OK… you’re a few weeks into 2020. Have you made good so far on your promise to yourself to go to yoga three times a week? Or stop eating chocolate? Or floss your teeth every day? If so, yay, you! If not, it’s not too late to revisit those big ideas you started the year (and the decade!) with.
And the New Moon in Aquarius on January 24th is a great time to do it. In fact, the first new moon of the new year packs a double punch when it comes to intention-setting.
What makes New Moon energy so powerful?
The New Moon phase is the first phase in the monthly cycle of the moon, so it’s all about new beginnings. It occurs when the Sun, Moon and Earth are all aligned longitudinally in the heavens so the moon is not visible to us on Earth. But that doesn’t diminish its influence on us one bit.
In fact, in astrology, the Sun and the Moon represent our conscious and unconscious minds, and when they’re in the same zodiac sign on the New Moon, it’s the perfect time for reflecting on what’s working — and what’s not — in your life, as well as for setting intentions regarding how you want to move forward.
What’s especially cool is that you get that opportunity for reflection and forward-visioning every month when the New Moon phase rolls around.
So while you may be focusing your attention right now on your goals for the year, consider using the New Moon each month to check in, see if you’re still on track, and tweak the path forward if necessary.
But first, let’s take a closer look at this tradition of making New Year’s “resolutions”.
Intentions vs Resolutions
I’ve never been comfortable with the word “resolutions” but couldn’t put my finger on why. Turns out there are some good reasons for that.
The dictionary definition of a resolution is to “make a decision to do (or not do) something” or “to take an action to solve a problem”. It’s usually pretty specific – like that commitment to yoga, flossing your teeth or giving up chocolate.
Setting an intention means to aim or plan to do something, which frankly, feels much more expansive to me. It’s not focused on a specific outcome, but rather on the process or journey to achieve your goal.
For instance, instead of declaring you want to lose 15 pounds, you might instead make the intention to walk more often or eat more vegetables over the course of the week.
Intention-setting gives you space to more creative with your thinking and your actions, without beating yourself up when your declared resolution falls by the wayside.
How does this new take on resolution-making fit with the upcoming New Moon on January 24th?
Using the New Moon in Aquarius to turn those limiting resolutions into expansive intentions
In astrology, Aquarius is ruled by Uranus, which is known as the planet of awakening. With Uranus as it’s ruler, Aquarius is all about being quirky, eccentric, and even rebellious. I often refer to it as the “gotta be me” zodiac sign.
Aquarian energy is also progressive, visionary and humanitarian. During Aquarius season, which runs from January 20th to February 18th this year, you may be drawn to rally people around your favorite cause or social justice project.
And particularly useful for your 2020 re-visioning, Aquarius is all about looking ahead, breaking through limitations, and making any changes necessary for taking you where you want to be.
How can you not call on that energy to pump up your intention setting for the year?
Here are a few ideas for how to do that…
1. Conjur up some candle magic.
One of my all-time favorite ways to set intentions is to create a magical candle – I always do it around the first New Moon of the year, usually the Aquarius New Moon, but really, you can have fun with this type of “magical arts and crafts” whenever you want to focus your intention and attention in a powerful way.
You’ll need a 3″ or 6″ pillar (fat) candle and a pen or big nail. Take some time to reflect on what you’d like to manifest in the year ahead… more fun, better health, greater confidence, more stillness?
Then sitting in a quiet space (no digital distractions, please), use the pen or nail to carve into the candle words and/or symbols that represent those intentions and wishes… just be sure to have a paper plate handy to catch the shavings.
If you really want to take it to the next level, you can anoint your candle with yummy oils (check online to find the meanings for different essential oils) and even glitter – every color has a different meaning which can enhance your visioning as well.
You can burn it down quickly or slowly over the next several weeks or months. Every time you light your candle, you’ll be re-igniting those commitments!
2. Practice sankalpa.
The yogis of ancient times recognized the importance of setting intentions, too! The Sanskrit term sankalpa in yogic philosophy is actually defined as an “intention formed by the heart and mind — a solemn vow, determination… or one-pointed resolve to focus both psychologically and philosophically on a specific goal… and harmonize mind and body”. That definitely has a deeper, more meaningful resonance than the modern-day practice of simply making resolutions, doesn’t it?
There is even a mudra (sacred hand gesture) to go with it. Sit comfortably in a chair or cross-legged on the floor and place your left palm face up (receptive mode) on your right thigh. Then clasp your right hand over your left, palm down (grounding mode). When both palms are connected like this, it also connects both hemispheres of the brain.
If you light your magical candle and sit with your hands in sankalpa mudra while you quietly speak out loud your intentions for the year, all aspects of your being – mind, body, and spirit – are aligned to work together to bring your dreams and wishes to fruition. And of course, do it on or close to the Aquarius New Moon on January 24th to give those intentions a little extra oomph!
3. Honor your unique gifts.
Consider tapping into that Aquarian, “gotta be me” energy of this particular New Moon. And what exactly does that have to do with creating powerful New Year’s intentions?
When you acknowledge your individuality and embrace those qualities that make you quirky or different, it’s incredibly empowering. Whether it’s physical traits that you tend to put down (I’m too tall/short, flat-chested/big-busted), emotional “flaws” (I’m too sensitive/direct/impulsive) or your “damaged” past (my father was an alcoholic, we moved around too much), try shifting your perspective.
Focus on some positive examples of how those areas have actually molded you in unexpected ways. You can squeeze into small places or wear clothes that other people can’t! Maybe your sensitivity or honesty make you a valued friend. Or dealing with a difficult childhood has made you more resilient or adaptable.
Re-framing the negative judgments or beliefs you have about yourself will only increase your self esteem and confidence. And when you bring that power-source to the business of manifesting your intentions, you’ll be unstoppable.
4. Make a plan to give back in some way.
As much as Aquarius prompts you to focus on your individual nature, it also can take you outside of yourself to contemplate how you can create a better world. And that sort of humanitarian impulse can actually open up new connections and opportunities for growth.
Is there a cause you’re passionate about? This Aquarius New Moon is all about community-building and giving back. Zero in on a charity that really jazzes you, whether it’s a nonprofit animal shelter or a neighborhood food bank. Do some research and find an organization that feeds your soul.
In addition to making you feel good about yourself (pumping up that self-esteem again), you’ll be doing good and likely be meeting kindred spirits as well. And who knows, some of those new connections may unexpectedly provide just what you need to make progress on some of your intentions for 2020.
As we approach the New Moon in Aquarius on January 24th, take some time to re-evaluate the intentions you set for yourself a few short weeks ago at the beginning of the year… or maybe jump in now to do that.
Are they expansive and creative enough to play with and re-adjust as you move through the next few months? Do they honor all aspects of yourself in the spirit of sankalpa?
Use this powerful cosmic energy at the turn of the year and the decade to set a new course for yourself and your highest aspirations!
Hi, I’m Deborah Roth, a Spiritual Life and Relationship Coach, and also a Counseling Astrologer and Interfaith Minister. My Master’s thesis was on the power of transformative ritual and I love designing creative, meaningful rituals for individuals and couples to re-energize mind, body and spirit, and enhance their relationships.You can learn more about my work HERE or email me at Deborah@SpiritedLiving.com to schedule an introductory coaching session.