunlight (aka Moon light). If you have tobacco, I invite you to offer a pinch to the earth, to your ancestors, to the Moon. Or, touch the ground. Feel your connection to the Earth. Notice that gravity, the same energy that is holding the Moon in orbit, is also holding you on the planet.
B) Go inside, finding a comfortable place to sit and close your eyes, placing attention on your breath and the sensations in your body as you breathe, noticing the movement in your belly or the air as it enters and leaves your nostrils. (I invite you to meditate only if you can do so with joy. If your critical voice acts up in meditation, hold it with tenderness; if this does not work for you, you are not alone, and perhaps one of the other practices will be more beneficial for you.)
C) Allow yourself to remember something that went well this past month or year, something large or small. (Size doesn’t matter, as the brain responds to both large and small accomplishments.) Then, imagine what you would like next, what would bring you joy? I especially invite you to bring forward something that may have lain dormant, perhaps a part of you that you judged, but that really wants to come out and play.
D) Is there a way you want to contribute to people you love, to the planet, to your community? This can be a powerful time to plant that seed. Our unique gifts and talents matter more than most of us know. Fire draws in community and support and helps guide the way. Light a candle while whispering your intention into the flame.
E) If you’d like something somatic, perhaps try this one-minute Qi Gong practice: Embracing the Moon.
Enjoy the dark. Enjoy the Beginning. Enjoy being you, under the Black Moon.
*If you are reading this after the fact, take heart; the practices are eternal, as are the Moon’s cycles. She will be new again next month…