New Moon day, or Amavasya, marks the start of a new lunar cycle, and is the day when the Moon, representing the cosmic mother, merges completely with the Sun, or cosmic father.
Our next New Moon day is coming up on May 30th, and is the ideal time to nourish your inner self with meditation and spiritual practices, which are extremely effective during this time.
Though often translated as New Moon, Amavasya really means No Moon day. In Sanskrit, ‘amā’ means together, and ‘vásya’ means to dwell or cohabit. It can also be translated to ‘na’, meaning no, ‘ma,’ meaning Moon and ‘Asya,’ meaning there – altogether translating to ‘there is no Moon.’
Amavasya is an ideal day to honor your ancestors. Ancestral worship is an integral part of many cultures in the east. We inherit not only our physical characteristics and behavioral traits from our ancestors, but our consciousness as well. We are forever indebted to them, as without their presence we wouldn’t be here.
It is therefore extremely auspicious and important to remember and honor our ancestors and express our gratitude to them. The spiritual practices that you do help your ancestors to find mukti, or liberation, and in return they send you an abundance of blessings.
Practicing the following rituals can help you make the most of this day, and prepare you for the upcoming lunar cycle.
New Moon Rituals
- Mantra chanting, meditation and spiritual practices are extremely effective during this time. You can chant the simple yet powerful Shiva mantra, ‘Aum Namah Shivaya‘ 108 times or more as the New Moon is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the all-pervading divine consciousness.
- On Amavasya, it is important to nourish your inner self. It is time to take a step back, pause and reflect on the month that has gone by and plan for the month ahead.
- Keep yourself hydrated. Many of us may experience lethargy and tiredness during this time, and we may feel a lack of motivation to get things done.
- Write down and reflect on all that has happened in the past lunar cycle and set intentions for the upcoming lunar cycle. Contemplate on what you want to achieve during this month, hold a sincere intention and take a commitment to give your 100 percent to get it done.
- Perform the Shunya Mudra by bending your middle finger to gently touch the bottom part of your thumb and press your thumb to support the middle finger. Extend all the other fingers. Shunya means ‘emptiness,’ or ‘spaciousness,’ and this mudra will help you clear any blocks and set you up for new beginnings. It will enable you to empty your frustrations, desires and disappointments, creating space for you to start afresh.
- Perform Pranayama, or breath control exercises, for a minimum of 10 minutes.
- Feel grateful to your ancestors, pray for them and honor them in a way that connects with you.