A new year, a new moon, a new… [insert your intention here]

L’Shana Tova!

It’s the beginning of the year, according to Jewish tradition, the tradition of my birth. I always resonate with September as a New Year time, because although long out of school, I always loved how the High Holy Days, the New Year, coincided with the start of the school year.

The shortening days, the crispness of autumn in the air in this part of the world, the changing of the light, rode along with the energy of a new year. The sacred trip to the store for new school supplies. New school clothes and dress-up clothes. Services at synagogue with my grandparents. Holiday treats.

Newness. New efforts, after the summer slowdown. New beginnings.

I love how the Jewish holy days are aligned with the Moon’s phases. Rosh Hashanah, the New Year, is always the first day of the month, and every month in the Jewish calendar starts with the New Moon. Simple! (And yes, because 29.5 days—the length of a lunar cycle—times 12 does not equal 365 days, and because the rabbis in their wisdom decided to keep the calendar seasons consistent, every 13 or so years there is another month added to keep things straight! Brilliant.)

So, the Sun and the New Moon together in Virgo welcome the start of the New Year, this sacred season of reflection, review, recommitment, release, and renewal. You don’t have to be Jewish to embrace the invitation to cleanse, to purify, to forgive, to contemplate, and to prepare for a new state of awareness. This is a time to initiate, to begin anew. Not the only time, certainly. In my pagan tradition, we initiate at Imbolc, midway between Winter and Spring. There’s the calendar New Year, a customary time for reflection. Pick one. Pick now. You can always come back and deepen your initiation on December 31st, or at the beginning of February. Or both! Or any time you are so moved…

I love this image of the Shofar, the ram’s horn, which is sounded during the New Year services. I accompanied my sister to a Shabbat service this last Saturday. Her congregation holds their service outside, in a gorgeous spot by the estuary in Berkeley (egrets!) this time of year. The service was part prayer, part singing and drumming and part deep and insightful discussion. I got to hold and (attempt to) blow the shofar for the first time in my life. Hooray for renewal congregations and for the toppling of traditional sex roles! (Only men blew the shofar in the synagogues of my youth.) The sound I made was pretty awful, but there was a second or two there when it rang out clear and true. A powerful experience.

A ritual to mark this time, this transition.

Take some time for yourself, preferably during the New Moon/New Year window of the 15th through the 17th.

Find a stone, big enough to write on, small enough to hold in one hand.

Assemble some markers or paint, your journal and a pen, and a candle. Set your intention. For me it’s gratitude for and completion of what was planted and harvested in the summer, and inviting all that’s ready to be expressed, created, manifested in this coming season.

Light the candle and spend some time in meditation. Sink into this moment, breathe, relax, invite, allow…

Take your journal and pen, and write for a minute or two on each of these questions:

  • What’s been harvested?
  • What skills have been developed?
  • Where have you found joy?
  • Where has there been sorrow?
  • What’s complete, and ready to be released?

What’s the theme? What one word rises up in your heart to describe your intention, moving forward into this new season? Write that word on your stone, using paint or marker.

Find a place to plant your stone. Outside. Preferably in the dirt. Somewhere where it won’t be disturbed.

Know that, as the seasons change, the stone will weather. Your word will fade over time. Know that this fading is your word going below the surface, sending down roots, creating deep roots that will winter over and begin to bear fruit in the Spring.

Set your powerful intention. Give this gorgeous blessing to your gorgeous self!

Photo: I found Beth Maxwell Boyle’s beautiful photo here. It is lightly edited by me, to highlight the Shofar, the ram’s horn.

Take a deeper dive — more articles like this one...

Stillness. Solstice. Simplicity.


Retreat into the darkness — let go and surrender to win

surrender to win

Sacred pause — summer solstice


Commitment — three stories and a picture


Morning magic — what all those practices are really for…

running through tires

The journey Home.



I’m a barely tamed hippie, sage, seasoned, sarcastic (not all the time any more, but still). I’m a mom, a daughter, sister, a neighbor, and a friend. I’ve been on this meandering journey — like you, probably — seeking a better connection to and experience of peace, harmony, and fun in every bit of life. I’m single, quite good at it, and mostly love it. I’m here for the conversations I get to have with you, which these days center on exploring the mystery and beauty of life, work, health, aging, and creative expression. Want to know a little more about me and my journey? Explore the site. Read the blog. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Join the conversation!

  1. I love this 🙂 I’ve always thought the year should be 13 moons, instead of 12 months. In fact, I’m about to create a course based on that!
    This is the time for reflection and “harvest” in my tradition too – only I do this as part of my autumn equinox ritual! I love finding people who resonate with my own heart’s ways. I wish you a beautiful taking-stock and new year and beginning.
    Much love and blessings to you!

  2. I’ve learned something new and fascinating about the Jewish calendar and festivals; love the idea of starting the months with the new moon. For me, Autumn time is the perfect time to reflect, set new intentions and start creating something new, so I’m right in the middle of this process now. Thank you for your inspirational post; love the questions to explore in my journal, too. 🙂

  3. I agree that this is such a beautiful time of year. I always feel more creative, more at ease, ready to take on the world! I actually have 2 rocks ready to be painted. They’ve been waiting for something to be done to them. Now I know what to do!

  4. I’ve been feeling the moon’s tug and looking forward to your moon post for a couple days now.  I’ve not looked up at the sky for too long and this new moon sorta snuck up on me.  I swear, time is just going faster and faster, weren’t we just talking about the blue moon?  Even Mercury retrograde seems like just last week or so.  
    Thanks, Sue 🙂
    Love & Light

  5. I actually know very little about the Jewish faith and I loved reading about it here! Autumn has always been my favorite season, it feels like Spring to me, because I feel so renewed and joyful, I’m glad others can identify. I am wishing you a beautiful season of Holy Days and I can’t wait to do this ritual!

  6. I love being moved from the inside during this time, it softens my heart and reminds me that beginning again is possible and that turning the wheel on humanity is the greatest gift we have! L’Shana Tova to you as well!

  7. Beautiful post, Sue. I’m encouraged to do something to mark this season, even if I am a bit late. This new moon has been a time of substantial clearing out and it’s left me very tired. I am not sure what my powerful intention is, right now, I suspect a bit of meditation as you suggest will help. Nature abhores a vacuum and so much has been released from me these last few weeks I’m certain something huge will come in to fill it. Thanks for your article.
    Love and light to you xx

    •  @Balancing Goddess It’s never too late. In fact this is a powerful weekend for seasonal ritual as well! The Sun goes into Libra tomorrow, and it’s the equinox, the balance point, the day of equal dark and light. Use that energy to ground your ritual.
      I’ll be writing about that by tomorrow, before I leave on my week-long retreat.
      I’m honored you took the time to comment, thank you.


Chime in!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *