The New Moon

The New Moon: It’s a Powerful Phase, But It’s Still Only a Phase

In November, I was with a team in Mexico’s Yucatan helping to serve the area’s impoverished communities. On our last day there, we were handing out sandwiches we’d made to people who had come from all over the state to be with loved ones at the local hospital. My friend’s daughter was wearing a t-shirt with the phases of the moon on it.

“What’s your favourite phase?” I asked her.

“I don’t want to choose! I guess the gibbous,” she said. “What’s yours?”

“Hmmm, I think the New Moon.”

“The New Moon? But you can’t even see it!” 

That got me thinking. No, you can’t see the New Moon – it’s hiding out between the 

Earth and the Sun on its 29.5-day elliptical journey. There are many more myths and information about the Full Moon, maybe because we can see it. My brain, though, started swirling with connections to what’s unseen, like the New Moon, about analogies to intangible mysteries that affect us as surely as do objects in the tangible world. These swirling thoughts looked a lot like the sky in Van Gogh’s Starry Night as they surfaced and dived in my imagination.

The first metaphor for the New Moon that landed was about faith. The New Moon represents that which we can’t see, like a higher power that we might believe in. We can’t see this higher power, but we know it’s there to guide, bless, teach. We might see evidence of that higher power – like we do the other phases of the moon – in joy from good decisions made or feelings of gratitude for what we have or in absorbing lessons learned from our mistakes.

The second metaphor that landed and really stuck for me to ruminate on revolved around confidence and personal empowerment. I’ve been in a multi-year rut where my confidence took a beating and I diminished myself so fully that I didn’t know if the Real Me would ever surface again. I’m captivated by this metaphor of the invisible New Moon and its connection with my confidence: like the New Moon is held invisible between the Earth and the Sun, my confidence had been held invisible between what I know is best for me and the ideas of others who think they know what is best for me. It’s been sandwiched between my creativity and the negativity that tries to tell me I have nothing to contribute. I allowed my confidence to stay in an invisible New Moon stasis, choked by the need to make myself small to appease people who treated me badly; my voice was silent in an attempt to avoid conflict, sacrificed to make these people feel powerful and better about themselves. I believe that this treatment was fueled by their own lack of confidence, or a fear of the confidence I possess that threatens them somehow; by diminishing myself, though, I didn’t help anyone.

Like the New Moon moving inevitably into its next phases, my confidence emerged from where it was hiding between my metaphorical Earth and Sun. My confidence was always there, was always a kind, powerful friend to me, but I “couldn’t even see it!” as my friend’s daughter had said about the New Moon. Making myself small in the moment as a misguided act of protection couldn’t last forever, just like the phase of the New Moon can’t last forever. This hidden part of me was a phase and it now moves into a new normal like a recognition of faith in myself: my confidence emanates gratitude, joy, creativity, teaching and learning that I can share with and shine on the world around me.

– Tanya MacIntosh