THe Power of Ritual

Rituals are a way to mark turning points in your life. They can be used to symbolically welcome changes in your life. Rituals can be simple or elaborate, but the most important thing is your full presence in the moment. When you tune into the Moon's phases, it's reassuring to know that there are many chances during the year to tap into lunar energy. Like the tides, the Moon ebbs and flows, a rhythm that women understand intimately.We have one tonight, Jan 15th and another one coming up on Feb. 14th, Valentines Day.  I introduced this to class this past Tuesday morning, but if you missed it, you can be sure to try it for the next New moon coming up on Valentine's Day! In fact, I'm considering offering a special lunar flow class on the day of our next new moon, Feb. 14, if you all are interested in investing this magic. For now, here's some information that you may find helpful in understanding lunar energy.

The Magic of the New Moon: When the Moon is new, the Sun and Moon are aligned in the same sign, and a powerful energy portal is opened. New Moons are a great time to set intentions for things you'd like to create, develop, cultivate, make manifest. The new Moon is a magical time of beginnings, when you can recharge goals, or set new ones. There are many ways to initiate this communion with the Universe from lighting a candle to elaborate rituals. What matters is that you're committing yourself to your vision, and open to receiving guidance, healing, support from Spirit.New Moons are a blank page on which to speak your dreams out loud, and Full Moons are for taking action and celebrating the fruit of your efforts.In the chaotic and temporal world, looking to something larger that is also part of yourself can fill you with awe and make you feel connected. For whatever path you're on, opening to working with planetary energies links you to the power of the divine.

How is a New Moon different from the Full Moon:The new Moon has a more inward feel, has a void or empty quality, and therefore can be frightening to those not comfortable with uncertainty. Can you learn to trust the dark? It's the moment when the old passes away and the new is not yet here. That's why it's a powerful time for sending out your prayer, wishes, desires to the Universe.

Preparing for the New Moon:
It's a good idea to spend some time reflecting in the days leading up to the new Moon. Knowing exactly what you want to draw into your life is not always easy. Part of preparing for the new Moon is making sure you are clear about your intentions. Sometimes it's a quality you'd like to cultivate like forgiveness, courage -- other times it's a more specific request like a promotion at work or new place to live.

What is a new Moon Ritual?
This depends on your personal tastes, the pace of your life and the time you have to devote to it. Some simply light a candle, while others gather objects and pictures for their altar. Lately, I've been writing my intentions in my "moon journal". I also  have placed my personal sacred objects (animal statues, pieces of clothing, something to represent a certain color, jewelry and crystals) around my home altar and have even invoked the Goddess Lakshmi, who is in our lobby at Sacred Space- you may have noticed lately that Lakshmi,  has been decorated and adorned!

It's important to come up with a ritual that has meaning for you, instead of trying to follow any set guidelines (unless you're part of an established ritual group). You're the one that knows your personal story best, and what to lift out of that narrative, what will infuse your ritual with power. Rituals bring meaning to our lives by "charging" an intention with power. We're always setting intentions, and this is a way to do it in a more conscious way. There is power in coming up with visions for your life, and keeping them in your sights as they come into being. But even as you fully commit to those visions, stay flexible, since new doors may open that you didn't expect. At the new Moon, goals and wishes take root, as you reach out for spiritual wisdom, draw on unseen allies and open the door to magical change. You might get what you ask for, or something even better that you can't imagine yet.

Here are some general guidelines to shape your rituals using the unique symbols and totems from your life.
Gathering your Sacred Supplies Your altar is where you collect your sacred objects -- pictures, found objects and the like. Using herbs with healing or symbolic properties adds to your ritual. Stones and crystals are another powerful ally. Candles are magical, and in its form contains all four of the elements. A small journal on hand allows you to keep a record of your intentions.  You might also create  a collage to give you a visual reminder of your dreams.
Preparing for the Ritual
This is the most important part of ritual, since your commitment is the key. Take a ritual bath with sea salt to clear your field of any negative energies. Sage is an herb used by the Native Americans to clear a space, and make it sacred for ritual. It's available in most health food stores these days, and easiest to use in its wand form. Light the end and blow on it until there is a smoldering glow. Use it around your own body, and in the space of your ritual. Clear your mind with meditation, using music or just quieting down in your cleared, sacred area.
Grounding This is something that's important anytime, for staying connected to earth energy. Signs that you're not grounded are mania, nervousness, racing thoughts and the like. Too often we forget to feel the earth under our feet. I've mentioned Starhawk a few times in class and her tree grounding exercise is one of my own daily rituals. In a nutshell, it's visualizing the roots going down into the Earth, through the layers, into the core, and then drawing that energy back up through your feet again. It moves through each chakra, coming out the top and down around you. Try this or another variation of grounding before you set new Moon intentions.
Your New Moon Wishes After you've cleared a sacred space and settled your energy, you're ready to set your intentions. Make a list of what you'd like to draw into your life, and Dream Big! The new Moon is a moment to conjure what seems out of reach, and creating the vision is the first step to making it a reality. But these are not just words on paper. As you write them down as intentions, you are committing to doing your part to make them real. Some call it co-creating, since you're opening to universal energies to set dreams in motion.
Dreams of the Soul Your intentions come from the longings that keep coming up. In the days leading up to the new Moon, give some thought to those longings, and see what images, dreams and streams of thought come up. Use symbolic associations to go along with your intentions.  Rituals are a way to work with universal energies, and draw attention to the particular life lessons, or arena (house, planet, etc) that it illuminates for you.

Symbolic Acts Here's where you get to be creative. If your intentions are to write a book, or broadcast your ideas out to the world, tie them to a helium balloon and send them off. Write them on a stick and offer it to the fire.  For New Years Eve, for example, I burned up my 2009 manifestation wall to release it and acknowledge that all of my past endeavors have been given all of my efforts and now is free to be given back to universe in whatever way they are meant to be received. To open to love, put lavender and a rose quartz in a small pouch, along with the qualities you're seeking. If you're inspired, add a symbolic act to your intention-setting ritual.

Keep them Alive A big part of success with new Moon intentions is what comes after. Find ways to keep them in the front of your awareness. Put them in a visible spot, or keep them in your wallet. Make notes in your journal about your progress. At the full Moon , find ways to take action on those intentions, and celebrate any signs of change.


4 comments (Add your own)

1. Lydia Thomas wrote:
Love it, Kim, and i think the idea of a Lunar Flow class would be amazing. <3

Sat, January 16, 2010 @ 8:13 PM

2. Nadine Barclay wrote:
I love it, too, and think that a class on each of the moon's turning points- new, half-waxing (don't know the proper name for this?) full, and then half-waning, back on to the new moon, would be awesome. It would help me to stay in tune with the moon :) "In tune with the moon" "The moon's tune" "Flow to the moon's tune" "Flow to the tune of the moon"!!! I've been rhyming a lot lately!! See you soon. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Sun, January 17, 2010 @ 5:53 PM

3. Yulia Heaton wrote:
Beautifully put! Wish I could make it to the Feb 14th session. I'm sure you know this, but Feb 14th this year is not only the New Moon and a Valentine's Day, but also Chinese New Year of a Metal Tiger, so plenty to play with!

Sun, January 17, 2010 @ 6:36 PM

4. Greg wrote:
LOVE THIS! You're brilliant, Kim, brilliant!

Mon, January 18, 2010 @ 11:24 AM

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