Today is a new moon in the sign of Cancer, a water sign that “governs our emotional response to life” as astrologer Chani Nicholas puts it. Personally I love new moon days. Even in the midst of summer (whose extroverted beauty we are currently enjoying), I still enjoy the gentle inward pull of the new moon, its energy current rich with a quiet sort of magic that I want to lean into. I have always made an effort to honour the new moon in some simple way each month, even if it is only to take some extra time during that day to listen to what is arising in my heart, and I have found that the practice anchors me within myself and within my connection to life’s greater rhythms. So in this month’s new moon article I will introduce you to a fascinating Tantric moon goddess and share some contemplation work that you may choose to do in order to deepen your own connection to lunar rhythms, to that which you desire, and to yourself.
She Who Empowers Desire
Kameshwari Nithya, whose name means Lady of Desire, is the goddess of the New Moon and she is said to glow like the sun at dawn, and to wear both a diadem of rubies and a gentle smile. She is said to carry a noose (to draw you closer to the divine), a goad (to press you onto the path of self discovery), a nectar filled cup (to offer you the sweetness of Self knowledge), and a bow made of sugarcane (the chosen weapon of the deities of pleasure). Her flowering arrows of desire (Kama) have evocative names such as Kindling, Longing, and Enchanting, and one of her hands is open in the gesture known as Vara Mudra, a gesture that speaks of both the giving and the receiving of boons (divine gifts). I was originally introduced to Kameshwari Nithya by Eric Stoneberg, who describes her as a goddess who empowers desire, and when I contemplate this subtle goddess who presides over the darkness of the new moon I experience her as the empty pause that occurs at the very end of the exhale breath, the pregnant pause that holds both the promise and the longing of the in breath to come- and yet which does not grasp for it. This to me is a key aspect of new moon energy (and of new moon practice), to rest in the pause at the end of one cycle and to simply receive the desire that is arising within us, the desire that will take us into the next cycle without urgency and without force.
Though the new moon is the dark moon and its energy current is more introspective then that of the full moon, do not confuse a lack of light with a lack of potential or power, for the darkness that the new moon offers us is a fertile one that is rich with (often hidden) desires that may not be otherwise felt. Though it may seem that desire gets a bad rap in the viewpoint of Classical yogic thought, please understand that from the Tantric viewpoint it is thought to be the energy behind all creative expression and indeed all life. Does this mean that all desires should be manifested, and that all desires are life affirming? No it does not. Desire is an extremely potent form of shakti or power, and as such it must be paired with discrimination and wisdom. For that reason I love to take some quiet time at the new moon, whose dark energy can support intimacy and truth, and use that time to look into my own heart and ask myself what it is I am truly feeling and what it is I truly want. Below are some contemplative questions that you may bring in to your own practice to support your own inner knowing and to empower your own desires.
New Moon Contemplations to Empower Desire
These contemplations can be done through writing, or by simply asking yourself the questions and sitting with the answers that arise. To begin please do any ritual practices that will help you to create a sense of intent or simply spend a few minutes in silent meditation, and then drop the following questions into the space of your heart. You may also choose to visualize Kameshwari Nithya in your mind’s eye and imagine that she is sitting near you with her gentle smile, offering you her cup of nectar and asking you these questions herself.
- What is currently arising in your heart? What emotions are moving through you, wanting to be felt and acknowledged?
- What creative ideas do you feel may be making their way to the surface of your life? What seeds have taken root within you?
- What is it that you truly desire ? What is the feeling at the root of your most powerful desires? Can you what you desire? Can you whisper it into the darkness without fear or shame?
After you have finished your contemplation practice take a moment to steep in the experience of naming your desire and allowing it space to expand. Do not feel that you have to think of action steps in which to create anything or move on your desire, rather simply allow yourself to receive and to rest in the blessing and the fullness of it. Know with certainty that the next phase of the creative cycle will arise in it’s own time, guided and shaped by the potency of your hearts desire.
May your new moon day be full of quiet beauty and may the desires that surge in your innermost heart be the guiding force for the artistic creation that is your life.