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Tarot Ritual: New Moon in Cancer for the breaking of bad habits

This article originally appeared at

"A New Moon teaches gradualness and deliberation and how one gives birth to oneself slowly. Patience with small details makes perfect a large work, like the universe."—Rumi

Habits. We all want them, need them, especially good habits. Some people just seem to wake up and say, "I'm going to completely change my life today and turn it all around." I don't know any such people, but I have faith they are out there, somewhere. Like leprechauns or the Easter Bunny. They're real because I believe them to be real.

There's a few habits I was trying to correct all at once:

☛ punctuality

☛ poor sleep

☛ consistency in writing

☛ physical activity

☛ procrastination

I saved the best (or shall I say the worst?) for last on the list, because it's a biggie. The Goliath to my David. And I realized it's a biggie because it is a "pivot point" habit: reframe this one, and all the other bad habit dominoes such as tardiness or inconsistency get knocked down.

No matter how much I would like to be one of those mythical people I spoke of above, I need to reformulate my habits one habit at a time. Multitasking is a myth... so too have I found this to be the case when reframing multiple bad habits into good ones. No seriously, one thing at a time. I need to be reminded of this… a lot.

If you are looking to knock a habit and need an astrological boost to help you along, the New Moon is one of the best times to set the intention to begin again. Even better is if you sync up which sign the New Moon is in to further help your intentions along.


This month, the New Moon is in the sign of Cancer (the crab). The element associated with this sign is water. Cancer rules the hearth and home and intuition. Cancer can be affectionately called “crabby” (get it?) but their protective nature toward their family, friends, and emotions is unmatched! They have their hard outer shells, but ultimately that exoskeleton is in place to conceal the fragility within.

Tarot cards are associated with astrological signs as well. For this intention setting, I have pulled the tarot card associated with the sign of Cancer, the Chariot. For good measure, I have also selected the Moon card (Moon in Cancer) and the Fool as representations of the New Moon. When working with tarot and magick, please see Charming a Tarot Card for more helpful tips.


You may be trying to kick a different habit, so please tweak the following accordingly. As I said before, procrastination is my big baddy, so ritual for me was focused on that particular bad habit.


New Moon in Cancer Ritual for Kicking the Procrastination Habit

✩ I ran enough water to fill the tub for my feet alone. Feel free to immerse yourself fully in the tub if you like, but doing a feet-only bath for me had purpose later on.

★ I added the following to the water:

☾ florida water - for purification

☾ rose water - to be kind to myself while forming new habits

☾ rosemary - to remember why I want this behavior to change

☾ moonflower - for the moon

☾ lavender bath salts - salt for purification and protection, and lavender for flexibility, ease, and more kindness when transitioning from bad habits to good ones


✩ I got my notebook and my tarot deck, sat down on the edge of the tub and immersed my feet. As I soaked my feet and smelled the fragrant water, I mused upon the already pulled Chariot, Moon, and Fool cards, and asked myself about my procrastination.

★ As I thought about the New Moon in Cancer and it being a watery astrological time, I came to realize that my procrastination was much more rooted in emotions than practicality: that my procrastination was emotional and not intellectual. I began to look through the tarot deck for the suit of Cups, and hit upon the representations of both my bad habit (7 of Cups) and what I wanted to happen (8 of Cups). 7 of Cups represents to me my procrastination habit and “ooh look shiny!” syndrome, and the 8 of Cups symbolized my walking away from that habit, small steps at a time.

✩ I took all the cards I had pulled:

☾ Chariot

☾ Moon

☾ Fool

☾ 7 of Cups

☾ 8 of Cups

★ I took a deep breath and visualized my procrastination while looking at the 7 of Cups. I took another deep breath and looked at the 8 of Cups. With my final breath, I took the 8 of Cups and covered over the 7 of Cups. I said to myself, "I’m walking away from that habit, now."

✩ I bundled the cards from bottom to top: Chariot/Moon/7 of Cups/8 of Cups/Fool.

★ I set down my cards and notebook, and stood up, feet in the water of the tub. I went to the far end of the tub, and walked intentionally through the water, using small steps, while visualizing the walk in the 8 of Cups card. One baby step at a time, I was walking away from this bad habit of procrastination. When I got to the edge of the other side of the tub, I smiled and struck a power-pose, hands on hips. ✩ I then got out of the tub, and gently dried my feet with a fluffy white towel.

★ When draining the water out of the tub, I visualized the accumulated negativity associated with the bad habit going down the drain with the water, and reaffirmed verbally what I wanted to happen in the present tense. Some affirmations I used were:

☾ "I deal with things as they come up."

☾ "I face my emotions as they come up."

☾ "I do what I say I will do."

☾ "I am an adult, and adults deal with their problems as they present themselves."

☾ "I am a reliable person."

☾ "I am consistent with the things that are important to me."

☾ "I am still a good person when I slip up."

You can make this process as witchy or not as you like. You can think of it as intention or goal-setting, or a ritual: whatever feels comfortable to you. Most of all, keep in mind that ritual is not enough: you must also do the work that goes along with the intention you set. The mundane work goes hand-in-hand along with the magickal! For me, I did a few things to solidify the formation of good habits:

✔ Plan out my day the night before, and set one big goal for the morning. For example, if I want to go through snail-mail, I plop the pile of mail down on top of my closed laptop. I can't get to fun computer games without going directly through the thing I need to deal with first! (See Marie Forleo's blog post on planning out your day the night before, in the Recommended Reading section below.)

 ✔ For the "get enough sleep/punctuality/consistency in writing" habits, I tried to kill 3 birds with one stone. That stone is this: Withings Activité Pop Watch. Tells time, tracks steps and activity (even when you swim), and tracks sleep and has a gentle vibration wake-up alarm... so that when I wake up early to get some consistent writing done, I'm not smacking the snooze on my phone anymore.

 ✔ Public accountability: such as writing this blog post, and installing a Hello bar on the website to let people know when to expect new blog content. Sure, it says Tuesday right now... it's a work in progress! And speaking of that...

 ✔ Being gentle with myself when I have the occasional slip-up. Did you know that it takes at least 21 days for a new habit to stick? Given that, we have to be kind to ourselves when attempting to change ourselves for the better. Be nice to yourself, and try try try again.




Recommended Reading:

Why Procrastinators Procrastinate and How to Beat Procrastination, courtesy of

How do you use tarot cards? Have you used them for another purpose, such as playing cards, inspiration for writing, or during spell-work? Do you have particular routines that you do during a New Moon? Share your experiences in the Comments section below.

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Owner and content-provider of Tarot by Hilary, professional tarot reader with over fourteen years of experience slinging the cards, posts weekly on the Tarot by Hilary blog, and all around woman-about-town. My clients are awesome, and you should be one of them.


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