The first new moon of the year is about new beginnings, as all new moons are. January, named for the ancient Roman god, Janus, is a doorway, a transition between past and future. Think of January’s new moon as the most potent moon phase of renewal, planning now for the entire next year. Start by remembering to take the time to take care of yourself as only you can.
Tonight is the first new moon of 2023 & it brings in new energy in a variety of ways. From the clock of the zodiac ticking into Aquarius a couple of days ago alongside Mercury turning direct after its 3-week retrograde motion to the Lunar / Asian / Chinese New Year of the Rabbit occurring at this new moon. Not sure how it’s going for you so far, but it’s been a very bumpy beginning over here. Luckily, if we are aware of the moon cycles, we know we get another chance to engage with the new year energy, actually a few. Still, for now, the above energies combine into a cautious, hopeful beginning again.
Our modern-day calendar is partly coordinated with the zodiac, but only partly. However, the new moon and the astrological sun sign always match & the full moon and astrological sun sign are always opposites. The Gregorian calendar is the yearly timekeeper we follow in the modern world from January through December and is based on the sun. The moon is secondary to this counting of time. We have twelve months annually, yet we have thirteen moons per year. And because the current calendar is laid out in 30-31 day cycles, the moon’s time seems fluid and ever-changing even though it’s a fixed system in its own right, orbiting at approximately 28 days.
Fluctuations due to our solar-centric calendar make the dates of the moon phases move around each month and from year to year, most noticeably around the solstices and equinoxes. For example, the Full Harvest Moon can occur in September or October. We can also see this phenomenon right now. Lunar (Chinese) New Year is not celebrated on the same contemporary calendar day annually; it is synced with the sun & moon. It arrives each January, sometimes even February. Asia’s Lunar New Year celebrations occur two new moons after the winter solstice.
A lunar accounting is why Jewish, Islamic, Indian, and Asian holidays appear to float around on today’s calendar; however, these, and many other global celebrations, ARE tied to specific moons. And to make things a bit more confusing, all of these cultures are actually counting slightly differently from one another and even handle extra days and leap years in a variety of different ways. For example, the new moon may be marked on the darkest night of the month when there is no moon or on the first sight of the crescent moon, depending on who is doing the counting. New Year celebrations of different cultures are in different seasons. The northern hemisphere celebrates planting and harvest at the opposite time of year as the southern hemisphere. There are other ancient and modern calendars with 13 moon cycles, such as the Mayan Calendar, the Cherokee calendar, and the work of Dr. José Argüelles and others. These calendars, as well as Aboriginal, African, and other indigenous communities are more synchronized with natural time as they follow the moon more exactly through its yearly progression. The moon was and is an important cultural influence on language, calendars, art, and cosmology & mythology.
All that being said, no matter where we are on the planet, all earth views the moon the same each night, whether it is full or new. Fishermen & farmers follow it! Our report is that on this beautiful new moon, the sun is shining here in northern California after many, many weeks of much-needed rain. Ultra locally, we did OK. We are grateful to have not had major damage, that our waterways are flowing, and our storage tanks are filled to the brim. Some fencing was blown down in the storms, and the deer quickly realized they had access to fresh greens. Luckily for us, it’s mostly just the cover crop and a few winter herbs and greens, like clover, kale, and chard, we can afford to share with the wildlife. Fixing fencing has moved to the top of the priority list of farm chores. Meanwhile, our 2022 sungrown harvest is curing & trimming up nicely, ready for contest entries, and beginning to go to market.
It does not matter what religion or spiritual traditions you follow. Your rituals are in some way likely already tied to the moon cycles. But this is not a matter of belief, rather, it is about awareness. If you know where the moon is in its cycle, then you may better see how it affects you and the people and animals around you, your community, and even its influence on the environment. The experience of this connection may act as a guide for navigating your life.
Tonight we will smoke with great intention as we take the time to take another look at the year to come. And we will order some Chinese food to honor this New Moon. Moonspired fortunes & fortune cookies all around!!!
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Laura Clein once upon a time worked as a recreational therapist in retirement communities and an event coordinator on college campuses. She was in graduate school for an MSW at the University of Southern California and wrote a paper for a Social Policy class on medical marijuana in 1996. Although she lives with chronic pain and complex debilitating illness for many years, she & Marty have created a lifestyle that works. She writes many articles, and manages the social media. She is proud to be patient #1 at Martyuana™ & she says often, "Thank goodness, cannabis helps."