I used to think rituals were just for pagans, but the more I practice and honour the rituals of my modern life, the more I feel comfortable exploring ancient practices for marking time and making meaning.
Simply put, ritual is a way we humans pause to honour a moment in time, usually a moment of transformation; birth, death, union and other significant life stages such as graduation, travel, achievement, letting go of the past. To honour moments of big change in our lives by taking ritual action and sharing it with others, deepens our connection to the transformative experience.
The ritual actions may be very simple, such as sharing a special meal, making a toast, lighting a candle or wearing a particular outfit.
I've recently, in the past year, made an effort to mark moon phases with a ritual. It reminds me of my connection with the natural world. As the tides of the vast ocean are governed by the moon, it makes sense that the waters in my human body are also moved by the moon.
Whether or not you feel affected by the moon's power, creating a moon phase ritual can be a simple way to clear yourself each month and realign with what is important in your life.
The new moon, or dark moon, is traditionally is a time to fix the mind on what you wish to create in your life, ie, setting an intention. Thoughts, like seeds are sown in the garden of the mind, the more we nourish and tend to them, the stronger they grow. This goes for the good and bad thoughts, so new moon is a good time to make sure you are nourishing the flowers and fruits, not the weeds!
Then full moon is a time to let go and release any obstacles which may have arisen on the path to fulfill our intention/ nourish the seeds we have sown. But more on that in two weeks!
NEW MOON RITUAL:
You will need:
A candle/s and matches
A comfortable space
Coloured pencils and paper for writing/ drawing your intentions.
Optional: Sage or Palo Santo to clear the space, essential oils to create an atmosphere of focus and positivity (I like frankincense and citrus). Any other objects you'd like to place around the candle to create a little alter, including flowers, crystals, photographs, quotes.
Consider what seeds you wish to sow on this New Moon. You may wish to write them down in advance of the ritual to help you get a really clear idea of what your ritual will be focused on. You will have a chance to do this during the ritual as well.
* Find a space for your ritual that feels comfortable. You may be alone, or with children, friends or a partner.
* Cleanse the space and diffuse essential oils (optional)
* Create your alter by placing the candle in the centre and dressing the space with your selection of ritual objects that remind you of what you are manifesting during this New Moon. If doing the ritual in a group, allow each person to add special objects to the alter, there is no right way to do this, allow it to be a creative process and let aesthetics guide you.
* Light a candle for each person present. If in a group this can be done by each person saying aloud " I am (____name___), and I am present".
* Meditation to arrive in the present moment. Use any technique you like, or if you are new to meditation just take a moment to close your eyes or gaze at the floor in front of you and witness your breathing for a few minutes.. If you're in a group have someone lead the meditation to bring everyone through the same experience; arriving in the circle, feeling their bodies, noticing their breath and silently acknowledging why they are here and being aware of those whom they sit in circle with.
* Writing /drawing your intentions. How do you want to feel? How do you want to be in the world? What seeds are you sowing to create the life you want? Using coloured pencils can be fun here! You may prefer using words or drawing. Let your intuition guide you, don't worry what it looks like, the intention behind it is most important. Try and keep it focused, if there's more than one theme coming up, try to pick the one that feels most important and pour your energy in to that. (This is where the pre-ritual activity becomes helpful)
* Seal the ritual by closing your eyes and visualising yourself planting the seed in fertile soil, then imagine your life with it coming to fruition. You may like to chant "AUM" or say/sing anything else that feels appropriate, to seal this.
* Blow out the candle/s
* Keep the piece of paper somewhere you will be able to see it and reflect on it as the moon waxes (grows full). This mental activity will serve as fertilizer for the seeds you have sown.
HAPPY NEW MOON EVERYONE!
( November New Moon is Thurs 12th at 4:47AM Sydney EST, so Wednesday evening is a good time to do your ritual)