New Moon Vows

In Bluestar we have a tradition of taking vows at the new moon and at each hinge. The point of the vows is to give voice to our goals and impetus to work on them. Sometimes they are more mundane but we try to keep them focused on spiritual growth. The new moon vows are supposed to be vows that can be completed in a lunar cycle whereas the hinge vows are vows that can be completed in a hinge. We like to talk about them as being S.M.A.R.T. goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented, and Time-bound. All of these things give us the focus for the words we use and the intent we put behind it. For example someone might vow to meditate for 15 minutes a day. That meets all of the criteria. Solving world hunger does not.

Most recently at our open New Storm Moon celebration I vowed to reach my step goal, 10,000 steps, at least 4 days a week. I have been focusing on improving my health and treating my body like the temple it needs to be for the gods and I thought that would be a good place to put the right foot forward so to speak. Turns out that I might have expectations that are not realistic for my current strength and stamina. It is really hard for me to reach that 10,000 steps in one day if I am doing the other things I need to do to take care of myself.

It is important to realize when you have set yourself on a task that is not Achievable and to then change your expectations. It is not a failure. It is an important learning lesson. Just because a vow has been made does not mean that it will be accomplished or that it should.


Vows and Goals

Yesterday at 4:57pm was the new moon. Typically, I am not nearly so precise with the time of the new moon.  Typically, we try to schedule our rituals as close to the full or new moon as possible to reap the benefits of the energy of that moon.  Samhain is close on the heels of the new moon and is hear in a week.  Although there are many correlations that I could make with these two things happening so quickly, the one in particular that I'm focusing on right now is Vows.  

In the Blue Star Tradition, we often make (or take) vows.  We take them for the new moon and for the hinge.  The hinge sabbats are Samhain and Beltane.  The new moon vows last for one lunar cycle.  The hinge vows last for half the year.  

For the new moon vows, we focus on short term things.  They are usually self-improvement sorts of things.  From this new moon to the next, I'll walk the dog three times a week.  From this new moon to the next, I'll make my bed every morning.  I'll declutter for 15 minutes a day.  I'll turn in all my homework on time.  They require some thought and some commitment but they are not usually huge changes in our lives.  Now hinge vows on the other hand, they should be transformative.  These should have a deeper meaning in your life.  

So as I am preparing for Samhain and thinking on on a vow, I realize there are many things that I need or want to change in my life.  Most of them are personal.  I need to be healthier.  I think that I will make that hinge vow -- to be healthier -- and then use the new moon vows as the smaller steps to achieve that healthiness.

Most of us have probably heard about SMART goals.  We can use this process and apply it to our vows.  So my overall goal of being healthier can be achieved by:  walking the dog 3x a week, track and journal my eating, increasing my water intake, making 10K steps each day, and eliminating soda and sweet tea from my diet.  

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Bound.  Looking back at the vows I've outlined, 'be healthier' is not that specific but I've created 5 smaller steps to get there and those goals are specific.  They are measurable.  Because they are specific, they are measurable really.  Attainable?  Yes?  Making my steps will be easier with the dogs walks.  Sweet tea?  That is going to be hard, but I've already started using different sweeteners.  And I'm making the assumption that tonic water is not soda so I think I'm okay there.  Relevant.  They are absolutely relevant to my overall goal of being healthier.  And because of the nature of the vows, they are automatically time bound.  

If vows are just goals, then why do we even do them at all?  In the last post, I talked about manifesting reality.  This is very similar.  We carefully consider what we need to be doing.  We plan it out.  Then we put the extra oomph in it by adding to our goals and vows the energy of our covenmates and the blessings of the Gods.  

No longer are you working on it by yourself.  The energy of the ritual is helping to push you forward.  The spirit of the elements are working with you.  And the blessings of the gods are behind you.  There is a whole team with you.  

Good luck with your vows and goals.

All the best,