Christian New Moon Ritual – A Deep Green Christian’s Celebration

As a trained scientist, I have always seen the moon as a huge ball of rock orbiting our planet, keeping it in check both with its axial spin and also in the tides generated by its gravitational attraction which churn the oceans and thus sustain the biosphere. However, whilst journeying with my Pagan friends and listening to their deep fondness of and reverence towards the Moon, Lady Moonlight, the Silver Wheel and and so on, something within me changed my way of seeing and interacting with her.

This expansion of understanding came about from an attempt to listen to what my own Christian tradition had to say on this subject and the research that ensued back into pre-Christian times.

“God fashioned the two great lights—the brighter to mark the course of day, the dimmer to mark the course of night—and the Divine needled night with the stars.” Genesis 1:16

“You made the moon to mark the seasons…” Psalm 104:19

One of the first things I learned was that there are two New Moons: the astronomical one (which is also called the Dark Moon and is shown in paper diaries and calendars as a black circle), and the cultural one (the first observable crescent of the Moon’s new phase)

However, it was to my surprise and joy when I realised the Moon featured quite a bit in ancient Jewish culture:

  • Firstly the festival of Passover was always celebrated on a Full Moon¹, as was the festival of Shelters (or Tabernacles).
  • Then there was Rosh Chodesh, the New Moon festival. This was the time when the first crescent sliver of the Moon appeared following the setting Sun and marked the beginning of the month as the appointed astronomers notified the high priest of its appearance. The high priest then declared to the public the beginning of the new month.
The thin sliver of the New Moon.

It is hardly surprising that ancient cultures used the moon to mark the beginning of a new month. Try using just the sun to discover when a new month starts –  a much trickier, if not almost impossible task without some sort of device (be it of stone or otherwise). God has given us a wonderful way of marking time visually in a way that is incorruptible by human hands.

More “recently” (well, 664 AD is recent compared to ancient Israel) , the Roman Church at the Synod of Whitby won the argument to set the date of Easter to be the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the Spring Equinox. How’s that for linking one’s highest and holiest day to the motion of the Moon?

Whitby Abbey.jpg
Whitby Abbey – Where Rome overruled the indigenous Celtic Church, setting the date of Easter (as well as monks haircuts!)

Regarding other cultures and the New Moon, I am aware that I write this during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan which itself starts at the appropriate New Moon.

“Ah, but did the early Christians celebrate anything moon related?” you may ask. Purely going to Scripture alone, we have these tantalising words in Colossians:

“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.”  Colossians 2:16

It appears that it was a matter of choice, or conscience, whether or not the Colossians celebrated various festivals, and one of those spelled out was Rosh Chodesh, the Jewish New Moon festival. With this in mind, I decided to write a New Moon ritual.

Amongst the times I’ve celebrated this ritual, I had the honour of celebrating it back in January 2015 at a Christian college not far from my home, in Derbyshire. The snow was gently falling and it was a truly magical occasion. That said, some people present really didn’t get it at all and were completely perplexed and outraged at what they perceived to be utter heresy within it. I leave it with you the reader to determine the orthodoxy of it and whether it crosses any boundaries. ²


The New Moon was a time of celebration and dedication, and as such, the objective of this ritual surrounds dedicating the plans we have during the coming month to God.

Commit your path to the Eternal; let Him direct you.
    Put your confidence in Him, and He will follow through with you.” Psalm 37:5 (Voice)

Herewith I gift you my New Moon Ritual (click here). Feel free to comment below if you have any questions regarding it. If you hate it, it’s probably not for you and best left alone. If you like it, please feel free to use / adapt it to your context. The context this was written in is a Pagan-Christian context, hence the particular “flavour” of it.

I wish you every blessing of the month and may Lady Moonlight shine brightly upon your path.

Matt Arnold

Suggested altarpiece for the New Moon Ritual.


¹ Jesus was crucified at Passover. Being a Full Moon festival, the Moon would have been in a position behind the Earth, not between the Earth and the Sun (a New Moon position). With the moon in its full phase position, it would have been unable to cover up the Sun as would occur in an eclipse. This renders the null and void the argument that it was an eclipse which caused the darkness upon the land at Jesus’ death.

² The usual objection is that it is heretical to bless inanimate objects such as the Moon. However, I regularly observe the blessing of bread and wine at the Eucharist, or the blessing of the land at Rogationtide as blessing inanimate objects. To bring one’s blessing upon either a person, animal or inanimate object is something the early Celtic Church actively encouraged. I also see blessing as pronouncing “Good be upon you” upon whatever, or whoever you bless. With all this in mind I have no problem with blessing inanimate objects and see it as a role the follower of Jesus can do in bringing in the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth in a number of ways (such as land and house blessing, especially where evil acts may have taken place, but that is another blog post for another occasion I feel). I also see it as a matter of conscience as to whether or not it’s something for the individual to enact, and would not want to force someone to do something they’re not happy with.

Another objection comes from speaking / singing to the Moon. As a scientist, I completely understand that the vacuum of space precludes sound waves travelling between myself and the Moon, even if the Moon was able to understand the words I was saying. To this I answer that although there may be a physical “language barrier” between us, communication between ourselves, the cosmos and the Creator is something the Psalmist did not seem to have a problem with the “animistic” writings of Psalm 19 and 148 (for example), so why should it be an issue for me? Thanking the Moon for fulfilling her creation ordinance of marking time and enabling life upon this planet through her interaction with the sea (in some mythologies, her sister) seems eminently sensible and fits in with both the Psalmist and Fransiscan spiritualities.

Yet another objection comes in the raising of the hands towards the moon. This is in no way worship of the Moon herself – any more than raising ones hands at a concert is worshipping the band on stage, or raising one’s hand in class is worshipping the teacher. What is happening here is an attempt to maintain Biblical imagery when blessing someone / something, in that hands are raised over (or placed upon) that which is to be blessed.

16 thoughts on “Christian New Moon Ritual – A Deep Green Christian’s Celebration

  1. Thanks for this post. I too have been researching New Moon practices this year. The Jews say a prayer at the New Moon every single month. Yesterday I was watching some films on Youtube about the early church. And particularly noted the transition from the Jewish lunar calendar/observances to the gentile/Romanising of the Church which was sun based. This fit in with what the Romans were doing already. So the Feasts and the Moon were forgotten to celebrate the Pagan holidays of agriculture etc. This is quite a simplistic explanation. And in fact there are quite a few overlaps I think. Fascinating.


  2. Interesting, as a ritual designed for Christians, seekers, Pagans and others, it is pretty good. You have quoted the Bible several times, and very clearly acknowledged God’s creative power. I would be happy to take part in it, so long as I could explain who it is I call God, if I was questioned.


    1. No worries. I ended up with a number of letters of complaint from some students and one lecturer at the local Christian college where we celebrated this as part of an example of contextualised worship. The accusation was that I was encouraging moon worship. Sadly they couldn’t see anything different due to their blinkered understanding of worship and blessing.

      Have fun and take care!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Paul doesn’t say the new moons were done away with (Col. 2:16). He simply said don’t let anyone judge you regarding them. I see Paul implying that the Christian understanding of the new moons is different than the understanding of the Jews. The sacrifice of Christ gave new meaning to the new moons: twelve disciples – twelve lunar months of the year.


  4. Christ wasn’t a disciple. 13 in number symbolism in Scripture is associated with rebellion, backsliding and rejection (see Ge. 14: 4; Es. 9: 11; 1 Kg. 7: 1). Nevertheless, what do you propose for the meaning for each of the lunar months and their links to the disciples? I’m intrigued. 🙂


  5. You say my analogy doesn’t add up since there are 13 months in a year. Then when I say Christ was number 13 you say 13 is the number of rebellion. So is your 13 month year that you refer to a year of rebellion? You can’t have it both ways Matt. It is the Roman year (365 days) that is the true year of rebellion; along with its zodiac, Halloween, Christmas and all its other abominations.


    1. I’m not sure what you’re going on about at this stage as you’re now being illogical and saying I am saying the 13 lunar month year is a year of rebellion. You are in error as that’s not what I’m saying at all and you obviously have not read the Bible verses I quoted in conjunction what that idea. Your lack of understanding about how many lunar months there were in a year (you said 12 initially) meant you associated it with the disciples and then tried to perform some theological leap. Unfortunately that leap was too short as I pointed out there were 13 lunar months in the year, so in order to continue to justify your hypothesis, you then included Christ into the mix to try and boost the number to 13… However, you fail to realise that your 13 number requires you to accept a rebellious Judas disciple who was present at the table, which still means you either have to work out the significance of having a rebellious disciple in your theology to make the 13, or you knock it back down to 12 true disciples including Jesus, which means you’re still one out with the number of lunar months in a year. Which way do you want to go with this as either way, you’re somehow trying to build an idea based on some incorrect foundational thinking?

      Bringing in a 365 day year as being bad somehow because it’s Roman is also a nonsense, especially when you purpose nothing else which is workable, given the movement of the heavenly bodies and the rotation of the earth. I suppose you could purpose a 360 day year, but when that has Babylonian origins, I’m kind of sure you’d have a problem with that too.

      As to your final throw away comment, this site isn’t for you by the sound of it as you don’t understand the language used here – no, not you don’t understand English, but you don’t understand the cultural tongue. You obviously do not understand the presence and meaning of the zodiac within Scripture as well as in the synagogues of the 2TP Jews. Nor do you understand the Christian symbolism hidden within the precursors to our modern day playing cards, the Tarot. Nor do you understand the true origins of Halloween, because you haven’t read the articles on this blog properly.And as to Christmas – well, you really have seemed to have swallowed a load of anti-Christian hogwash dressed up as pious Christianity, but is actually an emasculating way of being – the early Christians celebrated Christmas way before Mithras was introduced 200+ years after the birth of Christ. Again, you are ignorant because you haven’t actually really, deeply read through my articles on these things, you’ve come in with a set of filters over your eyes which only see what your itching eyes want to see, and to quickly jump in to demonize stuff you are quite ignorant of (in a non perjorative usage of the word). I suggest you study to show yourself approved of God – study not just Scripture, but the cultures in which the Bible was written at various times and places, and how God speaks to people at all times, in all tongues and all places. Then we can talk sensibly as at the moment, you’re not actually wanting to engage in mutually respectful dialogue from an informed position, merely wanting to denigrate the work of others.

      It’s a bit like me coming over to your home and deciding that your decor is awful and I publicly decide to write how awful your home decor is – would you like it? No, I don’t think so, so please, unless you’ve got something sensible, logical, researched properly, please do not denigrate what you do not understand. This blog is not written in your language, nor is it written to you, nor for you, you have your own material to read and culture to engage with, so leave me with the culture I am a witness amongst to read their writings and engage with their spiritual yearnings.

      You might like to try something like the Naked Bible Podcast, which I highly recommend if you want some serious scholarly biblical analysis in the language of the typical Christian. Be warned though, you may have to study deeply with this meaty material, it’s not for “milk drinkers”.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh Matt.I have just found this after not reading your blog for a while.Thank you. It touched me greatly. The wording was powerful and beautiful. If we worship a Creator God ,who the Bible tells us ,flung the stars into space,then surely it is right to recognise this creation and honour it by giving thanks for it and asking for the blessing associated with it. I do have a question though .What are moon stones?


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