The new dark moon is for infinity, not intentions

The new dark moon is for infinity, not intentions January 24, 2020
Otto Tragy playing cards (Photo: Camelia Elias)

It’s the New Moon. People talk about setting intentions by giving form to their desires. When the moon is new we think of boundaries and how to conserve our energies. But what we don’t think of is the fact that when the moon is new it’s also dark. This means that we can’t really see it. Is there an analogical application of this darkness apart from fallaciously associating it with concretizing plans?

From a sympathetic magic point of view, I have to say that I don’t see the point of this analogy: invisible moon equals visible plans. How is this kind of thinking logical?

I get the point of setting intentions, as we may be tired of the same rhythm in a month, so it’s good to refresh ourselves with the new moon by flushing out the tedious, but I think that we would be better served if we considered a different analogy than the one that ‘grounds’ our desires in a nebula of darkness.

Here’s what I propose. There’s greater magic in thinking of how the new moon completely blends in with its own darkness and the darkness of the sky. Granted, the sky is never dark as such, as each star does its job at shining brightly, but as far as we’re concerned, the moon is invisible and not to be found. Perhaps the moon is not to be bothered either by our mundane plans and desires for accomplishments.

Some say this is a good time to go within, and explore the inner self. There’s something to be said for that, but if you’re like me, Zen inclined, then the whole notion of the self is not so seductive. I don’t want to tell myself more stories about myself and what I can or cannot do, anymore than I want others to tell me stories about myself, about how I am supposedly, and how I can get better at whatever it is that I fail at.

The dark, new moon is infinite. Formless. I’m thinking of the beauty of the formless and the freedom that it affords us, including freedom from having to do things, define clearly what we want, concretize coherently our notions of the next steps towards success, and any of the other illusions. I want the infinity of the new moon to allow me to sink into the sublime of being a ‘no doer’. At moments, just as there’s no ‘to be or not to be’, so there’s no ‘to do or not to do.’

My fellow countryman, the infamous Emile Cioran, wrote these words in his book, On the Heights of Despair, that I share here for your new and dark moon reflection:

“Infinity leads to nothing for it is totally provisional. ‘Everything’ is too little when compared to infinity […] The penchant for form comes from love of finitude, the seduction of boundaries which will never engender metaphysical revelations […] Let us live in the ecstasy of infinity, let us love that which is boundless, let us destroy forms and institute the only cult without forms: the cult of infinity” (99-100).

I’m surprised at Cioran’s passion here, as usually he’s more into making himself odious by pointing to many futilities in our lives that we habitually cherish. But I can see why he’d get excited by the cult of infinity…

Instead of setting intentions, and asking the cards about how you can go about implementing what you want, how about you ask the cards the following:

How can I sink into infinity, and merge with the invisible new moon in the dark sky, so that I can better sense what is essential and what is not?

The idea is to forget concreteness, boundaries, plans, and forms your desires can take for a coherent expression. The idea is to explore infinity and the formlessness of your whole being, because that’s what the dark moon is there for.

My own cards suggested the following:

Otto Tragy playing cards (Photo: Camelia Elias)

7 Spades, 2 Hearts, 3 Hearts

First the magic, and then the sharing of it.

The point of magical awareness begins with hearing ourselves all the time. Also the stuff that we don’t want to hear. If we do it, chances are that we can have an experience that’s not bound to other people’s sense of finitude. If you say to yourself almost per commando, ‘set your intentions’, pay attention to who’s speaking, because it’s not sure that it’s you.

When you’re done listening to yourself, then question the precept and to what extent it makes sense for you to repeat it. Today I’ll say this with a modification, if I must repeat other people’s ideas: Set your intentions in the moon’s infinity, and see how far you get with those plans of yours. You might discover a lightness of being, a merging with the infinite. That would be as sublime as it can get.

Stay in the loop for catomantic course. next in line is the Playing Cards Foundation Course, in February.

About Camelia Elias
Camelia Elias, PhD & Dr.Phil., is a former university professor. After 20 years in the academia, she left her career to pursue her interests in teaching and writing on the philosophy and practice of reading cards. She works with contemplative arts, oracular language, and martial arts cartomancy and Zen at her own school, Aradia Academy. You can read more about the author here.

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  • abuu

    Is “when the moon is new it is also dark” based on personal observation?

    Remember that the when the near side of the moon is dark (“new moon”), that is because the sun is illuminating the far side of the moon. The sun is beyond the moon, illuminating the side of the moon that is toward the sun, and also illuminating the side of the earth that is toward the sun, which means that the sunny side of the earth is facing the dark side of the moon. The light reflected from the sunny side of the earth in that situation always illuminates the moon somewhat, though it may not be visible because of twilight or man made light pollution But the dark part of a tiny-crescent moon is often visible even in twilight, sometimes quite dramatically. The new moon would be at least that visible, if the sky were dark, though without the bright crescent it might not be as quickly noticed.

    We often hear or read how dark it was because it was a new moon, so no moonlight at all, only starlight. That’s not because the moon was “up there” but dark, it’s because the moon wasn’t “up there,” in the dark of night, but was rising and setting close to sunrise and sunset. Even if the new moon was actually black, and was in the sky when the sky was actually dark, the dark disk of the moon would be detectable as a circular void in the overhead expanse of stars, quite noticeable to those who cared to look, and well known to outdoors-folk and poets.

    By the way — It is interesting to see that there are Lenormand decks that have “32. Moon” showing a crescent moon with stars within the crescent – stars that are apparently either between the earth and the moon, or are somehow shining through holes in the moon. An eye-rolling depiction even in children’s books, but surely very wrong in something often linked to astrology and considered suitable for grownups.

  • Camelia Elias

    Good point about observation. I live in a place that’s free of pollution, or let’s just say that there’s much less of it than in other places. I live in the sand dunes of the West Coast of Denmark, in a town that only has about 300 people. When I go down to the beach, which is one minute away from my house, I have a clear view of the full sky. I have not been able to see the dark moon yet. I have an app that calculates precisely its location, so I look in the right direction when the moon is up there not just rising. I can’t see it. So I don’t know. Maybe others can get a glimpse of it, but I can’t under the conditions I’m under. Thanks for your comment.